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Men Who Love Heavier Women

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Jodi Bryson: A new sex study finds that some men prefer their women with a few extra pounds.

man checking out woman

A gorgeous friend of mine is about 50 pounds overweight and a single mom -- but she won't create an online profile until she reaches her goal weight. "I'm not skinny enough for," she said, so resolute. Turns out she could be ideal just the way she is.

According to a new study published in The Journal of Sex Research, some men like their women heavy; many even prefer their partners obese. They're called "fat admirers" and the findings reveal that they are also likely to find extremely thin women attractive.

The story asked two groups of men to rate photographs of ten types of female bodies. One group did not identify with the FA subculture, which encompasses everything from obese fetishism to the simplicity of positive support within the healthy fat movement. The other group was scouted at an FA event and was identified as FA.

"Skinny people already know about FA, but they call those guys 'chubby chasers'," my friend explained, then turned to her coloring 8-year-old daughter to tell her she didn't like the phrase. I agree; chubby chaser is awful. But I'm not sure fat admirer sounds much better.

In the study, the FAs preferred the photographs of women with a body mass index (BMI) of 29.24, which is just shy of obese according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. BMI is determined by dividing weight in kilograms by height in meters, and the example reported in the story explained that a woman at 5'6 is overweight at 155 pounds and obese at 190 pounds.

Wikipedia has an entry on the FA subject, and describes fat admirers as typically heterosexual males. However, the preference for a bigger partner is inclusive of straight women and gay folks, known eponymously as female fat admirers and gay fat admirers. What's unexpected from the study is that FA men also liked the photographs of dramatically underweight women -- the report uses the word "emaciated" -- with a BMI of less than 15.

Obese and emaciated women struck their fancy? Is FA healthy or not?

The lead researcher said the findings suggest a rejection of "sociocultural norms." That's fine science, but the polarity of obese and emaciated is weird, no? Human physical attraction shows traceable socio-anthropological patterns. Replace the word fat with robust, thick or heavy if you want to, but it's still instinct to want someone because we perceive him as a healthy mate. I recognize that within the subset of FA, there are great guys who simply like more than a little junk in the trunk. But to view obesity or emaciation as sexually attractive is, frankly, suspicious. And I said so.

"If a guy doesn't like me, I just assume it's because I'm fat," my friend said. She's been divorced for six years and dating for four, and whenever we talk about her weight or her diet, she has a familiar tone of resignation. She added: "Just like anything else that's rooted in a superficial desire, there are the authentic guys and there are the creeps."

I'll give it up that the break from wanting a bony, over-exercised real housewife of Orange County is refreshing, but a new PC term doesn't change the fact that fat admiration is a highly superficial preference. On the other hand, what woman at some point in her single dating life didn't hit on a tall guy just because he was tall? And, sorry, but at no time to no man am I ever going to say "Don't date me because you're seriously attracted to my face." Is an initial attraction for being big any different?

We'd love to know your opinion of fat admirers. Is it genuine and healthy fat acceptance? Or is it ... chubby chasing? Please, tell us.

Proud to be plus-sized? Connect with other big and beautiful moms in our momlogic community.

next: What Motivates Female Sex Offenders?
1729 comments so far | Post a comment now
Anonymous April 21, 2009, 10:17 AM

REally you guys could have used a better looking big woman.

Pamala April 21, 2009, 11:42 AM

The things people do studies on. I mean seriously? Like this needed a study. My husband is not attracted to thin women. Instead he likes “fat” women and hence why he finds me attractive. This isn’t something that needed to be studied. LOL!

b April 21, 2009, 12:05 PM

perhaps it has more to do with a sense of control rather than the weight that these people find appealing. Often times, those with extreme weights come with extreme self esteem issues, and are therefore easily manipulated. I’m not saying there aren’t people who are genuinely attracted to heavier members of the opposite sex. But it seems to me that because their tastes were so polar, there must be a commonality between the two types of bodies. This is just a hypothesis, so don’t jump on me for suggesting it, ok? Just something that crossed my mind as a plausible reason behind the “why”.

Shelly April 21, 2009, 12:42 PM

‘b’- What you said makes sense to me. Think about it, if these women have self esteem issues than they are easier to manipulate by men. If you are with someone with low self esteem they need you more than someone who does not. However both ends of the weight spectrum are very unhealthy.

Anonymous April 21, 2009, 1:50 PM

that is the weirdest looking lady in that pic! i agree with anonymous.

Peligrosa April 21, 2009, 2:13 PM

a) chick in the pic? Not cute.
b) I have a theory (and I’m going to get blasted for it, but whatever) - it has been my personal experience that the males of the species that appreciate Rubenesque women are confident, self-assured and intelligent, and the ones who prefer the skinny Minnie’s tend to have self-esteem issues. Think about it… if she’s small, he’ll feel huge and important!… Not saying it’s provable, just sayin’ that’s what I’ve seen.

Melissa April 21, 2009, 2:53 PM

Peligrosa, whether it’s provable or not, that makes sense to me.
I also feel that there are men who are simply attracted to heavier women, I have an uncle, my step-dad, and a friend that are attracted to, not obese, but heavier women.
I also agree that there was no need to study this, I do, however find it interesting that the men studied were also attracted to emaciated women too, does seem a bit odd.

anonymous April 21, 2009, 2:55 PM

As the mom of a very tall 27 year old male, I have seen his preference from both sides. He was married to his childhood sweetheart for 5 years, she was petite, big breasted and quite beautiful, she cheated on him and they divorced. My son is now with a wonderful, beautiful young woman who is by most standards overweight. She is a wonderful, confident woman. She is kind and treats my son the way a mother wants her son to be treated. I say it is what is inside that counts and thank God there are men like my son that will see that.

aerialla April 21, 2009, 3:27 PM

This is for “b” and “shelley” not all big beautiful woman have self esteem issues. I am a bigger girl and I really don’t have any hang ups about my size which is an 18. I know I need to lose for health reasons but I refuse to lose just because a small part of society believes I am “fat”. … I think more people should follow the old agage of everytime you point a finger at someone, you have three pointing back at you.

b April 21, 2009, 10:18 PM

Whoa Aerialla, I never said “ALL big beautiful women have self esteem issues”…if you look, I said “Often times, those with extreme weights come with extreme self esteem issues”. That applies to both those on the heavier end and those who are stick skinny; and it certainly doesn’t exclude those whose BMI’s are right there smack dap in the normal range. But if it wasn’t the case with many people, there wouldn’t be eating disorder clinics that focus on psychological motives for either over eating or under eating (And again, I’ll be the first to say that not all weight issues are an eating issue, so don’t jump on me for that one, either.) Clearly the fact that you refer to yourself as “big[and] beautiful” would mean that this comment doesn’t refer to you. But just because it doesn’t apply to you doesn’t mean that a) you should be offended by it, b) it isn’t true in some (or even many) cases and c) that you need to jump on my case and “point fingers back” at me. I’m happy you’re happy with your body; I really am. I never attacked you or anyone personally, so how about some reciprocity, ok?

Rachel April 23, 2009, 2:40 AM

This is suddenly news to people?! We are all different, we all like different things. Just like some men prefer blondes & others prefer brunettes, some men prefer “skinny” girls & others prefer “bigger” girls. Are you just now figuring out that men are not all the same?!?

KC April 23, 2009, 10:04 AM

“b”, “shelley” and “aerialla”:
I think we are confusing two issues: weight and personality. What we should explore is whether the two have any correlation. From personal experience, even though most of the larger girls I know are concerned about their weight, they tend to be a lot more generous and empathetic. They also aren’t as superficial as SOME of the skinnier (and VERY skinny) girls, who seem to worry about their weight just as much, if not more. The media and society tends to put larger girls in a more negative light (especially for health-related reasons), so men who prefer larger women have attracted this study. If we were in a different culture these men’s preference probably won’t even come under question.

Ms. Monica April 30, 2009, 6:30 AM

I don’t know on some levels I agree on others I don’t. My husband likes chunky women. But he is not attracted to emaciated women at all. a pretty girl is a pretty girl to him. I’m chunky and he likes it. I want to loose weight. He’s like don’t loose too much. I think its a matter of preference. This article makes it seem like its a disease.

Nick May 2, 2009, 7:54 PM

Every group of people have some people with self-esteem issue. Men have created a system that will keep them in control. One period of time fat women were consider attractive; so fat women turn on the skinny women. So now skin women are consider attractive so now they turn on the fat women. Women you have the power to stop this mess by not going along with it. I’m not saying skinny women should all go out and put on weight just stop going along with the stupidity. if your not married or dating that person leave them alone and let the person your with know you won’t tolerate ignorant behavior.

Also as for the health issue. Is it the weight or the constant unneccesary attack because a person is different that cause health problems. Stress have been shown to cause major health issue. Why I ask this is because I have a friend who you would consider obese but walk 8 miles a day 5 days a week and do tae bo 4 times a week with low choles., diabetes, and with no sign of stress on her heart.

Steve May 4, 2009, 10:47 PM

News flash, ladies: most guys don’t like sticks. I know I don’t want to crawl into bed with a skeleton. I think women try to be skinny for other women because most guys like curves.

Mike May 7, 2009, 8:07 PM

Please quit putting down the young lady in the pic. She is actually quite beautiful. It is a cliche, but beauty is truly in the eyes of the beholder. What is beautiful to one person may not be so beautiful to the next. That is what this topic is really about: different people finding beauty in different things. I am a man who prefers larger women. I resent the terms “FA” or “chubby chasers”, because they put me in some wierd “other” category. I am no different than a person who likes blue eyes or long hair. It is simply something that I find aesthetically pleasing. It is far from a fetish, and it is no more superficial than any other preference.

And I am sure that I speak for most other men who find plus-size women attractive when I say that it is the person inside that counts. My wife is a plus-size woman, and I find her body amazingly attractive, but if she loses the weight and changes her body dramatically, my love and attraction to her will not change one bit.

Rick May 9, 2009, 4:07 PM

What about these skinny women who are easily manipulated and controlled is it they have low self esteem… it’s my belief that anyone with self esteem issues can be used (fat or skinny). So if a guy chooses to date a big woman, it doesn’t mean he sees an opportunity to use a fat chick, could it be possible that he is really attracted to her?

Karsten May 13, 2009, 8:18 AM

I know many guys who prefer full-figured women, and I’ve never known any of them to find emaciated women attractive. I think the study on which this article is based is highly suspect. How big was the focus group? I’d love to know how it was set up. Were the guys just messing with the parameters for fun? Posting what they thought the surveyors wanted to hear? Trying to show that they were “diverse” in their interests? Like I said, it sounds fishy.

Oh, and yes, that’s just about the most hideous representative of a curvy girl I’ve seen. It’s like a Hollywood stereotype of the “big girl,” and has nothing to do with reality. Lots of curvy girls are beautiful.

As for those terms, they’re both ridiculous. “Fat admirers”? “Chubby chasers”? They’re the normal ones. It’s the gay men and the guys who go into the media who are the “stick chasers” and the “bones admirers.” They’re the ones who are abnormal.

Mark May 14, 2009, 12:34 AM

From a man’s perspective, I know that some guys like “big girls” but I don’t know if it’s sexual attraction or that somehow big girls are “safe”. I’m not sure, as I’ve never asked (not my business).

But trust me, our culture, collectively speaking, just does not like fat “anything”. I should know, as I have struggled with weight since childhood (I am 5’11” and weigh 350 lbs). As a teen, I had the various torments; as an adult, I often feel invisible.

I know it’s easy to say “just eat less and exercise more”, yet somehow logic just does not seem to make things work. In truth, I don’t feel that I eat any more than the average person, as I don’t “gorge” myself, but oh well…

I am sorry that we men seem to be so focused on the young, cute, perky “things” and avoid “the rest”. I have no wisdom about what to do about it, except that sometimes, just a little kindness, a smile, a “good morning” is welcome. Just to feel a connection with other people, a bit of laughter, a conversation, a moment to feel included and welcome; just a little bit makes a difference.

Janettee May 19, 2009, 9:18 AM

I think the main reason they are attracted to women who are more than 155 lbs… is because most of these women have breasts that are larger. When women are under these weights, the large majority of them have DD or smaller breasts (naturally). Yes, I know there are lots of exceptions… I had 32DDD breasts while wearing size 6 jeans as a freshman in high school! (And now I’m in size 24 pants with elastic, with size 36K!) BTW hubby likes me just fine… And he is tall and chubby, and I love his body too!

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