Sex, Bliss and the Prefrontal Cortex

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Meet the Ecosexuals

Can better sex save the planet?

Playful Art from the Ecosex Symposium
Could better sex save the environment? A group of ambitious sex artists came together in San Francisco last weekend to try to connect the two.

The traditional definition of perversion is doing unauthorized things with your body, or using unauthorized parts of your body for sex. But maybe that's too limited a definition. The joyously perverted participants in the Ecosex Symposium, held last weekend in San Francisco, want to push the bounds of sexuality beyond the body. The conference was organized by sex/performance artists Elizabeth Stephens and Annie Sprinkle.

Carol Queen, co-founder of the Center for Sex and Culture, site of the event, said she wanted to challenge the idea that, "There's nothing going on unless you take your pants off and rub things together. Our nerology supports what's erotic about interactions with nature."

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This idea of ecosex isn't about rubbing things together with shrubs or mud -- although the center's other founder, Robert Lawrence, read a poetic piece about intercourse with a mossy gap in a tree trunk. The point seems to be that loving to be out in nature may not be enough for us to be moved to preserve it. A deeper, more erotic connection with the natural world -- Gaia as lover as well as mother -- may be what it takes.

Serena Anderlini-D'Onofrio, author of Gaia & the New Politics of Love: Notes for a Poly Planet, makes the case in that book that polyamory can destroy the scarcity mentality that makes us feel we have to compete for resources.

In the book's intro, she writes, "Learning the arts of loving allows emotional resources to multiply and become abundant on a planetary scale. ... This book intends to help the world recognize that Gaia actually already is gay, namely happy enough, and playful enough, and queer enough to welcome the infinite styles and practices of love that teem the planetary body and all the Earthlings that inhabit it."

Instead of thinking of the planet as a resource to be exploited by us, she wants us to think of ourselves as resources among other, equal resources.

During her symposium keynote, she said, "When love is an art, the forms of expression are infinite, and the dichotomy between sex and love become extinct. Then we have a chance to create a culture where loving the mountains is common and energies are spent in doing that instead of creating more wastelands. Ecosexual love brings back all these dimensions of what love is besides something you need to acquire."

If sex is the primal drive, maybe it will take harnessing the sex drive to nature to save the planet.

 

Susan Kuchinskas is a science writer and the author of the book The Chemistry of Connection.

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