Sexecology

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Sexecology (also ecosexuality) is a radical form of environmental activism based around nature fetishism, the idea of the earth as a lover. It invites people to treat the earth with love rather than see it as an infinite resource to exploit.[1] It was founded by Elizabeth Stephens and Annie Sprinkle, who describe themselves as "two ecosexual artists-in-love", whose manifesto is to make environment activism "more sexy, fun, and diverse".[2] Sexecology employs absurdist humor, performance art and sex-positivity, which Stephens claims "may produce new forms of knowledge that hold potential to alter the future by privileging our desire for the Earth to function with as many diverse, intact and flourishing ecological systems as possible."[3] [4] "[5] The couple promote education, events such as the ecosex symposium, and activism, such as protecting the Appalachian Mountains from mountain top removal.[5]

Difference from ecofeminism[edit]

Sexecology conceives of the earth not as a mother, but as a lover.[6] This conceptual shift invites people to engage their bodies and senses in acts of environmental preservation.[3]

Unlike ecofeminism, sexecology does not see an intrinsic link between women and nature; some of the limitations of ecofeminism which sex ecology indirectly addresses are "the reliance on women's biological functions to establish a connection between women and nature, the uncritical over-privileging of women's experiences, the inappropriateness of designating ideal female characteristics, and the regressive political implications of associating women with nature".[7] "The formulation of an Eco-Sexual identity is a practice of an erotic eco-logic, deconstructing heteronormative constructions of gender, sex, sexuality, and nature in order to continually queer and destabilize identities, actively form and retain spaces of lack that necessitate interdependency, and engage a permeable sensuous self in perpetual sensorial reciprocity with the sensing and sensible more-than-human environment. It is an identity identified by desire rather than a stable essence or being, and it is a desire for the more-than-human environment in which the human subject is sensorially implicit."[5]

Ecosexuals[edit]

Proponents of this movement are called "ecosexuals"; they are unafraid to engage in and embrace their erotic experience with the earth, such as bathing naked, having sex with vegetables or having an orgasm in a waterfall.[1] Stephens describes ecosexuals as people who "... are related to cyborgs and are not afraid of engaging in intercourse with nature and/or with technology for that matter. We make love with the Earth through our senses."[3]

Ecosexuals range from those who use sustainable sex products and like being nude in nature to those who "roll around in the dirt having an orgasm covered in potting soil" and those who "masturbate under a waterfall"[8] "[Sprinkle and Stephens] have officiated wedding ceremonies where they and fellow ecosexuals marry the earth, the moon, and other natural entities" [8] They have also stated that they believe there are over 100,000 people who identify as ecosexual worldwide[8] Stefanie Iris Weiss wrote a book about using sustainable sex products called Eco-sex: Go Green Between the Sheets and Make Your Love Life Sustainable. She brings up the environmental impact and the carbon footprint we leave behind when using condoms, lube, and other sex products. The overall purpose of the book is to bring awareness of the environmental impact of current sex products while introducing more eco-friendly alternatives.[9]

Human/nonhuman relationships[edit]

Sexecology seeks to direct attention towards “the ways in which sex and sexuality affect the larger nonhuman world.” Ecosexuality is an orientation directed toward the non-human material world. With this direction, ecosexuality makes a bold statement that “these human bodies are part of the nonhuman material world.” The blur between human and non-human entities is essential to Sprinkles and Stephens’ demonstration of sexecology.[10]

Sexecology was influenced by contemporary theories around posthumanism and the relationships between humans and nonhumans.[11]

"Haraway’s work has guided my understanding of the material consequences and the theoretical underpinnings embedded in human/nonhuman relationships that matrix our world. This has helped me understand how human exceptionalism has been constructed and privileged throughout the history of religion and science as well as in other secular practices in western culture. Human exceptionalism, in collaboration with global capitalism, has created the isolated space necessary for the ongoing practices that have produced the dangerously degraded environmental conditions in which we now live. The belief systems and ideologies that allow some people to think that they have the Darwinian survival skill and the rights that accompany those skills to use or destroy other human and non humans is now causing the kind of environmental degradation that affects the whole system sooner or later."[12]

Performances and workshops[edit]

“The Love Art Lab projects aim to instill hope, create an antidote to fear, and act as a call for action.”[13] It is a private demonstration into the work of the two founders of the movement, Sprinkles and Stephens, as the research how to become "lovers with the earth. The performances can be privately booked by contacting the two and are meant to be demonstrational, informative, and "radical."[13]

Sprinkles and Stephens have performed a number of "weddings to the earth" across the world intended to break the barrier between human sexuality and nature. The performances include "Wedding to the Dirt, Wedding to Lake Kallavesi, Wedding to the Coal, Wedding to the Rocks, Wedding to the Snow, Wedding to the Moon, Wedding to the Appalachian Mountains, Wedding to the Earth, and Wedding to the Sea", to date. The intention, according to Sprinkles, is to "…shift the metaphor from ‘Earth as Mother’ to ‘Earth as Lover´" [14]

Sprinkles and Stephens have performed a two women show 25 Ways to Make Love to the Earth (Theatre Piece) at the Kosmos Theatre in Vienna in 2010 to demonstrate how to "make love with the earth", including talking, singing, dancing, and stroking natural objects. The performances are educational as well as self-promoting of the movement.[15]

The aesthetic strategies of sexecology are influenced by Joseph Beuys' concept of social sculpture, which sees art as having the potential to transform society.[16][17]

"... the production of visible art may effect the production of invisible ideological and class relations. For Joseph Beuys, sculpture and artistic creativity hold the potential to reshape the educational and governmental institutions that produce ideological subjects, as well as social, political, and economic systems. Art, Beuys argues, is the necessary condition for the production of a revolutionary society because it can both unravel the old order and engage everyone in the production of a new social order."[3]

Ecosexuals have held a number of educational workshops.[citation needed] They have engaged in on-site environmental activism, such as "Occupy Bernal"[citation needed] and protests against mountaintop removal, as shown in the film "Goodbye Gauley Mountain: An Ecosexual Love Story."

Goodbye Gauley Mountain: An Ecosexual Love Story (film)[edit]

Goodbye Gauley Mountain: An Ecosexual Love Story (2013) is a autoethnographic documentary film by Elizabeth Stephens with Annie Sprinkle about the environmental issue of Mountaintop removal in West Virginia, United States.[18] West Virginia native Stephens returns to her childhood home to create a film that incorporates autobiography, a brief history of the coal industry, an inventory of activist strategies, an eco-sexual mini-manifesto, and finally, an example of the performance art Stephens and Sprinkle often employ to express their ecosexuality.[19] Stephens presents a community struggling to rectify their love of their natural mountainous environment with the fact that its destruction via MTR provides the local economy. The piece explores the negative consequences of mountaintop removal, both cosmetic and environmental, and culminates in an exploration of ecosexuality, followed by wedding ceremony in which Stephens and Sprinkle "marry" the mountain. “Ecosexuality inserts an ‘erotic’ humor that plays against the horrific subject matter. So far the feedback that I’ve received at film previews makes me realize that these are effective strategies for creating space to briefly cut the feeling of despair that MTR evokes.”

See also[edit]

Bibliography[edit]

  • Stefanie Iris Weiss. Eco-Sex: Go Green Between the Sheets and Make Your Love Life Sustainable. Paperback. 224 pages, publisher: Ten Speed Press (March 30, 2010) ISBN 1580081185

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Lechner, Marie. "Annie Sprinkle, un cas d'écolo-sexe". Next Libération. Retrieved 22 October 2013.
  2. ^ "Sex Ecology". sexecology.org. Elizabeth Stephens and Annie Sprinkle. n.d. Retrieved 22 October 2013.
  3. ^ a b c d "PAR: Goodbye Gauley Mountain: An Ecosexual Love Story". elizabethstephens.org. Elizabeth Stephens. n.d. Retrieved 22 October 2013.
  4. ^ Corinne, Van Houten (July 21, 2013). "Goodbye Gauley Mountain: An Ecosexual Love Story: Beth Stephens and Annie Sprinkle Marry A Mountain". Artcore. 2 (1).
  5. ^ a b c Reed, Jennifer J. (2015). Anderlini-D’Onofrio, SerenaGaia; Hagamen, Lindsay, eds. "From Ecofeminism to Ecosexuality: Queering the Environmental Movement". Ecosexuality: When Nature Inspires the Arts of Love: 92–102.
  6. ^ "Elizabeth Stephens". Faculty List. Art Faculty UC Santa Cruz. Archived from the original on 1 November 2013. Retrieved 22 October 2013.
  7. ^ Archambault, Anne. "A Critique of Ecofeminism". Canadian Woman Studies. 13 (3): 21. Retrieved 30 October 2013.
  8. ^ a b c Neil McArthur (2016-11-02). "Ecosexuals Believe Having Sex with the Earth Could Save It | VICE | United States". VICE. Retrieved 2016-12-02.
  9. ^ "Eco-Sex: The Book | Eco-Sex". ecosex.net. Retrieved 2016-12-02.
  10. ^ Morris, Michael. "Material Entanglements With the Nonhuman World: Theorizing Ecosexualities in Performance." Electronic Thesis or Dissertation. Ohio State University, 2015.OhioLINK Electronic Theses and Dissertations Center. 02 Dec 2016.
  11. ^ Haraway, Donna (2008). When Species Meet. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. p. 360.
  12. ^ Stephens, Elizabeth. "PAR: Goodbye Gauley Mountain:An Ecosexual Love Story". Retrieved 22 October 2013.
  13. ^ a b "Assuming the Ecosexual Position: Adventures of the Love Art Lab". anniesprinkle.org. n.d. Retrieved 2016-12-02.
  14. ^ "Ecosex Weddings, weddings with nonhuman natural elements". sexecology.org. n.d. Retrieved 2016-12-02.
  15. ^ "Dirty Sexecology: 25 Ways to Make Love to the Earth (Theater Piece)". sexecology.org. n.d. Retrieved 2016-12-02.
  16. ^ Beuys, Joseph (2004). What is Art?. Forest Row: Clairview. p. 112.
  17. ^ Beuys, Joseph (1990). Joseph Beuys in America : Energy Plan for the Western Man : Writings by and Interviews with the Artist. New York: Four Walls Eight Windows.
  18. ^ Archer, Greg (20 November 2013). "Mountaintop Removal: Two Ecosexuals Fight Back Hard". Huffington Post.
  19. ^ Clemons, Tammy (2014). "Goodbye Gauley Mountain: An Ecosexual Love Story". Journal of Appalachian Studies. 20 (1): 91–93.

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