Male Self-Image

Originally posted in: http://www.prideinstituteflorida.com/our-weblog/male-self-image-issues.html

It has been dubbed the Adonis Complex, a type of body dysmophic disorder. Preoccupied with body image, men obsessed over obtaining the perfect six-pack, the perfect chest, the perfect arms, the perfect everything. Even after the results are achieved, the men are still not satisfied. In their eyes, they are still flawed.

Historically, it was perceived that women were the only ones that were self-conscious about their bodies, but it seems the issue has crossed gender lines. More and more men, specifically gay men, suffer from negative body images. The range of suffering can be as mild as trying to lose a couple of pounds to more severe conditions like the Adonis Complex. A negative self-image can be debilitating. It affects one’s self-esteem and research has shown that a low self-esteem can lead to severe psychological problems such as depression or anxiety.

Obtaining the perfect male physique is not a new phenomenon. Playgirl centerfolds and Chippendale dancers have been around a long time and while the men had excellent bodies, society didn’t adopt them as the male standard. Back then, flab wasn’t bad. But slowly, demand for washboard abs, sculpted chests and a body fat of less than 6% have become the norm. Demonstrating their sex appeal, male stars can’t wait to lift their shirts and brandish ripped torsos. National and local magazine covers display more skin then ever before. In recent years, the demonization of body hair has a set off a trend of shaved bodies. All these images send a message to men that if they don’t fit this mold, then they are not desirable, not fit and worse, not men. Women around the world are saying, “Welcome to our world.”

The pressures to conform start to take root. It’s not changing to a healthier lifestyle or joining a gym that’s the issue, it’s the disappointment and feelings of low self-worth that erupt when goals are not reached. These emotions can manifest in eating disorders, angry outbursts or engaging in risky behaviors like unprotected sex or drug use. If you feel shameful or like a failure because your body doesn’t resemble those on billboards, you may have a negative body image.

The Pride Institute of Florida can help rebuild your body image and your self-esteem. With therapy, you’ll learn to appreciate who you are and while body image is important, you’ll understand it’s not the sole component of your identity. Men with a healthy body image are more likely to have a positive outlook on life, be more confident and have better sexual relations. Does this sound like what you want? If so, call us today and find out how we can help.