Full Frame Shot Of Grassy Field
There’s a photo of electropunk musician Peaches sprawled face-down on a lawn, tongue out, with a caption reading: “Grassilingus.” The gender-fluid rock star who taught us to unapologetically embrace sex and our body hair is getting ecosexual.
"Ecosexuality is making the earth an urgent sexual matter. Instead of 'Mother Earth', where the earth comforts you, earth is your lover — on your level — putting the responsibility on you to uphold your side of the relationship..., [it's] revolutionary,” she says.
Whether it's masturbating with water pressure, using eco-friendly lubricant, or literally having sex with a tree — a person of any sexual proclivity who finds eroticism in nature, or believes that making environmentalism sexy will slow the planet’s destruction, can be ecosexual. The term ecosex is like the word “queer”; its meaning varies — a movement, an identity, a sexual practice, an environmental activist strategy — depending on who you ask.
“We’re in a period I call the ecosexual baby boom,” says Loren Kronemyer, half of the Australia-based art duo Pony Express, who are currently touring their Ecosexual Bathhouse, an immersive installation that includes BDSM pollination.
Kronemyer says that young people are discovering the topic through the conceptual art projects of self-described Bay Area “sexecologists” Annie Sprinkle and Elizabeth Stephens. Sprinkle, formerly a porn star and sex worker, is now a sex educator and artist who has exhibited work at the Guggenheim. Stephens is a professor of art at the University of California, Santa Cruz, who grew up in the Appalachian coal country of West Virginia.
In 2011, the two wrote an ecosex manifesto, and have since made a career of promoting ecoeroticism to the public through activism, symposia, and performance art, including ecosexual walking tours and wedding ceremonies — “We call them sequins of events,” Sprinkle says - for the dirt, sea, and other elements.
“All this wood here is very sensual,” Sprinkle gestures to the rough tables made of recycled pallets, which surround us as we chat in an outdoor cafe at documenta 14, an enormous art exhibition in Kassel, Germany.
“Ecosexuality is a way of enjoying the sensuality of pretty much anything,” says Stephens. “It's really about embodiment.” In the gallery across the street, a roomful of Sprinkle and Stephens visual artwork and vintage erotica is on display. In September, they’ll premiere their second feature documentary film here, Water Makes Us Wet. Before we part, Sprinkle tells me, “Shakespeare was an ecosexual.”