Morphing Mutant Sex Nerds, Unite!

Have you ever jerked off to the fantasy of a woman growing taller, ripping through her clothing, bursting through the roof of a building and going on a Godzilla-style rampage through New York City? Ever masturbate to the image of your own body magically inflating like a giant latex balloon? What about the idea of morphing into a cute anthropomorphic cartoon animal, or being cursed and immobilized as a stone statue?

These may be the plotlines of cheesy sci-fi and horror movies, but they're also the lifelong sex fantasies of the thousands of self-described "transformation fetishists" now plying the Internet. Five years ago there were maybe 10 websites devoted to this sort of stuff. Today "Transformation Webrings" will transport you to hundreds of sites containing thousands of homemade erotic stories, illustrations, and computer-manipulated photos created by folks who thrill to dreaming the impossible dream.

I've had some pretty geeky sex fantasies of my own. I find them hilarious out of context, but under controlled circumstances they manage to push my buttons with extraordinary effectiveness. During high school I had fiercely erotic masturbation fantasies about becoming a werewolf. First I would imagine being attacked and bitten by a pack of slavering wolves and then I would picture my own body growing hairy and fanged and wild.

A few years ago, I went through a period where, during sex with my boyfriend, my head would be filled with thoughts of becoming a giant man impaling a tiny doll-sized woman on my cock. Last year, I visualized myself as an inflatable love doll, my lover's breath filling me with an excruciating, wonderful feeling of pressure and tension. It was the little details, like seeing the skin of my breasts tighten and stretch, that grabbed me to my core. Thinking up something outrageous and passionate and impossible can be my direct line to arousal.

Recently, I've discovered I'm not alone. "It's like the Xmen," laughs Bill, a man who gets off on Japanese Anime videos featuring part-woman, part-cow characters. "We grow up thinking we're some kind of horrible mutant and then suddenly we get online and find out that there are all of these other adults like us with these weird morphing sexual identities!"

Just like the Xmen, most transformation fans figure out that they're different at an early age. The hormonal storms of puberty hit them with the realization that they're not like other kids, and that their sexual fantasies would probably be feared and misunderstood by "normals." Many are drawn to science fiction and fantasy literature because it provides alternate universes where they can speculate about what it would be like to live in a society that respected intelligence over beauty and imagination over conformity.

The scifi genre has always appealed to sexual misfits yearning to create utopias where bisexuality, intersexuality and free love are realities. The Vulcan credo IDIC (or "Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combinations") from Star Trek has become the motto of mutant morphing sex nerds everywhere.

"The internet is a place where all of us freaks and outcasts can go and find each other and safely be ourselves," explains Bill. Ironically, "being ourselves" often means transforming into something else entirely.

Transformation fetish -- or TF in net lingo -- is a blanket term for a wide range of erotic scenarios. ("Fetish" is being used here in a very loose sense, as an unusual sexual focus with deep psychological meaning.) Somebody somewhere is getting off to almost any surreal metamorphosis you can imagine. Type a few keywords into your search engine and you'll locate sites devoted to liquefaction, magical age regression and age progression, breast and belly inflation, people getting flattened like cartoon characters under steamrollers, or being enchanted into inanimate objects such as windup dolls and pieces of furniture. Some people combine several ideas at once -- it's not uncommon to find a man imagining himself turning into a female robot cartoon animal, for example.

One site caters to people who want to see women's noses grow longer just like Disney's Pinocchio. Another is filled with photos of mostly naked Asian men morphed into donkey- and horse-like creatures. (This site's creator explains his desire to bring diversity to TF culture, which has an unfortunate tendency to focus on morphing bimbo-esque white females.)

Pop culture, children's books and ancient myth are all blueprints for sexual ecstasy. For people who dream of inflating like balloons, early inspiration came from the film version of Willy Wonka -- the scene where Violet Beauregarde swells up into a giant blueberry is their catechism. Jeff "The Bug" Vilencia, whose primary sex drama involves shrinking to bug-size and being stomped by a big-footed woman, cites Kafka's Metamorphosis as an early influence. A woman who roleplays online as a sexy swan calls herself Leda, clearly taking her cue from Ovid and ancient mythology.

For giantess fans, both Alice in Wonderland and Attack of the Fifty Foot Woman provided their earliest sexual thrills. Giants have populated human literature for thousands of years as symbols of power and magic and, as folklorists have explained, as reminders of our own former status as tiny, helpless children surrounded by huge adults. It should perhaps come as no surprise that these very powerful ideas could have a sexual component. "It's like the Xmen again. It's as if all of these old cultural memes, this ancient junk DNA of ideas, have suddenly activated themselves in our erotic imaginations and popped out a whole generation of sex mutants!" says nerdy Anime fan Bill.

"Eddie Murphy must be a transformation fan!" crows Colin, an erotic morphing enthusiast. Murphy's remake of The Nutty Professor and The Klumps are filled with perfectly realized and lovingly-rendered weight gain and age-regression scenarios. Most include overt sexual innuendo, to TF fans' delight. For gay male and straight female weight gain fans, scenes from The Nutty Professor are the ultimate expressions of fantasies they've had all their lives. Clips from these films are making their way onto the hard drives of happy perverts all over the world. Whether or not Murphy actually eroticizes these magical metamorphoses is everyone's guess, but the fact that he was once arrested with a transgender prostitute provided all the proof some needed. As the assorted freaks of the Tod Browning movie of the same name once said, "Gooble, gobble one of us!"

The difference between these sex nerds and the rest of us is that, instead of just passively consuming pop culture, they're going home after the Xmen movie and churning out a 2,000-word erotic story based on the character of Mystique, the sexy blue mutant shapeshifter. They're actively engaging their own imaginations and collaborating with fellow nerds to make an entire community out of amateur artists and writers. Perhaps that's what makes these folks seem like such freaks: in our culture, adults aren't supposed to have that kind of access to wonder and make-believe. Grownups are supposed to stick to reality, play by the rules of whatever social group they're in, and live deadened limited lives. TF fans, on the other hand, insist that identity and sexuality, who we are and what we do, must remain mutable, fluid, alive.

I once asked one transformation fetishist why his fantasies were so patently unrealistic. He responded, "Well, if you're going to go to the trouble of having a fantasy, why limit yourself to realism?"

Some sexy nerds gather together in virtual environments called MUDs, or Multi-User Dungeons. MUDs are nothing like the seamless virtual realities pictured in movies and cyberpunk fiction; they're clunky UNIX-based text-only virtual environments developed out of technology from the 1960s and driven by the roleplaying "Dungeons and Dragons" craze of the 1970s. Users must accumulate a vast amount of arcane knowledge in order not to look like a fool in front of their geeky friends. MUDders take perverse pride in their ability to use old-fashioned words and storytelling to create believable fantasies. Depending on your speed-typing skills, you can pretend in real-time that you're in a bar in an alternate universe where certain drinks and potions will make you shrink, inflate, grow extra breasts, or morph into a lava lamp.

You can also do sexy things to other characters, as long as your actions don't conflict with the parameters they've set up for themselves. Like the old hanky code in queer culture, people use computer code to tag themselves with their likes and dislikes, from ordinary stuff like "celibate" and "bondage" to more obscure stuff like "avian-preferred" -- bird creatures only -- and "edible", for those who enjoy being virtually consumed for dinner. I wish they had those tags at play parties! (I've jumped into the fray a few times as my alter-ego, a six-breasted, goat-legged, tattooed devil girl. My code was "ag" for "anything goes.")

I met one man whose character, a woman named Katrice, could be enchanted by other MUDders into doing just about anything. He programmed the character into responding in specific ways to certain stimuli. Rub her feet and the character automatically begins teasing her own nipples. "She tries to stop, and she can't. Indeed the very fact that no matter how hard she exerts her will her body gleefully ignores her, is in itself exciting. That makes her feel guilty too. But that battle inside her mind is being overpowered by the physical pleasures building up, and up, and up." It's a typical BDSM scenario transferred to the world of magic and make-believe. It's a way of surrendering to the experience by ceding responsibility to someone else.

A Disney cartoon seen at an early age helped catalyze a lifetime of erotic dominance and submission fantasies: "I think it was called "Trick Or Treat for Halloween". In it, Donald Duck's three nephews employ the services of a wicked witch to get their uncle to give them all of his candy. She brews up a concoction that she sprays on Donald's feet. And suddenly his feet do whatever she tells them to. She makes his feet dance, makes them sit his butt on hot coals, and eventually makes them smash he head into a closet door where he'd stashed all his candy. The cartoon was utterly stupid. Inane. Mediocre. But, controlling someone's feet. I guess that stuck with me."

Often, the transformation is something the TF fan fears, something that makes them feel terrified, exhilarated, and ambivalent -- the same sorts of feelings some of us have about sex itself. Ursula Hitler, the drag queen alter-ego of a mild-mannered SoCal reporeter, like to fantasize about being transformed into a piece of woman's clothing."As she puts me on, I feel myself stretched across her skin, and I expand and contract as she breathes. If I'm a dress my point of view is usually looking out from between her boobs, but if I'm a bra or panties or something I can only see as long as she's not wearing a dress over me." Often he imagines the woman taunting him and humiliating him. "If she's REALLY mad at me, she may even go out and seduce a guy while she's wearing me! She'll keep me on for a while, letting her lover put his greasy mitts all over me, but eventually she'll slip me off and toss me in a corner. I'm forced to lie in a crumpled heap and listen to her make love!"

Of course, one of the appeals of morphing into something else is that it affords the possibility of escaping from the grinding realities of mundane life. Foxdroid -- a man who roleplays as a female robot cartoon fox -- grew up as a fundamentalist Christian troubled by his own ambisexual erotic urges. In a culture where sexuality is dirty and sinful, becoming an animal or a robot can be a way of liberating oneself from the constraints of human society. After all, animals have no shame -- they're sexual automatons, feeling their urges completely in the moment. Robots can be programmed as sex slaves. They can't be "blamed" for their sexuality and thus must surrender to their desires. "When I'm a wolf, I feel like I can be and do anything. I'm much more playful and relaxed," explains one roleplayer.

For many, the fantasy must involve cartoonish exaggeration, an excessiveness that toes the line between the absurd and the sublime. "Most of the multiple breast fans have an upper limit on the number of breasts," explains Multibreast, the creator of the MultiBreast website and fan of -- you guessed it -- babes with more than the usual complement of tits. "And for most, that number is quite low. Most say that three or four breasts is the maximum they would want to see on a woman. My number is higher, but I still have an upper limit of about 12 breasts." (Such self-restraint!) Multibreast's site is a place where people can come to worship an ancient fertility goddess, an archetype of femininity.

Multibreast is a skilled manipulator of pixels, and like all of the TF artists I've met, he offers his morphed cheesecake pinups for free to all visitors. No one seems to be trying to make money off of fellow mutants, but rather they share each other's creative efforts and encourage each other to keep making more. The photo-morphing process itself is sometimes called "rasterbation," because simply working on their illustrations and collages can get some artists hot and bothered. Ron H., the African-American creator of the Black Giantess magazine and website, has to take a break every few hours from working on his art projects to relieve his pent-up excitement in masturbation.

In his years as magnet for TF fans, Multibreast has found that about 80 percent of the multiple breast crowd are men and 20 percent are women. The women break up evenly into those who want to see the transformation happen to other women and those who want it to happen to their own bodies. A surprisingly high percentage of the men fantasize about breasts growing on their own bodies. Interestingly, about 20 percent of the people he counts as men are what he calls transgendered. "I'm not referring just to men who have actually started hormones or had surgery or even those who live most of their daily lives as women. Yet, I mean more than just passing fantasies of wondering what it would be like to be a different sex."

Actual body modification and surgery are too visceral and realistic to be erotic for most TF fans, however. Sprouting a cock might be a thrilling fantasy, but going through actual gender reassignment surgery is not a sexy idea in itself. Besides, for many TF types, the magical transformation process -- the slow morphing and its concurrent feelings of horror, tension, excitement, anticipation, ambivalence and surrender -- is more important than the end result. One werewolf site's banner expresses the passion of the concept: "The body contorts in unnatural ways, the skin quivers in pain, the flesh burning with the heat of change" becoming something else."

Wren, a body inflation fan who enjoys the image of his own body growing full and round like a balloon, believes that his fantasies relate to the experience of going through puberty. "Your body is changing and neither you nor anyone else can do anything to stop it... this is like puberty out of control." In puberty, your body is like that of a werewolf. It grows hair in weird places and subjects you to constant animalistic urges. The sudden surges of hormones jolt you to physical and emotional extremes. "You get the thrill of helplessness like one gets from bondage, but there are no restraints in inflation. Your own body is restraining you. You own body stuffs you full, tears your clothes off, takes you to new peaks of sensation..."

Certain keywords and phrases have the capacity to reduce some TF fans to trembling, quivering blobs of libido. Inflate123 is married to a woman who doesn't share his particular interest in imagining his body inflating like a balloon. Nevertheless, she enjoys a little roleplay. She might use certain words or phrases -- such as "swelling", "balloon," "pressure" -- to set him off. She might hint that she sneaked a magic potion into his drink and rub his lower belly, while suggesting that it seems to be getting bigger. Powerfully suggestible when it comes to this particular concept, Inflate123 can lose control of himself if exposed to the right stimuli. "I shake with excitement, and my wife always knows she's got me in the palm of her hand when my teeth chatter uncontrollably." He's even gone to the extent of buying an inflatable rubber catsuit he can hook up to an air pump for solitary play. The reality rarely lives up to the fantasy, though. In his excitement he's occasionally overinflated himself and sprung a leak. "Every day, I realize how patently silly the whole fetish is, how unrealistic, and harmless it is. I'm sure there are people who see my web page and laugh at me -- but I'm laughing at me too, because it's a ludicrous interest."

For some TF fans, the appeal of morphing into something else may come from a discomfort with the meat reality of their own bodies. One TF fan enjoys the idea of being transformed into a beautiful woman as a form of "body escapism." In real life, he is a 290-pound man struggling with his weight. "Such a physique makes you feel as if you are devoid of any sexual attractiveness, period..." The female self of his dreams, on the other hand, "exudes sexuality out of every pore." Foxdroid explains that in real life he suffers from a mild case of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia. "Therefore, I HATE being reminded of the actual function of the hundred-odd-pound pieces of meat my friends and I are carrying around." Like quite a few others, his fantasies avoid explicit and visceral descriptions of genitalia and penetration, preferring more poetic and metaphorical constructions.

Nevertheless, some TF fans are brave enough and fortunate enough to act out their fantasies with real-life partners, during real-live meat sex. Robotdoll, the creator of the website, bought himself and his (non-fetishist) wife a pair of matching silver Lycra bodysuits. While they?re making love, his wife can control his movements using his nipple "control knobs"— the left nipple regulates his level of mechanicalness, and the right his level of dominance. She can fine-tune him to her needs, or simply turn him off using his bellybutton "switch." Sometimes, he pretends to wind down in the middle and she has to wind him back up using a wind-up key he keeps around his neck. It's critical to find the exact right state of mind, and while sometimes it's more tongue-in-cheek, other times he achieves a kind of meditative ecstasy. "You have to act kind of stiff and mechanical and motionless with this nice flat voice and this willingness to obey. At the same time in the back of my mind I'm terribly excited. I don't want to ruin it by giggling in the middle. It's an amazing feeling." In the end, this do-it-yourself, inventive, dynamic weirdness blows the deadening sanctioned icons of commercial sex culture out of the water.

Katharine Gates is author of "Deviant Desires: Incredibly Strange Sex," which can be ordered from her Web site,


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