The examples and perspective in this article may not represent a worldwide view of the subject. (May 2018)
A variety of fat fetishism is feed(er)ism or gaining, where sexual gratification is obtained not just from the fat itself but from the process of gaining, or helping others gain, 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. Fat fetishism is often confused for fat preference, which is the sexual attraction of overweight or obese people due to their weight and size.
A 2009 study found that some individuals preferred females that were clinically overweight and rated both overweight and obese women more positively than slimmer 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".
Gainers and feedees are people who enjoy the fantasy or reality of gaining weight themselves. Encouragers and feeders enjoy the fantasy of helping someone else gain weight. 'Gainer' and 'encourager' are common labels among gay men, while both straight men and women as well as lesbian women often identify as feeders and feedees. Some prefer the term "feedism" over feederism, as it suggests a more equal relationship between the feeder and feedee.
While gaining and feeding are often considered fetishes, many within the gainer and feederism communities report viewing them more as a lifestyle, identity or sexual orientation.
Feederism is portrayed by media as a taboo or a niche interest. Negative media portrayals include Feed, which is an example of non-consensual feederism. Research has shown that the overwhelming majority of feederism relationships are fully consensual and immobility is mostly kept as a fantasy for participants.
The gay gainer community grew out of the Girth & Mirth movement in the '70s. By 1988 there were gainer-specific newsletters and in 1992, the first gainer event, called EncourageCon, was held in New Hope, Pennsylvania. In 1996, GainRWeb launched, the first website dedicated to gay men into weight gain.
- Bear (gay culture)
- Big Beautiful Woman
- Big Handsome Man
- Chub (gay culture)
- Hogging (sexual practice)
- Fat Fetish Pride Flag
- Swami, V.; Tovée, M. J. (2009). "Big Beautiful Women: The Body Size Preferences of Male Fat Admirers". Journal of Sex Research. 46 (1): 89–96. CiteSeerX 10.1.1.614.550. doi:10.1080/00224490802645302. PMID 19116865.
- Merkin, Daphne (22 August 2010). "The F Word". The New York Times.
- Griffiths, Mark D. (30 June 2015). "The Fat Fetish, Explained". Psychology Today.
- Charles, Kathy and Palkowski, Michael (2015). Feederism Eating, Weight Gain and Sexual Pleasure.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
- Bestard, Alyshia (September 2008). "Feederism: an exploratory study into the stigma of erotic weight gain". University of Waterloo Thesis Paper: 27–28. OCLC 650872028.
- Textor, Alex Robertson (July 1999). "Organization, Specialization, and Desires in the Big Men's Movement: Preliminary Research in the Study of Subculture-Formation" (PDF). International Journal of Sexuality and Gender Studies. 4 (3): 218–220. doi:10.1023/A:1023223013536. hdl:2027.42/44662.
- 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.
- 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
- Charles, K and Palkowski, M. 2015. Feederism: Eating, Weight Gain and Sexual Pleasure, Palgrave ISBN 978-1-137-47045-4
- Pardes, Arielle (19 March 2015). "The Women Who Get Off by Watching Men Gain Weight - VICE". www.vice.com.