My phone started putting news on the screen from any source, all day long—I don’t know how this happened. But I had a job with lots of free time, so I went with it. One day I came across an article about the act and orientation of enjoying a passionate relationship with the Earth. Ecosexuality!

The article was horrified that persons who called themselves ecosexuals would activate their erogenous zones at the touch of a waterfall or in the slither of merry mud. The disgusted journalist made clear that these people claimed they were actually in love! They held public, communal ceremonies where they married the earth, or the moon, or a particular place’s natural features for life.

Oh no! The article was from Brietbart, the alt-right news service, via Fox News—which did explain the revulsion—and mine for having such a source invade my phone. But first, I was dumbfounded. At last a name for what I was—an ecosexual! And the mainstream response was that it was pretty sickening! That didn’t fit with my experience.

I’d just completed a rough draft of a book I was calling The Land Erotic. It’s now morphed into Ecosexual Elder, because I was sixty when I wrote it, when the alt-right’s aghast dismay hit my phone. Many years ago, an Earthspiritual group I belonged to ceremonially took a particular patch of lovely acres to our hands, hearts, and spirits in marriage. So I could relate, but I needed to know more about these ecosexuals!

I found a website featuring a couple who seemed to be the leading lights of the movement back in 2015 — Beth Stephens and Annie Sprinkle. Brace yourself: they’re artists, they’re in California, it’s all very colorful and bold!


Here’s a taste:

A postprogress mythos that reinterprets the role humans play in the web of life has yet to fully emerge . . . we offer our shared belief that we are in the presence of an ecosexual awakening.

What does this mean? In short, it’s a rekindled awareness of the innate connection between the erotic and the natural, the natural and the sacred, the sacred and the embodied. We believe that integrating these forces, within the context of community, creativity, and land stewardship, will plant seeds filled with the energy needed to transition to sustainable cultures.

When we shift the metaphor from “Earth as Mother” to “Earth as Lover” we become more aware of Gaia’s hospitality and more in touch with our own desire to reciprocate as loving tenders of Gaia’s ecosystems. When we experience more gratefulness for the multiple ecosystems that enhance our well being, we are better able to see ourselves, and our own vital energies, as part of, and sourced from, a larger whole . . . Imagining the Earth as a lover we share initiates a journey toward a more reciprocal and regenerative relationship with one another and this living Earth.

Jennifer Reed, PhD. conducts research into the ecosexuality movement. She calls it:

…a growing transnational grassroots social movement that blends environmental and sexual justice as its starting point. Rather than creating temporary coalitions among single-issue groups, the ecosexual movement begins at the intersection of multiple struggles.

See her in action here, conducting one of those all-important weddings:

Now for fun, meet some passionate ecosexuals on the Slutever show from Vice: though the approach was no-holds-barred, the topic was treated with sensitivity . . . and the host gets married to the Earth!

The ecosexual idea is a challenge to take your environmentalism all the way.

My new book explores what it’s like to navigate a difficult marriage and family but be steadied and schooled by an intimate relationship to a parcel of land, the 50+ acres of woods and prairie my husband and I purchased in 1993. Here’s a brief excerpt:

Sunset can be a sensual rush if you let it.

Sometimes I need to flee my land for another perspective. Marriage to one piece of ground can’t always give everything you need. Often there is the lust for water, really big water, or as big as it gets around here.

Forty years and no one thinks about how a reservoir is built or filled. The Lake is a fringed bowl claiming all eyes. Only the massive stretch of dam shouts ‘manmade.’ When I climb the overlook, I can’t help but think of the towns erased when the Army Corps began to dig. Generations of memories stand underwater now.

I’m smitten by the reach of water, thirty-five square miles of it, lying like a lounger with no distractions in the way, save the occasional dot of motorboat or flicker of sail. It takes five minutes to scurry down and see what’s lapping at the edge.

Height is different on this jewel of a Lake as opposed to my land’s more subtle elevations. At home I climb and know I’m climbing up top, but then everything is horizontal again. On the mound at Lake’s edge you are a lookout, surrounded by air, facing water on three sides with a slope that took your breath behind you. There is no other reason to be here than to feast the eyes. At most, ten people could congregate on this tip. What might we come to see? How the sun goes down away from town.

I can’t stay here, I have to descend to see the sky bleed, so I slip partway on my ass, scuttle perilously at an angle the rest of the way in loose dirt that resembles a path but is only jesting—it’s a slide. At last, my spot for the show. I love the dusk, love the transition. But even better is what I call The Pinking.

One freak warm winter evening, the mound and the shore are thick with couples in shirt sleeves. I’m the practical one toting jacket and gloves: as soon as the sun fades I’ll be toasty and vindicated. How did all of these young people know it was going to be an erotic sunset tonight? Call it the lovers’ hunch.

There is no pink like this sky. ‘Hot’ pink? This sky is a five-alarm fire. And tonight I know why everyone is standing still, transfixed. The swath is huge and hung down into the water. Despite a silver cuff on the shore at our feet, the whole lake burns as the sky slips in some extra tint and churning fuchsia bumps with waves. There is too much vibrancy here for the air to handle: when the sky stoked itself into a hue beyond compare, it simply had to share.

I run back up the mound because I want to see every last wisp of it and I want it from a height, aware that I’m turning my back on milliseconds I could be imbibing, embarrassing myself when I see two persons seated on the path ahead—she enclosed in his arms, as intent on the pinking as me. I’m an older woman scuffling up the trail and stopping to look back, my body language urgent. But I won’t reach the summit in time. Instead they get to drink it all in—will it help or hinder them tonight? Do they know how lucky they are? They stir and make to leave as I approach, a notch more nonchalantly, swerving into the weeds to accommodate their murmuring.

Still I exult because the pinking is wanton; it spreads, so vivid it dwarfs anything moving on water or land. Then after a grand climax it too fades. Geese float in procession before its denouement, the peacefulness of post-coital fervor claims the Lake, and the whole scene is cinched when Venus, the evening star, winks on.

Now she is the show, the story-maker, shining with variegated blips and blinks on dusky blue.

Should I be sorry for slinking here when I love my land so much, sorry for reveling in the pinking, for wishing upon Venus’ golden point, wishing like it was my last wish from the genie? And what is Kai doing right now, I wonder?

Suddenly I’m too far from home.