This article was published on June 2nd, 2014
When it comes to caring for their bodies, gay and bi men can face a fair amount of pressure to match a certain look. The image of a bulked up physique, the six pack abs, the intense muscle tone, involve a lot of work and dedication to attain, from eating in certain ways to working out at very strenuous levels. Some men, no matter how hard they work, simply do not have the metabolism or frame that makes achieving that look very likely for them, and many guys are able to achieve it, but need to add protein whey, multi-vitamins, and so forth, to optimize muscle growth and recovery times.
Testosterone and steroids are two other ways to optimize those things, but the long term effects of overuse of them can be very serious, especially when they’re taken by very young men. A new study published by Xtra says that bi and gay teens are nearly 6 times as likely to have used steroids as straight boys.
Queer boys are also more likely to report heavy use of steroids. 4% of gay and bi boys reported using steroids more than 40 times, compared to only 0.7% of their straight counterparts.
When using steroids and testosterone, guys can train longer and add more muscle than they can without the supplements, which allows them to add more muscle and develop closer to that cut physique that is the current ideal in a lot of situations. But overuse of steroids can cause liver damage, high blood pressure, and cause permanent problems with hormone balance. Those problems can be even more present in kids, whose bodies haven’t completely balanced their own hormones yet.
So what’s the solution? It’s not easy to point to a single thing, but one idea might be for men to look at valuing their achievements over the results. Fit men aren’t just bulky, they can run marathons, do triathlons, play with their kids or nieces and nephews without getting winded. If we can prioritize those things over just being cut, it might be easier to prioritize healthy, clean living over that six pack.