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Study: Gay and Bisexual Teen Boys Use Steroids at a Rate 6 Times Higher Than Straight Peers

A new study reveals that gay and bisexual teens are using steroids at a rate six times higher than their straight peers, the AP reports:

SteroidselfieReasons for the differences are unclear. The study authors said it’s possible gay and bi boys feel more pressure to achieve a bulked-up “ideal” male physique, or that they think muscle-building steroids will help them fend off bullies.

Overall, 21 percent of gay or bisexual boys said they had ever used steroids, versus 4 percent of straight boys. The difference was similar among those who reported moderate use — taking steroid pills or injections up to 40 times: 8 percent of gay or bi teens reported that amount, versus less than 2 percent of straight boys. The heaviest use — 40 or more times — was reported by 4 percent of gays or bi boys, compared with less than 1 percent of straight teens.

The study was released in the journal Pediatrics and is culled from government surveys between 2005 and 2007 involving 17, 250 teen boys with an average age of 16, 635 of whom were gay or bi. Although the data was collected six years ago, experts believe the results remain consistent in today's youth:

Dr. Rob Garofalo, adolescent medicine chief at Lurie Children’s Hospital in Chicago, said the differences aren’t surprising, since it is known that gay youth often have “body image issues.” But he said, “It is still shocking. These are dramatically high rates.”

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  1. Pressure to achieve bulked up male physique, to fend off bullies?? How about the incessant idolization of jocks, fashion models, A&F billboards, tumblr sex and fetish sites?! Validation now comrs in the form of how many likes or followers your selfie garners.

    Posted by: Steven M Lopez | Feb 3, 2014 8:37:21 AM


  2. Lol, the article actually gave it a nobler reason than the reality, which is simply that the gay community(men in general) have always been shallow. Get a group of them together and what you get is a bunch of people placing the ideal physique above most things and when that ideal physique is the six pack, of course people will be pressured to achieve that leading to this.

    I really, really doubt they're bulking up to fight bullies, maybe in some instances, but those are most like minor.

    Posted by: Bryan | Feb 3, 2014 8:58:11 AM


  3. So due medical side-effects, our team may start losing the genital size competition in which we've enjoyed a statistically significant advantage (previously reported here, I believe). Fortunately gay men have can fetishize just about anything, so maybe small junk will become the next must-have thing --- except in porn depictions, of course.

    Posted by: Richard Everhard | Feb 3, 2014 9:10:19 AM


  4. I blame Grindr and the selfie. I remember way back...to the times of the "Castro clones" and the Marlboro Man. Tom of Finland contributed to the fantasy as well.
    The message is clear. If you want to be popular and get laid you had better get that perfect V. We used to joke...no pecs, no sex. In the cyber-world first impressions really count. No wonder young gay men are risking their health.

    Posted by: excy | Feb 3, 2014 9:10:50 AM


  5. How do teenagers even get their hands on this stuff? I must be naive, but if I wanted to used steroids -- even now -- I would have no idea where to get it.

    But if I HAD managed to access them in high school, I can assure you my motivation in using them would have been to get a rock hard body that would make my peers drool. It would not have occurred to me that it would have given me an advantage in a physical fight with a bully.

    I suspect that in the new age of 'selfie culture,' this motivation is all the more resonant. It's about image, and having the kind of body that will be the envy of all.

    Posted by: Lars | Feb 3, 2014 9:19:01 AM


  6. @Lars. I'm sure you can buy just about anything on these interwebs.

    Posted by: bollox | Feb 3, 2014 9:30:00 AM


  7. Does anyone else find this *completely* unbelievable? Especially for 6 years ago...I'd have a slightly easier time believing it nowadays. I seldom go to gay clubs in DC - not really a clubber - but when I have I've noticed that the younger the gay crowd, the thinner. The most pumped up looking teen guys I've ever noticed on metro or whatnot - no shame in admitting that, they were probably noticed by most straight "bros", too - were obviously straight jocks. Of all the various attention seeking young gay men on youtube, the only one who comes to mind as a probable young steroid user is Craigery Morgan. I think there are reasons that gay & bi teens could be more likely to self-report any illicit or off-label drug use.

    Posted by: EchtKultig | Feb 3, 2014 9:30:35 AM


  8. Popular culture, the importance how to look in gay "world", ads, commercials, pressure how to look etc. List is long.

    Posted by: Matt27 | Feb 3, 2014 9:34:15 AM


  9. I can't get over the attitudes of moral superiority among the majority of commenters on Towleroad. It's embarrassing really.

    Posted by: WOLF | Feb 3, 2014 9:35:31 AM


  10. Your internalized homophobia is showing.

    Posted by: MARCUS BACHMANN | Feb 3, 2014 9:50:53 AM


  11. I wonder if they controlled for the honesty factor? Kids who are honest enough to admit to being bi or gay might just be more honest about reporting steroid use than their possibly closeted counterparts.

    Posted by: Ophidimancer | Feb 3, 2014 9:52:10 AM


  12. I wonder if they controlled for the honesty factor? Kids who are honest enough to admit to being bi or gay might just be more honest about reporting steroid use than their possibly closeted counterparts.

    Posted by: Ophidimancer | Feb 3, 2014 9:52:11 AM


  13. I wonder if they controlled for the honesty factor? Kids who are honest enough to admit to being bi or gay might just be more honest about reporting steroid use than their possibly closeted counterparts.

    Posted by: Ophidimancer | Feb 3, 2014 9:52:12 AM


  14. I wonder if they controlled for the honesty factor? Kids who are honest enough to admit to being bi or gay might just be more honest about reporting steroid use than their possibly closeted counterparts.

    Posted by: Ophidimancer | Feb 3, 2014 9:52:12 AM


  15. I wonder if they controlled for the honesty factor? Kids who are honest enough to admit to being bi or gay might just be more honest about reporting steroid use than their possibly closeted counterparts.

    Posted by: Ophidimancer | Feb 3, 2014 9:52:12 AM


  16. I wonder if they controlled for the honesty factor? Kids who are honest enough to admit to being bi or gay might just be more honest about reporting steroid use than their possibly closeted counterparts.

    Posted by: Ophidimancer | Feb 3, 2014 9:52:12 AM


  17. I wonder if they controlled for the honesty factor? Kids who are honest enough to admit to being bi or gay might just be more honest about reporting steroid use than their possibly closeted counterparts.

    Posted by: Ophidimancer | Feb 3, 2014 9:52:13 AM


  18. I wonder if they controlled for the honesty factor? Kids who are honest enough to admit to being bi or gay might just be more honest about reporting steroid use than their possibly closeted counterparts.

    Posted by: Ophidimancer | Feb 3, 2014 9:52:18 AM


  19. Apologies for the post spam, browser glitch.

    Posted by: Ophidimancer | Feb 3, 2014 9:52:52 AM


  20. I wonder how much the beautiful muscle boys of gay porn on sites like Sean Cody, Bel Ami, Corbin Fisher, Cocky Boys, College Dudes et al influence unrealistic images of male muscular beauty.

    Posted by: andrew | Feb 3, 2014 10:52:21 AM


  21. These sort of self-reporting studies are generally not reliable. However, the irony for teenage boys is that they don't need steroids. A good diet and plenty of exercise is all they need to bulk up. They'd be wasting their money on steroids.

    Posted by: anon | Feb 3, 2014 11:01:44 AM


  22. I am not remotely sexually attracted to steroid using bulked up guys of any are. A morbid fascination yes, attraction no.

    Steroid abuse and even legit use has horrifying side effects.

    And I agree with another poster, there seems to be a skinny as a 16 year old methhead boy fetish among gay men of all ages,not bulking up.

    Posted by: ratbastard | Feb 3, 2014 11:27:51 AM


  23. I had a friend at 5'6" who took steroids and had massive roid rage issues. Yeah you may have bulging biceps and rock hard abs but who wants to be around you when you start rampaging?

    When you're left alone with your "pretty" body because your poor attitude scared away your friends, I guess they can live of the vapid comments of their "pretty" body.

    Posted by: Sam | Feb 3, 2014 12:14:35 PM


  24. Was data collected on HCG use? Cuz shrunken testicles are not hot.

    @Richard Everhard: Steroids don't shrink your meat. It's the potatoes that shrivel.

    Posted by: FFS | Feb 3, 2014 12:32:08 PM


  25. I feel lucky that I didn't have access to or otherwise think to use steroids. I did the circuit in the mid-late 90's. Roid bodies weren't the overwhelming population at those events (that I could figure out). Today, I see pictures from such events (thankfully, that period of participation runs its course for most) and EVERYONE is turly flawless and built like a greek god. I can only imagine that they will pay for it with any number of health problems as they hit hteir middle years. Who wants a heart attack at 40?

    Posted by: John | Feb 3, 2014 1:13:56 PM


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