19 Men Go Shirtless And Share Their Body Image Struggles

By Nick Delmacy | Posted Mar 3 2017 | 14 Comments  

The fruitless quest for a “perfect” body isn’t unique to women,  though based on the body image conversations we tend to hear, it’s easy to think so.

Rather than obsess over attaining thinness, however, men are more likely than women to consider themselves underweight, and focus on getting more muscle tone, studies suggest. But there is a range of expectations for what a “masculine” body should look like — and negative associations with the ones that fall short. One study found that men linked being fat with “weakness of will,” while being lean and muscular was associated with “feelings of confidence and power in social situations.”

According to mental health experts, men may have a harder time accessing communication tools to express their insecurities and work through them. While there’s recently been more cultural celebration of a diverse range of body types for men and women, for men to communicate openly about body concerns still carries a stigma.

“No one can tell I have a belly when my shirt is on, so I feel like I’m exposing a secret when my shirt comes off.”


In an effort to demonstrate that men of all ages and sizes struggle with body image, HuffPost photographed 19 men, from those in their 20s to their 60s, without their shirts and spoke candidly with them about their body hang-ups.

Spoiler alert: Men have body insecurities, too, and that’s nothing to be ashamed of.

Photos by: Damon Dahlen

“I feel comfortable and free when shirtless. I feel that my body is a form of art. There are some areas I wish to improve upon, but I definitely love my body type.”

“I’m OK with my body now. I’m still aware of where I can improve and personal ‘imperfections,’ but for the most part, I’m OK. [My friends and I] mostly talk about how we need to tighten up and get in the gym.”

“I always felt like I was inadequate. Lately, working [in media] has made me more comfortable in my own two shoes than any other time in my life. I have no idea why, but it seems learning about these spaces and ideas helps. With women I [discuss body image]. They’re always quite fruitful. With men, on the other hand, I avoid these discussions as men are constantly trying to avoid looking weak. It sucks.”

“I’m usually pretty fine without my shirt off, because I learned how to position myself about things I’m insecure about. My feelings haven’t changed about my body — I’ve always been pretty comfortable. Although I have realized I have to workout these days to maintain the same shape.”


Click HERE to see the other 15 men: 19 Men Go Shirtless And Share Their Body Image Struggles


About the Author
Nick Delmacy

Nick is a founder, editor and the pop culture expert at Cypher Avenue. Serving as the designer and webmaster of the site, he is the architect of The Cypher Avenue Matrix.

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14 Comments Feel Free To Join The Cypher.

  1. OhSheit
    OhSheit | March 3rd, 2017

    lol when you click the link and all you see is pasty skins. (yup, body shaming, racism even).

    But naw, I found my body type and its #2 in OP in case anyone wanted to see me half naked.

  2. ColumbusGuy
    ColumbusGuy | March 3rd, 2017

    Well at least you are comfortable in it and all smh.

  3. Rico
    Rico | March 3rd, 2017

    Lol yeah I thought that. The only thing needed was a tanning bed, as all the "types" were normal guy shapes and nothing I couldn't get with.

    The all over tattoo thing is the only turnoff for me, unless it's a tasteful design with some symmetry. Otherwise it just comes off as "I'm doing 30 to Life at State Penn without shit else going on"….

  4. OhSheit
    OhSheit | March 3rd, 2017

    Hey, I'm sexy. :yeshrug:

  5. ColumbusGuy
    ColumbusGuy | March 3rd, 2017

    Forgive my lapse there. I forgot again that black sites like this are also a place for blacks to vent about whites. It is what it is…I am just a guest here and I have to remember the rules.

  6. OhSheit
    OhSheit | March 3rd, 2017

    what are you talking about?

  7. Nick Delmacy
    Nick Delmacy | March 3rd, 2017


  8. ColumbusGuy
    ColumbusGuy | March 4th, 2017

    I am just super sensitive today and got all butthurt and all about the 'pasty' word lol. Cause I am pasty. Just ignore me I am in a mood here because of a number of things. Sorry I derailed the thread.

    That thread I posted about 'loneliness' and all from Huffpost hit home for me in a number of ways.

    Well I hope you are enjoying them, Nick.

  9. Lean Lantern
    Champagne_Papi | March 4th, 2017

    Off topic, but…have you heard Big Sean's new album yet? Thoughts??

  10. Rico
    Rico | March 4th, 2017

    Stop being so sensitive mon frere lol! "Pasty" is the white equivalent of black men being "ashy". Pasty and ashy are generally two conditions that are correctable through sun/tanning beds and lotions. No one wants to be rubbing up against vampires and cigarette trays.

    Pasty is not necessarily "white." Pasty is white American guys staying indoors not getting sun being typical sedentary Muricans.

    Take for example, these Scandinavian thinks, possibly on their way to a Bryan Singer pool party; the three on the left have just barely left the zone of pastiness, while dude on the right will be reading for the remake of Nosferatu after Mr. Singer's auditions

    Scandinavian countries are the epitome of White country-ness but many are generally not pasty unless they become like Muricans, as they get out and do outdoor activities like skiing, hiking, etc. For the defense, this Scandinavian model, Beiron Andersson:

    And while my own preference is Nubian/Massai/Sudanese looking brothers,
    "This African water might not be safe, but at least we ain't ashy"

    I'd gladly add dude below to a DILF list as he knows his way around sources of Vitamin D

    Sun and Coppertone: a white and black man's best friend …

  11. ColumbusGuy
    ColumbusGuy | March 4th, 2017

    ^^ The sun is my enemy! lol. My natural state is pasty/white not 'glowing tan white' and I should not have to change that by tanning(or burning really) just like no blacks should have to bleach their skin or use 'lightening' creams that are sad and dangerous as well. I just need to be less sensitive about shit.

    * I don't tan well plus that shit ages us and I am already in the 'aging in dog years now' zone plus I don't need any more damn freckles either lol. Also I mean I am pasty white but not the near albino white of gingers or anything. Also I stay covered up as nobody deserves to see this shit uncovered and did you notice not one of those guys were really overweight- out of what? 16 gay guys there was not one single really really obese guy(of any race)?-even in trying to be 'real' Huff Post stays full of it.

  12. Rico
    Rico | March 4th, 2017

    Lol, the sun is no one's enemy. If Thor Heyerdahl could do it, so can you. Just kidding. Well, I know who the newest member of Conan O'Brien's superteam is…

  13. ColumbusGuy
    ColumbusGuy | March 5th, 2017

    ^^I am not super pasty or Conan/ginger/English stereotype pasty, just regular europasty. But yeah it is the end of winter and without sun I have those long crisscrossing blue veins showing up real good on the undersides of my arms and all right now kind of looking corpse-like-that sh#t even grosses me out lol. I don't want to look at my outside and see parts of my insides lol.

  14. Rico
    Rico | March 5th, 2017

    "Eurpasty"? Lol, new slang is born. Next time I see a brother with ashy legs, he's "Afr-ashy" 🙂

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