"You can never be too rich or too thin," remarked Wallis Simpson, the Duchess of Windsor. It appears her thought is being echoed through the western world of the celeb in these days of Size Zero.
Watching Louise Redknapp's path from a slim UK size 8 to a 4 in her documentary "The Truth About Size Zero" a few nights ago, I wondered whether my size 18 frame could compete within this new skeletal sexual arena.
While the likes of Posh Spice and her army of 22-inch-waisted waifs strut the catwalk and appear in glossy, I wonder what the future holds for me. After all, no matter religion, race, sexual persuasion or size we are, we each deserve the opportunity for happiness and pleasure, whether it be sexual or otherwise.
Luckily for me (I think), fat fetishism is on the rise. While there are those with a mere preference for the curvier figure, as one would have with redheads, a growing net community of male (and some female) fat fetishists are making their prescence known.
Their arousal goes beyond a preference for fat, they are sexually excited by the sight and feel of it. Known sometimes as fat admirers or chubby chasers, these mainly slim men and women have cravings for specific weight ranges. Cows, as they're known within the community, vary in size from mildly obese to 500-pound-plus supersize.
Fat Admirer Donald believes that his and other's urges are down to pure biology. After all, a larger, curvier woman has the child-bearing hips and larger breasts which would ensure healthy offspring.
He writes: "From the F.A. point of view, the more luxuriously upholstered a woman's body is, the louder it's screaming, "LET'S GET IT ON!"
The number of dating sites catering for slim partners in search of a voluptous mate is on the rise as is the number of porn sites serving up plates of images and film clips.
Fat Grrl's blog presents an interesting response to this trend for fat as fetish. She writes: "Just by virtue of being fat, I am a fetishized object. Not normal. But I’m a girl, not a fetishized object. I’m not shoes, leather, latex, urine, or any other kind of fetishized object. I’m a girl. I’m a fat girl. It’s like I have been conscripted to play this sexualized role, and there was never an opportunity for me to offer my consent."
It seems within this internet niche, fat is most definitely in fashion, however one must bear in mind the health-related consequences of such a fetish. A small off-shoot of fat fetishism, feederism is increasing in popularity. It involves the slimmer partner, the feeder nurturing to the every need of the gainer, including endless feeding, sometimes to the point where the gainer is immobilised. While it is mainly consensual, it is far from being viewed as acceptable among the western trend of health consciousness and the accepted norm of slimness.
However, we must remember that as with any fetish, this is not the norm for sexuality or lifestyle. Editors at mainstream men's magazines like Nuts, Loaded and FHM appear to be backlashing against the size zero by setting the sexually ideal woman as one with breasts, curves and bums. They are part of a growing trend to reintroduce the feminine form.
So, with all of these extremes, from size zero to half-tonne 'cows' immobilised by their own obesity, where does this leave me and the rest of us in-betweeners? Well, call me old-fashioned, but I'll give pass on the size zero diet of lettuce leaves and stick to my Weight Watchers and aim for a Bo Derek-style 10!
Paraphila is an umbrella term used to cover the family of philias. In sexology, it is sometimes more widely used to cover atypical sexual interests or deviances. While the word paraphilia may seem alien, the philias it encompasses may seem slightly familiar. Think fetishes and unusual desires and you're on the right track!