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Arlin Cuncic

Gay Men More Likely to Suffer with Social Anxiety

By July 10, 2011

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Secrets are hard to live with. That might be one reason why gay men are more likely to suffer with social anxiety than heterosexual men. At least those were the findings of a study published in the Journal of Anxiety Disorders in 2006.

Researchers at the State University of New York investigated the occurence of social anxiety in a sample of undergraduate gay and heterosexual men. Gay men reported greater social interaction anxiety, greater fear of negative evaluation, and lower self-esteem than their heterosexual counterparts.

Gay men who were less comfortable and less open about their sexual orientation were more likely to experience anxiety in social interactions.

The study results seem to be borne out by anecdotal evidence too. New Kids on the Block bandmate Jonathan Knight suffered with social anxiety while at the same time keeping his sexual orientation a secret. Author Daniela Grazia talks about her struggle with SAD and coming to grips with her sexuality.

As with most issues, it is likely a combination of factors that cause some gay men to develop social anxiety; sexual orientation is just one piece of the puzzle.

What do you think? Have you or someone you know dealt with social anxiety and sexual orientation issues?

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July 11, 2011 at 6:09 pm
(1) Bruce says:

I’ve always felt I was somehow unusual, having SAD and also being gay. Although it doesn’t change anything, it is nice to be validated by a scientific study – I now know I am not that unique.

July 14, 2011 at 5:33 pm
(2) Joe says:

I am not gay, but I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night. JK

Well, I could see how the two relate. Fear of being judged for being gay and then hiding that you are gay could make the anxiety worse.

I wonder how much SAD has to do with Father/Son relationships? I didn’t have a close relationship at all with my Dad and I think that might be true for many Gay men as well. What do ya’ll think?

May 19, 2013 at 2:09 am
(3) Bgoat says:

This really describes me. I am gay and in the closet. Have been for forty years.

It was the worst in my teens and twenties. It was especially traumatizing hoping that I didn’t say anything that sounded gay. Being asked if I think that girl over there is sexy when I really could not tell if she was considered sexy or not.

Now that I’m older and married (another cause for anxiety and feeling stupid and hurting someone besides myself) no one asks and I’m not expected to comment on them.

Social anxiety where I’m certain everyone is judging me on everything I say and do (which everyone does) but I let it bother me more because if anyone finds out the truth, it will ruin me.

January 23, 2014 at 2:48 am
(4) Larry says:

I’m 40, gay, socially anxious and depressed. I’ve been battling this my whole life. I got nobody and nothing left to loose. Honestly, I’m tired of living.

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