Muscle Worship

Muscle worship is a social behavior, usually with a sexual aspect (a form of body worship), in which a participant, the worshiper, touches the muscles of another participant, the dominator, in sexually arousing ways, which can include rubbing, massaging, kissing, licking, ‘lift and carry,’ and various wrestling holds. The dominator is almost always either a bodybuilder, a fitness competitor, or wrestler—an individual with a large body size and a high degree of visible muscle mass. The worshiper is often, but not always, skinnier, smaller, and more out of shape.

Muscle worship can include participants of both sexes and all sexual orientations, however, it is a widespread practice amongst many gay men that view bodybuilders as sexual objects (bodybuilding is common in the gay community).

The amount of forceful domination and pain used in muscle worship varies widely, depending on the desires of the participants. Sometimes, the dominator uses his or her size and strength to pin a smaller worshiper, forcing the worshiper to praise the dominator’s muscles, while in other cases, the worshiper simply feels and compliments the muscles of a flexing dominator. Male and female bodybuilders offer muscle worship sessions for a price in order to supplement their low or nonexistent income from bodybuilding competitions. Paid sessions sometimes involve sexual gratification; even when well-known competitors are involved, they offer fans the chance to meet in person and touch a highly muscular man or woman.

The 2001 documentary film ‘Highway Amazon’ chronicles the life of female bodybuilder Christine Fetzer and shows several of her clients engaging in muscle worship. More recent documentaries covering the practice include the ‘American Beauty’ segment of an HBO’s ‘Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel’ and Channel Five’s 2007 ‘Muscle Worship’ documentary (part of their ‘Real Lives’ series), profiling in depth the lives of female bodybuilders Lauren Powers and Gayle Moher. Muscle worship engenders a specific type of pornography, often produced professionally, but also web cam sessions, an underground erotic literature, and specific Internet discussion fora like the #gaymuscle IRC channel.

The entry for wrestling in ‘The Encyclopedia of Unusual Sex Practices’ lists ‘sthenolagnia’ (‘sexual arousal from displaying strength or muscles’) and ‘cratolagnia’ (‘arousal from strength’) as paraphilias associated with the practice of wrestling for erotic purpose. The British tabloid ‘The Sun’ listed sthenolagnia second in the Top five freaky fetishes after doraphilia (sexual pleasure from feeling animal fur). ‘The Sun’ describe it as a ‘condition’ where men find ‘hugely sexually attractive […] mega-bronzed muscle-bound ladies in those weird bodybuilding competitions,’ and who also ‘like to be wrestled, lifted up and even carried around by their big iron-pumping dreamgirls.’

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