By m reader.
Art by Kristine S. Nielsen.
I’m fat; I’m queer; I have vaginismus; I’m sex positive; and I can’t hook up with you.
I’ve always been fat, though I didn’t claim that for myself until more recently. I was the chubbiest kid in school, I was kicked out of ballet classes because of my size, I always suffered in chairs that thin people didn’t, and I’ve always had people telling me how to change my body.
I’ve always been queer. From a young age I was listening to Indigo Girls and Tegan and Sara. I explored bodies with my femme friends, and never cared about the *boys* in school. I’ve had shorter and shorter hair from the first time I cut it off when I was four years old. I never wanted to be addressed as a girl or a boy. I am unironically into astrology.
I’ve always (I think) had vaginismus. From the first time I tried to put a tampon in, to the few months I was committed to trying menstrual cups, to the excruciating pain of when my first partner tried to have penetrative sex with me, this pussy has never wanted anything inside of it.
I’ve learned to be sex positive. I used to think masturbating would get me in trouble and that sex was a foreign thing that only I fantasized about. But I learned; I learned that hand-in-hand with my fat acceptance came my sex positivity. I learned that my queer community was the best place to be a sex positive person. I learned that there’s so much more for me to learn.
I also learned that I would have one hell of a time taking part in sex positivity because my body has been erased from its tenets.
As I began to truly get excited about sex, hate my body less, and become more QUEER, I also started to realize that the sex positive, hookup centered, queer community did not reserve space for my body. The combination of my fatness and my vaginismus completely alienated me from having easy, fun access to queer sex.
Vaginismus is the word for my experience that I only learned in the past 3 years. It encompasses my experience of extreme pain whenever anything (I’m talking tampons, fingers, penises, dildos, toothbrushes, speculums) is inserted into my vagina. Vaginismus can be physical, psychosomatic, or a combination of both. But, no matter the cause, the result stays the same: you can’t finger me.
Queers are a truly incredible group of people, and so many of us hold truly beautiful intersectional identities, which further amplifies our power as queer folx. However, there is still a wild amount of internalized and explicit fatphobia in queer spaces. Because of the ways in which Western society as a whole demonizes fatness, this hasn’t completely been dropped in queer spaces. I’ve met queers who are truly beautiful people, but will suddenly spout some fatphobic nonsense asking if I’ve ever thought about losing weight, or unsolicitedly sharing their diet with me. To many in the queer community, I am not seen as desirable. I am seen as “brave” for being who I am, or, if I’m lucky, “cute” or “spunky,” but never sexy or desirable.
As much as the queer community is sex positive and views sex as so much more than penis-in-vagina, penetrative acts are still held to a higher standard than non-penetrative ones.
That’s without considering my vaginismus. As much as the queer community is sex positive and views sex as so much more than penis-in-vagina, penetrative acts are still held to a higher standard than non-penetrative ones. From fingering, to penetrative toy play, to fisting, inserting something into someone’s vagina for pleasure is really important for queers (at least queers who are engaged in sex that involves vaginas).
The combination of my fatness and my vaginismus has taken away my ability to hook up with my fellow queers. Which sucks. A lot. Because I want to have some cute, queer, casual sex, but no one wants to do the work to get with me. And I’m not willing to put in all the work myself.
I can just imagine a conversation before hooking up with someone:
Me: So…just wondering, do you view my fat body in a fetishistic way or are you trying to pretend I’m not fat? Or perhaps you are trying to undo your past fatphobia by fucking a fat person? Also, just like to set some boundaries before we fuck, you can’t put anything inside me. I’m talking not even a pinky finger. So uh.. wanna bang now that we’ve cleared that up?
Even if I was hooking up with another fat person, would they be on board with my vaginismus or would they be one of many who tell me to buy a dilator set and work through my trauma (that they don’t even know if I have) to get my pussy to open up?
On the other hand, if I were to fuck another person with vaginismus, would they be on board with my fat body? View me as genuinely sexy and desirable and not some revenge sex or their fat fetish come to life?
If I somehow found another fat person with vaginismus and we were both attracted to one another, would I not want to hold onto them and make it more than a casual hookup? A fellow queer fattie with vaginismus truly is the dream.
Vaginismus needs to be acknowledged and not seen as something to fix but as a bodily difference — not something that stops sex from happening, but something that encourages creative, diverse types of sex.
As a result of my intertwining identities, casual sex is basically off the table. And I’m frustrated! Sexually and politically! The queer community has a lot of work to do surrounding how we view fat bodies who can’t have penetrative sex, because I know I’m not the only one out there. Fatphobia needs to be unpacked and queers need to center fat folx in conversations around sex and body experiences. Vaginismus needs to be acknowledged and not seen as something to fix but as a bodily difference — not something that stops sex from happening, but something that encourages creative, diverse types of sex.
I’m fat; I’m queer; I have vaginismus; I’m sex positive; and I haven’t been allowed to hook up with you. Change that.
m is a fat queer choreographer and preschool teacher currently living in Seattle. They are committed to bringing radical justice into educational spaces and creating dance pieces that make you laugh (and maybe think a little bit). m can often be found befriending neighborhood cats, pulling tarot with friends, and reading in lakeside parks.