Have you been staring into the cardboard hollows of a few too many pints of Ben & Jerry’s lately?
According to the International Journal of Eating Disorders, there is a three times greater chance for a gay man to have a clinical eating disorder than a straight man.
What’s more, the Journal states that 15 percent of gay or bi men in the U.S. have struggled with the likes of bulimia, binge eating or anorexia, and of the total number of men suffering an eating disorder, 42 percent are gay or bi.
Linda Santangelo, a psychologist who runs an eating disorder program, has her own stats to thrown in — in her experience, gay men are seven times more likely to binge eat than straight men, and twelve times more likely to purge.
She says the reason behind it is coping. Coping with discrimination, violence or rejection in response to their sexuality. Or they may just be stressed out about coming out.
While we’re sure these cases must exist, isn’t there perhaps a more obvious explanation? Gay men are more sexually objectified than straight men — for better or worse — and couldn’t the desire to be your “perfect self” lead you down a path that ends hovering over the toilet?
Chase Bannister, a psychotherapist who specializes in eating disorders, recently told Salon:
“The gay male community has placed unrealistic expectations upon itself. Emaciation is normal. Electing not to eat or to only drink liquids for several days has become normative. Negative comments about body weight, shape, size of ourselves or others has become a daily part of our community’s common life.”
Bannister takes this argument even wider, hypothesizing that:
Gay males have over the years been named by society as having characteristics that are effeminate in nature, which are narrated by culture as weak, which as a clinician, I find misogynistic. The result of society seeing effeminate behavior as weak is to get bulked up.
So to sum up, we’re either dealing with rejection or unsafely bulking up to subconsciously try and disprove society’s preconceptions.
Could it be that we’re just trying to get laid?