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A gay man that has a lot of body and/or facial hair, a bear is often considered to have a "cuddly" body.

Some are big guys, while some are skinny. Some may have a lot of hair; and some may have none. So what is the key? It is attitude.

What is a Bear?
The Term "Bear" has come to mean so many different things to different people, it is hard to clearly define it. "Bear" is a gay male identity label, that generally refers to a decidedly masculine man with a commanding presence and size, and quite often has natural facial and body hair.

Calling a man a "bear" is usually a term of endearment and dichotomy.

Since the introduction of teddy bears, bears have become the symbol of cute and cuddly, yet bears represent the toughness and ruggedness normally associated with hyper masculinity.



"Bear" more often than not, represents an attitude. A sense of comfort with ones own masculinity and body that doesn't cater as much the styles and models so prevalent in most gay circles.
The most common definition of a "bear" is a man who is hairy, has facial hair, and a cuddly body. However, the word "Bear" means many things to different people, even within the bear movement.
Bear Terms Chub Terms Gay Terms Sexual Terms

Many men who do not have one or all of these characteristics define themselves as bears, making the term a very loose one. Suffice it to say, "bear" is often defined as more of an attitude than anything else - a sense of comfort with our natural masculinity and bodies that is not slavish to the vogues of male attractiveness that is so common in gay circles and the culture at large. Bear as a gay male self-identity developed in the late 1980s and 1990s.

In part as a response to the AIDS epidemic Where the afflicted were often visibly thin and anorexic, and in part as a manifestation of the aging baby-boomer generation. Gay men who first chose the term bear sought a masculine self-image, suggesting a large or husky body, a prevalence of body hair, and a generally friendly and sanguine. attitude. A striking parallel may be found between bears-as-attitude and the utopian ideals of the original gay liberation movement. Bears proudly proclaim being "average," masculine gay men, neither effeminate queens nor hyper masculine leather men. -- Source: Busters World

Another thought
The Junction City Teddy Bears, Inc., of Kansas add this to the idea of a bear.

Bears are:

  • Honest and open, disdainful of hypocrisy and deceit.
  • Loyal to his friends, and fierce to his enemies.
  • Secure enough to laugh at himself.
  • Caring enough to cry for others.

On the other hand...

  • Those with bulky and furry bodies, but who are shallow and mean inside are NOT bears.
  • Those who are so insecure that they can only try and make themselves look good by trying to make others look bad are NOT bears.
  • Those with small minds, hard hearts, and twisted souls are NOT bears.

The Driller Bears hope to add to this ongoing discussion of what it means to be a bear and soon we will post our own thoughts. We'd love to hear your thoughts on this discussion.


Bear Terms and Definitions

Cubs, Otters, Bears, Chasers, Ursophiles, and Chubs are all Bears, or rather are all members of the bear community. Not all bears are chubby or overweight, nor do all bears necessarily find other bears attractive. These terms apply to gays as well as bisexuals. Heterosexuals can identify as bears, but may be too afraid to identify with anything gay that would cause others to question their sexuality.

Arctophile: Arc.to.phile \'a:rk-to*-.fi-l\ aj : markedly friendly to bears or arctic culture - Arctophile n

Bear: A gay man that generally has one or more of the following traits; a hairy chest and body, a beard, wide shoulders, husky build, beefy, more masculine. The exact definition of what a bear look like varies from person to person. A defining quality of a bear is that they do not fit into contemporary gay culture, or the stereotypical gay image.

Bear Code: A code system that describes a bears stats.

Behr: A big guy who can't grow a beard, or just doesn't grow one, but has a mustache.

Big Bear: A chubby bear/a hairy chub.

Black Bear: A bear that is black/African American.

Bruin: An athletic bear with interests in contact sports.

Beef: A classic term for a ‘built’ guy.

Cave: A gathering place for bears to chat and hug.

Chaser: A gay man that finds big bears and/or chubbies attractive.

Cub: A younger bear, usually lacking a beard/full beard, may be shorter and/or lack other bear elements. Also refers to a younger bear that may be lacking experience and/or submissive.

Grr: Can be mean as a sign of affection, or to back off.

Koala Bear: A bear with light body blond hair.

Leather Bear: A bear who is into the leather scene, and can be found wearing all sorts of interesting looking leather clothing and accessories.

Maul: Unsolicited molestation by a bear.

Muscle Bear: A muscular bear. A bear that works out regularly.

Otter: A hairy gay man that's slender, a slender bear, a bear lacking a husky or stocky build while still retaining hairy bear features bear.

Polar Bear: An older bear who has gone gray.

Grizzly Bear: A hairy, well proportioned husky bear of a man.

Hirsute: A man that has excessive body hair to the point that it looks like a suit.

Ursine: ur.sine \'*r-.si-n\ aj [L ursinus, fr. ursus bear - more at ARCTIC] : of, relating to, or resembling a bear or the bear family (Ursidae)

Ursophile: A young smooth slender gay man that loves bears.

Ursulas: A term for lesbian/female bears.

Woof: A hot bear would be "woofy", you could woof at a hot bear. It can also be used like the term "you go girl" or "oh my god".

Wolf: A long-haired lanky bear or simply an alternative animal some men identify themselves with.

Chub terms and definitions

Chub/Bulk and bear communities often co-exist along side one another, having some similarities. The chub community has its own distinctions that separate it from the bear community. Such as the differences members of the community have in their attractions to different types of men. And of course the fact that not all chubby men are hairy and have facial hair, identify themselves as bears, or are interested in bears. The chub community is said to have started before the bear community, which was initially an offshoot of the chub community which soon grew to take it's own form. Thus, some bear and chub terms cross over, and some don't.

Big Bear: A chubby bear.

Bulk: (i.e. bulky, husky, heavy etc.) Often used in place of chub.

Chubby Chaser: A gay man that finds big bears or chubbies attractive.

Chub/Chubbies: A chubby or overweight gay man.

EncouragerLikes to plump up his man.

Lineman: A guy that is heavy, possibly with a gut, but who has more muscle than fat

Gay terms and definitions

In every part of the gay community there are certain common terms. Voici les.

Bisexual or Bi: A man or woman that has sexual and/or romantic feelings towards both sexes.

Breeders: A derogatory term used to describe heterosexuals.

Butch: Distinct masculine pronunciation.  (1) Traditionally  masculine gay men. Bears are often described as butch, and butches occasionally as bears. (2) A lesbian that enjoys looking and dressing like a male. Ain't fussy about hair, usually has it cropped, might not shave her legs, doesn't like make up, ain't into dresses.

Cherophobia: Fear of gaiety.

Chicken Hawk: An older guy that goes after a young guy.

Commitment Ceremony: A ceremony where two partners come together and commit themselves to one another for life publicly. This ceremony often takes the place of marriage in places where gay marriages are not legal.

Daddy: An older or more mature gay man who goes for a younger or less mature partner and/or is domineering. The bear equivalent is Daddy Bear.

Drag Show: A drag queen who performs a song and dance and/or karaoke show.

Drag Queen: A man that dresses up as a woman, and/or performs drag shows.

Dyke: Slang for lesbians in general in a reclaimed sence, or to masculine lesbians. Also occasionally used in a derogatory mannor but is considered a reclaimed word.

Fag Hag: A woman that hangs around gay men, and may want to try converting them.

Gay/Homosexual: Refers to gay men, but can also be used to refer to anyone queer. A gay man being: A man that is sexually attracted and/or has romantic feelings towards other men.

GaydarThe ability to tell if other people are gay. This skill can be developed by anyone who spends time around gay people, and/or who watches lots of gay movies (porno's don't count).

Hanky Code: A code system of different coloured hankies and other objects defining ones sexual interests.

Homophobia: Hate or fear of homosexuals and homosexuality.

Lesbian: A woman that is sexually attracted and/or has romantic feelings towards other women.

Lipstick Lesbian: A lesbian that likes to dress up more sterotypically femininely i.e. make up, long hair, always wears a dress.

Out: A term used to describe an individual that is openly gay/bi/les/queer.

Queeny: Used to describes a power hungry flamboyant bitch of a fag.

Queer: Referring to homosexual, gay, lesbian, bisexual, transvestite, and transgendered persons.

Twink: The stereotypical figure of a gay male who has a slim build, shaved, youthful, and stylish/trendy.

Smurf: A short gay man.  (Note: As a short gay man, myself, the webmaster doesn't like this term.)

Son: Younger or less mature partner that goes after Daddies, and/or is submissive. The bear equivalent is a Cub, although cub does have other meanings.

Straight Acting: A famous gay classified add descriptor meaning that the gay person in question acts straight. Or rather simply does not act/appear blatantly gay or effeminate in speech or actions. This can mean hiding their sexual identify to the extremes of behaviour alterations, and/or it can simply mean  they don't look like they fit into the "stereotypical effeminate gay image", and thus seem more straight than gay.

Sex terms and definitions

Some additional terms that sometimes accompany gay terms.

Asexual: An individual lacking sexual attraction and/or romantic feelings towards both sexes.

Bondage (BD): Restraining or being restrained in a sexual act.

Circumcision: In Males this is the full or partial removal of the foreskin. Female Circumcision involves the removal of the clitoris or it's hood and is illegal in most nations. While routine male circumcision is still common the practices is unnecessary with harmful negative effects and only questionable benefits, and is unnecessary with new alternative medical treatments available today.

Heterosexism: (1) The believe that everyone is straight or heterosexual by default. (2) The belief that heterosexuality is the superior, or only true sexual orientation.

Heterosexual: Being or a person who is attracted to the opposite sex. i.e. Straight.

Hermaphrodite: An individual born with both male and female sex organs. Unfortunately many of these individuals have their sex organs altered to those of a male or female, (Usually the latter) as infants before they can decide if they feel comfortable as they are, as a male, or female.

Masturbation: The self stimulation of ones sexual organs. Well I'm sure you've heard lots of jokes and rumors about masturbation. It's a normal practice that most men do and women to a lesser extent, and it is has no harmful side effects. You can not go blind or get hairy palms from jerking off.

Intact: Another term to describe someone who has not been circumcised and has his foreskin intact. Uncut is a more common term.

Pansexual: Encompassing of all sexual orientations. In addition, a way people might describe themselves as not being straight without saying they have a distinct sexual orientation.

Partner: A socially correct word to describe your lover, significant other, boyfriend or girlfriend on a public level. It is social correct for both gay and straight people to use this gender and sexual neutral term, as it eliminates differences between gay and straight couples.

Penis Envy: (1) When a man is obsessed with wanting a larger penis , either on themselves or partner. (2) When a woman is obsessed with wanting a penis, or a larger penis on their partner. (3) Women thinking men are better just because of thier penis.

Transvestite: A man (gay or straight) that enjoys dressing as a woman for pleasure, entertainment or because it makes him feel comfortable.

Transgendered/Transsexual: Individuals (Heterosexual or homosexual) who feel more comfortable dressing up as the opposite sex and/or would rather be the opposite sex. These individuals occasionally have sex changes.

Sadism-Masochism (S&M): Inflicting pain on others for sexual gratification (Sadism) and receiving pain or humiliation for sexual gratification (Masochism).

Sexual Orientation: The direction to which ones sexual attractions are geared towards.

Significant Other: A socially correct way to describe your lover, partner, boyfriend or girlfriend, husband or wife on a public level. It is social correct for both gay and straight people to use this gender and sexual neutral term, as it eliminates differences between gay and straight couples.

STD's Sexually Transmitted Diseases: These are diseases that can be transmitted through sexual contact (i.e. AIDS, herpes, hepatitis, etc.). Some have horrible life threatening effects that can't be cured. Others cause little problems at all. It is best to talk to your doctor or visit a men's or teen walk in health clinic if you have any concerns.

Sodomy:   Anal or oral copulation. This  term originates from the bible, and as with everything biblical has varying interpretations.



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