Though it’s sometimes hard for me to believe, I can say that I feel like I’m more myself now as someone approaching my forties than I was even five years ago. Growing up, as one might expect, things like identity and desire were clouded by the understandable ambiguity of youth. Like many gainers, my childhood was textured by the appearance of an albeit exciting yet sometimes vexing desire to be get bigger – without fully understanding the reason. My preteen and adolescent years were filled with plenty of weight gain cartoons and shows as well as borderline creepy fixations on my heavier peers – something that wouldn’t fully develop into gay attraction until years later. I also had the dubious honor of being a child of the 90s and early 2000s, so I also had pretty unrestricted access to websites for teen gainers that weren’t always the safest for me and my peers. I found out recently that my brother and my mother, rest her soul, were aware of my preferences when I was in middle school – years before I came out to my family in college. This really highlights the unique naivety of millennial youth back then, but also that I had a very unique road ahead.

After I came out in my early twenties, I dove head first into the dating scene, and though I most certainly dated civilian gay men, I of course always favored my relationships with fellow gainers and encouragers. Unfortunately, though I certainly had my fair share of excitement, there was always something lacking from my experiences. As it turns out, I’m not just into alternative sexuality, but also alternative culture – most especially dark alternative subculture. My teens, though complicated by my fetish, also was the first time my love of the macabre and of fantasy really blossomed, and though how I define that would eventually change, it has remained a constant feature of my life ever since. With that in mind, I soon found myself being frustrated by how utterly conventional many of the men I met were – only preferring their culture and aesthetics from safe, pop-culture approved mainstream sources and rarely venturing further than a little off the beaten path. That was before I met the love of my life.

More than five years ago, while spending time at my favorite café, I met my boyfriend. He was dressed in fun, casual clothes, but was showing off Kemetic themed tattoos that immediately caught my interest. I was in the midst of a dating sabbatical – giving myself time to reassess my priorities. I was not actively seeking a boyfriend, but then as I am now, I was always eager to make friends. That day I decided to approach him and we were both swept up in a long and exciting conversation about everything from culture to history and spirituality. We hit it off immediately and started dating shortly afterward.

Though I’ve experienced a lot of alternative subculture, my boyfriend was very new to all of it, and his refreshing eagerness to explore music and aesthetics helped to invigorate me a great deal. I helped him find the horror punk scene and he helped me to not only embrace black metal, but to accept my latent interest in furry culture. It is this kind of excitement that defined not only our aesthetic lives but our exploration of sexuality. My boyfriend is definitely a kinkster, and was already a bit heavy when I met him, but he was quite new to the gaining scene. But since we’ve been dating, in-between exploring subculture and exciting new restaurants, we’ve actually engaged in mutual gaining – with him taking increasing dominance as my feeder. His amazing cooking skills have definitely been fully utilized. Unlike certain people in his life, I have encouraged him to experiment more with his cooking and I have been a very eager, fattened test subject on countless occasions.

My boyfriend has helped me to realize that many people are not just complacent with culture and aesthetics, but also with their sexuality. There are things that I’ve fantasized for years but not a single person in the gaining scene I’ve met has actively explored those fantasies with me. Conversely, I have helped him to see what a genuine love of adiposity can accomplish in a deep relationship and how it can redefine how he relates to his body – in the best way possible. Though I’m definitely an adipophile, I’m also quite flexible about the size of my partner, and I’ll gladly help a partner trim down or firm up a bit as long as I still get to enjoy a sizeable lover. I always like to express and encourage gratefulness in my endeavors and sexuality is no exception.

After all this time, I feel like I’ve truly been able to fully appreciate the spirit of my earlier explorations of the gaining scene, as well as the adipophilia pride flag I created in my twenties. Though I certainly don’t regret my earlier experiences, it was sometimes hard to keep positive in the midst of a lot of negativity in the community. Though I wasn’t fully satisfied I was never totally miserable either and I always look forward to more fulfilling experiences – not just in relationships but with friends and networking in the broader community. I’m not sure what the future holds, but I’m definitely hopeful for what comes next.