Latest word to enter the scientific vocabulary: Vegansexual.
The term was coined in New Zealand after much media attention was given, four years ago, to a study that noted that an increasing number of vegans said they engaged in sexual relationships and intimate partnerships only with other vegans. As the Daily Mail reported at that time:
One vegan respondent from Christchurch said: “I believe we are what we consume, so I really struggle with non-vegans when it comes to sexual contact.”
Another Christchurch vegan said she found non-vegans attractive, but would not want to be physically close to them.
“I would not want to be intimate with someone whose body is literally made up from the bodies of animals who have died for their sustenance,” she said.
Now a new study by the New Zealand Center for Human-Animal Studies has examined whether there is, indeed, a real form of sexual preference that’s influenced by veganism and that entails an increased likelihood of sexual attraction towards those who shared similar beliefs regarding the exploitation of non-human animals. Not only does that appear to be the case, but it seems that vegans have a strong sexual aversion to people who eat animal products.
How do non-vegans feel about this? Quite negatively, according to the study. As the report describes it:
“The extensive media hype about (and public response to) vegansexuality was predominantly negative and derogatory towards vegansexuals and vegans/vegetarians. A particular aggression was evident in online comments by those positioned as heterosexual meat-eating men.
The study examines the hostile responses to vegansexuality and veganism posted by such men on internet news and journalism sites, personal blogs and chatrooms. The authors’ conclusion is that
“The rhetoric associated with this backlash constructs vegansexuals – and vegans generally – as sexual losers, cowards, deviants, failures and bigots”
Why are men – specifically men who identify themselves as heterosexual meat-eaters – so upset by vegans?
“We suggest that the vigorous reactions of self-identified omnivorous men demonstrate how the notion of alternative sexual practices predicated on the refusal of meat culture radically challenges the powerful links between meat-eating, masculinity and virility in western societies.”
This study was conducted in New Zealand. Would similar attitudes prevail in America and other countries? Are you a “vegansexual”? If so, have you experienced any backlash from other people? What’s been your experience? And if you’re not a “vegansexual”, how do you feel about those who are?
Let us know in a comment or on Facebook.