Comments

1

Good advice on voicing what's comfortable to you. Also might think about scaling back a bit on the muscle per se. I've found it's mostly the beefcake guys who tend to get overboard on the chatter, as it's all the do, it's their life. A muscly but not as beefy guy could be just what the LW needs for a more meaningful relationship... :-)

2

My suggestion: ditch the apps and get an offline life if you're looking for something more than a hookup.

I think something to explore with your therapist is what, exactly, you do want out of a relationship. Muscles can be on the list, sure, but relationships built on looks and narcissism (on the other guy's part, assuming what he gets out of the relationship is your worship of him) aren't really built on a solid foundation.

So what else matters to you, THINMAN? Want someone brainy? Someone nerdy? Someone athletic? What do you see yourself doing with your partner when you're not in the bedroom?

Beyond that, think about character traits that matter. What sort of man should he be? What virtues matter? What vices throw a red flag?

Then go out and start meeting people. Physically. Talk to them. Physically. (Seriously, put the effing phone away) Ask them about themselves. Find some common interests. Not just the hotties, but a wide range. Don't even think in terms of dating here; you're looking to meet people and make friends. Go out and do things with different people: hiking, cosplay, movies, dinner, weekend road trips, leather groups, whatever. Again, it's all about being friends.

It will take some time but it will have a lot of good effects. You'll make new friends and acquaintances that way. You'll get used to people who value you for other than physical things. And, sooner or later, and more or less organically, you'll start meeting guys who do seem like good candidates for dating. And these will be guys that you already know you have something in common with.

It just takes a little time, effort and patience.

3

@2 That was lovely, Corydon.

LW, everyone have something they'd like to improve. The musclemen you like worked hard on their bodies because they wanted to look good, to enhance what was there before, as you are doing. So don't put yourself down. I find that many people, maybe even most, believe a lot of what you tell/show them. If you value yourself, and believe you look great/beautiful, so will other people. Like Dan said, clearly these guys find you attractive. Maybe if you can try to see yourself the way they do, then the unending exercise/diet talks won't be triggering, just boring!

4

This LW should know that my body type (cub/bear) is nowhere near the same as my husband's (rather feminine), and he's exactly my type. It's also nowhere near the same as the type of guys I'm into, or necessarily the type of guys who are into me. Same thing goes for him. There's something about dichotomies which can be extremely attractive, fulfilling even. Same goes for couples which are alike, but LW's issue is not physical, it's mental, he tells himself these guys are out of his league, so in his mind (which is the world he lives in, like it or not), they're out of his league. The single greatest authority in his life--himself--has decreed them out of his league for a reason that his potential dates don't see at all.

LW, if your dates are like that, they voluntarily chose to go out on dates with you knowing you weren't Scooby Werkstatt-level swole. They aren't going out with you because they're under the impression that you're just a titan. If you're getting offhanded comments about your body, maybe that's because they've run into guys who are into that dichotomy and because you're more submissive and into muscle worship, they assume you're like that because they haven't otherwise been prompted, I suspect they're trying to turn you on rather than genuinely insult you. I know if I was in their position I'd probably be doing the same thing.

The simple solution to this is to bring it up. Let them know what the deal is, that you are attracted to their bodies but that you want a body like theirs and you aren't necessarily looking to hear comments about your body in comparison. There's no shame in bringing it up, it might be a sensitive topic but it's going to prevent a lot of stress and negative self-image for you. I've always been slightly heavier than my peers, not tremendously so, but always, from literally the time I was born, heavier than most people my age. It took a lot of time to accept that, and of course I still want to stay healthy, but I can be this size and still have just a stellar romantic life and sex life. I can, and I do, and if I can do it, you sure can.

These guys are into you. If they weren't into you in some way, they wouldn't be out with you. Do what you love with these guys because I guarantee as a top, they love what you're doing to them, and if they don't, they're in the wrong position. Plenty of bigger guys fantasize about smaller ones, hell, I do. I even know guys who are into 'transformation' stuff involving getting smaller guys bigger, or bigger guys smaller. The point is, whatever your position is, someone will either already be into that, or will practically instantly be into that after hearing that it's where you are. Many people are sexually very adaptable and will mold themselves to the situation with pleasure, and their enjoyment will still be every bit as genuine as if you had molded to theirs. Seriously, just be upfront and ask and you will get your way.

5

First World problem, Go out for a cheeseburger and fries. Step back and look at the big picture. So, you dig the muscle boys (for now?), but you aren't one of them. I suggest you just be glad that obviously you can attract some of what you like. In the world of adult dating, that's a big deal. Good luck and stop creating issues for yourself. You are young and alive; that won't last forever!

6

@5 - Genau

7

@5 - it's easy to say "don't create issues for yourself" but in the real world with people who have issues with severe anxiety, it doesn't work that way. You can be a model human to your friends, but still internalize your perceived failures. Telling these folks the equivalent of "shut the fuck up and be happy" is not just unhelpful, it's worse than saying nothing.

8

Must get a little boring, LW, as well as triggering, hearing about these men's diets. Dan said it, ask and explain, maybe in simple terms, why you'd like them to stop sharing their diet etc info with you. As they sound like preening peacocks you could say you'd much rather hear how they feel being so strong, so muscled.
Perhaps for a while longer as you continue your therapy, hold off looking for a ltr. Enjoy these men and their muscles, for what it is, a hookup, and keep working on yourself. Once you are stronger of mind, who you are attracted to might be a very different story. Long term, you need to value much more than whether the dude has muscles or not. Is he kind. Intelligent etc. Corydon@2 covers areas of importance re lasting love relationships.

9

@5, how patronizing and dismissive. (and he's said he's triggered by dietary suggestions!) Whatever makes a human feel unattractive and unlovable is a deeply personal thing and not to be mocked. This column should be a safe place for such things to be discussed. I am glad so many are telling LW that it's really common for opposite body types to find each other mutually desirable.

10

Iseult @3 gets it right, how you feel about your own attractiveness is what will attract others.

11

Why gay men so obsessed with types and classifications? Who cares if you like a body that isn't similar to your own? Who cares if they like a body that isn't similar to theirs?

Take a lesson from straight people and just enjoy what you like. By definition we can't like bodies exactly like ours.... Because that would mean we're gay!

12

oh that’s right i forgot straight people have no body issues at all

13

I'm wondering whether LW's preferred sexual encounters match well with his preferred relationships. A natural worshiper would presumably thrive on partners who were "way out of his league".

14

I'm willing to cut the LW some slack because I do believe issues are real and that they can do a number on you. But "triggering" always has a tinge of indulgence to me. Someone mentions his haircut and he's triggered? That feels like a situation that he created. The only person in my whole life that has suggested a haircut to me is my mother, and then it was usually to get something shorter or less teased or less blue (yes, when I was a teenager in the 80's).

On another note, I remember the allure of the muscle guy. It seemed like all the porn when I was young featured muscly, hairless robots that were waiting to be worshipped. I thought that's what we were all supposed to be and want. It took years for me to realize that a fat guy had different and wonderful things to offer, like not feeling like a bag of elbows when I touched him.

15

LW, Corydon @5 is spot on and you should take that very good advice.

Something else you can learn to do--with your therapist, because this will take time--is to be compassionate to yourself. Self-compassion is not the same thing as self-esteem...self-compassion is accepting that you will never be perfect (whatever that means) and that you can still live a good life anyway. So you aren't a big muscle guy? Okay. What is there physically about you that is good? What else about you besides your body is good? THAT is what those other dudes are seeing. Your laundry list of flaws exists only in your head. You don't have to air it where everyone else can see.

Another thing that jumped out at me was you liking the physical bodies of very muscular men, but their conversations (diets, exercise routines, etc) BORE YOU. They bore you and they upset you, which isn't exactly how I would want to spend my time if I were in their shoes. That leaves you with a couple of options:

Meet them to fuck, not as potential boyfriend material. (As Dan said the other day, everyone gets laid, nobody gets hurt, yahtzee.)
Look for muscular men who have interests other than the gym.
Both 1 and 2.

Finally, if you're not on medication for anything, you might discuss that with your therapist. Meds aren't for everyone and they may not be right for you. If you do have a neurochemical imbalance, though, any work you do will be much more productive if you get the physical issues taken care of (your brain chemistry) and you can focus on training yourself how to deal with your problems without the extra burden of physical issues. As a recovering anorexic, if you have not discussed nutritional deficiencies with your doctor, you might consider that too. B12 in particular has neurological effects, and magnesium is tied to anxiety.

16

I like muscly guys too. I have a special place in my heart for a former partner who was an MMA fighter and just beautiful to look at and enjoy. That said, if you put all my partners in a room, you'd have a hard time figuring out a "type". Ultimately, the allure is the whole person and good-looking is not the same thing as attractive. So enjoy your ripped guys and keep reminding yourself are worthy of love and pleasure. Tell yourself that until it sinks into your bones and you know it. But, as Corydon @2 so beautifully says, when you meet people, look at the whole person, just as you want to be seen as a whole person.

I applaud you in fighting your eating disorder and body image problems. That's no easy road and here you are, battling every day, getting the help you need and I just hope you recognize that real strength is so much more than big biceps. If anyone says something about diet or body shape or anything that puts you in a bad place, I suggest being very matter-of-fact about it: "I've struggled with eating/body image disorders so I don't talk about diet/work outs. How 'bout those Mets?"

No shame and a smooth re-direct to allow any awkwardness to fade away. I can be shy so having a few practiced things to say for those awkward times really helps.

17

Good for you, LW for coming so far.

Good advice Dan. But I have one suggestion to add - speaking as someone who’s had to figure out how to talk about my mental health needs with causal friends and partners, it’s not always comfortable (or appropriate) to lead with the diagnosis.

Saying “I’ve struggled with anorexia” might feel too emotionally loaded early in a relationship. I sometimes prefer saying something that’s absolutely the truth but also a little vague and that feels less vulnerable. For example - “I lost a lot of weight due to a health issue / illness awhile ago. I’m much better now but I’m still self conscious about it and I’d rather not talk about my looks or weight.” And then change the subject, so it’s clear you’re not expecting them to help make you feel better or fishing for compliments.

Practicing this with a therapist could help the LW. As well as thinking about how to head off the diet / looks conversation topics before a partner brings it up.

18

@12 I didn't say that at all. I'm commenting specifically how gay men put everyone in sa little group: bear, twink, leather daddy, wolf, jackal, muscle guy, etc. It sounds exhausting.

19

CleoGirl @17 - your wording is better. :)

20

Mirea @ 19 - aww, thanks.

(And quick correction - I meant casual friends, not causal friends ;) )

21

@18 - right because there no such thing as a cougar, or a dad bod, or a MILF, or BBW or...

22

@18 Yeah man, like, we're all just PEOPLE, you know? Woah, mind blown! What if, like, nobody used labels and we were all like, you know, just, like, doing our thing? Far out!

24

I'm an old fat guy with broad tastes in men - and some young muscle jocks find me seriously attractive (and demonstrate that in ways which are impossible to fake). It's a lesson in other men's tastes - their taste in men is often not at all your taste in men, so there will be muscled jocks who are looking for men exactly like you.

What you need to learn to get yourself out of all this is fairly simple, although it may not be easy. Instead of comparing what they like to what you like, or comparing yourself to your idea of what you should look like, learn to just say "Thanks!" to hot muscled men who think you're hot, and don't argue with them.

Whether or not you find yourself attractive is irrelevant unless you're masturbating in front of a mirror. It just doesn't matter. At all. What matters is the other guy's taste in men, and when you match what they are looking for, just say "Thanks" and enjoy them.

This can be a very hard lesson to learn - fortunately, you can pretend to have learned it until it sinks in. Start just saying "Thanks" and pretending to let them have their own opinions about your looks. That's much better than trying to convince them that they are mistaken when they think you're hot.

25

@24 Something implied by my note above, but which I didn't say, is that the men who are attracted to you as you are might not be attracted to you if you changed and looked the way you think you "should" look.

For those men, how you look is a positive thing which would be spoiled if you became a more stereotyped muscle guy. I know my fans are mainly attracted to old fat guys, and most of them don't find muscle jocks attractive at all. If I became an old fit muscle guy, I'd lose most of my current fans.

It sounds like you do a lot of comparing of yourself to some ideal. What good has that ever brought you?

27

Here's the trap that THINMAN is in. He is attracted to men who spend a lot of time getting their bodies to look a certain way. Their bodies are their hobby. And everyone talks about their hobbies, so these guys are going to talk about diet and exercise. THINMAN either needs to change his taste in men or accept that this comes with the territory. And get some therapy because everyone eats and so there's no way he can avoid being "triggered" by food talk, even if he does start dating average Joes. Hell, most actual dates involve a meal! So he's either doomed to hookups only or he's gonna have to suck it up (har har) and deal with his own body and food issues. Which he should do regardless.

And yeah, I know I'm the wrong gender, but some of us who like men prefer skinny dudes to muscled ones, so there's that to keep in mind.

28

Blip @11: I know, right? He meant straight MEN. Who'll fuck anything as long as it has a vagina.

(Yes joking, some straight men are fussy and a great many have body issues. Now you know, Dirtygerty!)

Further to @27, I see THINMAN is already in therapy. Good for him, I hope it helps.

29

Sexual preferences aside...talking to a muscle guy isn't always the most stimulating. People who live in the gym, mostly talk about the gym. And while that can be interesting initially, they eventually start talking at you like they are coaching you.

They're not trying to convert you, they're into you, LW, but it takes a certain personality to remain dedicated to the gym. I'm with Dan on finding another guy who loves the muscle bod as much as you if you can (don't try to force it if you're just not into it).


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