PHOTOS: Is ‘Spornosexual’ The New ‘Metrosexual’?

DAN-OSBORNE_2936565bIn news that has succeeded in making me feel old, the term “metrosexual” is now twenty years old.

And Mark Simpson, who is credited with coining the word, says it won’t survive past its teenage years.

In an article for The Telegraph, Mark lays out his case for the evolution of the masculine ideal in popular culture, arguing that the wardrobe-conscious moisturized metrosexual is becoming a more body-conscious crossfit machine.

“Glossy magazines cultivated early metrosexuality. Celebrity culture then sent it into orbit. 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.”

He sees sports and porn as two major components in the current idealized man, citing people like David Beckham in the shift from coiffed to scruffed.

And thus his new term, spornosexual, is born.

Because you know, sports…and porn.

While I’m doubtful the word will catch on (stop trying to make spornosexual happen, it’s not going to happen), Simpson does lay out a compelling case for the shift in beauty and image standards.

“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.”

Can’t argue with you there.

Here’s some investigative photo evidence you can’t argue with either (Dan Osborne is apparently the David Beckham of spornosexuality):








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  • robirob

    Trends. What are they good for? Do we want to be special, the center of attention, or part of a clone look to fit/blend in?

    Metrosexual was mainly a consumer oriented lifestyle where you need fancy cosmetics and fashion to show off some modern day dandy look and somehow feel appreciated.

    Spornosexual sounds like a movement where you seek approval from others by the way your body looks. I don’t see how the fashion industry or the make up industry can make a buck off of that trend. So it’s mainly gyms and tattoo parlours which may benefit from that trend.

    Modern day trends are kept alive for as long as possible by retailers who sell fashionable gimmicks to the trend followers.

  • cformusic

    there is a lot of pressure to look like that..woefully i fall way short..:(

  • B Damion

    I love a zestfully clean well groomed man. Sex is already a smelly habit and I for one love to start out fresh.


  • Ihadtosayit

    Is there a Groupon for tattoos that these men are taking advantage of…I mean seriously at the end of the day I want someone fit both mentally (well cultured, traveled and read but able and willing to hold a conversation with anyone…being a snob due to your intelligence or body is NEVER attractice) and physically as I have achieved at 46 years old (6’1″, 188 lbs, 32 inch waist) but I do not care for excessive ink.

    Alright back on point, men are under a lot of pressure to replicate these looks and there are many factors that make it impossible: time, money and the most important one genetics.

    Once you get out of yourself and look around for approval there will be others that will deny or refuse you not because it is warranted but because they know that they can cause you harm…

  • barkomatic

    I’ll take them all.

  • vive

    Just call them clones. A new word is kind of unnecessary.

  • Zodinsbrother

    Those tattoos are very ugly.

  • Merv

    @vive: How about tatclones? That captures the only real difference from the clones of yesteryear.

  • blondella


  • Garth

    For some reason number four turns my crank …. yum yum

  • Mezaien

    They can ALL sit on my K.C.O.C . . .

  • vive

    @Merv, tatclone is a great description.

    What I don’t get is, okay, so the tat looks sexy for a season, but then they go out of style or you get tired of them. So then what? These are the same people who wouldn’t be seen dead in last year’s fashions, yet it doesn’t bother them to wear ugly, outdated tattoos way past the expiration date of a certain style. It doesn’t compute.

  • James Hart

    Gorgeous bodies; trashy tats.

  • ryhalvey

    @vive: Who says that someone will get tired of a tattoo? If you choose correctly, you won’t. And someone that gets a tattoo “for a season” has no business getting one in the first place.

    I’ve had one of my tattoos for 14 years. Others I’ve had for 7, 5 and 3 years. I’ve not tired of them yet. Tattoos are not seasonal; all of mine are representative of specific times in my life or experiences I’ve had in which I learned significant lessons. My tattoos are symbols of strength and perseverance. That’s not “fashion” for me.

    Also, here’s an important detail for tattoo critics to note: Most of us who get tattoos do so without any concern for what you think of them. I got my tattoos for me, not you.

  • SteveDenver

    @Merv: I like “tatclone.” How about “tattoon,” like a caricature?

  • Bryguyf69

    The bodies are hot and an attention to grooming and health is always good. But wassup with those tattoos? Ugh. According to surveys, many will come to regret them and spend thousands of dollars in painful laser treatments to erase them. Many become regretful in old age. And according to HR experts, they definitely don’t help in job interviews.

  • Bryguyf69

    @ryhalvey: It looks like you do protest too much. The fact that you chose to respond to critics here show that you DO care. Someone who doesn’t care would not take the time to tell us his/her tattoo history and explain what they mean.

    When a tattoo is exposed, it generally means that the wearer wants it seen. That, in itself, means that the wearer cares what others think.

    As for not getting tired of a tattoo if chosen carefully, that’s simplistic. A person’s life changes, his views change, fashion changes, etc. If we get tired of our homes and cars — both major purchases — why not a much cheaper tattoo as well. After all, it is simply body ornament, just like jewelry and hairdos.

  • Imperialist

    These are some of the fugliest guys you’ve shown. And Queerty highlights some of the worst of the worst. So congrats on topping yourself. And when the hell are homos going to realize a tatoo on a 20-year old is going to be horrific at 40 and suicide-making by 60??? Good work, guys.

  • stranded

    I don’t think it has the same ring as metrosexual, but I agree. There’s an endless supply of nude selfies because guys, gay or straight, want to show off and get off on the compliments. You don’t get complimented on your looks often, then you post a pic and within a day, there could be 50 to 100 likes, thumbs up, or flattering comments. You feel really good about yourself. It’s not just sports and porn, male musicians care more about what they look like whether it be pop, rock or rap. Even actors are more body conscious than they were 20 years ago.

  • ryhalvey

    @Bryguyf69: Thank you for the arm chair diagnosis. I disagree with you completely.

  • cutemikey

    @ryhalvey: And yet he continues replying. That’s wasting a lot of time for someone who doesn’t care what others think about tattoos. I also love that you used the word, “completely.” As if @Bryguyf69’s post was all opinion. It’s a fact that employment experts say to cover tattoos and several studies show that it affects employment. It’s also a fact that “many will come to regret them and spend thousands of dollars in painful laser treatments to erase them.” Or are you disagreeing that there are people who will regret their tattoos? Or that they spend thousands? Or that fashions change? Etc, etc. if you don’t disagree with that and everything else he wrote, then you need to learn the definition of “completely.”

  • darkanser

    I personally — if I had to choose and could not have both the nice clothes and the nice physique — would rather have a rocking body in shabby clothes than an unfit body in designer fashion. Just saying.

  • arsondude

    This is just hipsterism but the pictures you show below. Not anything else.

  • Bryguyf69

    @ryhalvey: In case you rather not take the time to read opposing evidence, here is the headline and bullets from the Daily Mail article:
    Do you regret your tattoo? One in six people hate theirs and 50% regret getting inked because it makes them look common

    – One in six people hate their tattoos and want them surgically removed
    – A third worry they’ll look awful as they grow older
    – Half admit their tattoos could hold them back in their career
    – 12% of people said celebrities were the inspiration for their body art

    Read more:

  • jwrappaport

    @Bryguyf69: Eh, I feel like a suit would hide just about every tattoo except the ones on your hands and face. I knew plenty of law students with tattoos who did just fine in interviews.

    • Bryguyf69

      @jwrappaport: Well, that’s exactly my point. Experts recommend that you hide them because they impede employment. And don’t forget that after being hired, most people want to be promoted. That means no short sleeve shirts or sleeveless blouses/dresses, etc. What I disputed was ryhalvey’s claim that most tattoo’d people don’t care what others think. If you need to hide it, you care what others think. And as you can see from the articles I cited, having tattoos can affect one’s psyche and self-confidence later in life. I had one patient in who said that she hadn’t exposed her shoulders publicly since hitting 50 because what looked good in her 20’s was an embarrassment now, especially to her grandchildren.

  • jockboy1986

    @ryhalvey: @ryhalvey: I’m the owner of 2 small tattoos and I disagree with you. Most of us do care what others think, positive and negative. Not just from strangers but also from others with tattoos. Tattoos are often used to indicate brotherhood and solidarity, whether that be with a gang, a movement or idea. So of course we care, and we show it proudly.

    As for metrosexuals, the label and idea will disappear as the majority of mainstream men feel that it’s ok to care about their looks. I see it now around me. Most males around me, gay and straight, care about fashion, their physiques, even their nails. Not obsessed, but they care.

  • Large Marge

    Spornosexual is so Fetch!

    • Imperialist

      Now, THAT was funny.

  • ontheupandup

    @Bryguyf69 “I had one patient in who said that she hadn’t exposed her shoulders publicly since hitting 50 because what looked good in her 20?s was an embarrassment now, especially to her grandchildren.” Is that from one of the articles or are you a psychologist? (Just curious.) :)

  • ontheupandup

    @Bryguyf69: (Oops, didn’t know how to do this right.) “I had one patient in who said that she hadn’t exposed her shoulders publicly since hitting 50 because what looked good in her 20?s was an embarrassment now, especially to her grandchildren.” Is that from one of the articles or are you a psychologist? (Just curious.) :)

  • mbfmark

    I’m happy to see any “trend” that encourages men to take care of themselves and stay fit and healthy – tatts or not tatts. I live in rural SC where most straight men and quite a few gay don’t seem to give a cr*p about being fit and many are morbidly obese. I could certainly stand to see a few of those ripped “spornsexuals” standing in line at my local Walmart rather than they hideous fast food addicts I’m forced to endure on my weekly trips. And yes, I hate Walmart but they forced everyone else out so no real choice. They don’t seem to think a 58 year old man can have a 29 inch waist, either! So one thing I never buy there are pants unless I can find something in the boy’s section with out Spiderman on it! So hurray for any trend that encourages life long fitness, for vanity or self pride, who am I to decide? (I have 3 tattoos by the way, all about 20 years old now and I haven’t tired of them yet. I look in the mirror and say “those tatts would sure look ugly on a flabby old man!” and it encourages me to keep running and working and and eating healthy!)

    • Bryguyf69

      @mbfmark: Metrosexuality is fine if it doesn’t get too superficial and materialistic. But spornosexuality concerns me because using porno bodies as a goal is unrealistic and often, unhealthy. It’s no different than the pressures females face that lead to low self-esteem and eating disorders. Studies have shown for decades that gay men/teens have a higher rate of body image issues and eating disorders than the general public, with features resembling that of straight females. who can deny that gay male culture is similarly body and youth obsessed? That’s why I cheer when I see older, less fit and otherwise average looking gay characters on TV. The gay couple on Modern Family is a good example.

  • Bryguyf69

    @ontheupandup: That’s from my professional life but, no, I’m not a psychologist. I’m researcher (neurophysiology, HIV neurology, medical physics) and research analyst, and the patient in question had Parkinson’s. I did some graduate work in Human Sexuality (sexual minorities) and have been a volunteer counselor with the LGBT and HIV communities for years. My girlfriend is an HIV physician with lots of gay patients, and many of our friends and co-workers are LGBT, so we’re obsessed with LGBT issue, both serious and superficial. To get back on topic, because of all the gay influence around me, I was a pioneering metrosexual! I’ll never be a spornosexual though because my genetics simply won’t allow it. I’d be lucky if I can get a 2-pack… :(

  • ontheupandup

    @Bryguyf69: There are FAR more important things in this world than one’s abs. And it sounds like your and your wife’s work are among them! :)

  • Evji108

    Those tats are going to be the mark of a generation, and not a good mark. Tattoos bleed and diffuse, distort and fade with age. The underlying skin will stretch and muscle will sag after the daily workouts stop. In particular, the large tattoos are not going to age well. What looks sexy and cool now will be out of fashion in 10 years, 20 years, 30 years. “Those nasty old people with their gross disgusting tattoos”. This is the future of the tattoo crowd. It doesn’t show a lot of intelligence. Time does not stand still for anyone, those with sense know that, even at 20.

  • Mike

    I just licked the screen

  • Paco

    This whole follow the herd mentality with fashion fads is starting to make everyone look ordinary rather than unique and interesting. Do your own thing and stop trying to be clones of one another.

  • vive

    @evji108, exactly, very few tattoos look good after 10-15 years due to fading and bleeding, never mind the designs being so yesterday. The problem is that 18 year olds think life is over at 30 anyway and they won’t care about looking good any more then. This point of view may be understandable in the case of straight guys who get married with children by that age for the most part and old tattoos are the least of their concerns at that point, but for many gay men life has hardly started at 30.

  • Nowuvedoneit

    @Bryguyf69: I think you’re wrong, my husband has full arm sleeves and works in the business hospitality IT. He doesn’t hide his tatts, he wears what he has to wear long sleeve business shirts and business jackets because that’s what business people wear. When it’s business casual he wears polo shirts and bears his arms. He has not been made to feel it’s unprofessional what he has on his arms because you know what his employers value his commitment to work. Not everyone is so stuck on oh they have tattoes they must not be good workers.

  • Qjersey

    So straight men following gay male trends…20 years later.

    hasn’t “spornosexual” been the stereotypical gay porn ideal since the early 90s? (you know to prove you weren’t sick with the AIDS)

  • vive

    @Qjersey, actually it was the opposite – the HIV-positive guys made the look popular because they used large doses of testosterone, HGH, and other anabolics to counteract wasting. Suddenly they were the buffest guys on the dance floor and everyone else started playing catch up.

  • mbfmark

    So many generalizations and assumptions about these sexy guys….I’m 58, have been HIV+ for 32 years (yes, before HIV was formally identified even), I DON’T and never have used testosterone or steroids of any sort, I’m in great shape if not quite “ripped,” but still a 29 waist after 40 years. I have 3 tattoos that are 20+ years old and they haven’t faded, bled or sagged and I still like them (very much!) – as I mentioned earlier they are a visual incentive to KEEP working out, running, eating healthy and all the other things that people who care about their lives ought to be doing. I don’t know why so many guys are so quick to pass judgement without knowing anything about the people they are passing judgement on – isn’t this what we find so abhorrent about the religious right? They have a preconceived idea about what is right and try to diminish and/or demonize anyone who doesn’t conform. So you aren’t interested in having a “spornsexual” body? Fine, be happy with who you are – that’s the most important thing – but don’t assume guys who DO want such a body are just vain, trendy, trying to be accepted, taking steroids, stupid, etc., etc. I hear a lot of comments that are the equivalent of calling them “dumb blonds.” Like I said earlier, send them all to Oconee County, SC where the obesity rate is off the charts and people 10 years younger then me are falling apart from neglecting their bodies. Give me something sexy to look at for a change!

  • vive

    @mbfmark, I wasn’t casting aspersions on or judging HIV+ guys or calling anyone a steroid abuser. Some proportion of them were taking PRESCRIBED anabolics for good medical reasons, but the side benefit turned out to be a certain super-natural buff look that then became trendy as the rest of gaydom (and maybe now straightdom) started playing catch-up. I am not claiming this to have been true for all poz guys, but at least there was a time when it was the case for enough poz guys to cause a trend.

    But I actually thought the buff trend was kind of over already a decade or more ago as a thinner look started to become more trendy and younger people lost the memory of AIDS wasting.

  • vive

    @mbfmark, and I agree send them over here. There is a great shortage of in-shape gay men in Rhode Island. (Whereas all the young straight boys are buff and gorgeous. It is very frustrating.) You wouldn’t believe how bad it is. So I would take the cute guys tattoos or not.

  • mbfmark

    @vive yes, I’m a bit discouraged at how many gay guys are just accepting the heterosexual norm of overweight blandness (maybe laziness)in my sector of the woods, almost like they want to blend in with their rabid bible-beating neighbors because they are afraid. I see staying fit as a matter of pride, self esteem and a good dose of self-preservation. After all, many of us will have little family and no children to come take care of us when we are old and feeble, so I see staying fit as key to a happier future. And now that I approach 60, I think about the future just a little more than before.
    The whole “spornsexual” premise is a little forced in my opinion. Just another label that isn’t needed. Did anyone interview any of the men in the photos to see what THEY see as their inspiration for being fit and sporting tattoos? There’s plenty of sports and porn in South Carolina but I NEVER see guys, gay or straight, that look this good, but I hope I live long enough for it to reach the backwards south!

  • etseq

    Mark Simpson is a self-loathing nut job who has made a career out of being the contrarian gay voice in the British press (he had a regular column in the Independent in the 90s where he would lash out at gay culture and equality campaigners just to stir up controversy). He published a noxious book called “Anti-Gay” in the 90s that was claimed that modern gay identity had been corrupted by consumer capitalism and he attacked gay rights campaigners, gay social life, and monogamous relationships with as much as vitriol as the religious right. He wrote a biography of Morrissey than reviewers panned as the work of a fanboy with issues than a serious biographer. His claim to fame is coining the term “metrosexual” but he viewed it a real social/sexual identity in which straight men were adopting the vain aesthetics of gay men and thus compromising their masculinity. Simpson has issues with campy/effeminate gay men and he has written extensively about his obsession with straight men, particularly military types, and his constant desire to trick with “straight” trade rather than develop relationships with other gay men. Simpson reminds me of characters in a John Rechy novel in the 40s and 50s before the rise of the gay rights movement when gay men had lead hidden, furtive lives and sought out sex with hustlers or other rough trade due to internalized homophobia.

  • mbfmark

    @etseq – Thanks for that info on the author. It goes a long way in explaining the tone of the article. I really appreciate your details about where he’s coming from.

    BTW – how did you get a photo in your profile?

  • etseq

    @mbfmark: Queerty uses wordpress for its commenting platform so if you either use your wordpress id to create the queerty profile or just link it later, whatever picture/image/gravatar you use for wordpress will be displayed here.

  • vive

    @etseq, well, modern gay identity has been corrupted by consumer capitalism, and monogamy and marriage is indeed being promoted at the expense of the rest of us. The only thing you are supposed to look forward to is marriage, like in the 50s, singles can just go kill themselves, and the non-monogamous as well as those in alternative family structures are purposely being alienated by the very conservative gay mainstream.

  • jwtraveler

    @barkomatic: C’mon, share. Can’t I have just 1 or 2?

  • darkanser

    If I had to choose between designer clothes or a hot body, I’d be the hot body in rags any day!!!By the way, who’s the first guy? He’s super HOT!!!

  • darkanser

    @Bryguyf69: I think too we’re naturally more body conscious — hence our affinity for fashion — since we’re essentially attracted to our own form. And as men we know all too well how visual men are.

  • LuckyboyLA

    Wow, nice to see a couple recent comments. Queerty posts items from all over a wide time range. As a veteran of the Lucas era Non-Star Wars Clone Wars, I.E the flannel & moustache vs leather/jeans look I can weigh in here on the ‘spornosexuality’ issue. In SF especially there was a huge division. When I was 21-28yo, had friends in SF in The Castro who would NOT go home with a guy unless he sported the former look. I lived in LA anyways.

    There’ve always been trends in Gay Looks. I can go out today at 60 dressed as I did at 30 and still get hit on by the same type of men as then. My interests haven’t changed. Still the Perv I was at 25 and guys sense that whether under 30 or my age. If you don’t like how these guys look, don’t hit on them. They’re always with another that looks just like them anyways. Always been like that. Why Bitch about it so much? Muscleheads w/another musclehead. Bears with Bears. Nellie Twinks with another Nellie Twink. When some guy marries outside those norms, like that cute 19yo Olympic Swimmer Tom/Tim something and the 42 yo guy who was bounced from speaking at PCC this Graduation you all have a Hissy shit-fit.

  • justgeo

    Sorry but okay they are hot ‘cept for ALL the fucking INK!
    I know I am late to the party.

  • pscheck2

    Come on! This is just another avenue of escape for a so-called str8 guy admiring and exploring his possible attraction to the gay lifestyle! Hell! It’s better than being called a fa*,right?

Comments are closed.