CHICAGO — Gay and bisexual teen boys use illicit steroids at a rate almost six times higher than do straight kids, a “dramatic disparity” that points up a need to reach out to this group, researchers say.
Reasons 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 is billed as the first to examine the problem; previous research has found similar disparities for other substance abuse. …
The nationally representative study is an analysis of government surveys from 2005 and 2007. It involved 17,250 teen boys aged 16 on average; almost 4 percent — 635 boys — were gay or bisexual. Blashill said it’s likely more recent data would show the disparities persist.
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.”
By the way, there`s a sense that in our culture gay men are less waspishly witty than they used to be and are now more earnest and dull. It`s hard to measure, but I`d guess you`d find more people who would agree with that statement than with the opposite. Might this cultural trend (assuming it exists) have something to do with the dumbing down side effects of butching up to be more attractive to other gay men?