How to have sex in and with fat bodies

Cuffin’ season is upon us, and here’s how to show big boys some love

I’m hoping by now that we’ve all caught up on the latest season of Bridgerton. The pinkish plump Penelope Featherington (played by the beautifully double-chinned Nicola Coughlan) gets her nut – multiple times – and presents an almost hushed and forbidden truth: that fat bodies are hot and desirable.

I’ve been a big boy my whole life, and dating apps aren’t always the kindest of places for fat bodies. I’ve received an equal amount of pig emojis and unsolicited demands to go to the gym – and these are the nicer of my interactions. Fatphobia runs rampant in the queer community, and I don’t always feel safe on these apps. It’s an intentional byproduct of the ridiculous body and beauty standards that govern the gay male hierarchy.

After many years working on self-love and interrogating my relationship with my fat body, I’m very luckily in a place now where receiving an emoji from a faceless Grindr account doesn’t phase me. I’ve also encountered many men who adore my chunky body as it is, so I know that big love exists! 

Without further ado, here are some tips for my fellow big boys and big boy admirers on how to engage with each other in the bedroom.

Unlearning anti-fat bias

The first step in unlearning anti-fat bias is hopefully an easy one, and that is accepting that fat is just fat. It isn’t evil, it isn’t ugly, it isn’t disastrous – it’s just fat. In a world obsessed with weight loss and thinness, we’ve been conditioned to think otherwise. When learning and unlearning, it helps to change up some of the language we use when we describe ourselves and others. When fat is no longer associated with negativity and ‘ugliness’, it changes everything. Your thick thighs are gorgeous. Your belly is beautiful. Your ass is fat. 

In the realms of sex, I’d encourage you to first diversify your porn consumption, or at the very least, question the lack of fat bodies in mainstream porn. Break free from the standards set by these studios, and interrogate a fat attraction in your own way. In whatever institution we critique, this is a reminder that fatness exists, and is here to stay. 

Next, surround yourself with community. Fill your Instagram feeds with proud fat babes (like Sydney-based performers @demon_derriere or @wombatcereal), attend purposefully body-diverse queer events (like ones run by @BigThickEnergy), or simply continue consuming content with fat complex characters (well, yes! Kung Fu Panda counts!).

Celebrating big bodies in the bedroom

While fat fetishes (ie. ‘feeding’, ‘gaining’, and ‘chub chasing’) and the bear archetype (stocky and hairy gay men) have historically existed in the queer world, let me be clear: kinks and labels aren’t requirements for an attraction to a bigger body. If you simply feel a connection or the vibes are hot, then we’re good to go.

When having sex in and with a fat body, there may be a couple of things to consider. 

  • Not all sex is penetrative. This is a good note for all body shapes and sizes. Sexual experiences can be personalised, and don’t always require penetration. As long as all parties are consenting adults, it can be whatever you’d like it to be! I’ve found that a common point of pleasure for myself and my fat friends is simply touch. Caressing, squeezing, cuddling, grazing, and feeling each other’s bodies can bring so much intimacy to the interaction. They’re called love handles for a reason! Get in there baby, there’s nothing to be afraid of. 
  • Not all penetrative sex positions are accessible for fat bodies, particularly the ones that require acrobatics or immense mobility and flexibility. As a fat bottom, doggy style has been the most successful for me, or at the very least, the most forgiving on my joints. If you’d like penetration with eye contact and missionary proves too tricky, try pivoting to fingering/using a sex toy while facing each other.
  • There’s nothing wrong with a little help. We now have better access to a diverse range of sex toys and mobility aids to make the sexual experience easier for bigger bodies. This includes ropes and bands to help keep limbs in position, squatting seats for positions like cowboy and reverse cowboy, and sex slings to better align for penetration. If these seem too complicated, then simply having extra pillows to raise hips and comfort necks is handy enough. 
  • Take breaks and exercise patience. Knowing your limitations or simply having them isn’t a bad thing. Take your time in finding positions that work for all parties involved, and actively plan break periods to rehydrate, check in, or to simply cool off. 

While there is a long way to go for fat acceptance and breaking down fatphobia, I’d like to think that we’re going in the right direction. If seeing a fat body be loved on screen can change so much, then I hope this article helps in all ways, shapes or forms. 

Mark Mariano (he/him) is a Filipino writer, model and podcast producer from Doonside in Western Sydney on Dharug land. Proudly queer, his work has been featured on Buzzfeed, SBS, ABC, and Queerstories. In 2023, he contributed to ACON’s editorial anthology ‘Stories Out West’, and starred in their ‘With Love’ campaign for Sydney WorldPride as ‘sexy sickly bear’. Mark loves thrifting and crying on public transport in hopes of getting scouted for a Netflix series.