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Celebrities: Sam Smith Talks about Struggle with Body Image

Photo Credits: (Screengrab from Sam Smith’s Instagram Account) 

Do men have body image issues? 

Sam Smith says during a candid interview with British actress, model, and activist Jameela Jamil for “I Weigh” that yes, they do; only that men don’t talk about how they feel regarding their body because “it doesn’t feel manly.” 

In the aforementioned interview, Smith opened up how he’s had body issues even as a child, how it has affected his life and made him feel sad, and how it’s become “the basis of all my sadness.” The singer-songwriter explained, “Literally everything I’ve ever been sad about is my weight. I struggle with it every day.”

Smith shared that as a teen, he was bullied by other kids because of his weight. He further revealed in the interview that he disliked going to swimming lessons at age 8 because he feels overly conscious, so much that he tended to cover his chest with his arms and also, that he had chest liposuction because his estrogen levels were too high.

Smith shared that he had started therapy a year ago to address his issues and how, while he was away on a holiday a few months back, he felt like, “I need to fight this because I can’t live my life like this anymore. It’s exhausting.”

In his Instagram post, Sam Smith asked for kindness, saying that it took a lot for him to do this interview. He said he was nervous about it but he spoke up anyway, hoping that by sharing his struggles, that he can make someone else like him out there feel “a little less lonely and a little less alien.” 

Watch the interview in full below to learn what Sam Smith does to combat his body issues. 

Body image is an issue for many—men and women alike—but according to Mayo Clinic, “gay men are more likely to experience body image problems and eating disorders, such as anorexia and bulimia nervosa, than are their straight counterparts.” 

As to exactly how many gay men have body issues, a survey conducted by Attitude Magazine in 2017 revealed that of the 5,000 respondents: 

  • 49% were unhappy of their body with an additional 10% who said they were very unhappy 
  • This is compared to the 23% who were happy and 1% who said they were feeling very happy with their looks 
  • 84% respondents revealed that they felt intense pressure to have a good body. 

But why do gay and bisexual men tended to have body image issues? Matthew Todd said in his book titled Straight Jacket: How to be Gay and Happy, as cited by BBC, that being gay comes with “feelings of shame stemming from a lack of acceptance in society.” These feelings in turn, “can lead to a lack of acceptance for ourselves, which leads to an unhealthy fixation with our appearance.”

What about you, Adam4Adam blog reader? What do you think are the reasons why the LGBT community suffers from negative body image more than other people? More importantly, how happy are you with your appearance? Do you also struggle with your body image like Sam Smith does? If so, what do you do in order to overcome it? Share with us your stories in the comments section below.

All that being said, here on Adam4Adam, we want everyone to feel loved and comfortable using A4A. And so, if anyone sends you a mean message about your body, or skin color, or gender, etc., on each profile, there is a “Report this Person” button. Don’t be afraid to use it as we are here to help and make sure that everyone feels good while using A4A. 

Have a wonderful weekend ahead, guys!


There are 20 comments

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  1. BryBry

    As a thinner person all of my life with a high metabolism, it can be a stuggle to put on weight AND KEEP IT. Never one to ask for or seek pity about it, when general conversation may be discussed, much of the conversation towards such a person tends to be dismissive.

    Comments like, “Oh, poor baby!” or “you wouldn’t know anything about that” when the discussion is about weight are taking place.

    A lifetime of eating heavier, working out, attempting to bulk up can be challenging and lonely, but I’m a tough cookie. But a little empathy or at least legitimate belief that there is an issue, might be nice.

  2. Old Soldier in the South

    “…unmanly…”?
    SERIOUSLY?
    it takes big, brass, clanging balls to be that vulnerable, to discuss–especially so publicly–an issue like the great pink elephant in the middle of the room! Hell, yeah–men have body issues. And body shaming is at least as prevalent among gay men as anywhere else. Who hasn’t been told (tacitly–no response, or blocked w no response, after a simple greeting; or overtly (“you’re not my type”) that he is: too thin, too fat, not enough muscle, too hairy (I like men, not monkeys), or my favorite, “too old”…often by a “man” who list his age as “99”, with pics from the 80’s, or who claims to be 50, looks 65, and is “only into guys 10 years or younger”. And god help a man who is scarred, handicapped on some other way. Most don’t get the time of day. But NOTHING gets me hotter than a wounded warrior: courage, service, resilience inner strength’zman, that chubs me up, no matter the exterior packaging, or the “expiration date” others may assign.
    I have never been rejected for my brains, my accomplishments, my nips, nor the bulge in my trousers (my wallet fellas! Minds out of the gutter, and I am average down there anyway).

    But let them see my scars, or know my age, or see that I am not hung like a porn star in the middle of a pumping session…and the line goes dead.

    Men, we come in all shapes, sizes, characteristics & every shade of the rainbow. Now that the world accepts us (well, at least some of the more civilized parts–Oh Canada!), is it not about time that we be allowed to accept ourselves & each other for and as the men we ARE, not some marketing stereotype?

  3. Matt

    I love it when wealthy celebrities whine about how hard their lives are. Each of us is dealt a situation to deal with. Perpetually playing the victim is not the psychologically healthy way to respond.

    • Jer

      It’s so nice to see you are such a douchebag prick to not be more empathetic to someone like Sam Smith as you want to scoff it up to him whining as a celebrity
      When you and I both know that gay men the guiltiest as anybody to shame others Esp gay men in this idea of a perfect body image whether it’s someone is too muscular, too fat, to slim, and yet somebody like you I can guarantee is so arrogant an ass as you’ve already shown and displayed is probably the type to shame other guys so you want to Scoff this up to him whining rather than you realize that this is a bigger problem amongst men and it is Not any less manly wanting to address it or you to be a better decent human being towards others

    • Cody

      I love reading all your comments; Not because I respect them, but (frankly) because each and everyone is so negative. You never, EVER, have anything positive to say. I wonder how really “psychologically healthy” it is to always base opinions and judgements on a negative outlook.

      Sure, don’t play the victim scenario. Yet, its people such as this “celebrity” (they also have names as well) that often help others find thier voices or help them seek out solutions regarding similiar issues. Some of these famous people happen to be other people’s role models. Not everyone knows how to find thier own voices regarding specific issues.

      I truly look forward to the day you finally have something positive to say, as well as many others that have responded to your negative posts on other threads. I imagine it must be difficult for people to want to be around someone so salty as you.

  4. Lamar

    Wow, so much to say about this, I myself was told as a kid; my mother said and felt that I was “almost a girl,” her words. I did everything my brothers did, and more, really related on a level most guys could not, meaning, understanding or feeling what they felt, very sensitive to the female gender in ways I’m just now coming to grips with. I went through my youth looking very naturally “androgynous.” Now, I’m very distinguished looking in the latest of my 50’s.

    I guess I’m amazed the way with the avg., guy, emotionally, the things that just fly right over their heads, no clue. I use to get mad about it, I stopped blaming them for it once I came to understand myself, though. I’m extremely, intuitive, just as I’ve been told on numerous occasions.

    At the age of 25, I was once a baggage handler/doorman at the very hotel where they shot
    one of the opening scenes of the Mary Tyler Moore show standing in the restaurant balcony
    of. One day there was a “consortium of geneticists” of the world being held there. This German woman took one look at me and said, “you’re a super male,” I asked what that meant, she said, “you have an extra chromosome from your mother, you’re an XXY.” I told her, “write that down for me, please.”

    As it turns out, there’s a test one can take, based on ten points of which I aced all of them!

    One night I saw on one of the PBS ch’s, people like us, male/female, not all of us turn out gay/lesbian, of course.

    I have muscle-tone, but have really work-out pretty hard to have the muscle tone I see some guys with, not to mention I sprouted like a weed-rapidly height-wise. Sexually, I matured significantly later than the avg., male would have, just as my pediatrician said would happen.

    My younger bother grew facial hair sooner than I did; not till I turned 30, did I begin to, and to this day not really a shaver. I do and have always when eating emotionally; gain weight in the exact areas women do, this, has always bothered me till I got a handle on how to eat and deal with my emotions, depression that is, a common side effect of which we’re prone to.

    I seen women that looked very much like men without having to try to as well, well, I come to the conclusion, that nature is just creating not perfection as far as humans and our very limited minds can conceive of, but on a much broader scale. Not trying to be prefect, but perfectly imperfect.

    There are tribes of the Indigenous whom say, “these are the wisest people, because of their knowledge from both sides.” I use to tell someone I knew for a long time, I like being able to use my “fem” side of thinking as well as my male side. I’m decidedly masculine… but I do have my ways of thinking-seeing the world through my own eyes, third one included, lmao! Thank you Creator! I feel like I’m mastering “who I am.”

    • Marcus

      Hey Lamar,
      Are you saying your body is feminine? I met some guys that I would suspect was gay a mile away. They don’t have to say a word. They have that look and walk but that’s ok. People have no right making comments or judging guys like that. We are all Gods children and God makes no mistakes. His creation of all of us was for a reason. I’m glad you learned to embrace the beautiful thing God gave you and continue to be the fine person you are. Take care bruh and I really enjoy reading your comments on topics on here. 😉

      • Lamar

        Lmao, thank you, bro. Lets put it this way, waste down, onion-like shape- waste up, broad shouldered, total hour-glass shape. Use to make me pretty damn insecure at times; envying those really masculine bodies around me. Ru Pal, could have had some very serious competition, lmao. Funny thing though, hetero-blk guys tend to recognize things, white guys, period, not so much… they just to think of me as perhaps “educated.” I think that, in itself, say’s a lot…

  5. Father Hennepin

    It helps to find men who admire you for who you are. All the different sites and apps we now have help with that. But some men have false issues, those who are in perfect shape and think it is not good enough. Too many are paying too much attention to the imagery in ads and porn, and the attitudes of others. A six-pack is not sexy and not required to be sexy. Real sexiness comes from within. Pretty guys can be the lousiest lays, even if they are athletes in bed. Having real warmth, affection is far more sexy than muscles.

    • Matt (Black)

      I resent you stereotyping perfect shape guys. A lot of us are blessed with our nice bodies because of our Genes not the gym or dieting. Some people think six packs are sexy. I have a natural six pack and you just offended me for no reason by saying six packs are not sexy. I would never stereotype heavy or excessively thin guys. You would never hear me say love handles and big bellies are not sexy. We all Gods children. If a person is body shamed by their body it doesn’t give them the right to make fun of or criticize perfect shaped guys. Anyone can be lousy in bed and I meant many muscular guys in my gym with real warmth, affection and hearts of gold. Hope you learn to be happy with yourself and not let your unhappiness have an effect on your feelings toward other people.

      • Quay

        It’s all his opinion. Just shrug it off–unless you know him personally, I wouldn’t worry about some random comment. It’s not worth the emotion.

        • Matt (Black)

          Right Quay,
          Sorry Father… I read your post again and I had read it wrong initially. Man enough to take back my response!!!!

  6. Joe

    I have long dealt with body issues, shapes, sizes, hair, etc. And somehow I meet the man of my dreams that cared for me for me. Don’t know how to appropriately respond except to say I get it. This man has always been sexy to me–some because of that amazing voice, but more because of that great smile and totally human guy he is. Sam, loving your adventure and the progress you have made in life’s struggles! You [email protected]

  7. Hunter0500

    As a kid, I wasn’t tall, or fast, or strong, or athletic, or wealthy, or “hot”, or in the In Crowd. I learned pretty fast that some people only wanted you if there was some “cool” reason to have you around. But there were others who valued you for who you were. They became the people who were important to me. They were the people I invested time in.

    Today, when on a site such as A4A, some guys want to meet with you based upon looks. You can often tell from their profile that “beauty” or “hotness” is their driving force. But others are willing to get to know you and then meet. Those are the guys I choose to strike up a chat with. They’re the guys I’ve gotten close to over the years.

    Allowing yourself to be Body Shamed is a choice. Allowing others to control your own perception of yourself is a choice. Make the right choice. Make the healthy choice.

    Sam Smith reveals his troubles, his struggles, to the public from time to time. Justin Bieber has done the same recently. Both have millions of adoring fans, yet both tell us how alone and troubled and struggling they are. Both seem to want endless amounts of adoration … even when they already have it.

  8. Jer

    It is actually refreshing to see somebody like Sam Smith that this topic is being discussed & meant something to him
    even if he is British and It can be different for someone like him his upbringing
    the stiff for the lip /never show emotion which is a thing in British culture
    -that has gone on for far too long but especially in a younger man like him
    talking about his body image issues and feeling sad for so long in his life about this and yet at the other end of this gay men
    Esp have made this so outrageously common amongst each other and amongst anybody else because there’s this idea of having the perfect body whether it’s being more or too muscular or whether someone’s too slim – or someone’s too hairy , not smooth, not a big enough dick ,not a bubble butt and all these ridiculous pressurous things we as a society but gay men are Esp guilty of placing on ourselves and in others in the pursuits of what’s attractive and desired well go down the same road in mind maybe take different paths in each other but we shouldn’t be so cruel to place our expectations or what we seem to think or what seems to be deemed as being especially most gay men the perfect body or what’s good looking or attractive because we all have different tastes and all different walks of life and it’s just hard enough to live as oneself in this life that other peoples nonsense and preconceive notion‘s or trying to live up to others expectations – Due to what’s considered attractive in gay culture but just in society I mean hell it’s so different than in fashion what my moments people find in style fashionable may not be to another person and it wasn’t so long ago two decades that people were these high waisted jeans in the 90s and yet ever scarfed off till it’s no longer the work well wasted boot cut jeans then it went to skinny jeans and now we’re back to high waisted camel toe skinny jeans in the process of trying to look like one another becuz of stupid trends -so body image is so Not different
    Hell years ago it was about having big tits and now it’s about a big ass -when you actually start to see people Thru a different lens and realize we are all different & not going to ever look the same
    Then this kinda of topic wouldn’t be a conversation to begin with
    So no it’s not whining it’s address a huge probl way too many people have and esp amongst those who shake others to make this a topic of any sorts

  9. PA

    Celebrities sharing their weaknesses and they are just talented humans is very empathetic to a world of people that think they are alone in the way the feel. Saying hey I’ve got millions of people that want to get in my pants and I still don’t like looking at myself naked says to me, I’m flawed don’t believe what the publicity machine and the world wants you to believe. Gay men are shallow and our lives are hyper sexualized because we are men. It’s great the all these apps want to be “pro body image and anti bullying” but really no amount of that rehetoric is going to stop gym rats from saying “no fems, no fats, no old” or from pretty 19 year olds telling older men they are fat and ugly. Learning how to be comfortable in yourself and confident is the hardest part of being gay with all the “great” app and site.

  10. quay

    Very moving to hear how Sam felt so very sad about his body perceptions. I have struggled myself over my looks–face, body, height, and although it’s much better (in other words I care much less about it than before) I still have sensitivities. When someone compliments me, I’ve had to train myself just to say thanks, rather than questioning whether that person really “means” it. In the past I often thought that people complimenting me on my looks were secretly making fun of me!

    But body dysmorphia and sensitivities definitely plague the gay male world, where youth and beauty of the face and body pound our perceptions every single day. Ads with gorgeous bodies shape our self-images. We punish ourselves if we don’t make they cut when we look in the mirror. I’m personally STILL chasing a certain physical look!

  11. J

    It isn’t just body, that people are picky about.
    My favorite quote so far has been;”Im not racist, but no black guys”. Its pretty bad when your sexual desires can be deterred by the color of one’s skin.

  12. Paul Reese

    God Bless you Sam always, Thank you for sharing. I am 55 now, I have felt the same way. That is why I go to friends homes and won’t go swimming. Can’t really afford cosmetic surgery or liposuction, I wear compression shirts to hold my goodness in lol,,, And I struggle with it ever day, Nobody else may care but I do. Everyone is insecure about something. Thank you for sharing this story because it has been my life as well.


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