We see them everywhere: they look gorgeous as they stroll down Oxford St, mince down Chapel and sparkle in the valley, looking like superheroes ripped straight from the pages of a comic book.
They rule pool parties, they lift much more than we do – they are ordinary gay men attempting to mirror the bodies of Greek gods.
I was rather naive about steroids until friends around me started talking openly about their usage. I quickly realised more people than I thought have used some form of enhancement at some point in their lives.
It’s no wonder men turn to these chemical methods when we live in an image-obsessed community with a culture that demands and rewards thick hot bodies with perfect abs.
I certainly appreciate the results when I drool after some ripped daddy strolling down the street or at the gym.
But at the same time this “artificial” bulking rubs me the wrong way and I feel conflicted about what would be acceptable for myself.
I work out a fair amount, but there’s no way I can compete with men who use steroids. So I get frustrated and jealous (and now I finally understand how some guys get the amazing bodies they have).
Another part of me wants to be all idealistic and believe that having a super hunky body isn’t that important and the real measure of a man is found in his heart and his actions.
The topic is difficult to approach. Often people ask about steroid use out of pure curiosity or while attempting to justify a body they will never have. Even when concerns are honest, questions sound invasive. But it’s a conversation we must have.
Like every other gay man I’ve ever met, I too have some pretty bad body image issues. No matter how many times we tell each other we look attractive, we just don’t believe it. It makes complete sense.
When you go to any gay party, like Mardi Gras, it honestly seems like every single guy there has washboard abs and a nice juicy ass. When you look on the internet, all you see are these gorgeous men with the bodies of Greek Gods. And these guys are somehow real! Like actually real men you see out.
So why do gay men put so much pressure on themselves to “fit” into what we think is the perfect body? Why can’t we all just be happy with staying healthy? Healthy comes in so many different forms, it doesn’t have to mean a six-pack, right?
We also assume the muscular gay men are happy with their bodies, but (many of them) are not. I have a number of friends who do have the perfect body — that unattainable body, and still, they look in at themselves in the mirrors and can only see the parts of themselves they loathe.
As gay men, no matter how far we come or how good we look, we never seem to be satisfied.
When will our community stop putting so much pressure on each other to “look good”. It leaves us hating our bodies, which turns into hating ourselves. It leads us to feeling inadequate and insecure.
It leads us fearing talking to other men and getting jealous of other men, instead of basking in their glory and feeling proud of their success. Instead of supporting one another, we bring each other down. Instead of loving one another, we hate ourselves.
There is such pressure on us to look good so it’s very easy to make a wrong decision that could cost you.
If you are thinking about taking steroids, please make sure it’s for the right reasons (if there are any) and you’re not doing it because you feel you need to compete, because no matter how much you grow, your issues and insecurities will still be there unless you deal with them. Steroids is not going to make them go away.
It’s normal for people to feel a bit self-conscious about their appearance from time to time and it’s normal to have a few small things you’d like to change about your appearance if you could.
However, if you feel obsessed with your appearance or if your concerns about your appearance begin to interfere with your daily life, you should seek help.
Remember that you should love yourself, and f*** everybody else’s opinion. If you are feeling down, speak to your friends about it. If you do decide to take steroids, please go speak to your local GP about it. There are risks that people don’t talk about.
Remember that your body size, shape, or weight does not determine your worth as a person, or your identity as a man.