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A Guy's Guide to Body Image

The Truth About Guys

People might think of guys as carefree when it comes to their appearance. But a lot of guys spend plenty of time in front of the mirror. 

Guys might think that they shouldn't worry about how they look. They may be less likely than girls to talk to friends and relatives about their bodies and how they're developing. But for some guys, body image can be a problem.

Why Is Body Image Important?

Body image is a person's opinions, thoughts, and feelings about his or her body and physical appearance. Having a positive body image means feeling pretty satisfied with the way you look, appreciating your body for its capabilities, and accepting its imperfections.

How a guy feels about his body can affect how he feels about himself. If he gets too focused on not liking the way he looks, a guy's self-esteem can take a hit and his confidence can slide. (The same thing can happen to girls, too.)

How Puberty Affects Body Image

Body image is just one part of our self-image. But during puberty, it can be easy for a guy's whole self-image to be based on how his body looks. That's because our bodies are changing so much during this time that they can become the focus of our attention.

A change in your body can be tough to deal with emotionally — mainly because, well, your body is yours and you have become used to it.

It takes time for some guys to feel comfortable in their changing bodies. Being the only guy whose voice is changing or who's growing body hair (or the only guy who isn't) can also make some guys feel self-conscious for a while.

Not everyone's body changes at the same time or even at the same pace. It can be tough if all of your friends have already matured physically and are taller and more muscular. Most guys eventually catch up in terms of growth, although some will always be taller or more muscular than others — it's in their genes.

Some guys go into puberty not feeling too satisfied with their body or appearance to begin with. They may have wrestled with body image even before puberty started (for example, battles with weight or dissatisfaction with height). For them, puberty may add to their insecurities.

Building a Better Body Image

So what can you do to fuel a positive body image? Here are some ideas:

It's important to have a positive body image, but getting too focused on appearance can cause a guy to overlook the other positive parts of himself. If you're like most guys who take care of their bodies, you probably look great to others. You just might not be aware of that if you're too busy being self-critical.

Reviewed by: D'Arcy Lyness, PhD
Date reviewed: September 2016

Note: All information on TeensHealth® is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.

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