Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Vegansexuals: Withholding Sex from Meat-Eaters

According to a recent survey of attitudes about vegetarianism in New Zealand, a subgroup of vegetarians and vegans reject carnivores as intimate partners because the kissing and sex is icky or immoral:
F3: My boyfriend is a vegetarian. I don’t think I could live with a significant other who isn’t . . . It would disgust me to see my boy tucking into a chicken. I probably couldn’t kiss him! [31, pescetarian (ovo), Wellington]

F91: I could not be in an intimate relationship with anyone who was eating animals. Our worlds would just be too far apart and the likelihood of the relationship succeeding would be very low . . . I couldn’t think of kissing lips that allow dead animal pieces to pass between them. [49, vegan, Auckland]

F50: I believe we are what we consume so I really struggle with bodily fluids, especially sexually. [34, vegan, Christchurch]

F100: I have tried a relationship with someone who was not a vegetarian and found that although he was attractive sexually, sex alone was not enough to combat the revulsion created by the smell of dead bodies being cooked, and the associated lack of concern about the welfare of animals. For me, an intimate relationship needs to be based on shared values and moral codes as well as sexual chemistry. [55, ovo-vegetarian, Auckland]

F78: I would not want to be intimate with someone whose body is literally made up from the bodies of others who have died for their sustenance. Non-vegetarian bodies smell different to me—they are, after all, literally sustained through carcasses—the murdered flesh of others. Even though I might find someone really attractive, I wouldn’t want to get close to them in a physical sense if their body was derived from meat. For me, this constitutes my very personal form of ethical sexuality. [41, vegan, Christchurch]

. . . .

M16: If a partner has been eating meat or fish, they would have to clean their teeth before I’d kiss them. [28, ovo-lacto vegetarian, Auckland]
Link (PDF; via Language Log). According to a news report about the study, its codirector coined the term vegansexual—naturally—to describe these feelings:
Many female respondents described being attracted to people who ate meat, but said they did not want to have sex with meat-eaters because their bodies were made up of animal carcasses.

. . . .

Christchurch vegan Nichola Kriek has been married to her vegan husband, Hans, for nine years.

She would not describe herself as vegansexual, but said it would definitely be a preference.

She could understand people not wanting to get too close to non-vegan or non-vegetarians.

"When you are vegan or vegetarian, you are very aware that when people eat a meaty diet, they are kind of a graveyard for animals," she said.
Link. So of course, even though there's no one who actually describes themselves as a vegansexual, and there were only a handful of people who even expressed the applicable sentiments, it's the latest trend.

It seems like those who avoid carnivore partners, be it out of an ethical stance or the ick factor, are doing it for personal reasons and not trying to coerce anybody to act in a certain way, which has historically been the raison d'être of withholding-sex movements. But I'm sure it will graduate to compulsion soon: forcing someone into the Hobson's choice between your lover and your bacon, with only one allowed to cross your lips—what an ultimatum.

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Image credits:
Iconismus IX Ponatur è regione, P. Gasparis Schotti, 1667, courtesy The Fantastic in Art and Fiction.


Blogger Elaine Vigneault said...

Your article could use more commentary. Though I think I know where you stand, it's not entirely clear. I think you're belittling veganism. I wrote about it here:

11:50 AM  
Blogger The Good Reverend said...

I'm certainly not belittling vegans. I'm really more critical of the news article that takes a rather intuitive scientific finding, namely, that there are some vegans who don't like to have relations with meat eaters, and reports as if it were a movement. The news report, unlike the scientific article behind it, suggests the vegans who only sleep with other vegans are doing so, not because they had shared values (certainly a plus in any relationship, and it sounds like one you've found useful) or because kissing meat-tainted lips was nasty, but because they stood for the principle that carnivores don't deserve to have sex. That would be a juicier story, but that's not what the evidence shows.

12:23 PM  
Blogger Elaine Vigneault said...

Thanks for the clarification.

12:32 PM  
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