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Meet the Typosexual: How the Spornosexual Lost a Vowel

Last month The Mirror (and several other outlets) ran a ‘story’ about a Brazilian influencer and model called Arthur O Urso who ‘came out as spornsexual’ [sic] ‘after spending the last few months focussing on body exercises’.

It ‘sports’ ‘the headline:

Spornsexual man with eight wives says his partners all demand he has a six-pack

And the strapline:

Arthur O Urso identifies as spornsexual and has dedicated himself to the gym in order to get the perfect body, but admits the idea brings discomfort to some of the women

The Mirror includes a (kind of) definition of ‘spornsexual’:

Those who define themselves as spornsexual are said to be very focused on their appearance – from their body care to even being completely hairless in some circumstances, although hair on their head is, of course, allowed.

The ‘spornsexual’ story also appeared in the New York Post and others, but the earliest (English) version I found was The Daily Star (18th Sept) – which seems to be remarkably similar to The Mirror post. But The Mirror post is probably where most others picked the story up as it has more ‘clout’ than The Daily Star. (The Mirror is one of the most popular UK daily papers with a circulation of c.300K.)

It’s pretty clear though that Mr Urso (187K followers on Instagram) and The Mirror are talking about yours truly’s spornosexual. (There are 37K Insta posts using hashtag #spornosexual and just 51 using #spornsexual.)

Arthur has got tattoos all over his body and has dedicated himself to the gym in order to get the perfect body, but says the idea brings discomfort to some of the women.

He added: “Some of them don’t like to see me taking care of me so much – some are jealous.”

This conflicts somewhat with the claim made at the top of the article that ‘his partners all demand that he has a six-pack’. And the one further down that

‘When asked what his wives think about his body, he added: “They demand that I be in shape, otherwise I get lectured.”’

However, it isn’t unusual for women nowadays to expect men to be buff – but also resent the time they spend in the gym and the libido they lavish on themselves to achieve this. Human expectations are not required to be rational. Besides, if you can make someone feel guilty for giving you what you said you wanted then you have real relationship skills.

But then again, he is a polygamist (in a country that doesn’t recognise polygamy) with eight ‘wives’, so perhaps there are other things for the women in his life to be jealous of. Moreover, the article doesn’t include any quotes from his wives: it seems to be all Urso’s version.

We also don’t know, of course, how much of any of this is ‘real’ and how much of it is simply a marketing concept. (He has a lucrative Only Fans.)

Oh, and towards the end of the Mirror another typo crops up – ‘Arthur’ like ‘spornosexual’ loses a vowel and becomes ‘Artur’.

The Mirror doesn’t include any information about the origins of the term ‘spornsexual’ (or, God forbid, a credit), but a post by the Independents social media wing Indy100 does at least try.

Urso recently “came out as spornsexual“, which is a term that originated in the mid-2010s and describes a heterosexual man who is “fragranced, buffed, ripped, groomed, [and] selfie-adoring.”

The link for ‘spornsexual’ provided is to an online PDF for an MA thesis submitted in August 2017 at the National College of Ireland, by Grzegorz Pogorzelski, titled: “An examination of social media on body imagine, a perspective of a male body builder in Ireland.”

It looks fascinating (though I think there should be more photos of the author) and I shall be reading it properly on my Kindle. And not just because I’m cited twenty-eight times. ‘Spornosexual’ is also referenced several times (in regard to my work), but some of the entries misspell it as ‘spornsexual’.

Including the section title:

4.9 ‘Spornsexual’, evolution of metrosexuality.

Hence it popping up in the Independent journalist’s Google search for ‘spornsexual’.

I guess I could email Mr Urso and asking whether his sexuality has two ‘o’s or just the one. Though this seems a bit rude. Besides, it sounds like he’s got his hands full, what with his eight wives an’ all.

The most likely explanation is that The Daily Star misspelt (or mis-translated) ‘spornosexual’, leading everyone else to copy (and paste) it.

  • For the record – in case anyone is interested in such niceties anymore – I formally coined ‘spornosexual’ in The Daily Telegraph in June 2014, as second-generation, body-centred, ‘hardcore’ metrosexuality. (It was widely picked up, in both national and international media – leaving a long Google trail….)
  • But it was this blogpost ‘Meat the Spornosexual’ from March of that year which was my first deployment of it (against insipid hipster ressentiment).
  • ‘Sporno’ was a term I coined in an article for Out, in 2006 (to describe an advertising aesthetic).
  • And the spornosexual’s progenitor, the ‘metrosexual’, was also coined by me, in an article called ‘Here Come the Mirror Men’ for the Independent in 1994.

(Hat tip to my chum Richard Jarman for the heads up on the ‘spornsexual’ story).

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