Oh to be lean and muscular: Body image ideals in gay and heterosexual men.

by Marika Tiggemann, Yolanda Martins, Alana Kirkbride
Psychology of Men & Masculinity ()


The aim of the study was to compare body ideals and body dissatisfaction among gay and heterosexual men. Participants (134 gay men, 119 heterosexual men) completed measures of body figure preference ratings varying on adiposity and muscularity, and measures of self-esteem and involvement with the gay community (gay participants only). It was found that both gay and heterosexual men desired to be thinner and more muscular. However, body dissatisfaction (discrepancy between current and ideal figures) was greater for the gay men. For both sexual orientation groups, dissatisfaction with thinness increased with age and was negatively correlated with self-esteem. For gay men, muscularity dissatisfaction was also negatively correlated with self-esteem, but involvement with the gay community was not related to body dissatisfaction. It was concluded that many men (gay and hetero- sexual alike) experience body dissatisfaction, but that this was somewhat greater for gay men.

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