Story Two


Phil is 23, English and lives in Australia.

I did the usual mucking around with boys when I was growing up, playing doctors and doctors. I was pretty skinny when I was young, up until the age of eight, but then I got fat right through school. About 16 I saw a television programme on Channel 4 - homosexual virtual sex, voyeurism, rubbing of naked bodies, and simulated fucking. The bodies in the programme were of the stereotypical gym fit type, and so this was my first idea of what a gay male body should look like. I came out when I was 21.



My idea of the 'ideal' body type was formed quite early on before coming out, and the ideal remained constant through coming out but has since changed. I don't look at stereotypes as much now and I look at the individual person instead. I think it is personal taste and depends on who the individual is and what chemistry is happening!

The first man I ever had sex with had the gym fit body - he was a perfect looking man. I couldn't believe my luck as he was my ideal body image type at the time. But I felt I couldn't compete with this man or those type of bodies in general. He (the other man) thought I had a gym fit body (until he took the wrapping off!) I promised myself that I would get a "better" body and this has brought other rewards - more attention, more looks from people, and has given me more self-esteem. I try to work on my mental and spiritual areas as I feel that the body is just part of an overall package.



I think I do have lower self-esteem in regards to how I position my body in an 'order of desirability' - there are definitely more people higher up the body chain with better bodies than me! I tend to shut myself off to this when I am cruising in a sauna. On the street its kewl, as there I have higher self-esteem, as if my body doesn't matter as much.

Author: Levels of body image self-esteem change in different environments (cruising and the street for example). In one environment, over which Phil has less control, his body image is revealed to the gaze of others making him feel less powerful. In the other environment he is clothed, and the gaze upon his naked body can be escaped from. A hierarchy of body desirability is much more pronounced in a cruising environment (whether it is a dance party or a sauna), when the naked body is visible.

I did get depressed about my body image, but not too seriously, because I feel that when you develop your self-esteem and achievements in other areas then body image is not such a problem. I got used to being fat and found that I looked for other good points in myself, and developed what other skills I have. I'm comfortable in myself now. Going to the gym has improved my self-esteem about my own body. But I think the people I see in these images in magazines are insecure because they have this image to keep up and this lifestyle to perform too. Its so bad in the sense that you can see these pockets/areas and if you walk into them at clubs with the wrong body type then you can feel the vibes/atmosphere of being weighed in the balance - and found wanting. I'm not at all comfortable having this pressure to attain put on you.
I would like to be in a gay mag as I am. If it is a gay "community" then it should reflect the whole community and not just one area or body image within it. I think more exposure of other body images would create more fantasies for people and therefore lead to less desire of the muscular body.

I have never thought of having anal sex without a condom with a man who fits my body image 'ideal' because no shags worth risking your own life.