Sthenolagnia can be defined as “the sexual arousal from the presentation of muscles or strength.” Cratolagnia is described as “arousal from the performance or demonstration of strength.” These two sexual fetishes are not the same. Sthenolagnia puts more emphasis on the appearance of muscles. The assumption is the larger the muscle mass equates to being stronger. That is not always true in some instances.Both men and women can have this sexual fetish. People with different sexual orientations can have this fetish also. This is not a recent phenomenon. Words were just developed to describe something that has existed for many years. Magnus Hirschfeld (1868-1935) a German sexologist and physician who coined these terms in the 20th century, described what had existed for many centuries. Mainstream society considers this “strange” or “unusual.” This seems to be an exaggeration, when examining more harmful dimensions of other sexual fetishes. Misunderstandings can emerge because there is little scholarship on sthenolagnia and cratolagnia.
A visual difference of sthenolagnia and cratolagnia. The woman above is demonstrating her strength. However, her muscles are nothing compared to bodybuilder Susan Smith’s development.
One question that is asked is why such an attraction? There are multiple explanations for this. The first could be that some men desire ( at least temporarily) a role reversal. Men in many societies are expected to take on numerous responsibilities, be leaders, breadwinners, work as diligently as possible, and express little emotion. Men put extra stress on themselves, because they are the pillars of society and community. Some of this responsibility has been shared with women during times of crisis. Since women’s liberation they are taking roles in the public sphere. The role reversal element in regards to the physically strong woman can be attractive to some men. Here is a woman you do not have to carry bags for or open jars. The male protector role has distorted gender roles not only for women, but men. Maybe it is not role reversal, but a move toward equality. Another explanation is the more obvious preference for a particular body type. This can vary widely among individuals. Some men just like the look of muscles on a female body. To an extent the human body is fetishized. Fitness advertisement put emphasis on women’s lower bodies and weight. The body itself is not lascivious by nature, but is made that way by a cultural context. The traditional areas of female beauty are enlarged in the muscular woman ( legs and posterior). Then there is the aspect of confidence projected by the strong woman. The conjecture is that men are attracted to women who are secure with themselves. Normally, women are not taught to be confident in themselves or show pride in their skills. The physically strong woman shows both confidence in her skills and body. This is not a part of accepted cultural mores, but they do it regardless.
Being attracted to a woman with strength or muscle is no different than being attracted to any other type of woman.
The woman athlete cannot doubt herself, especially during competition. She must have full belief that her diligence will lead to victory. Many women to their own admission say they developed more confidence with their new found strength.
Cratolagnia has more to do with action of the body.The reason for such attraction could be based on the fact that women’s bodies have been restrained for so long. Through out history women have had very little control over their bodies. These women retake control by molding it into a different model.Demonstrations of strength from a woman can be something unique. There can be pulchritude in rarity. Women in the traditionalist view are meant to expose their bodies or imply that they have a sexuality. The strong woman not only displays a body, but presents it with pride. It is not only for show, but it can do something. Seeing a female body work and exert force can be amazing. This enticing feeling maybe linked to the ancient past. Before polytheistic and monotheistic religions, humankind worshiped mother Earth. A goddess that was powerful and controlled all of nature. That is the origin of the phrase mother nature. The love of the strong woman could be a subconscious return to the mother goddess. This is speculative, but may have some truth. There is beauty in seeing the raw power of a muscular woman. It can be like looking at a sequoia tree or a mountain range ;you are in awe of the combination of power and beauty.
This woman projects a type confidence, because of her strength. This can be a positive attribute for some men.
There is another aspect to sthenolagnia and cratolagnia know as female muscle growth. This term is used to describe stories, cartoons, and other entertainment materials that relate to sthenolagnia and cratolagnia. This has grown to something immense due to the internet. Generally, these stories will either feature a woman gaining strength or muscle through scientific, magical, or alternative means. The woman can either be a protagonist or antagonist in such stories. Male characters are either allies or enemies. Sometimes they end with the strong woman comparing her strength to the male. These stories in some cases are close to being erotic in manner. Other times fans will produce art of particular cartoon characters with muscle. There are artists over the internet who focus solely on fmg art. The traffic for these websites are high. There possibly could be many followers, but an exact number would be difficult to calculate precisely.
An example of female muscle growth
Fmg artists usually like to make superheroines the subject of their work. This makes sense because in comics women are portrayed with an athletic or muscular body type. She Hulk and Wonder Woman are the favorites for fan art. Original creations are popular as well such as David C. Matthews’ Tetsuko.
This is an original creation by David C. Matthews. The webcomic has generated a huge following .
The female muscle growth phenomenon is another extension of cratolagnia and sthenolagnia. Fmg is nothing new. LH-Art produced comics related to fmg before internet access was available to the majority of the public. It continues today online producing fmg comics and stories. The internet now has made a small niche even bigger. A multitude of sites have been established that focus on female muscle growth.
A common misconception is that these fetishes are sadomasochistic. This is not true, because sadomasochism is an entirely different classification. This involves inflicting pain on a person to induce some form of sexual gratification. Men or women who have sthenolagnia and cratolagnia may or may not have sadomasochistic tendencies. BSDM functions on a dominant partner and a submissive counterpart. Dominant and submissive behavior is not an element in stenolagnia and cratolagnia. The focus is on the structure of the body and its physical capabilities. The only reason people would associate two different classifications is because of prejudice. The physically strong woman is viewed by the closed minded as aggressive, out of control, unfeminine, and domineering. Such backward thinking does not represent reality. Many women athletes are just like other women; they just happen to be strong. This fetish may seem peculiar to some, but it is harmless.