SEX

“Stuffers” Pack on Pounds to Satisfy Their Sexual Desires

SEX
Jul 15, 2014 at 7:41 AM ET

While the rest of us obsess over Paleo, portion control and the number of steps we’ve logged on our Fitbits, a burgeoning counterculture is training its sights on an entirely different goal: putting on the pounds (emphasis on the plural).

They call themselves “stuffers” or “gainers,” and in their minds, obesity and bulging bellies are things to aspire to and glorify. “I’ve wanted to be fat since I was a little girl,” writes one stuffer we’ll call Crystal, in a blog post cataloging her weight-gain journey. “It wasn’t until earlier this year that I had the ability to do so. So I did. And here I am.”

Crystal started out at relatively petite 157 pounds, and within a year the 5-foot-4 brunette was weighing in at a rotund 275. She ate as much as she could stomach, supplementing her daily diet with heavy cream and milkshakes, and plowing through carb cornucopias like a dozen donuts in a single sitting. “I keep nonperishable food by my bed and make sure that every time I wake up in the night, I eat something,” she writes. “And I drink anywhere from a quart to multiple quarts a day of heavy cream. Luckily, I am able to handle it.”

Fortunately for Crystal, she never has to dine alone. There are dozens of online forums (Stuffer 31, Fantasy Feeders), subreddits (/r/stuffers, /r/wgbeforeafter), Youtube Channels (Ms. Stuff ‘n Puff, Weight Gain Collection) and Tumblrs (Gut Growers, Tasty Female Bellies) dedicated to aspiring plus-sizers, featuring men and women caressing their adipose tissue or showing off their paunches after gorging on five-plus orders of pad thai. And while some stuffers maintain their normal weight, preferring just to fill themselves until they appear pregnant, others (particularly those who identify as gainers) take real pleasure in tipping the scales. “I gained in my belly first,” says Crystal. “And while each part of my body is bigger and softer, my belly, breasts and face are the super stars of my gain.”

The phenomenon seems to have something to do with phagomania, the compulsive desire to eat, but according to Dr. Terese Katz, a psychologist who specializes in eating disorders, there isn’t much of a clinical precedent. “In my 26 years of working with people with eating disorders, I’ve never seen anything like this,” she says. “Extra fat can serve as a buffer for emotions you don’t want to feel, but I have never met a person who consciously gains weight or identifies positively with that.”

In the midst of a mounting obesity epidemic, the resolve behind stuffing and gaining is especially difficult to process, which is why it may be easier to understand as a sexual fetish, rather than a psychological issue. As with many people who choose to diet, stuffers’ choices are also driven by a desire to appear more sexually appealing. “It is definitely a sexual choice,” says Jenny, a 20-year-old college student, in an exchange on Reddit. “I am more comfortable in my chubbier body.”

Jenny first noticed her desire to be tubbier-than-thou when she hit puberty, and she insists that her decision to fill out is an informed one. “We KNOW we are putting our health at stake,” she says. “We aren’t idiots. Gainers like myself go to the doctor like anyone else. I gain weight not by inhaling Twinkies, but by eating larger portions of the same foods anyone else eats. We have a sexual urge to be fat, but we also have the common sense to listen to a doctor.”

Dr. Gloria Brame, the author of Sex for Grownups and a sexologist who specializes in fetishes, is used to working with those who don’t fit the norm. She explains that people have always had erotic relationships to food, the girth of their own gut, or that of their partner. “Many of us do risky things with our bodies, and nobody complains about it unless it involves sex,” she says. “A lot of people feel they are at their most beautiful when they are fat. They like being Rubenesque, and it turns them on, too.”

Jenny agrees. “People look at this fetish and think we’re crazy or intentionally destroying our health. It really couldn’t be further from the truth,” she says. “We are no less sane than any other fetish group.”

Stuffers also have their own brand of dedicated admirer, people who take pleasure in watching YouTube videos of “fat-bellied babes” indulging in copious amounts of cupcakes and downing entire liters of non-diet soda. The strongest aphrodisiac, however, seems to be the fattening process itself, which differs from other genres of plus-size porn, most commonly referred to as BBW (Big Beautiful Women), where the models are curvy from the start. As one anonymous Redditor describes it, “There’s something about a woman working towards being larger. What really gets me is when I think about the girl with things in her belly just moving around.”

Of course, going full gainer isn’t always an easy choice. There are many lifestyle changes to take into account, not to mention the prevailing stigma associated with anyone without a thigh-gap, but when you want it badly enough, every inch of extra fat is apparently worth its weight in gold.

“What I notice more now are things like not really fitting into a coach seat on an airplane anymore, sitting in a chair with arm rests, being able to see my feet, or growing out of all the clothing stores in the mall,” says Crystal, after nearly doubling her weight. “And they are fantastically fun to go through.”