Over the last couple of weeks we have been talking about everyone’s favourite after dinner topic, porn! Let’s be honest, we’ve all seen porn in one form or another and have all compared ourselves to the very buff, well-endowed actors (while sat drinking tea and being civilized of course…). But where does that constant need to compare ourselves to other people come from? And will we ever be happy with our own bodies enough to not care how buff the ‘other guy’ is?
Now, I’m going to make this a little personal to me for a while so if I bore you, tough! For those that know me you know that I’m never happy with my body and that I’m rather partial to, shall we say, punch and pie… therefore keeping the body in the shape of an addonis is always going to be an uphill struggle. But who said that male bodies need to have wash board abs? And where can I find this person to rub him up against a few wash boards? (And not in a good way!).
Don’t get me wrong, I like the look of a nice toned healthy body just as much as the next guy, but when does that creep into then comparing yourself to the men you see? We all do it, we see a slimmer, smoother, taller, bulkier guy and suddenly you instantly find yourself admiring what they have and wishing you had it yourself. When actually, you already have most of what just walked past.
I had a friend, a real friend not “a friend”, who I went to Gran Canaria with for pride. He was tall, slim, dark haired and reasonably confident. While walking down that main drag before the pride parade started you could clearly see people checking him out and eyeing him up. But could he see it? Definitely not – instead he spent most of his time diverting attention away and complaining about how his body wasn’t as ‘picture perfect’ as some of the other bodies there. Dude, you’re getting attention from some pretty hot guys… buck up your ideas and live in the moment. Shudda, wudda, cudda doesn’t get you where you want to be or enjoying the life that is clearly knocking on your doorstep. Please note I only ever say dude when someone really has a “derrr” moment and needs to be told, one dude to another… promise!
But we’ve all done it. Dressed differently to hide something we don’t like about our bodies, or gone on a crash diet to get just that little bit slimmer for the summer or our pride holiday.
Is there a light at the end of the tunnel?
If I were to change my lifestyle to get and maintain a ‘buff’ body would that mean that I would be happy with my self-image and finally be comfortable in my own skin? I don’t think so… Well, not from what I’ve seen. I can say (proudly?) that I have some fit and healthy friends, a couple of whom took the pilgrimage to change their bodies from one shape to another. Now they are in a better shape than before I thought it would stop or become settled into a ‘maintenance’ routine, but apparently not.
They are now looking at going on to the next level and bulk out further. Dieting and protein shakes seem to have become the new thing and the same old negative self-image is still there. I remember one time for whatever reason they were unable to get to the gym for a day or 2 and all you got from them was a constant worry that they were starting to lose definition and therefore confidence.
You could see the confidence literally disappear from his eyes as the evening went on and he talked himself more and more into a believe that no one would speak to him because his six pack had receded less than a centimeter. I couldn’t help but feel sorry for him, but at the same time also see some of myself in that. One thing out of place or body being bloated and you do fix on it and think that it’s something to be ashamed of.
Lately, I will admit that being in a long term relationship meant that I did get quite close to being ‘happy’ in my own body – not completely however, but just enough to not worry about what I wore or spend ages in a gym just to burn off less fat than that in a rich tea biscuit. But that also meant that I became lazy, unhealthy and I’ll even admit it, overweight. I’m not ashamed of that, but I do now look at myself and think “bloody hell boy, you’ve let yourself go”. Instantly I go straight into a self-body hating mode and get back into the old regimes. But already I’m starting to feel healthier and a little happier in myself; so surely self-improvement can be good thing?
Before we go down this path, mother if you’re reading this, avert your eyes or even better go and make yourself a cup of tea – go on!
Now, you’re all thinking it – this doesn’t just apply to bodies, we also do it with cock size (and don’t say you don’t because you do, I’m yet to meet someone that hasn’t at some point in their life, even when drunk). Bigger is better apparently, again who decided this I have no idea. Personally, bigger is not better as bigger means the more you’re expected to fit up there… (Although not me, 100% top… sorry boys!).
So why is bigger so much better? Why do we always feel like we are smaller than everyone else when in fact, actually, we are a decent size and can have ‘fun’ without the need to outsize Dumbo? A lot of people blame the porn industry, and I have to admit after just doing a basic search online, I would have to agree with that. Out of the 10 videos I found online all of them had actors that were well above the national average (and 9 of the 10 bareback I might add, but that’s a separate issue). They all looked like they could last for hours and they all gave rather loud (and kind of convincing) orgasms which could only lead the viewer to believe that big penises lead to better orgasms. It’s at this point I rely on the bottoms out there to agree with me here that that is utter rubbish.
Personally, I take the opinion with penis size that so long as we can do something with it then who cares what the measurement is? I’m not looking to quote you for a suit, or take it on Ryanair as hand luggage so who cares what the size is? Am I alone in that thinking? And I am only saying that because I’ve not blessed in either of the extreme size categories? Is that a mindset that can ever be achieved in gay men when we are bombarded with ‘shlong’ porn and a culture of ‘bigger is better’? I think I saw a video on a ‘popular dating site’ once that even had someone shove a cone up their bum – how can anyone compete with that?
A few years ago I was asked if I wanted to par-take in porn (I think we all have at some point) but I genuinely believed at the time that I wouldn’t be ‘fit’ enough for porn. Those guys are built, smooth and hung like a whale; 3 things of which I was not. So naturally, I turned it down, but not because of moral grounds but because I deemed myself unworthy of porn? I look back now and think, what on earth was I thinking?
I keep bringing this back to me, in many ways this is deliberate and I make no apology for it as body image is a very personal thing. We, the outside world, can spot trends in behaviours but we all have our unique individual reasons for why we want to change our bodies or don’t feel confident in them. For some it can be a deeply personal and a painful motivator, for others a fad or peer pressure or even just a way of life and nothing any deeper than that. All I’ll say is that next time you look in the mirror and see something that you don’t like, ask yourself is it you that doesn’t like it or is it your opinion that others don’t like it therefore you don’t like it?
If it’s the latter, just explore that thought and see where it leads… who knows you might find something out about yourself.
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