Boss Up with Bevin Your dream life is at the end of your comfort zone

2017-04-17

FAT SEX WEEK XXL: 6 Tips for Reclaiming FUPA, The Fat Upper Pubic Area

Welcome one and all (who are knowingly entering into this adult-themed conversation)! This is Fat Sex Week XXL, the second edition of QueerFatFemme.com Fat Sex Week where I explore many facets of fat sex. Named for Magic Mike XXL, which was even better than the first Magic Mike, I’m hoping this edition is louder and fatter than ever before! Check this tag for all of the posts!

Two weeks ago I hit the moving jackpot. My partner wanted to send me away during the two day packing and moving process of our home and my friend Katy was in town for a work event (the Victoria Beckham for Target launch party). Katy invited me to come chill in her pet friendly hotel so Biscuit Reynolds, Macy and I joined her. I loved hanging with Katy, as always, and I learned two things of note: Harper Beckham is very cute and the term FUPA.

FUPA stands for Fat Upper Pubic Area. I never knew this was a thing anyone cared about. I had noticed that fat people often have fat pubic mons and I have always thought it was cute! When I was on April Flores’ radio show a couple of weeks ago we were talking about why Fat Sex is so awesome and I instantly thought about how fat pussies are so cute!

Katy, like many of us, had to work really hard to reclaim loving her body, a journey she’s still on. She had to specifically focus on her FUPA to make it a source of pride and not insecurity.

“I had all these milestones with my body. I went sleeveless for the first time, that was a big deal. I took photos of my back fat naked. I finally wore sandals for the first time because I was previously so insecure about my big feet, I didn’t want to expose them.

“My leggings got shorter, my dresses started to reveal skin more and more as I learned to accept and love my body.”

The FUPA was difficult. If you google the term, you’ll see it is usually used derogatorily. It’s not gender specific, all types of bodies can have a FUPA.

Self portrait of FUPA by Katy.

The internet likes to come for Chris Christie and Donald Drumpf about their FUPA. I would like to state for the record that body love is for every person. I think it’s body shaming and lazy activism to target Chris Christie for his weight or Donald Drumpf for his “tiny hands.” There are literally hundreds if not thousands of things to critique both of those people for and targeting the body parts of people you dislike is counter to what body liberation activism is about. It perpetuates body negativity and fat shaming.

People’s insecurity about their FUPA sometimes goes to a place of wanting to get surgery. “When your crotch isn’t how you think it should be it is a disabling amount of preoccupation. I have a D cup for a pubic mons,” Katy reveals.

People who have penises and a FUPA might lose up to an inch of usable length, which is another sort of genitalia difficulty. Just like all other benign human body diversity, genitals come in all shapes, sizes and mechanics.

Like me, Katy was a late bloomer, but she took loving her body and owning her sexuality into her own hands. Katy has a really great Tumblr that’s focused on reclaiming her body and celebrating her sexuality. Lots of nude photos and plenty of FUPA reclamation content!

Here are some ideas I brainstormed with Katy to reclaim your FUPA if you’re insecure about it, or just to celebrate it if you’re already down with your Fat Upper Pubic Area.

1. Photos!

You’ll notice throughout Katy’s body love journey on her blog that she uses naked photos as a means of reclaiming her body and normalizing it for her and her followers. I started learning how to look myself in the eye in a mirror and loved how I looked by surrounding myself with photos of me and my loved ones. Because I already loved those people, that feeling of love would amplify for my own image. This was before Tumblr, Instagram and blogging (actually even before camera phones and digital cameras) so I just used actual printed pictures and put them up around my law school dorm room.

Katy makes art to reclaim her FUPA.

2. Tattoos!

I started getting tattooed as a way to decorate my body how I wanted it. I always wanted to have them work as whole when I’m naked, so it wasn’t so much about my fat body as my fat decorated body. I’m not suggesting you tattoo your pubic mons unless you want to, more like decorating your body to look how you want to curate it.

Katy says, “I got more tattoos to celebrate the small victories of loving my skin. The cool thing about a tattoo is the process makes me love myself. It connects me to my body and can pull me out of depression and remind me I’m alive in my skin.”

3. Genitaljazzling!

What if you decorated your mons? I know sometimes that involves shaving which isn’t comfortable or the right choice for a lot of people, but it is really cute to put glitter, rhinestones, temporary tattoos, or just draw on your FUPA!

4. Extended Worship!

If you have a lover, sometimes extended foreplay where you incorporate yoni/genital area massage, or other forms of worship can help you feel like you are more comfortable in your skin. Says Katy, “Something happens in sex for me where my girlfriend focusing on my pussy as the thing to be worshipped and reminds me that the skin in and around my pussy, including my FUPA, is filled with nerves.”

5. Cannabis!

Katy highly endorses using edible cannabis to relax for sex. “As a sexual assault survivor it is very helpful for me to get out of my head and get more into my body.”

I can also vouch for certain kinds of edibles (I prefer a sativa edible that brings a joy vibration) helping me to drop into my body better. I don’t do it when I teach aerobics! But, sometimes when I am a student, I like to take a tiny bit of edible to get a body high while I’m doing dance aerobics because it helps me relax into my body and get out of my head more. I haven’t successfully done it for sex, I get too distracted, but I am looking forward to experimenting more and exploring what Ashley Manta the CannaSexual has to recommend.

6. Flagging FUPA Pride!

Katy makes these adorable bracelets that have words and acronyms on them. “It’s hard sometimes, especially as a Femme, to let everyone know what you’re down with. I love passive, decorative forms as a means of communicating something about your body that is uncomfortable for you. I made one that had PTSD on it so that i could talk to someone in a certain setting by communicating without having to use my words.”

I hope this post helps reclaim FUPA for anyone out there who is unfamiliar with the term or has insecurities about their Fat Upper Pubic Area. I want to leave on this great quote from Katy about her body love journey.

“Past Katy, present Katy and future Katy are making moves. Even if I can’t see them today as my own healing, every micro step I take is progress.”

2014-10-10

Nine Steps to Be Ready to Wear Sleeveless Shirts or Shorts Next Summer

If you spent this summer consistently covering up your arms because you were ashamed to show that part of your body, now is a great time to start working on being ready for next year. You can unlearn the lies that people tell you about how you have to cover up in order to be socially acceptable.

I remember very distinctly an episode of the Oprah show I watched when I was a teenager where she waved her upper arm in the air and spoke derisively about the skin and fat “waddle” dangling there. I turned crimson with the recognition that I already had that “waddle” and that because Oprah was opposed to it then I should be ashamed of it.
2957045493_cb41415748_zI thought I’d do a little flashback Friday with photos of me sleeveless through the last decade. Here is a photo of me showing my arm waddle during a performance at the International Drag King Extravaganza in Columbus circa 2010. This is the dapper and amazing Heywood Wakefield.

Oprah is in a unique position—she’s so influential in US culture that many people listen to what she says with the same kind of attention that we might give to a parent or relative. My parents and relatives were also fatphobic and ashamed of their bodies and it was easy to internalize that the fat body I had all my life was wrong, with a hearty reiteration from Oprah.

We’re all human, though, and I recognize everyone is doing the best they can with what they have. My mom is now super supportive of my work with body liberation and Oprah is definitely much more body accepting in the twenty teens than she was in the nineties.

I don’t understand why our culture is so opposed to fat people’s arms. What is it about the arms specifically that makes us need to cover them up most of all? No fat person’s arm has caused more harm than a thin person’s.

I was on the phone with a body liberation coaching client and told her the story of how I got through my own shame about sleeveless shirts, and I wanted to share that with my readers. This is the same time of year I began that journey, so I thought it would be great to encourage others who are ready to take these steps to begin now for next summer.

I’m outlining here a process of self-acceptance and learning to be comfortable in the body you have right now. All bodies are worthy of love exactly as they are AND they deserve to be comfortable.

14558700107_5d7497a1ae_oThese are my stickers! Aren’t they cute? If anyone wants some, make a donation via paypal of any amount to queerfatfemme at gmail and include your address.

1. Get ready to do things differently

I was 19 when I embarked on the journey to start wearing sleeveless shirts. I was at an interesting turning point in my life. After a many years long, often suicidal depression, I had decided to stop hating myself. I didn’t know what that meant and I had no identifiable role models for fat people who didn’t hate themselves, but I knew I needed to do something different. That summer, I met someone who basically made me promise to stop putting myself down and work on loving myself. Grant was a lifeguard at the Girl Scout camp I worked at and he wrote me the sweetest note in my camp yearbook. It meant so much to me. It was the first time I was ever able to hear that I was worthy of not hating myself.

I knew instinctively that I was wrong for hiding my arms. It was uncomfortable and annoying and I wanted to feel the freedom of my skinny counterparts. I had a couple of tank tops as layering pieces and I started to open myself up to the idea of wearing them, and set a goal to be wearing them outside by the next year. I wasn’t sure exactly how, but I was going to do it.

If you want to do things differently, you need only set your mind to it. If you’ve been spending your summers all bottled up under hoodies or wearing pants even though you would be way more comfortable in shorts, you can move past your fear and shame and start being more confident.

You just need to want it. It’s also okay to not want it and spend the next year or however long getting to a point to want to go sleeveless or wear shorts. That’s okay, too!

2. Go shopping

If you already have tank tops or shorts you want to wear, great, skip this step. If you’ve avoided them forever, this is a great time of year to get low stakes clothing that you’re not that attached to.

Now that I’m comfortable with my body I don’t have a problem investing in pieces that are armless and short legged (herstorically I’ve spent a pretty penny on vintage lingerie pieces). But if I wasn’t comfortable in a short sleeved shirt, I wouldn’t want to spend a bunch of cash on them just to see if I could learn to love myself in spite of all the lies people tell me about my body.

Right now Target has summer clearance hanging around—I got two really great sleeveless dresses for $12 recently. And a quick search online yields promising results (like this long tank top, I love a long tank top). I also totally adore Target’s Liz Lange maternity clothes–this sleeveless V neck cami marketed for “sleep” but totally not just for sleep is a great plus size sleeveless first step shirt.

Layering pieces are super helpful for this process, too, if you need some guidance for what to buy. The tank tops I started trying out when I was 19 were meant to go under overshirts. One of my favorite looks when I was in college in the late nineties were men’s dress shirts worn open over a frilly tank top. When I was ready to wear tank tops out of the house it helped to have the layers ready to go whenever I felt shy.

If you’re wanting to try shorts out, there’s a little less layering wiggle room, but it’s a great time of year to get clearance shorts, too.

15498653845_ffa838faff_zThis is a layering look I adored in 2011, a sleeveless dress with a cardigan on top.

3. Identify confidence anchors on your body

I didn’t do this when I transitioned to tank tops, but when I came out as Femme I used this a whole bunch. I found the part of my body I felt the most confident about (my cleavage) and I dressed around it. I could try pretty much anything if my cleavage was bangin’. The Lane Bryant Plunge bra was great for this. If your anchor is your cleavage, make sure you have a great bra for stepping your way into wearing tank tops next summer.

For some tips on bra shopping check out this article I wrote about getting a custom bra fitting.

So maybe your favorite part of your body is your calves or your forearms or something. Find a way to highlight it and use it as an anchor.

647924376_8cb8653c4f_o2002, at the IDKE showcase. Corsets were really good to me in the focus on the cleavage not the arms department.

4. Practice at home

Once you have the will to try something new and the new garments you want to try, start practicing at home. At 19 I was a Resident Advisor in the dorms, so this was an experiment just in my room at Thoreau Hall at UC Davis. I would just use tank tops as my around the house wear. Previous to this I was so ashamed of my arms that I wasn’t even wearing tank tops in the privacy of my own home, not even as loungewear.

What made the tank tops different than loungewear was that I would be all dressed for outside, but in a tank top. This is where layering pieces helped—I was able to just throw on an overshirt and go about my day. But in the house, I was wearing the tank top that I wished I had the confidence to wear outside.

If you’re trying on shorts, wear them around the house and get used to what your body looks like in shorts. I know a lot of folks who are super insecure about hairy legs, cellulite, weird skin stuff and leg size or shape.

5. Identify your body positive allies

This is a really great exercise whether or not you are already a sleeveless shirt and shorts wearer. Who in your life is a body positive ally? Your best friend? A certain group of friends? I sure hope you have some folks in your life who affirm the body that you’re in right now and don’t think you need to change.

If not, start making a list of the attributes of friends who will be body positive allies to you, and open yourself up to finding those friends.

9304102569_cdb266b898_oThis was the first time I ever wore a bikini, with my friend Jacqueline.

6. Identifiy your “safer” spaces

Once you’ve identified body positive allies, come up with a list of safe(r) spaces to try out wearing new clothes. This is a great technique for any kind of fashion risk. Places I like to try things out:

*Casual hang out with your allies.
*A body positive ally comes over and you just don’t cover up your arms.
*Brunch—this is my favorite petri dish for new fashion. Low stakes and early in the day.
*Going out in public with a body positive ally who can compliment you when you’re feeling nervous.
*Going out in public with a layering piece so you can quickly cover up if you need to. Challenge yourself to go without the layer longer and longer each time.

2504463608_9827babbb3_zA little chicken satay and body positivity with Rachael, one of my oldest friends, in 2008.

7. Fake it till you make it and act “as if” you’re already comfortable in sleeveless shirts

When I was trying out tank tops I remember the first time someone came over by surprise and I just didn’t cover up my arms. It was my not-yet first girlfriend and I remember feeling embarrassed about my arms showing but also really wanted to try to be okay with it. I was so crushed out on her that it was easy to forget to be insecure because my mind was absolutely full, and that’s exactly why I forgot to put on an overshirt in the first place!

What I did was I just faked it. I pretended to be okay with my arms showing. The more it happened with folks coming over the more I realized it wasn’t a big deal. No one was going to think differently of me with my arms showing.

3683063609_4ce737edc2_zPride parade 2009 with the Femme Family NYC.

8. Instagram or tumblr body positive images

I really like to reinforce positive body image for all bodies. I love Instagram and Tumblr for this. To consistently surround myself with people who believe all bodies are good bodies and who exude self-confidence is a really great antidote for our fat shaming society. Get used to seeing bodies like yours in sleeveless tops or shorts!

By the way—never read the comments. People are gross on the internet.

Remember throughout this process—so many of us have been there. The people you see in Instagram and Tumblr feeds are people who have survived the same body policing and fat hating society. Don’t compare your insides to other people’s outsides. Just because someone seems confident doesn’t mean they are not vulnerable, human and insecure just like you.

9. Do what you need to do about beauty rituals to feel comfortable in sleeveless shirts

Again, this is a process of self-acceptance and learning to be comfortable in the body you have right now. However, if you need to do things to feel good in them that are achievable, maybe you try that. Maybe it’s a spray tan. Maybe it’s an arm tattoo. Maybe it’s shaving your legs every single day to wear shorts until you can get comfortable enough to go hairy legged one summer. Maybe it’s addressing a skin thing keeping you from showing your arms. I’m not saying modification of your body is necessary to body acceptance, but sometimes it’s helpful to baby step your way.

1393354441_e2bef3304b_zFound this photo of my friend Zoe’s leg tattoo–a great reason to wear shorts!

Dolly Parton’s character Truvy in Steel Magnolias says there’s no such thing as natural beauty, and I do believe that everyone should get to do exactly as much “work” as they want to on their appearance. For me, when I’m feeling nervous about something, I throw on a full face of make-up including fake eyelashes and big hair and it definitely ups my confidence.

When I was about 9 years old I started developing bumps on my arms. It looked kind of like chicken skin after feathers were plucked from them. I was super insecure about it, and my paternal Grammy told me it was genetic. Eventually I learned that this is a really typical skin condition and I could just exfoliate three times a week and it would go away. I don’t know if I would have felt comfortable trying tank tops if I hadn’t already addressed this skin issue I was having, but I’d like to think I would have still tried. (Right now I use Lush’s sandstone soap to exfoliate, and also a scrubby washcloth.)

Oh, and once I started exposing my skin to the sun more often, the bumps were way less prevalent.

Being self confident is a baby stepping process. I was 19 when I started trying to wear tank tops and it took me until I was 22 to start to embrace my fat body and fat as an identity. You can get there. Every single day is a great day to start.

7310063030_3093c1724a_zRebel Cupcake second anniversary party, 2012.

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