Big Boys!

Big boys, this blog is for you.


Big Boys!

Big boys, this blog is for you.

Thick. Beefy. Stocky. Chunky.

If you’ve ever been described as one or more of these qualities, you’re either a hearty bowl of soup 😏 or you may be a big boy. And if that’s the case, read on, big boy.

You’re delicious – and don’t let anyone tell you that you’re not.


The 3 Flavours of Big Boys The Big Boy Experience Gay's Anatomy

Two important things to remember when reading this

👆 No type of body is better or worse than another

ALL human bodies are beautiful, sexy, and deserve love. Regardless of size, shape, colour, texture, squishy bits or firm bits. However, some types of bodies tend to be more celebrated in mainstream culture than others. That’s the ‘why’ behind this blog.

👆 All (big) boys are celebrated here

When we say ‘big boys’, we’re not talking about a specific gender identity, or even biological sex. Our trans, non-binary, intersex and cis-gender friends are all included in this love letter to large folk. However, in the interest of specificity, we are focusing on masculine-presenting big boys for now.

Chapter 1: The 3 Flavours of Big Boys

Definitions, identities and what they mean

🍦 Cub

Usually, a cub is a younger form of a bear. They can be a smaller frame than a bear, though this is not always true. There is debate in the community around hairiness – some believe that a cub is less hairy than a bear, while others think this is irrelevant. A cub can also sometimes refer to the more passive partner in a cub/bear relationship.


🍦 Chub

A chub, short for ‘chubby’, is more aligned with the fat community than the bears. Unlike cubs, a chub can be any age, they may or may not be hairy, and there is no limit to their size.  


🍦 Bear

A bear is generally considered to be an older man (usually middle-aged and above), who is both hairy and of a larger frame. A bear can be either muscular, fat or somewhere in between.  

Big Boy *Subcultures



The subcategories below have been adopted and embraced by many community members who are happy to be associated with these terms. However, it doesn’t matter how well-intentioned you are, you should not refer to anyone with these terms unless you know for a fact that they happily accept and associate with them personally.


🐻 Muscle Bear
A bear or cub with a muscular body.

🐻 Daddy Bear
This term has been used to define many different types of bears. It can either mean a bear who is sexually dominant, a bear who is older than... other bears, and it can sometimes even mean a bear who is literally a dad.

🐻 Polar Bear
A (usually older) bear who has started to, or has fully had their hair gone grey.
Note: Some bears living in cold climates like Scandinavia also identify as Polar Bears.

🐻 Panda Bear
A person of Asian descent (particularly Chinese) who also identifies as a bear (or cub, or chub).

🐻 Māori / Poly Bear
A person of Māori or Polynesian descent who identifies as a bear, cub or chub. They also may identify as takatāpui, MVPFAFF+ and/or the broader rainbow Pasifika community.
Note: Internationally, ‘Poly’ has a different meaning (polyamorous) and should not be confused.

🐻 Fem Bear
A term used by some fem and/or non-binary people who also identify as a bear.

🐻 Trans Bear
A trans or (usually) transmasculine person who also identifies as a bear (or chub, or chub).

Chapter 2: The Big Boy Experience

A case study on two big boys and their experiences in the community

We talked to two big boys from Tāmaki Makaurau about their experiences in their community, their perspectives on physical attraction to big boys and advice for big boys coming into their own.

Tia, He/Him

Tia is a Māori (Ngāpuhi) cis gay man who grew up in Whangarei, but his whānau is originally from Dargaville. He identifies with the bear community in Tāmaki Makaurau, and sees himself as in-between a cub and a bear.

ILLUSTRATION CREDIT: Kale de Wild (IG: kalesbug and website:

Morro, He/Him

Morro is a gay man, originally from China, but he now calls Aotearoa home. He is based in Tāmaki Makaurau, and previously completed his Masters study on the Asian queer experience in New Zealand.

ILLUSTRATION CREDIT: Kale de Wild (IG: kalesbug and website:

How involved are you with the queer community in Aotearoa?

Tia: In the past, I've done some promo work for the Burnett Foundation Aotearoa Love Your Condom campaign, and in 2014 I was part of the First Kiss (Gay Version) viral YouTube video. And then in 2020, I competed for Mr Gay New Zealand and I won Mr Congeniality. In 2024, I won Mr Bear New Zealand.

Morro: I’m not as active now, but I used to go to a lot of the bear events. I also won Mr Bear New Zealand, and then went on to compete alongside the Australian states, and I ended up winning Mr Bear Australasia – both in 2017. After that, I made a lot of friends and met so many people from all over the world.


As an active community member, what are your thoughts on representation?

Tia: Ever since Aotearoa was colonised, being takatāpui was frowned-upon, not only by Western society, but among our own Māori communities as well. A lot of the mahi in breaking down that stigma, and de-colonising our people, is also connected to breaking down the stigma around having a bigger body – both as a Māori and as a queer person.

Now, lots of campaigns for the queer community are starting to feature better and more cultural diversity, which is great, but you still don’t see many different types of bodies. I see a lot of slim, muscly or that borderline muscle/bulk look but not much apart from that.

That’s a big reason why I decided to run for Mr Gay New Zealand. I want to see more people, especially our rangatahi, confident with who they are and their bodies. A lot of people in our community are a bigger size, and they should be able to see themselves represented in the world, rather than seeing the same body types over and over again and thinking that they have to achieve that to feel like they belong.

Morro: When I won Mr Bear Australasia – I'm not 100% sure about this – but I believe I was the very first Asian Mr Bear Australia in history. I could be wrong, but I haven’t met any Asian before me who won the title. I did feel that lack of Asian representation.

It was...complicated. The feeling afterwards was overwhelming, and even though I received a lot of support, some people just couldn’t accept an Asian winning that title. But, I’m glad I could represent my community. I was very happy.

I did feel that lack of Asian representation.

Do you think big boys are sexy? What is sexy about them?

Tia: Hell yeah! Yes. My main attraction on a big boy is their belly. Then their chest, their ass. Even if you haven’t seen a big boy’s ass, you just know he’ll have a nice one. And I don’t know, big boys are often just so gentle and kind. A lot of people might think big guys are scary, but they’re actually some of the most nicest guys you’ll ever meet. Everything about them, even their stretch marks, it’s a part of who they are and I find it very attractive.

Morro: It’s just a natural attraction. When I see a big guy, they just instantly have my heart. It’s just this feeling I get.


What do we need to know about hooking up, or dating, a big boy?

Tia: We snore! I snore, I get told that many times. Most big guys love food too. If you’re keen on us, it’s OK to flirt and personally, I don’t mind someone complimenting me on how big I am. Just don’t objectify us, don’t look at us like you want to eat us (laughs). You know, all the normal things – give us eye contact, smile... big boys love a good smile (See: Bear face).  

Morro: Big boys can get very sweaty at night time. We get really warm in bed, so if you want to cuddle but we feel too hot; just let us cool down first. Also, some boys might struggle with what they want to eat when you date them, because we love food! So just feed them, and they’ll be fine. And even though big boys can be as healthy as anyone else, they sometimes have to deal with certain health problems. So be careful with sugar, and go for walks sometimes.

...their stretch marks, it’s a part of who they are, and I find it very attractive.

If you could give a piece of advice to any big boys out there who don’t feel confident about their bodies, what would you say to encourage them?

Tia: When you look at yourself in the mirror, tell yourself that you’re beautiful. That’s how you win the day, by giving yourself that self-love. I’ll literally sit there at the mirror, and I’ll rub my gut or I might look at my thighs for a bit, and I’ll tell myself: I’m sexy. I’m beautiful, just like this. I’ll take shirtless photos of myself, and I post it on my Instagram.  

Morro: I think it’s important that big boys feel confident enough to do things like exercise for example, and not worry about what people are thinking when they see them do that. Your bae might be a big boy, and they might be the most beautiful boy in the world to you, but they might still be concerned about what the broader public thinks of them. So be considerate and compassionate.

Chapter 3: Gay's Anatomy

How to spot a big boy in the wild

You've learned about the 3 common flavours of big boys. You've read about some of the experiences from 2 big boys. Finally, we're leaving you with a simple diagram for the visual learners out there. 

Are you a big boy? Did we miss anything? Join the conversation on our social media @burnettaotearoa


A special thank you to Tia (IG: itstiabear) and Morro (IG: damor2).
And also to Kale de Wild (IG: kalesbug and website: for the illustrations of Morro and Tia.


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