"Gwen", an oil painting by Hayden Stern

Get Into Position

Fat people are sexual beings. Plain and simple. We have sex and orgasms and a whole bunch of fun sexy times with others and with ourselves. Just like clothing, there is no such thing as a one size fits all approach to sex in a fat body. All bodies are different and sex positions are just as varied. As fat-bodied people, positioning can be at the top of our minds when it comes to sex. So let’s dive into it! My name is Raye, and welcome to my ted talk. 


We’re all new here, so let’s go over what sex is. Sex is everything from the very start of the moment, to the very end. Sex is not just Penis-in-Vagina (PIV) sex, it’s more–way more. It’s even more than having orgasms, even if they can be really great. To discuss fat sex, or even just sex, we need to redefine what it means to have sex. 

People who want sex have sex. These people aren’t just cisgender hetero women or men. They’re queer, trans, non-binary, bisexual, and gay. Or they may choose to not define themselves. When discussing sex and especially sexual positions, it’s important to remember that not everyone is going to be into the same feelings and sensations, and not everyone is going to have the same parts. 

Just as varied as the people having sex, like mentioned earlier, sex is more than just PIV. Sex can incorporate a multitude of different sensual touches and sensations. We’re given hands that can squeeze and caress. Hands can also be great at penetration. Mouths can suck and nibble, while tongues can lick and go inside of places. We are given these awesome senses, and to have sex be reduced to just penetration is silly. 


Before going any further, let’s quickly discuss consent. Consent will always and forever matter. If you don’t have consent, then you don’t have sex. It doesn’t get that much simpler than that. Consent must be explicitly given and can be taken back at any time. Even if having some consensual non-consent sex playtime, consent is given beforehand.  Usually in this scenario some sort of system, such as a safeword, is agreed upon in case things get too much. There can also be a color system used–green/yellow/red like a stoplight–to signify how things are going. While most often used in the kink and BDSM world, adopting some of these systems can help reiterate that all parties consent during any sort of sexy time. One more time for those in the way way back, there is no sex without consent. 


Let’s be real here, not everything is going to work. It’s just not, and that’s okay. As a pre-sexual being, one of my biggest (now irrational) fears, when it came to being intimate, was that sex wouldn’t work for me. The fatphobia that many of us first experienced growing up, didn’t just go away when we got older, but just manifested itself in different facets of our lives. Sex and having a sex life is very much a place fatphobia enjoys living in. That fatphobia creates this sort of fear around sex- be it that we’re not sexy enough, only seen as a fetish or, that very common position won’t work. Repeat after me- fuck all that mess. 

Now, this is usually the part where most articles about fat sex positions go into naming a couple of “common” positions to try. Those positions are usually  based in heteronormativity with the guise of inclusivity by the article not using gendered language. They’ll be the same old positions we’ve all seen a million times, with all the same tips and tricks. This article is not going to do that. An article about sex positions as a fat person and not one mention of a specific sex position? Can it be done? Does it dare?  Yes, yes it does. 


  1. Communication. This is probably the most important part of any and all sexy time. Having conversations with a sexual partner will help with figuring out what turns them on, how their body works, what their limits are, what they want to try, and much more. Sure, one doesn’t need to do a whole dissertation on the person they’re having sex with, but it’s nice to be able to at least know what they like and know their limits in bed. In trying a new or different position, it’s important to first communicate that with your sexual partner. By doing so, you’re able to express your thoughts, concerns, fears, and possibly even some benefits of whatever position you want to try. For those who have disabilities, this conversation is almost paramount, because not all bodies can do all the things and move all the ways. Try to have discussions beforehand, if possible, that give all parties involved time to prepare, be it mentally,  physically(hydration, stretches), or even time to buy aids. 
  1. Aids. Hopefully, by having those above conversations, you and your sexual partner have determined if anything may be needed to try the new/different position. Pillows are great. They’re pretty cheap but can make a world of difference. They can help prop up various parts of the body, add some extra cushion and help with easing pressure on the body. Similar to pillows are wedges. They can be a bit on the expensive side but are usually made with high-quality foam. Like pillows, they can also help with propping up the body and making access to certain parts easier. Despite pillows and wedges, thinking safely out the box may produce some amazing results. Use a wall for leverage, or to rest your leg/foot. If you have exposed beams next to your bed, use them too! Other aids can be things such as lube, harnesses, and even sex toys. If an aid is needed, use that thing and be proud! There’s no shame in sex. 
  1. Have the sex. When the time comes, pun intended, do it. At this point, there have been conversations about preparing for it, both you and your sexual partner have had time to prepare, consent was given, everything is a go. Two different outcomes are possible. It’ll be fun, and things will go as desired, everyone will have had some fun and a new position is added into the mix. The other outcome: it’s not going to work. Both outcomes are okay. Sometimes even, that new position may work with one partner, and not another. That’s fine too. There may be days where a position worked one time, and the next time it doesn’t. Once again, yes that’s going to happen, and that will be okay. If something fails, just remember: there is nothing wrong with your body or our partner’s body. It’s ok to feel a bit frustrated but don’t beat yourself up about it. There’s no shame and shouldn’t be any harm in trying a position again either.


Solo play is also sex play! While solo play looks different than partner play, the same steps apply. Talk to yourself a little bit, think about what you may need to achieve your desired goal. Then when the moment arrives, go for it. Maybe a position or a toy works better while standing, maybe while sitting, or even laying at that weird angle across the bed. Whatever works for you, do it. And do it proudly! Also when you’re playing solo, you can practice for partner time too. 


Fat people have sex. Fat-bodied people can have sex in many different positions. Whatever works for you and your needs, wants, and desires, do it. It doesn’t matter if you think you’ll look funny or if it’s weird to use pillows or a toy to help, do it anyway. Sex looks different for everyone and for every different body out there. Don’t be ashamed or embarrassed if something doesn’t work. It happens to us all. Most importantly, have fun and enjoy yourself and your partner. Enjoy that moment of intimacy and all the pleasures that comes with sex. Pun intended. 

The image that accompanies this piece is “Gwen” by Hayden Stern. Hayden Stern is a multisensory artist and teacher who makes work about fat liberation, healing from state-sponsored violence, and transgender identity. They are passionate about increasing inclusion in figurative art, birdwatching, and making stuff with cloth and thread. They live in unceded Duwamish Territories (Seattle, WA) with their polydactyl cat, Miss Toes.

Raye is an up and coming creative who finds joy in helping others. They enjoy writing, collecting coffee mugs and being unapologetically black, fat and queer. Raye resides in the Midwest with their two cats.