Published on October 25, 2017 by   ·   1 Comment

(Not that my site has ever been accused of being particularly family friendly, but this post in particular contains some rather frank discussions of sex and sexuality, and is recommended for a more mature audience.  Proceed at your own discretion – that means you, Mama Champagne!)


I can’t pinpoint the first time I heard the term “chaser,” but I can absolutely remember the first time I encountered one.  It was after a drag show at the Highlander, the basement air thick with cigarette smoke; a skinny black guy, late 40s, wearing a hoodie watched me walk by and said, “Now that’s some jelly!” and grabbed my ass.  No, not grabbed.  That’s not the right word.  I’ve definitely been grabbed before; there are way too many people who seem to think of drag queens as community property and think very little of grabbing or poking, trying to find where the real meets the fantasy.  This wasn’t that.  It was more of a….firm caress?  I’m fumbling with the word because it’s unfamiliar territory.  I’m not used to being an object of desire.  People find me interesting…mouthy…funny…intriguing, maybe.  But sexy?

Brene 02This article from Salon is powerful for me, because it speaks so much truth.  She’s right, the author: I think it is much more important to be interesting than beautiful, but that doesn’t stop me from catching myself wanting it.  And when I turned around to see this man whose touch was so much different that I wasn’t even sure at first what it was, I saw the desire on his face.  It was confusing and electric, and it frightened me.  Partly because it was unfamiliar, partly because I thought, “what if I never see that look again?”

A year or so later, I ended up having a brief affair with that man.  I was with my future ex-husband at the time; we weren’t married yet but were already sinking into the miserable stagnancy that would ultimately doom our relationship.  While the man I shared a living space with would barely kiss me, and never unless I initiated it, this man was thirsty with lust for me.  His hands wanted to explore every inch of my body, and there was nothing hesitant about his touch.  I didn’t flinch when his fingers ran across my belly or when he pressed himself against me.

There are people who will say that this “fetish” isn’t ok – that fat people should be loved for their whole selves, and not just for someone’s objectification of their body.  And of course that’s true: we are so much more than just our large bodies.  But we also deserve to feel not only love and admiration and compassion, all of those warm squishy things that make a good romantic relationship, but also that raw flash of animal desire.  To feel it pointed directly at every inch of ourselves, fiery, as though it might consume us in a passionate inferno.  And we very well might let it.

Chase 01That’s not to say that this fetish is always healthy or desirable.  If your partner never wants to look past the size and shape of your body to learn the weight and dimensions of your whole life, it’s probably a superficial desire.  And as I’ve learned more about chasers and their variety of their desires, I’ve also noticed that their appreciation tends to fall into two categories: the admirer and the degrader.

The admirer is like the man I met at that drag show, the one I had the affair with.  His hands were all over me, he was constantly calling me beautiful, gorgeous, sexy.  The degrader is just as lusty and passionate, still filled with the same desire, but the sexual expression of it is always tinged with something (shame, maybe?) that colors the encounter with a need to degrade or humiliate.  I hooked up with one of this type as well, and he loved being in charge, giving orders.  “Suck my cock, you fat bitch.”  “Bend over, you fat slut.”  He was alright in bed, if a bit quick to climax, but the expression of his “appreciation” over my voluptuous body always left me a little unsettled.  He used to message me for cybersex, and the rhetoric there got even more exaggerated, the imagery more violent.  I can see how someone who only encounters this type, or who only finds those who stay at the surface level and objectify their bulk, may feel that this fetish is a problem.  And for them it may be.

Chase 05But that heat, that passion, that constant stream of validation – how could that be wrong?  And why should we quail at finding someone who desires us for a part of ourselves we may struggle with rather than in spite of it.

And at the end of the day, isn’t all desire for a “type” a sort of fetishization?  If a straight man desires thin women with blonde hair and large, perky tits, no one accuses him of having a fetish.  His desire is normalized, approved.  But it’s still a desire that originates purely in the physical, the visual.  Calling one a “type” and the other a “fetish” seems to do little more than further shame and ostracize fat people.

I want a lover who knows my dreams, understands me and can mesh their lives with mine in and out of the bedroom.  But there is nothing that can replace the feeling of a lover’s hands roaming your flesh when you know, really know, how desperately they want them there.


A year or so ago I met a chaser through one of those location-based “dating” apps that are ubiquitous among gay men: Growlr (a whimsical play on Grindr, the “gold standard” as it were of these apps, that is targeted primarily at the Bear community).  Chase 06He’s solid and well-muscled, very much in line with my ideal physical type (my lack of interest in sports stops at the locker room door – I’m hot and heavy for a big hunky football player build!); his disposition is sweet and kind, and in the bedroom he’s the perfect mixture of attentive and commanding.  He splits his time between the two cities I’m most likely to travel to for work, and so we’ve had several occasions to meet up.  The sex is phenomenal, always, but I’m surprised at how easily the small talk comes on either side of it, not awkward or forced like so many pre- and post-hookup conversations as you’re waiting for him to get dressed, tie his shoes, and shut the door behind him.

Each time we meet, I learn more about him.  Most recently, I finally decided to pry a little into what he does that splits his time between Seattle and Phoenix; he manufactures medical devices that are sold in almost 40 countries around the world and prefers to head to warmer climates in the winter.  As he was telling me about the devices, he laughed and said that they offer “family pricing” if I was ever interested.  It was part flirtation, part earnest sales pitch from someone who honestly loves what he does, and watching his eyes crinkle as he smiled playfully made me want to tear at the clothes he had just recently retrieved from the floor of my hotel bedroom.  I’m usually unmoved by sweetness in a man, but on him it’s sexy.  He’s just so damn sexy; I find everything about him intoxicating and a little disorienting, like sex on really potent poppers.

He’s also introducing me to a new area of sexual expression: he’s a puppy.

Puppy 01I’m still learning about this particular sexual proclivity, and I’m pretty sure of two things: first, there are probably a lot of additional expressions and interests related to this that don’t look like what I’m going to describe; and second, I am one of the least qualified people to properly explain this particular sexual community to anyone else.  I’m not here as an expert, but rather as a sexual traveler who has wandered into new territory and is narrating a sort of bawdy topography of this unfamiliar land.

Pup is listed as one of his identifiers on his Growlr profile (along with quite a few others), but it didn’t really come up the first couple of times we met.  I didn’t think to ask about it.  The third time we hooked up, our first meeting in Seattle, he mentioned that he was attending a puppy event at a bar with some friends and would stop over afterwards.  I looked back through our messages and noticed that recently he’d started putting in the word “wags” where someone else might have gone for some sort of emoji like a wink or a smile.

Puppy 02When he arrived, he had on some leather accessories but nothing particularly canine in nature.  While talking, though, he would punctuate sentences with a little “woof.”  Not like he was trying to imitate a dog bark, just the word with a little smile and those gorgeous eyes.  That night, the first time he climaxed there was definitely a sort of snarling growl that took me by surprise.  I wasn’t weirded out by it; I’ve always been pretty relaxed about the range of sexual expression that’s out there and this was definitely much closer to my own personal boundaries and experiences than other things I’ve encountered.  And to be frank, as long as he fucks me that good he can make any damn sound he wants: quack like a duck, purr like a kitten, moo like a cow.  What the hell sound does a giraffe make?  He can do that one too.  He could work his way through the whole Fisher-Price See-and-Say Farmyard collection as long as he just keeps doing what he’s doing.

And it seems to extend around the sex as well; he’s playful and flirty beforehand in a way that feels….sweet is the word I keep coming back to, though I don’t mean it to be patronizing.  Gentle, maybe, and kind.  And after (or between – he’s definitely a marathon man) he’s very cuddly and affectionate.

And each time, I still can’t believe that he’s as turned on by me as I am by him.  At my hotel in Seattle you need a key to access the guest room floors so I meet him in the lobby; even before the door closes I can feel his hands on me, stroking my back or the curve of my ass.  It’s an exercise in self control to make it all the way down the long hallway to my room.

I always thought of myself as a cat person…


He’s lightly snoring; my hand is resting on his chest as it rises and falls rhythmically.  His beard is nearly brushing my face and it smells like pot and…something else.  Cheerios maybe?  Not a dirty smell exactly, but like someone who doesn’t bother with a lot of fancy products and is reaching the end of a long day.  It’s not entirely pleasant, but it feels so authentically him that I breathe it in and tell myself to remember it.

Chase 00I’m amazed at people who can just fall asleep like that, vulnerable and sweaty and trusting.  We’ve just had sex three times in pretty quick succession, so he’s earned it, but it still confounds me.  I’m far too nervous by nature, too guarded to just drift off into dreaming.

Instead I focus on his face: the wrinkles around his eyes (he’s only a couple of years older than I am but his outdoorsy nature and constant smile are shown in the lines on his face), his delicate lashes, that tangle of beard with its mysterious fragrance.  I’m cradled in the crook of his shoulder, his muscled arm wrapped loosely around me.

“Remember this,” I think.  “Remember everything.”

I want to keep hold of this feeling, the planes and angles and moist tautness of his body, this comfortable moment of rest.  I want to remember what his face looks like when it’s inches away from mine, eyes closed and dreaming, just as much as I want to remember the urgency with which we fornicate (what a deliciously sacrilegious word!).

I want to forget that this is…what?  A lie?  Not really a lie.  (Why am I having such difficulty with words as I write this?)  A fantasy?  A grownup game of pretend?

I know that soon enough his eyes will open, he’ll pull me in closer and kiss me, and then we’ll have one last go round.  Then he’ll hop in the shower to clean up, dress slowly while I relax next to him on the couch, kiss me again, and then he’ll go out the door.  Down to his car and back to his other life, a life that includes a husband I’ve never met but of whom I find myself becoming increasingly jealous.

BreneThis is where I lose some of you, and for most of you who stay a certain level of judgement will probably start to creep in.  Even people who theoretically support the idea of non-monogamy sometimes have trouble when they encounter it in real life.  But I’m not some “side piece” who is sneaking around with someone else’s husband; even if I were, I’m single as fuck and haven’t made any vows to anyone, so you could save your self-righteous indignation for the cheating creep.  But you don’t have to; he’s not a creep and there is nothing here to be indignant about.

This man and his husband are non-monogamous; they have an “open relationship,” which is usually as close as the current parlance among gay men gets to calling something polyamory.  I don’t know if there is some vagueness in the term that speaks to the inherent elusiveness of queerness itself while simultaneously resisting the specificity of intention and communication that well-practiced polyamory demands, or if it’s just that the “spokespeople” for polyamory have for so long mostly been straight men and their straight and bisexual female partners that we’re not quite sure we belong there yet.  I’m seeing poly pop up more and more in queer culture, and I think it’s a positive change, but it’s not a label that I find completely comfortable.

So it’s not a lie or a deception.  I’m not sure of the level of detail, but this man’s husband knows I exist and knows that his partner is coming to meet me.  He knows the nature of our encounters.  He gives his permission, or withholds it.  And therein lies the catch: no matter how satisfying the sex might be, no matter how sweet or frenzied our passions, it’s a temporary arrangement, a couple of hours plucked out of an entire lifetime.  I’m an adventure to be had, or a distraction, or a chance for growth, but I’m not a significant piece of his larger life.  I’m something to be discussed and decided, but I don’t have a voice in the conversation.  When it comes to balancing the scales of his life, or how he spends his time, I have very little weight.

000I’ve written about my experiences with non-monogamy before (HERE, HERE, and HERE) and the hard lesson I keep learning is that I’m just not that good at solo polyamory.  There are all different ways to organize non-monogamous relationships, and they are all valid as long as the people in them feel like it’s meeting their needs and they feel loved and supported.  And while I value my independence, and I’m not ready to throw in the towel on non-monogamy yet, I think I’ve realized that it may only work for me once I’ve established that primary partnership.  And from my last two relationships, I know that this partner would have to be both emotionally and sexually compatible with me.  Non-monogamy is still a concept that makes perfect sense to me.  But it’s a concept, and as I seem to be doomed to discover over and over and over again, the concept is often quite different from the lived reality.

Maybe I’m the one with the fetish.  Maybe I just want to have my cake and eat it to, and then have someone tremble with desire as they lick the sugared frosting from my lips.  But this is the first time I’ve encountered someone who is so close to that idea that I’ve had in my mind, and each time he leaves it’s harder to watch that hotel room door close behind him.  That is what makes me struggle for words to describe him, how he makes me feel.  That’s what keeps me from falling asleep, feeling his chest rise and fall beneath my hand, taking in the earthy smell of his beard and thinking, “Remember!  Remember!”

It’s the thing I keep chasing that always seems to end up so close and yet just out of reach.

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Readers Comments (1)
  1. Lisa Shanklin says:

    Beautifully written. Thanks for sharing your life.

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