Body Talk: Do Biceps Make The Man If The Man Can’t Make Biceps?


I’ve learned that physical attraction is much more complicated than I once thought and, for that matter, that it is much more fun to sleep with people who don’t look like they’ve just been unwrapped from packaging. A big part of growing up involves learning that — most of the time — your brain and your penis like two very different things and that, at a certain point, one of them is just going to have to learn how to compromise. As it turns out, the best romantic and sexual experiences tend to happen when both of them agree on something or someone. In my case, that doesn’t tend to happen when I’m having hateful sex with a proxy for the muscular douchebags who tortured me in high school.”

“In a way, I think this is a lesson that the gay community is learning, too. Over the past decade, as gay people have become more accepted and gay ghettoes have begun to empty out, I’ve noticed that the extremely muscled gay aesthetic has begun to fade away, especially among twenty-somethings. While enclaves like Chelsea are still synonymous with beefy, muscle-y men, most young gay people aren’t moving into them — instead they’re heading to Brooklyn, or the Mission, or Silver Lake, or other more mixed areas where diversity means there’s less pressure to get buff than in, say, West Hollywood. Larry Kramer told me in an interview a few years ago that he doesn’t see as many gay people on the street anymore, that they seem to have disappeared. It’s not that they went anywhere; it’s just that it’s harder to tell them from the straight ones. Hopefully, in coming generations, gay guys won’t have to feel any more anxious about their chest or bicep size than any other guy.”

From the Salon article, My Skinny Arm Complex, by Thomas Rogers

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  • MikeE

    while the quote is quite interesting, and does make me want to read the entire article, I can’t help but wonder about this statement:
    “hateful sex with a proxy for the muscular douchebags who tortured me in high school.”

    I can safely say that for myself, my attraction to handsomely muscular men has nothing to do with whomever may have bullied me in high school. If anything, the bullies in high school were often overweight and most decidedly unattractive.

    Rather, the models for my physical “ideal” were the (admittedly extremely unrealistic) heroes of the comic books I read as a child.

    I have serious doubts anyone would start making psycho-sexual connections between their abusers and their sexual attraction as late in life as high school.

    I think he’s possibly making a faulty cause/effect connection when referring to the physical body type that seems to appeal to the younger generation these days.

    At one point, burly, muscular, hairy, moustachioed men were a gay icon. Then the straight world picked up on that fad, and gays moved on to something else.

    Now it seems that everyone is into guys who appear to be under-age. This goes along with Hollywood’s (and the advertising media) seeming interest in promoting extreme youth as the ultimate in desirability, an obsession which in my opinion is starting to border on pedophilia.

  • Tracy


    I think your analysis makes a lot of sense.

    Less circuitous and twisted than that quote from Mr. Rogers.

  • viveutvivas

    In my experience, many guys with perfect bodies are pretty boring in bed, which in turn has made me lose some of my attraction to them in the first place. I’m finding myself more and more attracted to not very muscular guys as time goes on – for me it is more about a certain masculinity. You can be perfectly buffed and yet I will often find you completely asexual.

  • pscheck2

    In interviews with buffed up celebs (entertain. & sports) they come across as self-absorbed, opqaue individuals. They savour the attention they get from both sexes and you sense a certain smugness in their attitude! Years ago, a friend of mine was telling me of his experience with such a hunk who was a star of a road series on TV and the dude after my friend ‘blowed’ him said: ‘you can tell all your friends that you fuc*ed………”Don’t you think having one as your lover, you will become paranoid when you catching him eyeing odther dudes when out with him or getting e-mails and pbone #s on the sly? Remember no one is good enough for him, right?

  • frshmn

    I think rent prices are why young people live in Brooklyn over Chelsea or HK, rather than a rejection of the gay ghetto. Same story in the Castro and WeHo.

  • Peter

    I think that when you learn to respect yourself by not respecting others you really haven’t learned anything.

  • GayBacon

    WTF?! Why is that dude’s pec bigger than his head? That’s just wrong and not attractive in my opinion.

  • breal

    Seriously Thomas?

    Not only do I see gays who are beefing up and staying in shape in NYC, DC, LA, PHIL, BOS, etc but the straight guys are doing it too. No they don’t look like Lou Ferrigno but they do look good.

    Really, thats what you should be writing about, I can’t tell the fucking difference anymore. But its nice ta look at.

    What would be cool is if you could write another fake article about how the gay guys and straight guys don’t care anymore and are starting to have sex with each other. (my sarcastic writing)

    Gay is gay, its been that way since the beginning of time. How many statues do you see of fat people? We like the male body always have always will.


    I think breal made a good point: both gay AND straight men are getting more into how they look. I think that a lot of it has to do with marketers who have focused on women for so long, they started to realize that if they can convince men to obsess about their looks, they can make MORE money…making money drives most things in this world.

    However, I do think that there is somewhat more pressure on gay men to look good, just because men in general are more visually-oriented than women. Gay men have the same pressure to look good that straight women do; it’s just that straight women need to have thin waists and large chests, while gay men need to have big muscles. It’s all the same thing.

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