Ecosexuality: Earth as Lover, not Mother

I am a woman in love with the world. I stroke trees as I walk by them in the bush. Sometimes I stop and press my face against their bark, sometimes I wrap my arms around them. I get down on my hands and knees to marvel at tiny flowers hidden amongst leaf litter and I get excited by the sweet smelling mix of cow shit, lucerne hay and soil. I thought I was just a weirdo, but now I know better. I’m an ecosexual.

I’ve always thought of the Earth as mother. But recently I’ve begun to question this. Because a parent/child relationship is rarely equal. The parent gives, the child receives. What if we started seeing the earth as lover, instead of mother? A love relationship is based on mutual respect, a deep sense of care, and the joy of spending time together. This sounds healthier to me. This is ecosexuality.

Ecosexuality is a concept championed by artists and activists Annie Sprinkle and Beth Stephens. According to their website, ecosexuality “is a new approach to current thinking about global ecological crises, eco-art and environmental activist strategies.” Being an ecosexual can mean many things – a person who finds nature romantic, sensual and sexy, a new sexual identity, an environmental activist strategy or a person who imagines the Earth as their lover. The pair’s aim is to “make the environmental movement more sexy, fun and diverse.”

“The Earth is our lover” writes Sprinkle and Stephens in their Ecosex Manifesto. “We are madly, passionately, and fiercely in love and we are grateful for this relationship each and every day. In order to create a more mutual and sustainable relationship with the Earth we collaborate with nature. We treat the Earth with kindness, respect and affection…. We will save the mountains, waters and skies by any means necessary, especially through love, joy and our powers of seduction. We will stop the rape, abuse and the poisoning of the earth… We embrace the revolutionary tactics of art, music, poetry, humour and sex. We work and play tirelessly for Earth justice and global peace.”

Philosopher, environmental activist and Buddhist scholar Joanna Macy is too an ecosexual. ‘World is lover. World is self’, she says in an interview with Krista Tippett of On Being. “We’ve been treating the Earth as if it were a supply house and a sewer. We’ve been grabbing, extracting resources from it for our cars and our hair dryers and our bombs, and we’ve been pouring the waste into it until it’s overflowing.

But our Earth is not a supply house and a sewer. It is our larger body. We breathe it. We taste it. We are it. And it is time now that we venerate that incredible flowering of life that takes every aspect of our physicality.”

As it turns out, I’m a long term ecosexual. My vision for The Planthunter has always been to seduce people into falling in love with the world, through falling in love with plants. Beauty, irreverence and storytelling are my tools. Encouraging people to become gardeners has been my end game. To be a gardener is to care, to nurture, to grow. To be a gardener is to give and receive with grace. To be a gardener is to derive joy from the beauty and sensory delights found within the natural world. To be a gardener is to be an ecosexual.

Everyone needs to become an ecosexual, NOW! Here’s a few eco-sexy acts to get you eco-excited:

Wrap yourself around a tree. Rub your hands up and down it’s trunk, feeling every single bump, crack, crevasse. Breathe the tree in, deeply and slowly.

Look up. Sit very still in your backyard or a nearby public park and watch for birds. When you find one, follow it until it disappears from view. Try to recall as much detail of it as you can. See as much as you can see.

Lie face down on the ground. Spread your arms and legs wide and inhale the earth. Whisper your thanks and adoration as you lie cradled by your lover.

Get face to face with flowers, the sex organs of plants. Rub your nose, cheeks, lips with pollen (don’t do this if you have allergies!) and ponder the wonder of pollination.

Go skinnydipping. Get nude and natural in nature. Immerse yourself in your nearest river, ocean, pool. Be one with water.

Take off your shoes and walk barefoot on the earth. Dig your toes into the dirt, feel every single step you take. Time your breathing to your footfalls. Walk slowly, slowly, slowly.

Talk dirty to plants. Speak words of love to your plants. Encourage them, support them, stroke them, care for them.

Be an ecosexual. Love the earth.

The images used to accompany this post were first published on The Planthunter as part of a photoessay on gay beats in and around Sydney by Daniel Shipp.