PRINT February 1992


the Law of Physiques

BODYBUILDING HAS ALWAYS APPEALED to teens. At the back of any DC comic, just as the bright pulp daydream gives way, a slick gray photogravure has traditionally prolonged the fantasy for just an instant longer, as Superman appears in human form to sell a fitness regimen. The bodybuilder—a male fantasy of sexual potency and physical intimidation—seduces the alienated 98-pound teen.

Is the boy’s response erotic? Heterosexual bodybuilders deny it with vehemence (they feel embarrassed and misunderstood); homosexuals think otherwise. But even a muscle-happy gay teen will sometimes describe physiques in terms that are alternately erotic and nonerotic, which gives one pause. John Fox, in The Boys on the Rock, 1984, describes a sexual experience with an older, more physically developed friend:

He wrapped his hands around my waist and squeezed. His fingers almost met. He moved to the obliques and I

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