Spornosexual: The Attack of the Airbrushed Adonis

by Mai Bautista


One that can’t be missed

He stands tall and proud like a gazing falcon every morning at the corner of your street while waiting for a cab ride to work. He is that citrusy-musky-smelling-always-well-put-together bloke who queues in front of you to get his tuna rocket salad (with olive oil dressing only) as you order your greasy burger and chips at lunch break. He works at the same office as yours, and he is always the top-of-the-mind McSteamy choice of your colleagues during ungodly afternoon gossip hours. He is that Joe you see in the shop whose trolley is full of organic items, salmon fillet, and rye bread every Friday morning. He is that neighbor you ride the lift with every night when you come home from work – that guy who’s always in sweaty jerseys and trainers, carrying a huge gym bag with a Fitbit wrapped around his wrist. He is that Greek-godly Adonis you see at Friday brunches, the one who never fails to be immaculately dressed with his shiny weekend loafers, buttoned-down white linen shirt and cropped jeans. Even on a hangover, he still looks airbrushed and fresh from the shower. He is that lean and tan local starlet that you see on your Instagram search with thousands of followers. His snaps usually showcase parts of his physique with muscles tensed, biceps flexed, abs exposed, and are always captioned with “no pain, no gain” inspirational quotes, and hashtagged #fitnessgoals.

Yes, he is that guy. And he is everywhere, every time. He has conquered your daily life, your seemingly okay routine. He has subjugated your weekend conversations with your posse. He has declared war against your anticipated #netflixbingesaturdays uploads. He has made you feel ashamed to ask the sales associate for a medium sized shirt at the store when you shop for clothes. He enjoys the weekend top bill on nightclub pictures posted on Facebook on Saturday evenings by your acquaintances.

Inarguably, he is happening and he shows no signs of retreat. He has made his apparition and everyone, including you, has been entranced in a hazy cult. The Spornosexual has finally arrived. He is the one you just can’t seem to ignore.

What is Spornosexual?

The Spornosexual is the millennial phenomenon that was birthed by the Metrosexual of the 90’s. He is the sophisticated hybrid of the male specie, which has already evolved from wanting to look good by merely investing in grooming and wardrobe, to actually feeling good. He accomplishes this feat by spending half of his waking week working out mercilessly in his natural habitat – the gym. He is not your ordinary gym buff who finds happiness doing cute cardio and Pilates. He goes for the full Brad Pitt from Fight Club effect, with advanced routines that require an enormous amount of physical strength, patience, resilience, and time.

Mark Simpson, an English author coined the term Spornosexual in 2014 to succinctly describe the “hardcore, sexed-up, and body-centered second generation metrosexuals”. According to Simpson, the Spornosexual treats his well-sculpted physique as the ultimate faculty to sustain his high demand in a social ecosystem where everyone tries to stand out or at least be heard.

Spornosexual: The Attack of the Airbrushed Adonis


The geeky part

In Sociology, it has been said that humans have the innate need to network. We interact and engage with people on our wavelength, as it is one of the major variables that constitute our overall happiness. When one interacts, and someone else engages, an interesting dialogue builds up. From it, we take away something that subconsciously makes us feel recognized and appreciated. This is tantamount to saying that we experience some sense of belongingness with this occurrence. This is our nature, a simple recognizable truth.

With the advent of social media a decade ago, the paradigm was to make technology vis-à-vis public conversations regardless of time and proximity. Little did we know that over a short period of time, this would evolve into something more complex, as we engage in forums that do not only involve current events, but broken-down life aspects that could be as simple as what your friend is having for dinner.

Social media has become more intimate and personal than ever. We open up our lives to the public 24/7. We snap pictures of ourselves in front of our bathroom mirrors. We obsess about our heartbreaks with quotes about sour-graping towards acceptance and healing. We upload snippets of our simple pleasures and triumphs of being able to travel to foreign cities. We celebrate on social media during reunions and family gatherings. We update our Facebook statuses when we see beautiful sunsets and we poetize how it makes us feel nostalgic.

Then, we feel excited when a close friend comments on that snap of your road trip, more so when our other friends comment and join the conversation. We feel giddy when our crushes like our selfies. We deem these likes as their appreciation of our best profile, and to some extent, that maybe they have a crush on you too.

The Spornosexual, though he may come across as too curated and unapproachable, is not oblivious of this give and take concept on social media. He gives his followers something that they will be excited about or aspiring for. The followers then give back their words of idolatry, or maybe questions that the Spornosexual could provide answers for to inspire them.

The result? A conversation. A dialogue. An exchange of power. Beauty for likes; likes for appreciation; appreciation for some sense of belongingness.


No hate

Spornosexuals have been stereotyped as male gym buffs who seemingly have nothing else to offer but their aesthetics. They have become the cleaner sporty pornstar kind who incessantly bombard our social media feed, titillating us with their show of some skin. At some point, it becomes annoying as it seems that they have nothing else to offer, when we try to find something more sensible and profound than their skin-deep looks.

But then again, it wouldn’t hurt if we realize that maybe, they too are searching for something more empathic and tolerant from us when all we do is raise our eyebrows and critique their hard-earned bodily achievements (and hashtags).

Who are we to judge when we, like them, only hope for recognition to feel that we also belong? They are here to stay; we are here to remain. We all have to co-exist. After all, aren’t we all stereotypes?

That. Is. Human nature, digitized.




Mai is a Cancerian colorblind who finds joy in the verve of everyday drama. Currently, he’s in the field of advertising and marketing, but dreams of putting up his own NGO when he grows up.





  1. Well-thought out, well-researched and very well-written. It doesn’t get more ‘verve in everyday drama’-esque than this. By cerebralising the subject, you shed light on a phenomenon so common it seems mundane, exposed its heart to us- your readers, and we are left walking away with a bigger grasp of the concept, and an even bigger fascination for the manner by which you presented it. Good writing. Tres, tres chic!

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