Student Spotlight: Wesley Grey

PhD candidate Wesley Grey is exploring the social and psychological role of sexual desires in sexual minority men’s body image with his research.

A PhD candidate in the Brain and Mental Health Hub, Wesley’s research interests primarily revolve around body image in sexual minority men (men who have sex with/love men, gay, bisexual or queer men), and the role of sexuality and sexual desire in body image. Wesley’s own lived experience as a sexual minority man piqued his interest in his research topics. He was also drawn in by the need for more research in the area and by the importance of body image to a range of mental health outcomes.

Wesley anticipates his PhD project will look at the social and psychological role of sexual desires in sexual minority men’s body image. Not everyone feels sexually desirable, and that has a lot to do with how people view their own bodies and the bodies of others. Wesley’s hope is to find out why and how sexual desirability influences sexual minority men’s body image, and to suggest ways to help mitigate the negative body image that comes from those experiences.

For Wesley, the most meaningful part of his PhD experience has been learning about the impact his research has had on others.

"I always hoped that I could contribute to improving research and treatment of body image and eating disorders," said Wesley. "But to hear that my research has had an impact on vulnerable people is really special."

Outside of his studies, you’ll most likely find Wesley baking bread, listening to podcasts – most recently Maintenance Phase, a podcast critically examining popular health and wellness science, and QAnon Anonymous, about current-day radicalisation – and periodically bothering his cat, Frank (pictured below).

Wesley holds his cat, Frank, up to the camera. Frank is a very unimpressed-looking tabby.