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Recent studies suggest that 10% of all eating disorder cases are males. It also appears that up to 80% of these cases are gay men. The statistics may be even higher since for men, reaching out for help may be even harder. The shame associated with an eating disorder is compounded by the fact that eating disorders are viewed as a woman’s issue. It is important to note that eating disorders can strike any gender without discrimination.

As it is for women, eating disorders in men are not about food, but about other aspects in their life. Stress, low self esteem and depression can be factors. Since family, friends and even society often shun gay men, it follows that many may have a low self-esteem issue. Sexuality may also be a factor in the development of an eating disorder. Some gay men may struggle with this issue, especially if they feel unaccepted by those they love. Like many women with an eating disorder, men may also have been victims of sexual abuse.

Society and the media have now placed more importance on appearance for men. There is an opinion out there that gay men take better care of themselves, are better looking, more fit then heterosexual men. With these pressures and the need to “fit in” to society, many gay men fall in to an eating disorder trap.

It is important that these men get help. If you know a friend with and eating disorder, be supportive and help them learn to reach out. There are not as many resources for men, but they are out there.