Vegansexualism: It’s not perverse for vegans to prefer sleeping with vegans
Is anyone else uncomfortable with the idea of non-vegans discussing who vegans should and shouldn’t sleep with?
Vice shared a piece called “Inside the World of ‘Vegansexualism’—the Vegans Who Only Date Other Vegans,” that made me want to cross my legs a little tighter. Though the exploration of vegan sexuality isn’t new, their look into it’s evolution as the number of vegans grow is. And whether they’re discussing bodily fluids or sharing an entree at a blind date, there’s really no mystery to uncover in the preferences of vegans to flock together. And there’s nothing wrong with that.
The discussion began back in 2007, when a curious New Zealand doctor surveyed 157 vegans and vegetarians on cruelty-free living and didn’t sugar coat the sex questions. Reasonably, dead-animal breath ranked high as a reason a vegan would avoid a carnivore. So with the vegan population rising, Vice proposes that the world must be crawling with vegansexuals by now. But since the term hasn’t climbed to the ranks of metrosexual or even tacosexual yet, the opportunity to berate vegans for ranking their morality above their sexual escapades seems trivial.
The author goes on to interview a handful of vegans, coincidentally pulling responses that fit the “easy going” vegan stereotype and the “militant” vegan stereotype to a tee. A participant named Kirilee makes it simple and says “an environmentalist wouldn’t be involved with a coal miner.” That’s quickly contradicted by another participant named Ben, who claims “I could be in a relationship with any non-vegan. My belief is it is best to lead by example rather than preaching my personal views.” Save for compromising and being stuck with salad, he doesn’t see the problem. These two camps very accurately represent the group that believes veganism is about themselves (a diet for health, the earth, etc.) and their contrasting compadres who consider veganism a moral imperative (yo). One highlights veganism as something they’re doing, thus making it unnecessary for their partner to partake. The other believes veganism is about the victim, and couldn’t comfortably bed anyone who currently takes part in the exploitation. Again, it’s not new material, but no matter the popularity of veganism, vegans are going to be drilled for making vegan choices above normative ones.
That’s when one comment ups the ante, and calls non-vegan bodies cemeteries, describing the smells of carnivores as being unpleasant for vegans. I believe it’s the portrayal of this emotional response that has lead us to vegan advocacy that inappropriately and often inaccurately stereotypes the sexuality of vegans to be of one way- namely better than non-vegan. When the focus falls on the act of spending time intimately with a vegan instead of veganism itself, it risks falling asunder as a legitimate moral entity to a person’s whole being. When we write-off physical traits and habits as being a carousel of dating wishes and wants, instead of an ethical due-diligence, non-vegans can compartmentalize the beliefs of vegans again into those passive or aggressive camps. Then, being with someone vegan can be further subjugated by vegans and non-vegans alike.
When Vice says “just because you don’t want to eat meat, doesn’t mean you have shut out anyone who does,” they shut down the significance of veganism, and cateogorize it as being as frivolous as having a preference in a partners hair colour or physique. They negate whether we’re comfortable getting into someone’s leather-seated car, their silk sheets, and if we’d be happy to meet up with them at the zoo for a date- not to mention their choices day in and day out. Dating a non-vegan is more than what they bring to your family potluck, just as dating a vegan is more than how they should look, act, or ick- taste. Exploration of sexuality doesn’t need to be conflated with veganism in mainstream conversation, and “vegansexuals” need not be villainized or fetishized.
Still, i’ll never understand vegans who actively seek out non-vegan partnerships. While the premise of converting those close to us is often unjustly recommended as the only way, partnerships are best formed when people are themselves, and when ethical identity is tied to issues and not individuals. I don’t think the conversation should swell around what non-vegans think vegans should do. Instead, the resources available to vegans who wish to date other vegans, and the material that helps illustrate the need for veganism should be discussed. Although we know sex sells, there’s absolutely nothing sexy about compromising our own integrity and mental health in the pursuit of acceptance, physical gratification, or a partner. While many reading may have had the experience of helping guide a non-vegan over to a full transition, it should still be the overwhelming majority (not the originally represented 60%) that are putting veganism at the top of their list of spousal wants. And we shouldn’t feel shamed or singled-out for doing so.