If tending your garden, shopping local, and volunteering for a community cleanup just isn’t enough to rev your metaphorical engine in time for Earth Day, no worries. Turns out, there’s a sexier way to show love to the planet, and it’s called ecosexuality.
First appearing on scene in the late 1990s and brought more into the mainstream back in 2008 by two collaborating artists, activists, and educators Elizabeth Stephens and Annie Sprinkle, ecosexuality is a growing sexual identity in which people view the earth as their lover, rather than their mother. “We are madly, passionately, and fiercely in love … we treat the earth with kindness, respect, and affection,” proclaims their manifesto.
But what does this actually mean? Do you have to have sex with nature or do the deed with your partner amidst a forest of trees or on the banks of the ocean? There are no hard-and-fast rules, of course. As with any sexual identity, the way you choose to express yourself depends on your level of comfort. Sure, there are plenty of ecosexuals who get off on physical intimacy with earthly elements; they may be aroused by feeling the summer breeze across their skin or gain pleasure by catching the scent of flowers in the air. “We shamelessly hug trees, massage the earth with our feet, and talk erotically to plants,” the manifesto states. “We caress rocks, are pleasured by waterfalls, and admire the earth’s curves often. We make love with the earth through our senses.”
Don’t fret, though, if literally getting down and dirty isn’t your jam. Others in this community rep the movement by opting to simply vibe more with their surroundings. They might meditate by the sea or use more earth-friendly sexcessories, such as condoms, lubricants, and toys (we recommend Sustain, Glyde, Sliquid, and Micro-Kitty brands, FYI). The point? All are welcome to partake in this planetary love fest, no matter where you fall on the ecosexuality spectrum.
University of Nevada Las Vegas instructor and sociologist Dr. Jennifer Reed breaks it down like this: “While some ecosexuals express an element of eroticism about nature, such as enjoyment of hikes or swimming in the ocean or texture/smell of plants, the main goal is to provide diverse groups with a fun way to engage on the topic of environmental conservation. Human beings are a part of nature, not separate from it. A lot of environmental destruction happens because we’re seen as being dominant over the earth or we expect the earth to take care of us. The ecosexual movement moves to reframe our relationship to the earth as an equal partnership.”
Comprised of more people than you might imagine — about 50,000 according to Stephens and Sprinkle — the ecosexuality movement includes everyone from artists, business people, and therapists to scientists, sex workers, and lawyers. Sometimes referred to as pollenamorous, hortisexual, ecobitionists who enjoy regular ecogasms and ecojaculations, these people are also devout environmental activists who pour their energy into fighting climate change, pollution, mountaintop removal mining, and other issues affecting the earth.
To show their commitment, some ecosexuals even decide to marry the soil, the sun, the water, or other natural element in a symbolic ceremony — vowing to dedicate their lives to unapologetically loving the earth. It’s a radical love. A love that knows no bounds. A love that understands we, the people, must always show up for the earthly home that’s shown up for us by giving us shelter, food, water … life.