If you happen to find yourself in Sydney this week, you have the unique opportunity to have sex with the earth. You just need to stop by the “ecosexual bathhouse,” which is currently part of the Syndey LiveWorks Festival of experimental art. The bathhouse is an interactive installation created by artists Loren Kronemyer and Ian Sinclair of Pony Express, who described the work to me as a “no-holds-barred extravaganza meant to dissolve the barriers between species as we descend into oblivion” as the result of our global environmental crisis. But they also see their piece as a part of a much larger ecosexual movement, which they say is gathering momentum around the world.
And they may be right. Jennifer Reed, a PhD candidate in sociology at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, is writing a dissertation on ecosexuality, and says that the number of people who identify as ecosexuals has increased markedly in the past two years. And Google search data confirms that interest in the term has spiked dramatically over the past year. We may look back on 2016 as the year ecosexuality hit the mainstream.
Ecosexuality is a term with wide-ranging definitions, which vary depending on who you ask. Amanda Morgan, a faculty member at the UNLV School of Community Health Sciences who is involved in the ecosexual movement, says that ecosexuality could be measured in a sense not unlike the Kinsey Scale: On one end, it encompasses people who try to use sustainable sex products, or who enjoy skinny dipping and naked hiking. On the other are “people who roll around in the dirt having an orgasm covered in potting soil,” she said. “There are people who f*ck trees, or masturbate under a waterfall.”