Over the years the sport of women’s bodybuilding has been put under the microscope more times than the influenza virus. The questions have always centered on what exactly motivates a woman to enhance her muscularity to its genetic maximum rather than align herself to the cosmetic blueprint laid down by a mostly narrow minded section of society.
In this article I have decided to throw aside the ‘why?’ and focus my attention on the benefits of such a pursuit. To this end I have chosen some of our most outspoken athletes and asked them the questions we really want answered….the questions that explore areas of sexuality and empowerment and how enhancing development on a physical plane can have a profound effect on confidence, self awareness and relationship with ones sexuality.
So, that being said let us begin this journey by addressing the most frequently asked question….
Do you think that having a muscular physique has changed you on a psychological level?
ROXANNE EDWARDS: “Absolutely! Because I have taken the time to develop my body it has enhanced my psychological perception of myself. My confidence has increased as well. It is a myth that many of us who look like ‘super heroes’ were born this way. It takes hard work to create a body like this. No one lifts the weights for me, I have an image of what I want to look like and I go and get it. The more I accomplish as a direct result of my effort the higher my confidence level and the better my self esteem and self image become. That is not to say that I don’t suffer from insecurities, I do. However my insecurities revolve around trying to understand why people do the things they do rather than the size of my butt.”
DAWN ALISON: “I think having a muscular physique has definitely changed me on a psychological level. It has made me confident and gives me a feeling of power and control over myself and how my body looks, feels and functions. For me this is awesome because growing up I always seemed to be at war with my body and hating the skin I was in. Bodybuilding has hugely raised my level of self esteem, self-worth and self-love…all of which I had little or none of prior to my involvement with bodybuilding.”
KORTNEY OLSON (KO): “For sure…I think I am unstoppable at times! I know that I put myself in dangerous situations when I shouldn’t simply because I feel that I could whoop anyone’s ass due to my strength…lol!”
RHONDALEE QUARESMA: “Sure! But quite some time ago…I have been training for twenty years now! There are pros and cons to everything, and the benefits I have gained far outweigh the harder things I have had to deal with.”
CASSANDRA FLOYD: “Yes, definitely….it is just a plus in my life to be stronger mentally as a woman. Knowing that I can shape and mould my body and mind is an awesome feeling. I actually pride myself in the fact that I can be different from ‘normal’ women. It takes a lot of discipline, which most people don’t have.”
Does this change also affect you attitude towards sex and your own sexuality?
ROXANNE EDWARDS: “Yes it definitely does. The reason being that I have a sense of reverence towards my body that I didn’t have prior to training. Before I began working out I am embarrassed to admit that I was a woman who, in order to get a guy, would simply do with my body whatever HE wanted…whether I was comfortable with his request or not. I suffered a lot of indignities due to the lack of self esteem I had for myself. However, once I began to work out, all the habits I had to develop in order to achieve a body like this gave me cause to re-evaluate the situation. This is not a body to be misused or devalued. My body took time to develop and my self worth is such that it allows me to leave men standing where they stand… I am enough for me and that should be enough for anyone else.
“That being said…I am thoroughly aware of the power I posses when I can walk around a room naked, knowing what I look like and not having to grab a towel to cover me as I walk to the bathroom. I can undress in a room full of lights with eyes on me and not give a damn. I also know I posses the power to make HIM insecure. Make him wonder if he is enough…lol!”
DAWN ALISON: “Yes, definitely because I feel good about my body and I am comfortable in my own skin. When I am lean I feel sexy, I am comfortable taking my clothes off or having someone look at me or touch me. When I feel fat or am not in good shape I don’t feel sexy, I don’t want anyone seeing me and I don’t enjoy being touched like I do when I am lean.
“Actually I would even avoid sex because of me not feeling good about myself which in turn led to depression, isolation, self-hatred, self-loathing and loneliness. The better shape I am in the sexier I feel and the more I want to express my sexuality.”
KORTNEY OLSEN: “No I don’t think so…I was born bi-sexual and grew up a tomboy. One thing I know for sure is that if I wasn’t ‘hard as f***’ I wouldn’t be having much sex! If I don’t feel good about myself, then I’m not turned on.”
RHONDALEE QUARESMA: “I’ve kept a pretty consistent feeling and view of sex for as long as I can remember and before I had a muscular physique. However, having a more muscular physique does give you more confidence. Ultimately it is all about being true to yourself though and allowing your natural sexuality to shine through.”
CASSANDRA FLOYD: “It only makes sex better, to be in a relationship where you have two people that are physically fit, your sex will be off the chain. Let’s not forget it’s a mental thing. I am attracted to intelligent fit men. I’m in a point in my life where I have to be stimulated mentally more than physically. So to be with a man that has both makes the relationship much better.”
Is the female bodybuilder more open to exploration of her sexuality?
ROXANNE EDWARDS: “I can only speak for myself when I say yes, there are definitely WAY more things I am willing to try as a side benefit to having this body. I can also say there are more things I have experienced as a direct result of being in this body. I would have to say that this body has given me freedom that most women only dare to dream of….”
DAWN ALISON: “I can only speak about my own experience when it comes to being more open to exploration of my sexuality because of getting into bodybuilding. I can’t really say that I am more open to exploration because of bodybuilding because I was very interested in sex at a very early age and had many sexual adventures long before I got into bodybuilding.
“The only thing I would question mind you was that I never did anything sexual with a woman till I got into bodybuilding and took steroids. I had never given much thought to being with a woman until I had a lot of test coursing through my veins which led me to a few experiences with another woman.”
KORTNEY OLSEN: “I have never ‘juiced’ but from what I have been told it can make your hormones/sex drive shoot through the roof, so that might have something to do with it. Generally speaking I don’t think female bodybuilders are more open to exploration…..but then again, maybe they are…lol!”
RHONDALEE QUARESMA: “Yes! I think being a bodybuilder makes you more aware of all that you are…to tap into the mind/muscle connection there has to be a deeper connection with all parts of yourself.”
CASSANDRA FLOYD: “Yes and no. It depends on the woman. I clearly have no problem with exploration; I’m very comfortable in my own skin. I’m comfortable with my body.”
Care to share any experiences where you have felt a level of empowerment that you may not have had if you had never entered the world of bodybuilding?
ROXANNE EDWARDS: “I have had a few truly narcissistic moments but I will stick to one innocent one. I was getting ready for a show and I was about two weeks out. I was having sex; specifically I was giving this persona a blow-job. I was in front of the mirror when I noticed the arm I was propped on was tensed and all the muscles running down my arm were flexed. I couldn’t take my eyes off myself. I was in my GLORY. I temporarily forgot what I was doing and I was so caught up in how good I looked. I must have been gazing at my image for a long time when my companion interrupted my moment by clearing his throat and in a slightly annoyed/half amused tone was like ‘Hi, hello…remember me? Are you through checking yourself out, or am I in your way?’
DAWN ALISON: “Because of competitive bodybuilding and my use of anabolic steroids my clit has grown considerably larger and this has made sex way better! I have much more incredible orgasms that I know is a direct result of the steroids I have used for bodybuilding. I can make myself have an incredible orgasm which in itself is hugely empowering!
“On another note, bodybuilding has helped me embrace who I am; it has given me a sense of belonging. When I was introduced to bodybuilding it was like I figured out who I was… I found my niche. Through bodybuilding I became empowered by learning how to shape and build the body I wanted and how to eat in order to feel sexy, healthy, vital, full of energy, stabilize my moods and reduce stress. When you learn that you can control how you look and feel through bodybuilding and that you can take responsibility for your fitness yourself and your life that is truly liberating!”
KORTNEY OLSON: “I feel empowered every day….sometimes, as I said before too empowered. It’s challenging at times to put yourself in check. I am just a normal girl, who could be taken at gun point or taken off guard at any moment. I’m not Mrs. Clark Kent. I like to showboat too. I am human, and when I get attention I thrive on it! Having muscles tends to grab attention all the time as it’s rare to see a buff chick. We are a rare breed!
“All in all though I would not change who I am, where I have been and where I am going for anything. Except maybe toning down my curse words for some of my fans that still see me as a ‘lady’…lol! Compromise is one thing, but changing into something you are not is another.”
RHONDALEE QUARESMA: “Facing a fear…my extreme shyness as a young girl. Also training for a show is so mentally and physically taxing that nothing is going to get me off stage come show day. Once you have done all the preparation and are standing on that stage you feel that there is nothing you can’t achieve!”
CASSANDRA FLOYD: “I’ve always been a very confident person, even before I got into bodybuilding. Bodybuilding only compliments my personality. I’ve always been confident, witty, smart and outgoing.”
My thanks to Roxanne, Dawn, Kortney, RhondaLee and Cassandra for their willingness to participate in this article……..