Fuck the planet.
That might sound like an peri-orgasmic utterance of our most recent president-elect, but it's actually exactly what a growing group of people called ecosexuals believe we must do to the Earth in order to save it.
Ecosexuals practice something called ecosexuality, a new(ish) form of sexual expression that allows the Earth to function as a sexual partner to humans. Ideology-wise, ecosexuals believe that a romantic relationship with theplanet is the path to environmental awareness and protection — but that can mean different things for different ecosexuals, depending on who you ask.
Amanda Morgan, one of those ecosexuals and faculty member at the UNLV School of Community Health Sciences, told VICE that ecosexuality is broadly defined and can be measured along a continuum, not unlike the Kinsey Scale. On one end of the spectrum, there are people who enact ecosexuality with commercial activism, or by buying sustainable, environmentally friendly sex products (you know; your pthalate-free vibrators, wood and glass dildos, vegan plant-based condoms, cruelty-free lubes … that kind of thing).
In the middle, there are people whose relationship to the environment includes more physical activities that enhance their connection with nature — skinny dipping, hiking naked and the like.
Then, on the more extreme end, there are actual earth-fucker ecosexuals engaged in full-on, sexually active relationships with Mother Nature. According to Morgan, ecosexuals stay earth-conscious by "rolling around in the dirt having an orgasm covered in potting soil," "fucking trees," or "masturbating under a waterfall."
Easy cleanup, we suppose?
Photo cred: Matt Sav, VICE
Jennifer Reed, a PhD candidate in sociology at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas who is writing a dissertation on ecosexuality, says that ecosexuality is different from other social movements in that it focuses on pleasure rather than politics. And in a landscape where protests and overly political Facebook info dumps can turn some people off to environmental causes, ecosexuality's emphasis on personal behavior is clutch — it's a lot easier to get behind a movement that a.) doesn't require you to be outwardly political, and b.) encourages you to seek your own pleasure.
Though, while ecosexuality does encourage a mutually beneficial personal relationship with nature, it's still a method of activism with a goal at heart. As Morgan told VICE, thinking about nature as a lover is the first step to taking environmental concerns seriously.
"If you piss off your mother, she's probably going to forgive you. If you treat your lover badly, she's going to break up with you," she says.
Reed also says a lot of people are getting into this stuff lately. Outside magazine confirmed this in their report on the topic, writing that there at least 100,000 people around the world who openly identify as ecosexual, and Google search data reveals that the amount of people searching for the term has gone stratospheric over the past year.
A lot of people want to fuck the earth it seems … but what's behind the recent surge in interest?
According to Reed, ecosexuality has actually been around as a small-time sexual classification for at least 15 or 16 years — it started appearing in online dating profiles as a self-description term sometime in the early 2000s. But it wasn't until 2008, when Bay Area performance artists, activists, and couple Annie Sprinkle and Elizabeth Stephens made it their own personal and professional crusade that it ballooned into the fully formed social movement and sexual identity it is today.
Around that time, Sprinkle and Stephens began officiating ecosexual weddings (where they'd marry people to the sky or the moon or that rock over there), and they even penned an Ecosexual Manifesto in an effort to recontexualize the way we look at the earth, the hope being that ecosexuals and their allies could go from from seeing it as the planet we passively inhabit to seeing it as an actual lover. With this in mind, Sprinkle and Stephens believed they could raise consciousness about the way the earth is treated and the sustainability of our relationship with it.
The two have also produced several ecosexual theater pieces and films, including a documentary called Goodbye Gauley Mountain: An Ecosexual Love Story, which depicts the "pollen-amorous" relationship between them and the Appalachian Mountains. They even lead a contingent at last year's Pride Parade in San Francisco to add an "E" to the LGBTQI acronym … which we're guessing will just be called "the whole alphabet" pretty soon.
Their message resonated with more than a couple Earth fetishists, and the movement grew to be quite expansive among groups interested in environmentalism, as well as outside them.
"The community includes artists, academics, sex workers, sexologists, healers, environmental activists, nature fetishists, gardners, business people, therapists, lawyers, scientists and educators," their manifesto states; a warm-welcome to potential ecosexuals from all walks of life. "The Earth is our lover … We are aquaphiles, teraphiles, pyrophiles and aerophiles. We shamelessly hug trees, massage each other with our feet, and talk erotically to plants … We caress rocks, are pleasured by waterfalls, and admire the Earth's curves often. We make love with the earth using our senses. We celebrate our E-spots. We are very dirty."
From this manifesto, many prominent ecosexuals have been born, proliferating their earth-saving message and lifestyle most often through works of art. The most notable of these was a recent interactive installation in Sydney, Australia called the "Ecosexual Bathouse," an "immersive experience inviting you to leave the urban wasteland behind and open yourself up to an intimate encounter with the biosphere."
Inside the bathhouse, Perth-based artist collective Pony Express offered up a small menu of eco-erotic experiences like a pollination experiment, a sauna or "guidance by a bathhouse regular toward your own organic awakening." Bathhouse artists Loren Kronemyer and Ian Sinclair described the work as a "no-holds-barred extravaganza meant to dissolve the barriers between species as we descend into oblivion as the result of our global environmental crisis," and, if that doesn't make you slide right off your seat, we don't know what will.
Another major player in the ecosexuality movement is Stefanie Iris Weiss, a writer and activist based in New York. In 2008 (a great year for planet-sex, apparently), she started writing her book Eco-sex: Go Green Between the Sheets and Make Your Love Life Sustainable, a work which provided practicing ecosexuals with a more practical, literal focus by discussing the harmful environmental impact of materials used in condoms, lubes, and other sex products upon both our bodies and the planet. The book was written in order to help people have "more carbon neutral and sustainable" sex, as well as to educate people on how to avoid polluting our bodies like we pollute the earth.
This kind of sex, say both Morgan and Weiss, is an ultra-effective tool for encouraging people to make the environment and care for it a bigger part of their lives. As Weiss put it: "If you're running from floods, you won't have any time for sex."
… Unless you build an ark … but we digress.
Yet, while Weiss' work is arguably more serious than that of the other leading ecosexuals we mentioned, Morgan still asserts that levity and humor is an integral part of the movement. In her interview with VICE, she describes ecosexuality as a means of moving beyond the "depressing Al Gore stuff" that turn so many people — including our president-to-be — off from environmentalism. Her hope, and that of other ecosexuals such as Weiss and Kronemyer, is that it can motivate individual people using a method that's fun, accessible and pleasurable; one that creates a sense of optimism and love as opposed to doom and fear.
Is that sea-level rise, or is it just the collective watering vaginas of ecosexuals everywhere? From the looks of how things are going for the ecosexual movement; it might just be the latter.