Positive Societal Sexual Appreciation of BHMs?
October 3, 2015 3:52 AM   Subscribe

I am a straight BHM, but find it very hard to accept the supposed fact that there are hetero/bi women out there that could consider me attractive. I would appreciate links to anything that helps straight BHMs feel sexually appreciated: movie/television quotes, op-eds or writings, or pretty much anything you can think of.

(I only repeat “straight” because I know “bears” are a positive body type within the gay community, but it is unfortunately not my sexuality.)
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (22 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
[Quick note for clarity: I believe BHM here stands for Big Handsome Man, similar to BBW for Big Beautiful Woman.]
posted by taz (staff) at 3:54 AM on October 3, 2015 [26 favorites]

Thanks Taz! I was puzzled.
posted by jzb at 3:55 AM on October 3, 2015 [10 favorites]

Not sure if this will help, as people have very different reactions to being objectified/sexualised, but if you look at fat-positive fetish sites you'll find plenty of erotica written by straight women about BHM.

So in terms of "can women find me attractive?", there's a baseline "yes" in that there are a decent amount of people out there in the world creating erotic content that showcases your body type, and other people who are consuming and enjoying that content.

If you don't want to dive right in to a fetish site, there's a lot of similar content on DeviantArt.
posted by terretu at 4:26 AM on October 3, 2015

Rachel Kramer Bussell has written a few things about BHM. There are certainly reasonable amounts of fanfic (primarily written by women, queer and straight) about large men (there is one about Matt Parker from Heroes that is just lovely, although it is slash). There is published erotica featuring BHM as heroes (mefimail me if you want titles). Oh Joy Sex Toy often features a variety of body types including BHM.
posted by geek anachronism at 4:51 AM on October 3, 2015

[from] "Cats like Angels" - Marge Piercy

.... When I was a girl
I loved spiny men with ascetic grimaces
all elbows and words and cartilage
ribbed like cast up fog-grey hulls,
faces to cut the eyes blind
on the glittering blade, chins
of Aegean prows bent on piracy.

Now I look for men whose easy bellies
show a love for the flesh and the table,
men who will come in the kitchen
and sit, who don't think peeling potatoes
makes their penis shrink; men with broad
fingers and purple figgy balls,
men with rumpled furrows and the slightly
messed look at ease of beds recently
well used.

We are not all supposed
to look like undernourished fourteen year
old boys, no matter what the fashions
ordain. You are built to pull a cart,
to lift a heavy load and bear it,
to haul up the long slope, and so
am I, peasant bodies, earthy, solid
shapely dark glazed clay pots that can
stand on the fire. When we put our
bellies together we do not clatter
but bounce on the good upholstery.
posted by flourpot at 5:12 AM on October 3, 2015 [74 favorites]

You, lumberjack fetish man of this era, are wonderfully sexually attractive to many women!

Some cismen (is that right? Sorry; please correct me!) don't understand that many women don't care if men meet whatever the standard of male attractiveness is.

I'm a 5'3" cisfemale weighing 108 and an exercise junkie and I love my big hairy bear angel man who snorfs down his Little Debbies. I make him walk and watch his blood pressure but that's because I want him to live forever.

I have dated many "in shape" and marathon guys and I have waaaay better orgasms with a lumberjacky bigger man, by a large magnitude. So much so that I've decided no more thin men ever!

You have nothing to worry about, in my reading. Unless you are in another culture and I missed that.

Wonderful love and happiness to you.
posted by Punctual at 5:44 AM on October 3, 2015 [22 favorites]

I don't have any links, but like Punctual, I am a fit smallish cislady person, and my partner of over 5 years is a fuzzy bear type. He's a big boy, and I LOVE his body. He worries sometimes that I don't or won't find him attractive because he's overweight, but that's never been the case even though his weight has fluctuated between 230 and 270 (he's under 6' tall). I do care about his health though, and when he's around me he eats somewhat healthily and I encourage him to exercise (which he generally enjoys, so it's not difficult to get him motivated).
It sounds silly, but I like a man who is much bigger than me, even though I'm a type-A, outspoken, stubborn, muscley woman; it makes me feel protected.
tl;dr: we're out there!
posted by sara is disenchanted at 6:38 AM on October 3, 2015 [4 favorites]

Literally every American television show that's drawn its couple inspiration from the Honeymooners has a (relatively small) beautiful woman in love with a big dude. It's a stereotype reinforced on television all the time.

You have the Honeymooners, of course. The Simpsons, the Flintstones, and Family Guy for animated. King of Queens, According to Jim, and the Drew Carey show for straight up sitcom. The Sopranos, Game of Thrones, and Encourage if HBO is more your style. The list could continue.

Nearly the whole of American television supports the idea that big men are handsome and awesome and deserve hot wives and girlfriends.
posted by phunniemee at 7:09 AM on October 3, 2015 [20 favorites]

Hmmm, I think the OPs anxieties do have some grounding in American culture, even if they should be proven wrong by the experiences and tastes that are being expressed here. Tony Soprano is portrayed as sexy in his bigness, but Fred Flintstone, Ralph Kramden, Homer Simpson etc. are big buffoons whose small wives tolerate their man-childishness. These are not good symbols... any more than are most of those portraying large women.
posted by flourpot at 7:39 AM on October 3, 2015 [12 favorites]

Anecdotal evidence wise I married me a big old bear of a man. I'm not particularly small myself & love the feeling of safety that comes with being snuggled up with so much man. We've known each other over 10 years been married for 6.

Also this might make you feel better. While men are much more uniform on what they say they find attractive, women tend to like what they like.
posted by wwax at 8:58 AM on October 3, 2015

There's a scene in the "The Full Monty" that always brings tears to my eyes. Big Dave confesses to his wife Jeanie that he was trying to be part of the crew of male strippers and says:
I were a stripper, right?
Me and Gaz and some fellas..thought we could make a bob or two...out of taking us clothes off.
Jeanie: Strippers?
Dave: All right, all right. I know.
Jeanie: you...and Gaz...strippers?
Dave: We weren't that bad. Only I couldn't, could l?
Jeanie: Why not?
Dave: Well, look at me.
Jeanie: So?
Dave: Jeanie, who wants to see this dance?
Jeanie: (with great tenderness) Me, Dave. I do.

There's LOTS of Jeanies out there, just like me.
posted by Sweet Dee Kat at 9:14 AM on October 3, 2015 [20 favorites]

Dave & his wife in The Full Monty.

Not explicitly sexual, but, both the original Japanese movie Shall We Dance? and the US remake have a subplot about one of the dance class students being a heavyset guy who is self-conscious about being big & sweaty, and both have them happily partnered by the end. (I took social dance class lessons for a bit, and, there was one guy that I loved partnering with who was big and sweating profusely -- he was a great leader, and he had such a joyful smile. So, I could totally buy that those two movie characters ended up with the partners they did, rather than it being just the sitcom trope of fat guy+super-hot-wife.)
posted by oh yeah! at 9:15 AM on October 3, 2015 [2 favorites]

Read an article while James Gandolfini still lived and his show was on, by a female entertainment writer. It was a big confessional piece about how hot she found big, powerful, pushy men; how other girls always cooed about the Benedict Cumberbatches and the Brad Pitts, but Gandolfini's character led in her private-time fanfic scenerios.

Lotsa women chimed in "Me-too!" in the comments, so... don't buy into the ad- and entertainment-hype that all people want the same thing.
posted by IAmBroom at 10:15 AM on October 3, 2015 [1 favorite]

Leigh Cowart on Prince Fielder

One thing that helped me with body acceptance more than any amount of "no, really, some men do like fat women" affirmations -- and you'll find WAY more of those from women about men, partly because there's more cultural baggage pressuring men to hew to a certain conventional type of partner and not admit any deviation from the norm -- was looking at pictures of fat bodies being presented in a frankly sexual/sensual, though not fetishized, way. Tumblr is great for this; you can start with Men In Full, which also has a lot of archives on Livejournal.

Even if you hear people say "I find fat men attractive," it can be hard to really take that on board when you live in a culture that constantly uses fat bodies as a punchline. Seeking out depictions of fat bodies as lovable, sexy, and powerful helps counter that programming.

My personal experience: skinny has become far less interesting to me as I've gotten older, love handles and bellies have gotten a lot sexier, and I find fat (like, well beyond just love handles) men extremely attractive as long as they're also confident and active/strong. (People of all body types become less attractive when they don't find themselves attractive or worthy of care; it can be easier for fat people to fall into that hole because of cultural pressure.) If you're not currently active and you can be, it will increase your sex appeal much much much more than weight loss.
posted by babelfish at 10:26 AM on October 3, 2015 [6 favorites]

I just met a Venezuelan woman at work who told me in her culture men with big bellies are the most attractive because it denotes power, virility and masculinity. So there's that! I've heard this is common in South America.
posted by OnTheLastCastle at 10:43 AM on October 3, 2015

I am a woman who self-identifies as having 'bears' as a type. So, more anecdata for yes. I had no clue what BHM meant, though.

(That deadspin article linked above by babelfish about Prince Fielder is DEAD ON. Look at that magnificent motherfucker.)
posted by corvine at 1:27 PM on October 3, 2015 [3 favorites]

Did you see the links and discussion in the previous FPP about "dad bod"?

Just purely anecdotally, a lot of women I know seem to have a preference for a certain kind of solid, thick guy who is strong and big, similar to the ESPN photo in the Prince Fielder article above. (I suspect part of the attraction in some cases is all the cultural pressure for women to be small and dainty, and one way to get that feeling is to be with a big bear of a man.)
posted by Dip Flash at 2:08 PM on October 3, 2015 [1 favorite]

I don't know how "PC" this is, but there's a lot of positive comment around the appearance of a pro Rugby Players online on facebook, tumblr etc.


While a lot of these guys are pretty fit and sometimes pretty conventionally attractive, a lot of these guys can tend towards being generally pretty ordinary looking, but still get a lot of positive comment mostly for the qualities mentioned above.
posted by Middlemarch at 2:51 PM on October 3, 2015

I came here to talk about dad bod. Google it and enjoy (as do the ladies).
posted by samthemander at 10:47 PM on October 3, 2015

John Lindo, West Coast Swing dancer. Champion at competitions, renowned instructor. Look at this mofo dance! He radiates so much charm and relaxed control. The footwork, the head rolls ... so freaking sexy.
posted by cadge at 12:53 PM on October 4, 2015

Bi woman checking in. I <3 fat men. So do a lot of people on tumblr, for example:

Fat Men In Art
Fuck Yeah Chubby Guys Of Color
Plus size male modelling
Chubby Couples
Vintage Fat Men
Cute thing
another cute thing

Oh, and:
Fat dudes are hot
Why I'm a Fat Admirer
even redditors have some good things to say.
posted by Yma at 5:22 PM on October 4, 2015 [2 favorites]

As a bi woman who (prior to current relationship w/woman) exclusively dated BHM, I can say the women are out there. There's lots of pro-chubby-guy stuff on Tumblr, like tons. And fat-positive/acceptance movement blogs will naturally bring together people who are BBW/BHM/BGQ folks and their admirers, so I would look out for those.
posted by SassHat at 2:40 PM on October 7, 2015

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