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PRINT February 1992

HEAD TO TOE

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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