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Gay Men and Eating Disorders

Gay Men, Eating and Body Dysmorphic Disorder

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Gay men and body image.
© Ben Shigeru Clark/Getty
I woke up one rainy Tuesday morning feeling under the weather and slightly blue. On my way to the the restroom I glanced into the mirror. One quick look at my butt. Too big? A quick glance at my face. I need eye cream. A pat on my stomach. Will I ever have a six pack?

Seemingly odd scenario? Not quite. We all want to look our best, especially when socializing or courting that cute boy, but preoccupation with our bodies can lead to several damaging eating disorders, preoccupation with a perceived defect in appearance called Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD), steroid use, muscle dysmorphia (where men believe their muscles are too small), and mananorexia.

Dr. Murray Drummond, men's health lecturer at the University of South Australia estimates that 5- 10% of people with eating disorders are men. And according to psychotherapist Abigail H. Natenshon, 20% of those men are gay.

Where do male body image issues originate?
Many theories charge modern advertisements and media campaigns that portray men as lean, muscular and fat-free, with perpetuating obsession with body image. Majority of magazine covers (such as Men's Health) and billboards give rise to the perception that the ideal, desired man is one that is perfectly fit.

Is a person's eagerness to stay fit and look good a bad thing?
Not necessarily. Regular exercise and healthier right are ingredients to a healthier lifestyle. Problems arise when a preoccupation with body image interferes with daily life or creates stress and anxiety.

Getting Help
Preoccupation with body image can lead to dangerous disorders such as anorexia. Eating disorders are serious medical conditions. To get help, visit The National Eating Disorders Association or call their helpline at 1-800-931-2237.

This quick questionnaire can help determine if you have an issue with body image.
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