Like many other people who are fat children who become fat teenagers before being fat adults, I learned from a young age that my body was never meant to be desirable or sexy. From people fucking me in secret, to being ashamed to walk with me hand-in-hand in public, to asking me out on a date as a dare or a joke. These views on fat bodies were reinforced by my family, my peers, old partners, and the media. But I’m not here to talk to you about how shitty society is to fat people, I am here to tell you how being a fat porn performer positively changed how I view my body and its worthiness, sexiness, and desirability.
See, when I was a young adult I never imagined myself having sex, not even in my fantasies. My body just never featured at all. I was disembodied or I imagined myself with a new, thin body. I just couldn’t fantasize about having sex with someone while also making my fat body part of that sexual fantasy. I suffered a lot of dysphoria about my body and how I inhabited it, how it looked and existed in the world, there was a strong disconnect between my brain and my body, especially in regards to sexuality.
It took years of work to slowly unpack and challenge all the social conditioning that made me believe I was unworthy, and to really bridge this connection between brain and body. I began critically thinking about the things I believed about my body and what it was capable of. I got angry about furniture not being rated to hold my weight, or about being discriminated against by medical professionals… but the one thing I didn’t shake was my belief that my body wasn’t good enough for sex. I believed my body couldn’t be sexy or desirable. Fat bodies are never portrayed in the media as being sexy in a way which is positive or empowering, so there is simply very little representation for fat people as sexual beings.
In January I became a sex worker making indie amateur pornography. I took a deep breath, hit record, and filmed some videos of myself. It was difficult and confronting. It was even more confronting when I had to open the footage and watch it while editing it to make it suitable for release. I found myself tabbing out of the window, so embarrassed and ashamed to watch videos of myself masturbating because I felt bad about how I looked. Yet, with each video it got easier.
I made 10… 20… 30 videos. I edited them, I watched them from start to finish, I even kind of got turned on watching videos of myself. I sold the videos. I got compliments from my sex working peers, and also from my customers. My husband started taking photos of my naked body in various poses to use as promotional photo sets. I was surprised by the eager look on his face as he snapped photos of my body in every conceivable position, pose, point-of-view. He told me I was beautiful, and it was the first time I ever believed him.
I felt differently when I looked at my body in the mirror. I felt differently when I watched and edited my porn, or when I looked at my nude photos. I appreciated the way my breasts hung naturally, or the shimmer of my stretch marks, or the folds in my fat as I sat down. I even appreciated the way my body jiggled and quaked with each step I took. I felt differently about people seeing my nude body, and I felt differently about looking at my own nude body.
Doing sex work is hard for a lot of reasons, but I cannot deny the overwhelmingly positive affect it has had on me and my relationship to my body. I no longer feel disembodied, but absolutely present in myself and my body. I respect my body, and I demand respect from others when they speak about it. I am proud of my fat body, and its partially thanks to porn. Thanks porn, I owe ya one!