This just in: Bears suffer from extremely low self-esteem as a result of harassment and discrimination over their body size. They also engage in much riskier sex… At least according to a groundbreaking new “study” published by the Clinical Journal of Nursing.
The research comes from the University of Miami, where PhD in nursing student Narciso Quidley-Rodriguez and Associate Professor Joseph P. De Santis evaluated almost a dozen past studies on bear subculture in America.
Related: Do Gay People Fat Shame?
The first thing the pair determined was that the term “bear” is designed to make men with higher body mass indexes (BMI) feel better about themselves.
“Despite the health risks that are associated with increased BMI, the promotion of certain physical appearance that includes a higher BMI is important for men who identify as bears,” the paper reads. “It helps them to recognize one another, strengthen communal bonds, and promote a gay identity that is masculine, sexual, and mature.”
They go on to say that this need for “stronger communal bonds” is the direct result of bears being shunned by the rest of gay society, which tends to idolize “young, slim, and smooth-skinned” men.
“Before discovering the bear community, members have described harassment and discrimination from both heterosexuals and homosexuals throughout their lifespan based on weight, which led to lower self-esteem,” the paper reads.
It continues: “Bear communities are pivotal for some members, offering a sanctuary for these men as a buffer against discrimination and a sense of belonging that was perceived as lacking in the mainstream gay community.”
The paper also reveals that bears engage in more a diverse range of sexual practices than other groups within the gay community, and often those practices are risky, including bareback sex, fisting, asphyxiation, voyeurism and exhibitionism.
Because of this, researchers determined, bears need better health care.
“Primary healthcare providers should assess the sexual habits of all patients and offer safer-sex education depending on the needs of each client,” the paper concludes.
h/t: Star Observer
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