As part of our new Body Issue we asked gay men aged 18 to 80 to strip off to show that when it comes to feeling good about your body, age is just a number.
You can see out all our body warriors in our new March issue - available to download and in shops now - but for now here's a taster with 44-year-old Steve's story...
I’m attracted to young guys. I’ve tried going on dates with older guys; one was a personal trainer with a great body and things you think would tick all the boxes, but he talked about the past and I thought, “I hope that’s not me.”
Younger guys, however, talk about what’s happening next week and that was the attraction with my ex. Unfortunately, he’d just dumped a girlfriend and had never been with a guy so he was full-on. Our first year was romantic and he was amazing. But his digging into my past and jealousy ruined the relationship. Towards the end, it got turbulent.
I suffered from anxiety when I was younger, struggling to come out as gay. I also did a lot of drugs, so I knew what being depressed and anxious was like. I realised I needed counselling to get over the relationship and I decided to concentrate on myself and that started with the gym.
I needed some self-confidence which my ex never gave me. I was outgoing when we first met and he fell in love with that. But the relationship made me very depressed and upset.
The gym helped me mentally but the type of gym I go to is important. There are two bodybuilding gyms in my area. It’s a misconception that in places like this everyone looks at you and sizes you up. In a proper bodybuilding gym, they’re all looking at themselves and focusing on improving. I didn’t want to look like them, but I wanted to be part of that culture.
The gym is great for you but it’s also a negative because you’re constantly looking at yourself and thinking of your diet. All the people I know who go to the gym are hiding a psychological problem, but it gave me focus. I even went on Naked Attraction last year to show my progress and do something daring.
I also went on a reunion with school mates a while ago. They’re all married with kids, have lost their hair and put on weight. I’ve improved with age I’m proud of that.