Why I Stopped Using Steroids to Buff Up
"So young and so fat. What a lazy pig."
"Not into fatties."
As a gay man with a constant weight struggle, I have to deal with rejection every now and then—especially on dating apps. I am attracted to fit-looking guys. I can't help it. But 9 out of 10 turn me down. After being let down by apps time after time, I surrendered to the temptation of "looking good" and decided to take a risk via steroid cycles.
I've dabbled in steroids in the past, and earlier this year, after periods of sexual frustration and coping with COVID-19 restrictions, I decided to enter yet another cycle. For a time, it worked.
Unfortunately, due to my own carelessness, I got COVID-19 myself and was forced into self-isolation for 14 days. Sure enough, I began to gain weight. And this time, I'm struggling to lose it. My trainer (who also provides me with steroids) refuses to give me another cycle unless I lose some weight naturally.
After being let down by apps time after time, I surrendered to the temptation of 'looking good' and decided to take a risk via steroid cycles.
Because of my trainer's refusal and the time allowed for reflection, I decided to take a step back and dig into my choices. To dive deeper, I contacted Jamie Willis, a therapist with 20 years of experience in LGBTQIA+-related issues, and Stu Fenton, a Melbourne-based therapist who specializes in the sexualized use of drugs, or chemsex.
Before getting into it, I want to acknowledge that certain types of performance-enhancing drugs, including a majority of anabolic steroids, are illegal in the United States and in other various countries around the world if they are not properly prescribed by a medical professional. With that being said, this article is in no way recommending the use of steroids and is instead intended to serve as a retrospective based on my unique experience.
The 'right way'
Fenton said steroid use should always be done only under the advice of a doctor as well as an educated personal trainer.
"Using steroids in conjunction with someone who can offer nonjudgment and direction will make the experience positive and minimize physical danger to an individual," Fenton said. "It is important for gay men to seek advice from health professionals so that they can minimize any negative impacts on their physical health and mental health."
Fenton added that many gay men, based on his experience, don't tend to follow the steroids cycle with a thorough post-cycle therapy course, which he recommends.
"This means that testosterone levels can stay very low for a long period of time and also lead to depression and anxiety," Fenton continued. "If you are a recovering addict, it is important to get the recovery stable and strong before contemplating steroids, as they can make you horny."
'It is important for gay men to seek advice from health professionals so that they can minimize any negative impacts on their physical health and mental health.'
Nothing wrong with a little arousal, right? Not quite—Fenton added that this could lead you to want to relapse on recreational drugs and chemsex.
Willis added that many people believe steroids aren't necessarily addictive because they're not psychoactive drugs, but this, too, isn't completely true.
"If you hook up with somebody who is into a steroids-type of body, they will expect you to look [physically fit] all the time. And, thus, you will expect yourself to look like that all the time," Willis said.
He went on and said steroids greatly decrease an individual's testosterone levels—making the temptation to do another cycle that much greater.
"If you meant to do it for body image because you want to attract other people, you might want to go check on your own self-esteem," Willis said.
My own reflection
Willis conceded that many young gay men may feel compelled to have a certain body type (toned, muscled and lean) because of what they see on social media.
"The pressure is really quite intense," Willis said.
He recommends guys (including myself) take a step back from this kind of visual representation and understand not everyone wants a superhero-esque kind of body. As a matter of fact, Willis said he has worked with a lot of people who expressed that they prefer natural types of bodies instead.
"Just because it's something publicized doesn't mean that it's always something everybody always wanted," he said.
After my talk with both Fenton and Willis, I decided to take a step back from steroids and do the work on my inner self. I still go to the gym and I've decided to play tennis, a sport I actually liked as a child.
After some time, I opened a dating app again and this time met a cute guy, a surfer, who I found extremely attractive. We had a date (both of us apparently love gelato), and after a couple more dates, he invited me to his place.
Guess what? He doesn't mind me being chubby, so maybe I shouldn't mind it either.
Giddy Notice: The possession and use of anabolic steroids without a valid prescription is illegal in the United States, as described in the Controlled Substances Act and enforced by the Drug Enforcement Administration. Furthermore, our medical experts advise us that the recreational or other casual use of anabolic steroids is not only illegal but also extremely detrimental to your physical and mental health. Giddy in no way promotes, suggests, recommends, or endorses the use of any unprescribed drugs, including anabolic steroids, for any illegal or illicit purposes.