Society constantly tells us that fat people are unloved and unwanted.
As a child, many of us are taught that plus-size love exists in a vacuum and within incredibly rigid guidelines. Fat people are only "allowed" to date each other, since they are the only people who could possibly look past their imperfections to love one another — not that they could be loved or desired because of them.
Many of us are taught to take whatever we can get, and make due with whatever the thin-centric world tosses over to us in the form of fetishists or misogynists who are "not picky,” as if we are something to be appraised and then cast aside. We are taught that the few fat women seen with thin or athletic partners are breaking the laws of physics, social mores, and the rules of attraction toward bodies like ours.
When you hate yourself and your big body, it makes it impossible to picture anyone else loving you for you or being attracted to your shape.
One thing missing from the media — especially as most of us were growing up and becoming the folks that we are today — were examples of healthy, happy fat women who were active (not passive) in their own lives and in the media. The folks who don’t just wait and let things happen to or for them, who believe in themselves and go out and make things happen instead.
We didn’t have images of Gabourey Sidibe, Chrissy Metz, or Melissa McCarthy. There was no Tess Holliday on the cover of People, and Lizzo had yet to ask us if we’re feeling “Good As Hell.” People with large bodies so often didn’t know or feel that they could be loved or wanted sexually, and so often just wrote it off as something left for others.
While times have changed, there’s still a dearth of Fat Love Stories and narratives of Fat Success. We exist. Many of us live beautiful, full, diverse lives — often filled with fun, romance, and style. Our partners are as diverse as we are, with different loves, interests, and things that attract them.
This Valentine’s Day, our valentines to you are these vignettes of fat love told by the fat women, femmes, and non-binary folks within the relationships featured below.
This is big, fat love.
1. Sabrina and Addison
“In the beginning of our relationship, trolls on instagram went out of their way to say really vile things. That he was desperate. That he’s an enabler. He didn’t really care about me because he 'allowed' me to be fat,” plus-size model and reality TV personality Sabrina Servance tells Ravishly of her relationship. “It was exhausting! But my amazing followers had our back and now, it's nothing but love for us. Everyone deserves love, it doesn’t matter what size you are!”
“What makes me happiest in our relationship is our ability to just be ourselves. I have dated — or tried to date — other men, and they were constantly trying to make me be someone I wasn’t. We are happy together because we are comfortable being our silly, nerdy, selves.
Our anniversary is on the tenth. So every month on the tenth, we talk about what we love about our relationship, what we don’t like, and what we think we should work on. We never miss a month! It’s easy to get caught up with life and not check in with each other, so we commit to the tenth to air out our grievances — if there are any.”
2. Kristen and Lauren
“Like many queer women in NYC, we met through someone we both dated from OkCupid, but it was sort of romantic. As I dropped off Lauren’s then-girlfriend and my friend at a cool dark LES bar pride weekend, I remember thinking how beautiful she was,” Kristen says of her wife, Lauren.
“We both try to settle any body issues we both have through words and actions. As body positive as I am, I still struggle with some internal stuff and Lauren is always here for me in a way nobody else has been,” Kristen continues. “Lauren is always there to remind me that I’m beautiful and sexy at whatever size I am.”
What’s most fun about being two femmes in love? “Honestly, being a pair of married fat femmes who are roughly the same size means we can share ALL OF THE CLOTHES. We recently merged our bras and leggings,” Kristen says. “There’s nothing more comfortable, sexy and awesome as two fat people in love.”
3. Laurel and David
David is a loving, complex, empathetic man who does his best to help others and make this world a better place. He has an incredibly strong moral compass which pushes him to help others who have been less fortunate and often abused. We really connect over our desire to make the world a better place and help others, as well as our love of humor, music, and beauty — whether it’s art, nature, or just finding moments of serenity.
It can be really difficult for me to navigate insecurity, feelings of inadequacy, and internalized fatphobia because my husband is a musician in his spare time who loves performing, and that can put him in the literal spotlight, even as a drummer. A lot of the time, women or men here in San Francisco and on the road will see me standing with David and just walk in front of me to introduce themselves and start flirting, not even taking into consideration that he could already be with me.
It can be a real gut-punch if I’m already feeling invisible, unwanted, or anxious because of my social anxiety. When I’m not in an already sour mood, it can actually be funny to watch, and I try to let him enjoy the attention since I know I can trust him and we’re always going home together… especially since he usually looks over to me and smiles, waving me over to introduce us if he is aware that he is being flirted with. Trust is key in these situations and I know that I have vested that trust in the right partner.
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4. Kiki and Latoya
"What makes me the happiest within my relationship is that she believes in me even when I do not. To fully have someone who cheers for you the loudest, comforts you at your lowest, and pushes you when you’re slacking off in life is what I’ve always needed/wanted even when I didn’t know. She’s my best friend. I just love her very presence. It just makes everything worth it,” Kiki says of Latoya and their relationship.
“My partner always tells me that being with me helped her learn how to love herself. I didn’t know I had that kinda influence but it’s really great to hear. She says that I influenced her through my own confidence and style. The pride you take in carrying yourself can truly be a game changer. That’s why I love being a stylist because it’s not just about the clothes, it’s about determining who you are without saying a word. A visual calling card,” Kiki continues. “She supports my body-issues by letting me know I’m in control. Whether it’s to lose weight, be my healthiest self, or just be fat and happy, I determine what it will be.”
“In my younger years, I’ve been some stupid boy’s secret fat lover, once or twice. No holding hands in public kinda down-low situation. But I think at some point, everybody plays the fool — isn’t that a song?” Kiki reflects. “Whether you’re someone’s side chick or part-time lover, we’ve all been in someone’s closet. But hopefully, once the being young, dumb and full of cum wears off, you’ll start respecting yourself and demand it from others. Thank God for growth and deliverance!”
5. Kristen and Cody
“I have a partner that I can feel sexy with, cry unashamedly at old people in movies, make weird random voices, and also talk about theoretical physics. I have yet to find anything about him that is a dealbreaker, and that is a huge deal for me. Everything about him makes me happy. The way he treats me makes me happy. The way he talks to me and about me makes me happy,” Kristen tells Ravishly.
“We talk about everything. I love talking to him about what’s going on in my world because he is a smart caring man that I can use as a sounding board to bounce ideas off of and he will give me his honest opinions,” Kristen continues. When asked about insecurities, she replied, “I am much bigger than Cody and in the beginning of the relationship was constantly asking him if I was crushing him. If we were having sexy time and he wanted me on top, I had visions of his chest cavity collapsing and when I voiced my concerns, he simply told me he would tell me if I needed to shift my weight. I have to trust that he will tell me if he is uncomfortable.”
“I have had men want to fuck me because ‘I’m not attracted to fat women but you are really pretty,' or they have wanted to meet up in secret. To those men, I say fuck you. I am way too awesome to be someone’s dirty secret and I am way too pretty to be hiding in the dark with you. I’ve never wanted to be in a relationship with someone who said 'no' because of my size.”