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In A Relationship With A Feederist: Navigating Erotic Weight Gain

Published: NOVEMBER 30, 2023 | Updated: JANUARY 12, 2024 05:50:26
Feederism, or erotic weight gain, is a fetish that can be in good fun, but is also fraught with stigma and the potential for abuse.

Brandon and Evie first crossed paths at a neighborhood pool party during Evie's 23rd summer. Freshly settled in the area, Brandon lived just a short walk from Evie's apartment complex. They quickly bonded over shared family values, similar backgrounds in the service industry and a mutual love for binge-watching "Supernatural."

“I thought he was just adorable,” Evie recalls about their blissfully sweet early days.

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About four dates into their relationship, Brandon told Evie over dinner that watching her eat turned him on.

“I don’t remember being particularly [bothered] by that comment,” Evie says. “I actually remember the setting a lot better than I remember the actual conversation. This funky, retro diner that was about three minutes from where I was living at the time. And, I sort of remember he ordered us two plates of cheese fries ‘to share.’”

Evie soon came to realize that Brandon had a feederism kink: a sexual interest in encouraging your partner to consume excessive amounts of food, leading to weight gain. Evie’s experience as a “feedee” began innocently, but over the course of several years, turned her relationship into something she struggled to recognize.


“I didn’t realize that in a loving relationship, you still need to have consent and to have boundaries. Especially when one of you is really involved in a kinky lifestyle,” she reflects. “I thought that since we had what I saw as a healthy relationship and since I was in love with him, we didn’t need to hash out those ‘rights’ and ‘wrongs.’”

Read: The Basics of BDSM Negotiation

Feederism is a niche subculture that exists on a spectrum. While some practice consensual feeding as a form of sexual expression, many find it to be controversial due to the health risks involved with forcible weight gain. The specifics of this kink - its diverse, misunderstood nature, its roots, and whether it's possible to practice safely - were lost on Evie at first.

What is feederism?

Sometimes referred to as “erotic weight gain,” feederism involves individuals who are aroused by gaining weight, or are aroused when encouraging their partners to eat for the purpose of getting fatter. According to a thesis conducted by Alyshia D. Bestard the University of Waterloo, the party who is facilitating the weight gain is known as a “feeder” or “encourager,” and the party gaining weight is known as a “feedee” or “gainer.” (Evie specifically identified with the terms feeder and feedee when describing her relationship with Brandon).

Feederism can take on a variety of forms. Sometimes, the feeder will use verbal encouragement to suggest more food or certain foods. Evie says that while Brandon did push larger portions, second helpings and high-calorie meals, he also used physical encouragement. He’d regularly cook her lavish dinners, take her out for rich servings of pasta and lava cake, and hand-feed her at home.

“Most people have never heard of feederism,” states Bestard in her thesis. “Being sexually aroused by weight gain and additional fat is contradictory to what most people consider desirable, erotic, sensual and sexy behavior.”

The taboo nature of having a feederism kink, and how little it's discussed because of this, is part of the reason why Evie so readily fell into her relationship dynamic with Brandon and found it difficult to tell she was being groomed. It’s important to keep in mind that, as with any kink, the more resources you have on the topic and the more equipped you are to set boundaries, the better.

Read: 7 Signs Your Kinky Relationship Is Abusive

Where does a feederism fetish come from?

When asked why someone might have a feeders fetish, Alana Ogilvie, LMFT, a couples and sex therapist in Portland, shared that it’s impossible to say. The origins of most kinks are unknown.

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“Truly we don’t have any research on why fetishes develop,” she tells Kinkly. “That being said, there are plenty of psychological models that can offer us some insight. For example, behavioral models would say that conditioning, associating one stimulus with another to produce a conditioned response, could be a likely explanation for the development of fetishes and paraphilias for people.”

In other words, fetishes can be viewed as the result of associating your earliest rewarding memories of sexual stimulation with objects, actions or body parts. Brandon shared with Evie that he began fantasizing about larger women from a very young age.

“There was a super popular amusement park close to where Brandon is from and they used to go as a family on weekends. He told me that he remembers seeing a lot of women there who seemed to ‘spill out of their chairs,’” Evie explains. “Even as a little kid, he remembers being amazed by the width of their boobs and their butts. I felt like there was a little bit of wholesomeness and innocence to that at first. You like what you like.”

Not all of Brandon’s approaches to feeding were so innocent. Evie found that after the first year of their relationship, she had gained more than typical, colloquial, “new relationship weight.” And Brandon seemed “deeply invested" in keeping her fat. She went from a size 10 to teetering between 12-14.

“Our sexual relationship was often wrapped up in food. Food as foreplay. We got into whipped cream, honey, chocolate sauce, that kind of thing. It was messy and fun, you know,” she says. “He would also insist that we had sex while I was eating. I remember one time, we’d gotten Subway and taken it home, and when I went to grab my food to eat it, he just jumped my bones, essentially. He was so turned on.”

Evie had long struggled with her body. She came from a household where a premium was placed on being thin and lean. Some of her most formative memories involve coming home on break throughout college and holding her breath waiting for her mom to affirm or disparage her appearance. If her mom commented proudly that she looked good, that she must have been keeping up with her running, Evie would have a happy holiday. If she was greeted by a snide remark about going easy on the gravy at Thanksgiving dinner, she’d spiral. It’s not surprising that Evie found it freeing to be treated as valuable and sexy even as she gained weight.

“I still don’t know if he called me ‘gorgeous’ and ‘stunning’ all the time and took me to four course dinners on the weekend because he was a good boyfriend or because he was lusting after feeding me. Maybe it was both. That’s still something I’m working through,” Evie says. “All I know for sure is that while there were elements of being a feedee I liked or was comfortable with, I know now that I was definitely coerced into acts of feederism without knowing what it was.”

Read: Giantess Fetish: The Ultimate Guide to Understanding Macrophilia

Feederism: Problems With the Power Dynamic

There are plenty of feedees who are aroused by thoughts and actions surrounding their own weight gain. In fact, large community of individuals in the kink space share progress photos documenting their erotic weight gain on social media. They do this not only for their own sexual gratification, but also for that of their followers.

“I love feeling like a massive cow after a stuffing,” one Reddit user comments, accompanied by a full body selfie. (Stuffing refers to binge-eating.)

“My favorite animal and my favorite body type,” another user responds. “Wow.”

While there are a number of feedees who fantasize about and derive sexual pleasure around weight gain, the controversy surrounding this fetish comes from the rest of the participants. In other words, those who play into the power dynamic associated with feederism and use it as a vessel to dominate a submissive partner, often at a detriment to their health.

“As with most sexual practices that have an element of power and control, the risk of feederism is that boundaries will not be recognized or respected,” Ogilvie explains. “If low self-esteem, negative body image and/or mental health concerns are present for either partner, psychological boundaries have likely been crossed and the terms of the relationship need to be renegotiated.”

Ogilvie states that even in the presence of consensual humiliation, if a client tells her that feederism is impacting their sense of self, she would move to explore how their agreement around feederism is actually serving their sense of connection or pleasure through sex.

Other ethical issues in feederism come from the fact that fetishizing fatness is inherently sexualizing an oppressed group of people.

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“Fatphobia is rampant in American society, and anti-fat bias is linked to other systems of oppression such as racism, misogyny and classism,” Ogilvie says. “Being a fat person in Western culture comes with it the possibility of emotional and psychological abuse, woefully inadequate healthcare and more severe impairments and disability. Feeders and feedees who do not acknowledge the context in which they are living run the risk of making the gainer in their relationship a target for abuse and discrimination, both from outside the relationship and from within it.”

Read: How Kink Helped Me Learn to Love My Fat Body

Common language within the feederism kink can involve terms that are intentionally humiliating and fatphobic, such as calling the feedee “piggy” and “slob” in a sexual setting. Evie recognizes this all too well. Romanticizing or glorifying being overweight, particularly if a skinny person is perpetuating it, can be harmful.

“Towards the end of our relationship, I had become numb to the name-calling that took place during sex with [Brandon]. He would call me animal names, like ‘pig’ or ‘cow’ and jiggle my belly while he did so. I wondered, I guess among other things, how his love for me or his appreciation of my body could sound so outright ugly,” she reflects.

Play Safely With Feederism

“There is nothing inherently unhealthy about feeding or being fed by a partner in a sexual context. Eating and watching others eat can actually be very arousing to most people,” Ogilvie says. “However, I personally feel that feederism, like many fetishes that focus exclusively on one aspect of a person as being sexually attractive, has real potential to be taken too far.”

If you’re interested in exploring feederism because you have a genuine interest in gaining weight for your own pleasure, or you’re exploring with a partner you trust, take these steps to ensure safe, sane, and consensual play:

Get to Know Yourself and Your Partner

Have a conversation around your motivations or desires. In fact, start by having this conversation with yourself. Finding clarity on why exactly you’re interested in feederism and how you’d like to see this fantasy come to fruition is a central starting place for dabbling in feederism. Plus, it will help you ensure both parties are interested for the right reasons, beyond simply fat fetishism.

According to Ogilvie, there is a difference between being attracted to a fat person and only being attracted to someone because they’re fat.

“Objectifying one’s partner is not a bad thing, per se,” she said, “but when it seems that that’s the only thing your relationship is built on, I can’t say with confidence that you have a healthy foundation going for you.”

Discuss Boundaries

Feederism can look different depending on how you indulge in it. Perhaps you’re OK with verbal encouragement to eat, but uncomfortable with hand-feeding. Perhaps you’d like to confine your feederism fetish to the bedroom by incorporating foodplay into your sex life, but wouldn’t enjoy being asked to eat a second portion at a public restaurant. Deciding on your exact limitations will make for a healthier relationship.

Determine a Safeword

Having a pre-agreed upon word, phrase, or signal that stops or slows play is integral to ensure comfort levels are mutually respected between feeder and feedee. While many rely on the stoplight system (“red” to stop, “yellow” to proceed with caution) during kinky acts, your safewords can be any word or signal that feels right to your and your play partner(s).

Connect With Your Doctor About Safe Weight Gain

Before you attempt to gain any significant amount of weight, especially rapidly, speak to your doctor about any health concerns you should be aware of. It’s possible to gain weight safely, but without medical advice or supervision, you could be putting yourself at risk.

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Check-In About Comfort Levels

“A lot of my relationship with Brandon, I was trying to convince myself that I genuinely wanted to be there,” Evie says. It was especially hard for her to find perspective considering the trauma she’d experienced around food and weight gain from the female role models in her life. There was a level of freedom she’d found from being fed and being loved with a larger body, and this made it hard for her to face the reality of how Brandon’s kinks made her uncomfortable.

However, she eventually began to feel that Brandon had gradually escalated the presence of feederism in their day-to-day until it became “the third person in the relationship.” Brandon began expecting Evie to wear undersized clothes or shorts that she’d grown out of, to the point that they struck her as lewd. Brandon started talking more and more frequently about his desire for the buttons to pop on her jeans.

According to Evie, her weight gain combined with Brandon’s thirst to see her “belly keep growing” invaded every meaningful conversation and became the root of countless fights. The hold that Brandon’s wishes had over Evie started to worry friends and family.

“We were together for two years. The reasons we broke up weren’t related to feederism, but it speaks to a larger theme,” she says. “He worked really hard to convince me that we had a connection and that we were in love. While I thought that was true, I now know that I didn’t love him. I was afraid of him.”

If you’re new to the feederism kink, particularly as a feedee, create space to check in with yourself and ask: Am I happy, fulfilled and safe within my relationship dynamic?

“That’s my biggest advice to others,” Evie remarks. “Don’t be blind.”

The Bottom Line of Feederism

In a feeder and feedee relationship, you’re right to question whether feederism can truly be part of your relationship if anti-fat bias, anxiety, depression, low self-worth or negative body image issues start to lessen your quality of life.

“One person’s sexual gratification is not worth one or both people’s mental health and sense of self,” Ogilvie cautions. “If one or both partners are struggling, consider renegotiating your terms, discontinuing activities related to feeding and gaining, and seeking support from a certified sex therapist, particularly one with experience in BDSM and kink.”

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Photo for Elizabeth Kirkhorn
Elizabeth Kirkhorn

Elizabeth Kirkhorn is a writer and essayist living in Manhattan. She is a graduate of The New School's MFA in Writing and currently lends her voice to a Creative Strategy Role at Dotdash Meredith, where she focuses on health & wellness brands. Elizabeth's writing spans a wide range of kinks and curiosities, and can be found on O.school, MysteryVibe, Byrdie, and beyond.

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