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Fat fetishism is the strong or exclusive sexual attraction to overweight or obese people. As well as traditional attraction, the topic also incorporates feederism and gaining, where sexual gratification is obtained via the process of gaining body fat. Fat fetishism also incorporates stuffing and padding, whereas the focus of arousal is on the sensations and properties of a real or simulated gain.
A 2009 study found that heterosexual male fat admirers preferred females that were clinically overweight and rated both overweight and obese women more positively than slighter individuals. The study also found that participants reacted positively to a much wider range of figures than a control group, even rating emaciated figures higher. It concludes "these findings suggest that an explanation for fat admiration may be that FAs are rejecting sociocultural norms of attractiveness".
Specific fetishes 
Fat admiration 
Padding refers to the practice of padding or layering clothing in such a way that it simulates a distended abdomen, for the purposes of arousal, and is often used as a form of experimentation with increased size, but can also be a form of role play.
Inflation refers to the practice of inflating (typically with air or liquid), until the abdomen is distended, in such a way that it simulates a stuffing or bloating, but without food.
Stuffing refers to eating to a point of helplessness.
Gaining refers to the relationship between gainers and encouragers, where one or both members engage in activities designed to promote the gaining of body fat. Often considered synonymous with feederism, the term is used more primarily in the gay male nomenclature, but is not exclusive to gay males in practice. Categorically, gaining differs from feeding in the way weight gain is approached. For some, gaining focuses on being encouraged, while for others gaining is done individually - sometimes both.
Feederism (also called feedism) describes sexual relationships where both members obtain gratification from the gaining of body fat. Feederism refers to the acts of feeding, encouraging eating, or being served large quantities of food. Sexual pleasure is derived from the act of eating itself, and/or from the process or fantasy of becoming fatter. Pleasure may be derived from specific changes to specific areas of the body.
The National Association to Advance Fat Acceptance claims to specifically condemn feederism, claiming that the practice typically involves coercing a person to become larger but NAAFA has had a long standing relationship with Dimensions Magazine a web site and forum dedicated to feederism. NAAFA compares this to the practice of coercing a person to become thinner and instead focuses on acceptance.
Immobility refers to the state in which someone has either given up walking and exercise in order to gain more weight quicker, usually by sitting in the same place without moving for days, weeks or months and eating nonstop, or where a feedee, foodee or gainer (sometimes even people outside of the FA community, with eating disorders) becomes so heavy that movement is either impossible or impractical (examples include extreme slowness, difficulty fitting through door frames, and difficulty with climbing stairs).
Several terms refer to the roles adopted within the culture:
- BBW (Big Beautiful Woman): an overweight woman who identifies as a BBW. Not all fat women identify as BBWs or want to be referred to as such
- SSBBW (Super-Sized Big Beautiful Woman): an obese woman, typically much larger than a BBW
- BigMomma (Large Mother): an overweight or "big" mother who is referred to in such a way as to infer that she is well rounded
- BBBW (Big Beautiful Black Woman): an overweight black woman (also SSBBBW)
- BBT or BBTeen: a fat female or male teenager
- BHM (Big Handsome Man): an overweight man
- SSBHM (Super-Sized Big Handsome Man): an obese man, typically much larger than a BHM
- FA (Fat Admirer): a person who has preference for fat partners. Typically used to refer to male fat admirers
- FFA (Female Fat Admirer)
- Bear: See Bear (gay culture)
- Chub: an overweight gay man
- Superchub: an obese gay man
- Chubby Chaser: a man who is of smaller body size and/or stature who is sexually or romantically attracted to a BBW or BHM
- Bloater: A person who fantasizes about bloating or stuffing, or enjoys the sensation of bloating or stuffing for sexual pleasure
- Inflater: A person who fantasizes about inflation, or enjoys the sensation of inflation for sexual pleasure
- Padder: A person who derives pleasure from padding or layering clothing, or enjoys the apparent sensation of a simulated increase in size
- Gainer: A person who gains weight for sexual pleasure
- Encourager: A person who derives pleasure from encouraging or persuading a gainer to become fatter
- Maintainer: A person who is overweight and strives to remain so
- Feedee: A person who derives pleasure from being fed and the resulting process or fantasy of becoming fatter
- Feeder: A person who derives pleasure from feeding another person and the resulting process or fantasy of becoming fatter
- Foodee: A person who fantasizes about eating, or enjoys eating for sexual pleasure
Relation to fat admiration 
Some people consider Fat Admiration to be fetishistic, while others feel that their attraction to bigger people is at most a strong preference, but not a fetish. Bears and Chubs often share similar sentiments.
Relation to fat acceptance movement 
Some people involved in the fat acceptance movement argue that fat fetishism undermines social movements towards fat acceptance, through counter-productive objectification and dehumanization of fat people. They argue that often, fat fetishists (specifically feeders) derive sexual pleasure from increasing immobility, disability, or helplessness in the fat person through weight gain. Some people take issue with the coercion which is sometimes involved in fat fetishism.
NAAFA draws a distinction between fat fetishism and fat admiration: NAAFA states that "a preference for a fat partner is as valid as any other preference based on physical characteristics", but also condemns feederism as coercive. NAAFA advocate that people "celebrate the current weight of their partner as one aspect of the whole person".
See also 
- Swami, Viren; Tovee, Martin J. (1). "Big beautiful women: the body size preferences of male fat admirers.". The Journal of Sex Research. Retrieved 25 November 2010.
- NAAFA Policy. "Feederism". Retrieved 2007-04-08.
- NAAFA Policy. "Fat Admirers". Retrieved 2007-04-08.
- Giovanelli, Dina and Natalie Peluso. 2006. "Feederism: a new sexual pleasure and subculture". Pp 309–314 in The Handbook of New Sexuality Studies. Edited by Steven Seidman. Oxford, UK: Routledge.
- In the RTE TV series Katherine Lynch's Wonderwoman, one of the characters had a Polish boyfriend who chose a larger woman over her and she referred to him as a feeder by saying "I'd only landed myself with a bleeding feeder."
- Kathleen LeBesco. 2004. Revolting Bodies?: The Struggle to Redefine Fat Identity. Univ of Massachusetts Press. ISBN 1-55849-429-4
- Don Kulick and Anne Meneley. 2005. Fat: The Anthropology of an Obsession. ISBN 1-58542-386-6