Spornosexuals: what is this new generation of men?

Jun 13, 2014

Metrosexuality is a thing of the past. Selfie-taking gym buffs have earned themselves a new label


Twenty years after the term 'metrosexual' was coined, a new label for 21st century men has been added to the lexicon: spornosexual. Journalist Mark Simpson, who invented the metrosexual label in an article for The Independent in 1994, has come up with the new term in the Daily Telegraph.

So what exactly is a spornosexual?

The word comes from a combination of "sport" and "porn". Think glistening pecs captured in shirtless selfies. The spornosexual can be found at the gym, often with muscle-enhancing tattoos, piercings and plunging v-neck necklines, or no shirt at all. He prefers to spend his time and money on his physical up-keep – never shying away from exhibiting the results. "Eagerly self-objectifying, second generation metrosexuality is totally tarty," says Simpson. He's chiselled, tanned and can be heard asking new acquaintances "Do you lift, Bro?"

Who is a spornosexual?

Famous spornosexuals include David Beckham, Cristiano Ronaldo and the entire male cast of The Only Way Is Essex and Geordie Shore. Simpson suspects even Oscar Wilde might have approved.

What's the difference between metrosexual and spornosexual?

Spornosexuals focus less on clothes and more on their own bodies, says Simpson. "They want to be wanted for their bodies, not their wardrobe. And certainly not their minds," he says.

Revolution or a step backwards?

Men's health and fitness magazines have been outselling lads' mags for several years, notes Simpson. He describes it as a "masculine revolution", in which men are no longer scorned for desiring to be desired. Kim Schneiderman, a Manhattan psychotherapist, tells the New York Daily News: "It's hard to say if 'spornosexuality' is a product of a body-obsessed culture that idolises sports figures, or backlash against an increasingly egalitarian culture with less pronounced role definition between the genders." But Tim Stanley, also writing in the Daily Telegraph, says it "isn't egalitarian that our modern icons are the TOWIE boys". Stanley blames the new "narcissistic" generation on capitalism's "astonishing" ability to sell an image of ourselves that compels us to buy its products. Women have had to endure this commercialisation for years, he says. "Men prioritising looking good above having brains, and then spending hours admiring the result in the mirror, is not a sign of gender equality or social progress."

Sign up for our daily newsletter

Read more:

Disqus - noscript

Oh I see...it's not the men enjoying their physical peak who are the narcissists trying to inflate their self-importance, it's these ridiculous media types who love seeing how many assholes will emulate this soundbite to try and appear as though they're keeping updated with a fictitious fashion. Got it.

Nice. You're tact.

Guys enjoy taking care of their bodies and that makes them "narcissists?" Sorry we're not all fat, lazy slobs like you.

That would be valid, if taking care of your body were the real goal. It's a means to obtain what you really want, which is acknowledgement, praise, approbation.

Absolutely right, no narcissism there at all. BTW in your avatar are you kissing yourself in the mirror?