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Potential Growth of Contra-Sexuality 2004-11-06

Posted by clype in Intolerance, Scotland.

We’ve had the “metrosexual”, the “retrosexual” and then the “pomosexual”. [see below for definitions].

Now meet the “contra-sexual” the 21st-century woman who has ditched the search for men, marriage and equality for a life of hedonism, risk and excitement.

Courageous, successful and secure, contra-sexuals are typically ambitious thirty-something single women who are university educated.They have moved seamlessly through several careers, making astute investments along the way.

But unlike their mothers, the “contra-sexual” has shunned the traditional support structure provided by a husband and family, and is the antithesis of the stereotype popularised by “Bridget Jones” of needy, single women obsessed with finding a suitable husband.

Indeed, the “contra-sexual” is more like “Samantha Jones” from the USA’s Hit ComedyTV show “Sex And The City”, with her successful PR business and no-holds-barred attitude to coupling, according to a new report from Standard Life Bank.

The new breed of strong, confident women is turning its back on nesting impulses as children are put on the “back-burner” in favour of financial independence and self-fulfilment. The term was identified in a survey of attitudes among women who work full-time. Nearly a third of those questioned could be described as “contra-sexuals”.

  • The term was coined by researchers as defining a woman whose aspirations run counter to those traditionally held by their own gender.

Of the working women interviewed, only 4 per cent admitted to being “very traditional”. A large majority, 78 per cent, said they were glad women could now put off starting a family until later in life. Many felt that being a younger mother would limit their personal ambitions (39 per cent) and their career (36 per cent).

While government statistics show the average British woman has her first child at the age of 27, these working women believe the ideal age is 32.

The survey found that if they were given the money and the time off work, 91 per cent of working women in Scotland would seize the opportunity to travel or take steps to change their lives dramatically.

Social anthropologists say this new female formula makes up almost a third of working women and is one of the most important social trends to emerge in the 21st century.

Ms.Jan Walsh, the report’s author, said:

‘The thread underlying the real meaning of a “contra-sexual” is their attitude to fulfilment. Until recently, it was still the view of women that the greatest fulfilment came with having a family.

‘Yet we found 16 per cent of working women now say that their greatest fulfilment will come by achieving something incredible by their own efforts.

‘Settling down is just not on the agenda for many of today’s working women. If they get a windfall they are more likely to spend it on an adventure day-out than on a shopping spree, a night out or buying something functional for the house’.

The “contra-sexual phenomenon” has also been recognised by the film and advertising industry.

In the Hollywood film “Catwoman”, the feline superhero, faced with a choice between her feral freedom and accepting romance, chooses to prowl the rooftops alone, subverting the traditional Hollywood ending.

Advertisers, too, have woken to the lucrative market of happy singles. Diamond giant De Beers recently launched a campaign designed to sell rings to unmarried women asserting their independence.

‘Your left hand says we’, your right hand says me.

Women of the world, raise your right hands’.

Ms.Gill Mills, a broadcaster and entrepreneur who juggles a variety of different jobs, is typical of the modern “contra-sexual” woman.

But she believes that the new term may be more to do with marketing than a genuine shift in female values. She said:

[Picture of Gill Mills]
‘I don’t know how much of it is based on women choosing not to settle down earlier and having control of their own destiny, or whether it is more about sophisticated targeted marketing based on research.

‘These women have always existed, they have just been called something else. There is an inherent desire to belong to a group. The marketers realise this, and thus it is in their interests to create a new group in the hope that people might buy into it’.


  • Gill Mills is 26th “Most Eligible Woman in Scotland”

metrosexual (met.roh.SEK.shoo.ul) n. An urban male with a strong aesthetic sense who spends a great deal of time and money on his appearance and lifestyle.

-metrosexuality n.

retrosexual (ret.roh.SEK.shoo.ul) n. A man with an undeveloped aesthetic sense who spends as little time and money as possible on his appearance and lifestyle. Also: retro-sexual.
-retrosexuality n.

Notes: It’s entirely appropriate that this sense of the word retrosexual — that is, man as the anti-metrosexual — was first used by Mark Simpson, the coiner of metrosexual. Note, however, that Simpson didn’t coin the word retrosexual. The singer Bebe Buell released an album called ‘Retrosexual’ in 1994. Also, there’s another sense of the word that refers to a person who hasn’t had sex in a long time:

‘Homosexual, heterosexual, bisexual, I’ve heard it all before’, said my friend Ms M.

Then again, I haven’t had sex in so long I’m retrosexual’. – Karen Krizanovich, ‘Talk dirty to me’, The Guardian (London, England), 1995-08-10

pomosexual (poh.moh.SEK.shoo.ul) n. A person who shuns labels such as heterosexual and homosexual that define individuals by their sexual preferences. Also: PoMoSexual.
-adj.-pomosexuality n.

Notes: This word combines pomo, shorthand for postmodern, with the suffix -sexual. Although she didn’t invent the word, pomosexual was made famous by editor Carol Queen who used it in the title of a 1997 anthology of essays, ‘PoMoSexuals: Challenging Assumptions About Gender and Sexuality’ (Cleis Press). On the back cover of the book, PoMoSexual is described, unhelpfully, as the “erotic reality beyond the boundaries of gender, separatism, and essentialist notions of sexual orientation.”



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