Archive for the tag - steroids

Erik Rhodes Dead: A Wake Up Call for Steriod Users?

Erik Rhodes: Gone too soon.

Yesterday, news broke that gay adult film actor Erik Rhodes was found dead of an apparent heart attack. Rhodes, who openly discussed his own steroid use, was only 30 year old. My heart goes out to his family, friends and fans for the tragic of loss of a man who, by all accounts, was a very sweet guy.

As I’ve mentioned before, the relationship between gay men and steroids is a very troubled love story. How bad and how widespread is the problem? According to one study, 1 in 7 gay gym-goers admitted to steroid use – and it’s speculated that the real number is much higher.

It’s no secret that steroids are a shortcut to seemingly impossible gains in muscle mass. But the shortcut comes at a very, very high price. Steroids have a number of psychological and physiological side effects including aggression, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, enlargement of the heart, hardening of the arteries, shrunken testicles, balding, prostate cancer, liver failure, acne and gynecomastia (the development of breast tissue in men).

Some of the above side effects can be a precursor to coronary heart disease and an eventual heart attack. And though many of the details surrounding Rhodes’ death and apparent heart attacked are still unknown, his steroid use may have been a contributing factor.

At the very least, Rhodes’ untimely passing can be a reminder to all of us – gay and straight – about the very real risks inherent in steroid use. Don’t let the promise of quick rewards overshadow the long-term health consequences. It’s just not worth it.

If you (or someone you know) is using steroids, please reach out for professional help, assistance and support.

Gay Men & Steroids: A Love Story?

The other day, I was showing a picture of a sexy, muscular guy on Grindr to a friend. My friend pointed out that the guy had gynecomastia (the development of abnormally large mammary glands in males), and was likely a user of steroids. I was surprised and shocked, but my friend told me that steroid use – especially among gay men – is fairly common. Even his roommate does steroids, he shared.

I was ignorantly unaware of what is seemingly an epidemic among gay men. In fact, a recent study revealed that 1 in 7 gay gym-going men admitted to steroid use. Some estimate that the actual number may be closer to 50%.

There is no no doubt that many people associate being gay with a certain gym and muscle culture. And while that gym culture doesn’t define a community as diverse as the gay community, it certainly is present and pervasive. Gay muscle culture is often traced back to another epidemic: AIDS. Physicians often prescribed steroids to people living with AIDS as a way to increase muscle mass on their otherwise frail frames. Moreover, pumped-up bodies became a symbol of healthiness.

Today, muscle culture is alive and well – and many gay men feel intense pressure to obtain lean, muscular builds. Under such pressure, taking steroids can seem like an easier shortcut than hard work and exercise. And there’s no doubt that steroids yield results. Unfortunately, steroids are plagued by tremendously dangerous and/or undesirable side-effects including:

  • Acne
  • Shrunken testicles – which leads to temporary (and possibly permanent) sterility
  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Liver malfunction
  • Enlarged prostate and prostate cancer
  • Balding
  • Aggression
  • Liver failure
  • Stunted growth
  • Weight problems
  • Neurological issues

Of course, not all steroid users will experience all of the above side effects – but the list is long and daunting. If gay men and steroids are a love story, it’s certainly one that won’t end happily ever after.

If you (or someone you know) uses steroids, it’s important to talk to a professional. Most drug addiction treatment centers are equipped to deal with all kinds of drug addictions ranging from prescription drug abuse to steroid abuse.

But I want to know what you think. Are you – or someone you know – a steroid user? Why, despite the enormous risks, do people find steroids to be a viable option? Share your thoughts in the comments below.