Gays and Steroids
Hello Gaylifers and welcome to a slightly different edition of ‘Fit As’. This month’s topic is steroids and their use in the gay community.
Anyone who has been to a gym will know that there are certain guys that scream out steroid use and you can generally spot a steroid user with a quick glance. The use of the steroids seems to be a lot more prevalent in the gay community, but why? Similar to the media pressures on young girls to be skinny, are the same pressures on gay men to be body beautiful? Gay publications are regularly full of juiced up gogo type hunks who look ‘hench’ but what are the health implications and are people putting themselves at risk?
Within wider society the use of steroids is sharply on the rise. From the period 2010 to 2014, the number of people using Class C drugs rose by a staggering 645%. A US study into anabolic steroid use in relation to sexual orientation in adolescent boys identified that 21% of gay or bisexual boys said they had used steroids, compared to just 4% in heterosexual boys.
There are many theories thrown around as to why steroid use is so much higher in gay and bisexual men. One theory describes increasing muscle mass as a coping mechanism to fit into a macho world, where bullying and discrimination through younger life has caused a physiological response to increase size as a protective measure.
In a similar study where eating disorders are proven to be higher in gay and bisexual men, it discusses the issue of “body dysmorphia” and suggests that increased steroid use is a result of this condition in a vulnerable minority. In an area where little research can back up these suggestions, it is difficult to answer yes or no to these suggestions.
Vanity has a large role to play not just in gay and bisexual men, but also in the wider heterosexual community where the modern metrosexual man is becoming a lot more common. Pressure in magazines and on tv to look a certain way, places huge pressure on teens and youngsters to aspire to look a certain way but what are the risks to health?
There are pros and cons of steroid use depending on your perception of the drugs’ effects. On the positive spectrum we can see increased muscle growth, strength and muscular endurance which all cumulate in the desired aesthetic effect. When we look at the internal effects, steroids can increase your blood pressure, create fertility problems, (especially if taken from a young age) and even more worryingly, cause heart, liver and kidney damage. These risks are something you should only take once you’re fully educated on the risks and with regular medical checks before, during and after your courses.
Injecting always comes with added risks. In Manchester City centre there is a confidential needle exchange service which provides you with clean needles, sharps bins and you can dispose of your used needles safely. They can be found at 87 Oldham Street, Manchester.
For whatever reasons you may be considering steroid use, the following points are important ones to consider.
1.Educate yourself with the facts on what you are taking and what the effects on your body will be.
2. Seek medical advice prior to taking any course.
3. Make sure a close friend or family member knows what you are doing.
4. Always use clean needles and dispose of them safely.
For more information on steroid use check out www.teachpe.com/drugs/steroids
You can reach MJ at Soho Gyms – Manchester. 6:30am-10pm Monday to Friday and 9-6 weekend. Or for MJ Fitness boot-camp and personal training enquiries email: MJFITNESS@mail.com or visit the website: www.mjsfitness.comMJ Fitness MJ_Southward MJSouthwardFitness
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