What do you do if you have a weird fetish that you think no one else shares? If you get turned on by something that literally cannot exist in real life, where do you find the community, the discussion and the porn that other kinky people use to fulfil their own desires?
If you’ve been reading for a while you’ll know that I have a massive thing for unusual fetishes – I love hearing about kinks and quirks and sexual tastes that fall well outside my own. This week’s guest blogger has a fetish you may not have heard of, as well as a window into an entire subgenre of self-made porn. His post blew me away with the intensely nerdy definitions and classifications which split the genre itself, as well as his honesty and sadness about the reality of loving something that’s rarely ever mentioned.
Over to him…
The lonely world of a weird fetish
(Or: How I accidentally attracted a gay sub fandom)
Since I was a kid, I’ve had a fascination with big things and little things and comparisons between the two – people, objects, whatever noun you can think of. A book on folklore had an image I was drawn to, a scene from some ancient legend of giants and little people that showed an attractive lady in a green dress at a banquet. She was holding her hand up, smiling, and a tiny man danced in the palm, his fragile body surrounded by powerful fingers that could break him in an instant. I didn’t understand why, but the picture tweaked something deep inside me.
By my mid-teens I’d stumbled across films like Attack of the Fifty Foot Woman, and found that it was more than just curiosity. Something about that disparity in scale and power struck me on a deep, sexual level, and the bigger and more overwhelming the difference, the hotter it was. Tall, powerful women turned me on in general, but also Godzilla sized amazons who could crush cities and toy with their helpless inhabitants, or tiny people reduced to the size of insects… or smaller.
When the Internet came to our house I typed the word ‘giantess’ into a search engine and found the mind-boggling giantess community forums for the first time. The scene is one of the most creative places in kink. It has to be – just imagine the problem. You have a sexual preference for something that literally cannot exist in the real word. How do you even begin to create content that satisfies that desire?
Drawings were one way, from pencil sketches to computer illustrations. Another route was erotic fiction. Tens of thousands of stories have been written covering every imaginable scale and sub-genre, ranging from quick roughly written wank fantasies to grand epics longer than most novels. I even wrote a few myself, as a horny student.
Probably the most popular were collages. Guys would find pictures of celebrity women from the web and digitally combine them with other photos to create new works, making them giants in a cityscape, or adding tiny scaled-down men or vehicles. Photoshop made the whole process easier, and enabled skilled collagers to make seamless, lifelike works.
This raised a few issues though. One was the misery of trying to download JPGs over a dial-up modem, an agonizing process that involved waiting cock-in-hand for the image to load line-by-line over about 20 minutes until it got to the bit you were interested in, only to find it was much shitter than it looked in the thumbnail.
Another was a big debate that sprung up around consent. Virtually all the pictures were under copyright and being used without permission. This being the Internet the copyright issues were laughed off, but consent was a trickier question to answer. If a woman poses for a glamour photo for a lads’ mag, is it a violation to create a derivative of that image that places her in a different sexual context?
The biggest controversy though was tagging. A massive system of tags grew organically, driven by the fact that people are incredibly anal about their own particular sub-kink. Huge flame wars broke out among people insisting that shrink content (small guy, normal-sized woman) was fundamentally different from giantess material (normal-sized guy, big woman), with arguments over correct categorization that started to resemble the “this cow is far away” sketch from Father Ted:
“But what if the giant woman is in a giant house and everything else is giant but the man is normal sized?”
“No, it’s obviously still shrink, fuck off and die!”
A dizzying array of sub-fetishes emerged, often combining with other fetishes in curious ways – there were cross-overs with vore, foot fetishes, furries, BDSM, BBW, amazons and many others. Today, huge online archives exist with elaborate search systems built around these hierarchies, and the fetish is probably one of the most literary-minded around.
Two decades on, technology has moved things forward even further. The latest giantess flicks now feature elaborate special effects. As the cost of blue screen production plummets, it’s routine to see tiny actors inserted into clips (and, er, other things), and the more ambitious videos feature entire CGI cities or armies falling victim to a rampaging goddess. It’s not quite The Return of the King yet, but give it a few years.
It’s also become a more female-led fantasy, which has been fantastic for the quality of content. A phalanx of dominatrices have moved into the genre with a great deal of enthusiasm, a number of them sharing the fetish themselves. That makes it one of the few areas of porn where you can see women engaging with and making something they actually enjoy. I’m not saying it’s a feminist nirvana, but it’s a hell of a lot better than some kinks.
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Bubbling under all this though were major themes of shame and secrecy. “Should I tell my girlfriend about my giantess fetish?” was one of the most common topics in the community. We were young men going against everything we were told being a man entailed, and were ashamed at what we were, that we had this bizarre ‘wrong’ kink that nobody would understand. We wanted to keep it a secret from our friends and loved ones at all costs. If they knew, they’d be freaked out, and they’d abandon us.
Some of us were also victims of abuse, whether emotional or physical, and it was tempting to view our fetish through that prism, to define it as an extension of the emotional damage we suffered. A horrendous Salon article appeared in 1999 to reinforce this idea, around the time I began to embrace the fetish as a 17 year old. It begins with a disparaging assumption about macrophiles fancying the Statue of Liberty, then quotes a clinical psychologist called Dr. Helen Friedman who says the following:
“They’re playing out some old, unresolved psychological issue. Maybe as a child they felt overwhelmed by a dominant mother, or a sadistic mother. Maybe they were abused. This [macrophilia] is not so much a fetish as a disassociation from reality. It’s part of an internal world.” The macro’s submersion in fantasy, she says, serves as a substitute for a more normalized approach to sex. “Healthy sexuality is about personal intimacy,” Friedman says. “It’s about feeling good about yourself in a way that expresses caring, and feeling a connection to another person.”
In having this kink we were fundamentally broken people. Even professional psychologists told us that. That feeling still sits at the core of my sexual being and eats me alive from the inside out, even though I know how absurd that is.
Even the government agrees though. A large proportion of giantess material is ‘violent’ – a mile high woman rampaging in a city isn’t exactly a delicate presence. People in giantess stories often die, get crushed, broken or devoured. Of course you could say the same about Man of Steel, and nobody calls cinemagoers sick psychopaths, but government bureaucracies aren’t exactly know for their imaginations. Especially Tory ones. So along with the rest of the baggage, I get to know that a chunk of society would criminalize my imagination if they had their way.
Then around the time I turned 30, I realised that what I’d believed for 15 years – that I had a giantess fetish – wasn’t quite true.
I’d always known my fascination with size differences wasn’t confined to women, or even people really. I was drawn to anything involving big and little – some of my earliest memories were watching monster trucks crushing cars on TV and thinking how cool that was. I’d also come to realize that I enjoyed being the giant; that I was what’s known as ‘versatile’. The direct analogy would be people into BDSM who enjoy being both dom or sub depending on their mood.
That led me to erotica featuring giants. At first it was just stories. As I came to terms with that, I realized I also found some of the giant collages pretty hot, and then the videos. I found a site catering to the fantasy and was slightly surprised that the members seemed to be mostly gay men.
Since I’m a decent writer, I wrote and posted a number of stories for the site, joining as a dominant giant in comparison to the more submissive role I occupied on the giantess forums. I was good at it. Soon I had a small army of fans messaging me their ideas, asking me to role-play over IM chat. A couple of interesting people caught my attention and I found myself late at night, sharing insanely hot fantasies with men on the Internet.
At some point my brain made the connection I’d been ignoring for months. I was browsing and wanking over gay porn. I was sexting gay men on the Internet. I had a loyal following of gay subs. A wall of denial fell away, and suddenly my whole identity was up for grabs. With nobody to talk to, I spent night after night sat alone, drinking, wrestling with myself, trying to work out what it meant. Was I bisexual, or even gay? Had I been living in deep denial?
Except it’s not as simple as that. I’m attracted to women, not men. I enjoy sex with women, not men. On any conventional scale of sexuality I’m boringly straight. The trouble is, my size fetish doesn’t exist in any conventional scale of sexuality. Asking if my fetish makes me gay or straight is like asking whether a fork is an apple or a badger – just wrong. It’s something that turns me on completely independently of anything else.
In working this out though, I was completely alone. Who could I talk to? Having seen quotes like Friedman’s, opening up to a counselor seemed like a fast track to a mental health ward. Support for people like me just didn’t seem to exist.
Anyway, two things are clear. The first is that when it comes to sexuality, “There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.” Public discussion about sexuality is still too basic, too literal, too obsessed with neat categories. We still can’t talk openly about fetish, and that failure is lethal to many men my age.
The second is that the government’s obsession with regulating our sexual preferences isn’t just illiberal but it’s downright dangerous. For a young 16 year old trying to figure out who or what they are, the Internet is one of the few places to find like-minded, non-judgmental people. It’s not much, but if I hadn’t found them I’d still think I was alone in the world, and that would be a pretty horrifying thing to inflict on anyone.
It’s been a voyage of discovery, but for much of the time it’s also been a lonely and miserable place. How do you ask people for help when you can barely describe the problem in terms normal people would understand, and when the profession supposed to help you is chucking ignorant abuse at your deviancy in the media? Kink may have moved toward the mainstream, but my fetish is unusual even in those circles.
Even if a real world community for me existed, going to one would be something close to a moon landing for me. I’m awkward and insecure, terrified of being judged, of being called a freak, of being rejected because I’m too fat, ugly, weird or uncool. The whole topic of my sexuality is such a bundle of raw nerves that exposing it to someone scares me, and I hate it because I know that the odds of me ever finding someone to share it with grow smaller each year. I love the kink community, but I see it like a homeless guy watching a family Christmas through a window, desperately wishing it could be my home but wondering deep down if I’d ever be good enough to go in.