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Gay British men have serious body insecurities

Study reveals gay men more anxious about personal appearance than straight men
Gay British men have serious body insecurities.
Photo by Scott Nunn.

The top five issues which gay men have with their bodies have been revealed in a new study investigating male body image.

The stomach, waist, pectorals, wrinkles and body hair are areas which British gay men are most concerned with, according to the latest online study by the Centre for Appearance Research (CAR) at University of West England (UWE) Bristol in collaboration with the Succeed Foundation and Central YMCA.

The nationwide British study (which took place from November – December 2011) revealed that over four in five British men regularly engage in conversation about each other's body and the majority of them are unhappy with their muscularity.

Of the 394 men taking part, 102 of them identified themselves as gay and eight of them as bisexual.

Duncan Stephenson, Head of PR at Central YMCA London said of the findings: 'It's quite interesting because breaking the stats down it is clear that from this study gay men are much more anxious about their appearance that straight men.'

Over half of gay men compare their appearance to people who are better looking than they are.

And 36% of gay men are significantly more likely to say that concerns about their appearance have prevented them from going to the gym compared to straight men (18%).

Gay men are much more worried about fear of gaining weight compared to straight men - 26% compared to 17%.

The study shows 91% of gay men are more likely to engage in conversation about their bodies compared to straight men, with 76% of them being personally affected by the conversation.

Although a majority of the men felt that engaging in 'body talk' would affect them negatively, half of gay men felt that it provided emotional reassurance to their friends and half thought it was a helpful form of social bonding.

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