The Birds, Bees & Trees
We all encompass a sexual ecosystem. Like a terrarium, we are host to delicate systems that when nourished, can create a sexual habitat as healthy and colourful as a David Attenborough documentary. But what happens when you don’t, or can’t, feed your sexual ecosystem? It becomes famished and wilted; it’s ability to flourish to its fullest potential is compromised.
The most common mistake we make in our observation of the natural world is viewing it from a place of control and curation. Not dissimilar to the socially constructed views that exist around sexuality. But do we ever question how nature curates us? How the natural landscape facilitates the cultural and physical exploration of our own sexuality?
As a teenager, my bourgeoning sexuality consumed most of my thoughts as did my unrelenting desire to be close to women; in a way that I couldn’t fully grasp, but knew was complicated. Many afternoons I’d find myself spending time at a local cemetery reflecting on my unrequited feelings for women and crying in the grass under a large Dogwood.
At the time, there was no one I felt I could talk to about these feelings, no one could ever possibly understand what it was like to be a teenage girl, in love with another teenage girl. It was near this tree where I fantasised about being with her emotionally and physically, and where I decided I could no longer live if I didn’t tell her how I felt, even if the prospect was vilification and isolation. It was under this tree where I contemplated my options. I took my chances. And within 3 months, I was having sex with her by this very Dogwood.
There was something both titillating and terrifying about our ability to explore our sexualities in this landscape that took me years to understand. It was the nonverbal nature of our encounters, the lack of need, even if discomforted, to discuss what was happening and why. After all, who needed to know the what and why? Was it us or was it society? The Dogwood didn’t care.
You don’t have to be an eco-sexual to know that having sex in the outdoors can be an unexplainably thrilling, liberating, and ultimately, at the grunt of it, a peaceful experience. This isn’t about experiencing sexual peace through the typical pop-channels of love, romance, and baby birds tweeting above your head kind of sex. This is the kind of peace experienced through the body’s ability to reclaim its emotional constitution. The kind of process that can restore a sexual biodiversity under threat.
Once upon a time, having sex in nature wouldn’t have been deemed as deviant, wild, or a fetish – it would have just been the norm. Hunters and gatherers would have stopped along their daily forage to romp in luscious hills of green; lost themselves in forests full of upstanding trees, seeking satisfaction for the ‘other’ kind of appetite – the natural hunger that is satiated through the offering of one’s body to another.
This would have been as common and typical as the seasonal harvests until the institution of religion came along and inspired a great tragedy that still remains with us today – the sexual dark ages. This oppressive paradigm narrates a strict and narrow moral code, framing sex as dirty and dangerous and something necessitating systemic control. Whilst this may have created a social order that was built to benefit a powerful minority, over time its detached humanity from being able to harness one of the most potent and rewarding relationships human beings can form with themselves and others; the experience of sexuality and sexual expression in its most organic form.
Having sex outdoors can be a radical way of reclaiming the part of yourself that society is too scared to handle. But it can also be one of the million ways that nature can teach us about how small minded we humans are. Outdoors, amongst the trees, there’s no need to express why you seek to connect sexually with others and conversely, there is nothing to question your sexual desires and practices. Just good old fashioned cross pollination of the body and soul.
Nurturing and tending our sexual ecosystem means embracing the compassion, discomfort and delight it offers us. After all, this is what life and sex are all about, in both the human and plant worlds. The birds, bees, and the trees.