The Silent Struggle: Extra Stress Among Gay and Bisexual Men -Massage Can Help You Cope Better
Being a gay or bisexual man in today’s society comes with its own unique set of challenges and obstacles that most people will know little about. Whilst the LGBTQ+ community has made significant progress in terms of acceptance and equality, the truth is that gay stress and bisexual stress are still very real issues that many men face on a daily basis in addition to many of the other stressors everyone has. In this article we will explore the silent struggle that bi and gay men often experience, shedding light on the extra stress they endure due to societal pressures, internalised pressures and discrimination. We also offer a unique solution to that additional stress with our bi and gay friendly massage services. Call 07979 814399 for help soothing your stress away today.
Unmasking the Silent Pressure: Understanding the Extra Stress Experienced by Gay and Bisexual Men
Being a gay or bi man today can often mean living with an invisible burden of extra stress that is compounded by society. Fortunately, massage has been proven beneficial for stress relief and we welcome gay men and bisexual men for treatment here. Whilst progress has been made in terms of acceptance and equality for the LGBTQ+ community, it is crucial to acknowledge that the struggles faced by gay and bisexual men and women are still very real. So let’s delve deeper into the extra stress experienced by gay and bisexual people shining a light on the silent pressures they face.
Extra Stress From Stereotyping Discrimination & Rejection
One key aspect contributing to this extra stress is society’s impact. Stereotyping, discrimination, and rejection play significant roles in exacerbating stress levels among gay and bisexual men. These individuals often find themselves pigeonholed into rigid stereotypes by others in the workplace or society in general. This can lead to feelings of inadequacy and thus, a constant need to prove themselves. Discrimination can take place without the people concerned even being aware they are doing something illegal. According to the Human Rights 1998 article 14 we all have the right not to be discriminated against because of our sexual orientation and many “other status”. The fear of being judged and ostracised by society can create a constant state of anxiety and stress.
This can happen in many ways even without the persons causing the stress understanding that they are doing it. It might be after years of trusting someone they suddenly become fearful of being close to that person for reasons that are based around sexuality and or sexual identity. This sort of rejection can cause a serious negative impact on mental wellbeing.
Why discrimination like this happens is a hard question to answer as there will be as many different reasons as there are different people. However, it maybe the perpetrator is reinforcing societies heteronormal attitudes toward sexuality because they have a false and outdated belief that heterosexual life is the only way to live. Alternatively, they maybe bolstering their own heterosexual identity by persecuting and discriminating against those that are different to themselves because they are seeking approval from others or their own misinformed conscience. There may also be some personal stress arising that they feel they have to deal with by personally attacking (verbally or physically) those who are different or have different views to themselves. The perpetrator maybe worrying that association with others with different attitudes toward sexuality could create a backlash against them from their family, friends and or work colleagues and thus feel the need to discriminate, attempting to bully or shame someone into changing their beliefs. As I said so many reasons, I cannot cover them all but, it will be obvious that this sort of thing causes extra stress.
Massage vs Gay Stress: Relaxing Non-judgemental Massage Therapy Can Help
For the extra stresses faced by bi or gay men massage therapy has lots of evidence proving it can help you. It seems logical that if you are under extra stresses others do not face, it can have a greater effect on your physical and psychological wellbeing. According to Skoog et al (2005) and many other studies a caring Swedish style treatment here can help to lower high blood pressure which we are told by Gasperin et al (2009) stress can cause. So, a good answer to the overwhelming stress you are feeling is to come for a treatment here where we openly, warmly welcome gay and bisexual men for therapeutic treatments. We are completely non-judgmental here and your treatment will be in a private, quiet, soothing space called the Relaxation Room (pictured).
Stress itself is a reaction to pressures that effects our nervous system. Stress switches on the fff (fight flight fright) response meaning our body increases heart rate, rapid breathing, and muscles tense ready for action involuntary. The more often we get stressed the more this happens which is the natural way we respond to danger. If it becomes regularly switched on, it can become the norm for you and the ability to switch it off (be calm, relaxed and feel more like you) can become more difficult. That’s where massage comes is as, according to Garner b et al (2009) it relaxes the fff stress response and allows us to regain control in a very pleasant way.
Stresses About Coming Out / Telling Others About Yourself
One of the unique stresses and major issues gay and bi men have is the fear of coming out and living authentically. This is not just a onetime stressor because, each time you meet someone new you have to consider, should I come out to these new people and let them know about the real me or not? This happens time and time again in life and each time you have to weight up the positives and negative of doing so or not doing so which adds an additional layer of stress. For bi men or married men in a long-term relationship this can be even more stressful. The pressures of heteronormative society may have driven someone to get married to someone of the opposite sex and after a time, the realisation that this is “not who I am” comes about. Some people might just see this as a phase of a midlife crisis but, it might not be. If you can imagine the stress this can cause it can be very damaging especially in middle age and older age men who may have been or are married and have children.
Internalized Homophobia & Biphobia Leads to Stressing Yourself Out
Internalised homophobia and biphobia refer to negative feelings or attitudes towards and beliefs about one’s own sexual orientation which are turned inwards. This can take a great toll on mental health. Many gay and bisexual men internalise societal stigmas and struggle with self-acceptance, leading to heightened stress levels. We have all been brought up in a heteronormative society that puts pressure on us to be heterosexual whether we are or not.
To combat this silent pressure, proven strategies for reducing stress in the gay and bisexual community are essential. This can include getting good massage treatments like we offer here. Also creating a strong support network, seeking therapy or counselling, practising self-care, and developing extra personal resilience. When you arrive for treatment here we offer you a non-judgmental space to talk about anything you wish to talk about so your therapist can be your ally. Allies also play a crucial role in reducing stress levels. By educating themselves, challenging prejudice, and providing support, allies can help bridge the gap and create a more inclusive and understanding society.
It is important to remember that seeking help is not a sign of weakness, but rather an act of strength. There are numerous mental health resources available specifically tailored for gay and bisexual men. Also remember we are always available providing a safe space to discuss their experiences and seek support. Some super resources are available to educate you and those around you and I would recommend them as reading for everyone in the modern world. https://www.stonewall.org.uk/best-practice-toolkits-and-resources
Garner B at al (2008) Pilot study evaluating the effect of massage therapy on stress… [online] available at https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18478478/ last access 02/11/2023
Gasperin et al (2009) Effect of psychological stress on blood pressure increase [online] available from https://www.scielosp.org/pdf/csp/v25n4/02.pdf last access 03/11/2023
Ilan H. Meyer (2023) Prejudice, Social Stress, and Mental Health in Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Populations: Conceptual Issues and Research Evidence [online] available at https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2072932/ last access 05/11/2023
Stonewall (no date) List of LGBTQ+ terms [online] Available at https://www.stonewall.org.uk/list-lgbtq-terms last access 01/11/2023
Skoog M et al (2005) Effects of Swedish massage on blood pressure [online] available form https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S174438810500040X last access 04/11/2023