Forget homo-, bi- or even metro-: the latest prefix in sexuality is vegan-, as in “vegansexual.” In a study released in May, Annie Potts, a researcher at the University of Canterbury and a director of the New Zealand Centre for Human-Animal Studies, surveyed 157 vegans and vegetarians (120 of them women) on the topic of cruelty-free living. The questions ranged from attitudes about eating meat to keeping pets to wearing possum fur to, yes, “cruelty-free sex” — that is, “rejecting meat eaters as intimate partners.”
Some of the survey respondents volunteered their reluctance to kiss meat eaters. “I couldn’t think of kissing lips that allow dead animal pieces to pass between them,” a 49-year-old vegan woman from Auckland said. For some, the resistance is the squeamishness factor. “Nonvegetarian bodies smell different to me,” a 41-year-old Christchurch vegan woman said. “They are, after all, literally sustained through carcasses — the murdered flesh of others.” For some, it is a question of finding a like-minded life partner. An Auckland ovo-vegetarian had tried a relationship with a carnivore, but reported that despite the sexual attraction, the gulf in “shared values and moral codes” was just too wide.
Potts, who coined the term vegansexuality, says the “negative response of omnivores” to her study has surprised her. Even some fellow animal lovers question the wisdom of vegansexuality. A blog for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals noted that sleeping with only fellow vegans means forgoing the opportunity to turn carnivores into vegans by the most powerful recruiting tool available — sex.
PETA’s founder and president, Ingrid Newkirk, agrees that vegans smell fresher. (“There’s science to prove it,” she says.) But Newkirk is all about the recruiting, even if it means one convert at a time. “When my staff members come to me and say: ‘Guess what? My boyfriend, now he’s a vegan,’ I say, half-jokingly: ‘Well, it is time to ditch him and get another. You’ve done your work; move on.’ ”
Friday, December 21, 2007
Jeff Stryker gives us more from the fringe (Dec. 9 NY Times Magazine):