Back in 1994, journalist Mark Simpson coined the term “metrosexual” as a way to describe a metropolitan man of any sexual orientation who puts significant value in his appearance and cares deeply about spending money on clothes, accessories, and beauty products. The word, which Simpson first used in an article for The Independent, didn’t really take off until 2002; once it did, metrosexual men everywhere suddenly found a single term that encapsulated their modern identities. Now, 20 years after first coining the term, Simpson himself has pronounced the metrosexual man all but dead and has declared the metaphorical birth of a new type of man – the spornosexual.
The rise of the so-called spornosexual is reopening a dialogue about the ways that average men and women respond to pressures of appearance. In this article, several voices weigh in on the topic, from a psychotherapist at the NY Daily News to a male enhancement product user who claims his use of Rexavar is tied to spornosexual image-building.
What’s the difference between a metrosexual and a spornosexual man? As Simpson explains, one of the key disparities is the spornosexual’s love for his own body rather than the clothing he puts on it.
“With their painstakingly pumped and chiselled bodies, muscle-enhancing tattoos, piercings, adorable beards, and plunging necklines it’s eye-catchingly clear that second-generation metrosexuality is less about clothes than it was for the first,” writes Simpson for The Telegraph. “Eagerly self-objectifying, second generation metrosexuality is totally tarty. Their own bodies [more than clobber and product] have become the ultimate accessories, fashioning them at the gym into a hot commodity – one that they share and compare in an online marketplace.”
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“It's hard to say if 'spornosexuality' is a product of a body-obsessed culture that idolizes sports figures, or backlash against an increasingly egalitarian culture with less pronounced role definition between the genders,” said Schneiderman.
Whatever the psychosis may be, Simpson’s new term hits the nail on the head. It’s abundantly clear that in the age of selfies and Internet porn, men are becoming more concerned with their bodies and less concerned with the designer they’re wearing.
“Glossy magazines cultivated early metrosexuality. Celebrity culture then sent it into orbit,” Simpson writes. “But for today’s generation, social media, selfies, and porn are the major vectors of the male desire to be desired. They want to be wanted for their bodies, not their wardrobe. And certainly not their minds.”
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Spornosexuality is definitely rampant on social media, but it’s arguably most prominent in today’s pornography. As the world becomes more technologically advanced and more people make their mark and build an identity online, the number of people watching pornography online is increasing drastically.
A 2013 infographic from porn site Paint Bottle notes that 70 percent of men regularly watch porn, compared to 30 percent of women, and popular porn site YouPorn.com uses six times the Internet bandwidth that entertainment-streaming site Hulu.com does.
It’s safe to say that the majority of male porn stars are in excellent physical condition, and as Six Time AVN Award Winning Adult Actor and self-admitted spornosexual Tommy Gunn says, taking care of his body, especially through the use of penis enhancement, is of the upmost importance.
“As someone who embraces being a spornosexual and as someone who has built a career around my physical appearance I put a huge amount of effort into making my body into the best physical specimen it can be,” says Gunn. “To gain muscle and take care of them I exercise religiously, take muscle building supplements, and eat right. Likewise, to get bigger and take care of my penis, I take Rexavar and use a regimen of skin creams to keep it looking perfect for that next close up shot.”
So while men around the world are beginning to come out of the spornosexual closet, veteran metrosexuals are likely grappling with how society sees them and where they fit in a world full of labels. Is spornosexuality a problem spawned by celebrity culture, like Simpson suggests? Or is it simply an opportunity for enhancement products (like Rexavar) to help self-confessed spornosexuals help themselves? As 2014 has been dubbed the “Year of the Selfie” thanks to the 1 million plus selfies taken every day, spornosexuals everywhere are undoubtedly basking in their newfound glory and continuing to take the pursuit of physical perfection to a whole new level.