There's a wide range of vegan Facebook groups active in Australia, and several are for vegan singles looking to mingle.
Greg McFarlane, founder and director of Vegan Australia, has been vegan for 20 years. He told us the term for people looking for vegan partners was ‘vegansexual.’
“Many would prefer to have a vegan partner as they find it hard to witness every day their loved ones doing something they see as unethical. It can lead to tension,” McFarlane says.
Research from 2007 revealed that some people directly connected their sexuality with a vegan diet.
“I would not want to be intimate with someone whose body is literally made up from the bodies of others who have died for their sustenance. Non-vegetarian bodies smell different to me,” a 41-year-old woman told researchers.
“I believe that we are what we consume, so I really struggle with bodily fluids – especially sexually,” a 24-year-old woman said.
Not all vegans are so strict, however.
“My ideal partner would be vegan, but I know there is more to a person,” says James Brooks, a 20-year-old Sydney vegan. “I usually just go with the flow and if it turns out that they're vegan, it's a nice surprise.”
“It shows that they're compassionate, strong and willing to care; a telling sign of a potential good relationship,” he says.
Ash O’Dowd, 21, says she wouldn’t necessarily mind, as long as they were open to learning about it.
“Not everyone has been vegan their whole life, so I would never just shut someone down because they aren't vegan,” she says.
The issue of kids could be difficult, O'Dowd admits, because she would want to raise them vegan.
Brooks is a member of a number of Vegan Facebook groups – including a singles group. “I've heard conflicting stories on its success. There was also an app, but it wasn't very good,” he says.
“Gay vegan dating is even harder, especially as most vegans and vegetarians are straight women,” he says. He’s currently single, but says he wouldn’t want someone to go vegan just for him.
“If someone is being vegetarian just to please me, that's not the right reason. It should be for the animals,” he says.
For McFarlane, the issue is about values as well.
“It is probably as important to me as for a person show supports the pro-refugee movement would prefer to find a non-racist partner. It would be hard for them to have a partner who attends racist anti-refugee rallies,” he says.
“Of course, there are many good relationships between vegan and non-vegans,” he adds.
Whether a partner is vegan or not isn’t the only issue for vegans when it comes to sex. Many condom brands aren’t vegan, with a milk byproduct used in the rubber manufacturing process (manufacturer Glyde prides itself on its vegan friendly processes).
That particular annoyance may be outweighed by other benefits. PETA – People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals – claims that vegans have better sex in its recent proposed super-bowl ad.
“Low-fat vegan meals tackle all the physical causes behind the vast majority of cases of impotence: high cholesterol, obesity, diabetes, prostate cancer or inflammation, and hormonal imbalances,” PETA claims.