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Male body image same for gays, straights

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The ideal body for gays and straights?

The ideal body for gays and straights?

Researchers in Australia, studying body image, found no significant difference in the way gay and straight men view themselves. Both want to be lean and muscular and are most frustrated with their stomachs.

The research [at the University of Canberra] revealed that while women desire to be thin, straight and gay men preferred lean and muscular physique. Psychologist and study author Shane Greentree said it was hard to say if the male body image problem had worsened, but it did seem more acceptable to discuss it. "Previously, particularly for straight men, this was an issue that was taboo topic and seen as being a women's issue or ... a "gay man's" issue," the Daily Telegraph quoted Greentree as saying.

This seems a bit surprising given how focused we are told gay men are on their bodies and how straight guys don't need to be so buff to find a mate. I sense that the bombardment of idealized body images in popular culture has made all men aware of where they stack up. Call it the Calvin Klein Underwear Model Effect.

Dr Vivienne Lewis, who was the part of both studies, said body image program for men showed the problem was real and needed addressing. "You'd be surprised how many ... men ... are doing some of the things that women are doing," Lewis said. "They might be dieting, they might be binge eating and then purging their food. "We don't know how many men do it because men don't come forward and say "I've got a problem"," Lewis added.

From your own experience, do you think your straight friends have the same body issues as your gay friends? And how much of this is generational?