What's a gainer?
Gainers are guys who like the idea or physical act of growing bigger, fatter and/or rounder. It's a sexual orientation, sorta like being gay. Gainers come in all shapes and sizes and their fantasies, goals and ideal guys vary all the way from the first-15-pounds frat boys to superchub territory. We're a diverse bunch. There is no one way to be a gainer. Some men on this site have put on or are putting on serious amounts of weight. Some are still considering doing so, or waiting for a better time in their lives. Some may never actually gain themselves, but find satisfaction in padding, bloating or inflating. There's no wrong way to be a gainer, so just follow your heart… er… gut.
What's an encourager?
Encouragers are guys who like the idea or physical act of helping someone else grow bigger. Encouragers may be any size—fat, muscular or thin—and many gainers also identify as encouragers. Encouraging exists along a wide spectrum, from guys who just want to cook for a gainer and provide moral support, to guys who enjoy "forcing" a gainer to eat copious amounts (this is always a consensual act). Again, there's no wrong way to be an encourager, so keep an open mind.
What's a bloater?
Bloaters are guys who like the idea of bloating or inflating their bellies with water, soda, food or air in order to achieve a more pronounced belly, albeit temporarily. Bloaters can be thin or large.
What's an admirer?
Admirers are guys who appreciate gainers, bloaters and/or the act of gaining, but don't take an active role as encouragers do. Admirers can be any size. Admirer is really a self-explanatory term—they admire others.
What's a maintainer?
A maintainer is someone who enjoys the idea of gaining weight and has gained some amount of weight, but at the present time is not looking to gain more. Some guys might gain and then maintain for the rest of their lives—others might be constantly moving between being a gainer and a maintainer depending on their priorities and interests. The maintainer label is a simple way of telling the world "I enjoy the idea of gaining, but I'm not currently trying to gain."
Isn't gaining unhealthy?
Sure, so is driving a car, living in North Philadelphia, rock climbing and taking Tylenol. But seriously, gainers who choose to put on weight assume some health risks, but there are ways to gain weight while maintaining relative health and fitness. For some gainers, the idea of becoming unhealthy or even immobile is part of the fantasy. For most, staying healthy while growing bigger is a priority.
OK, so is this a sexual, romantic or platonic thing?
It's different for different guys. Most gainers and encouragers find physical and sexual gratification from it. Many also find a romantic connection—either making gaining a part of a relationship or in some way maintaining the fantasy with their partners. Some just want a buddy to gain with or help grow.
What's the difference between a gainer and chub?
About 40 or 50 pounds. Seriously, there are three main differences between gainers and chubs: outlook, sexual habits and physicality. Outlook: Most chubs are "fat by accident" (meaning some combination of genetics and circumstance) and do not find their girth to be a turn on—though they enjoy that other men like them. In general (though there are exceptions) this results in chubs having a less-than-stellar image of themselves. Most chubs would prefer to be thin (the exception here is the small minority of chubs who are attracted to other chubs). Gainers are, in every way, the opposite of that. For them, bigness is positive, affirming and downright sexy. Sexual habits: Most chubs have "normative" sexual desires (you know, oral and anal sex, etc.) They are, for all intents and purposes, otherwise mainstream gay dudes who happen to be fat. Gainers tend to lean more toward liking something different between the sheets. Oral and anal sex are still fixtures of many gainers' sex lives, but they typically feature much less prominently than in the rest of the gay world. Gainers are turned on by the idea of growing and/or being big and find significant sexual gratification in that. Physicality: By definition, chubs are big guys. Gainers don't have to be big, because gaining is as much about the mentality as it is about the physical results. Some gainers will only gain a few pounds to be satisfied, some will pack on several hundred and some will never grow. All are valid options.
What's the difference between chasers and encouragers?
Though both chasers and encouragers have a "fat is good" outlook, they also differ in the sexual habits column: Chasers typically have "normative" sexual desires, while encouragers find sexual gratification in helping a guy grow bigger or worshipping him for his size. In terms of physicality, encouragers come in all shapes and sizes, as many larger gainers identify as encouragers as well.
It sounds like gainers and encouragers have a weird sexuality.
Yes, gainer/encourager sexuality is off the beaten path, but it's not homogenous. Some gainers and encouragers have relatively normative sexual desires, but most appear to enjoy activities in bed that are well outside the mainstream. That can range from sensual belly-rubbing to mixing food and sex to role playing to good-old-fashioned mutual masturbation.
Can't I just hide this part of me?
Sure, if you wanna go crazy and put your head in an oven by age 40 Sylvia-Plath style. Try to think of this as you do about being gay or bi. Can you hide it? Sure. Will that come back to bite you in the ass? You betcha.
But if I really like this, it seems like my options are so limited.
That part is true. There aren't loads of gainers and encouragers in this world. Our best estimate is about 10,000 who are aware of it and online. But thanks to the internet—and sites like Grommr—those guys are accessible. If you live in a small town, you may want to start setting aside a small travel budget. The best way to get to know this community and make friends is to meet people in real life. That may require a little travel.
How can I learn more?
Honestly, the best way to learn more is to dive in—start chatting with guys and try to attend a local event or Expansion. But if you'd like a cool introductory video, check out the documentary HardFat—which though almost a decade old now, covers some basic territory for gainers and encouragers. You can find it online for free here. Additionally, there are some good blogs written by gainers that cover some of the deeper emotional and psychological questions and issues we face. Some of the blogs we recommend include: Fatnesse Follies, Professor Fatology, and Gaining Perspective.