If there is one facet of our gay culture that rings true, it is that a large segment, not the majority, are obsessed with body image. You can blame it on the media, models or even porn stars but the fact is men, straight, gay or bi are visual creatures and there for part of our nature.
Larry Cappel is a Colorado and California licensed psychotherapist, and life coach who gets into the meat of why gay men feel the need to strive for the perfect physique.
“I am so sick of my body. I lift weights every day; I eat protein shakes and do everything my trainer says … and I’m still too skinny!” I pause wondering how to respond.
My client, like so many gay men, is convinced that without a gym-buff body, he is unlovable and doomed to be alone for the rest of his life. The objective truth is that he is a good-looking young man in excellent physical shape with a nice face, good hair and and fine taste in clothes. He just can’t see himself that way.
Gay men grow up in a world of childhood shame and parental rejection. Even though there has been marked improvement over the past 20 years, the societal message is that being gay is not okay. In his seminal book The Velvet Rage, author Alan Downs, PhD explains that “the trauma of growing up gay in a world that is run primarily by straight men is deeply wounding in a unique and profound way.”