FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

The Eco-Sex Movement

by BINOY KAMPMARK

Annie Sprinkle, PhD has been in the sex advocacy business for years.  She was colorfully present on Friday, along with her partner in crime Elizabeth M. Stephens, at the Femina Potens Gallery on Mission Street in San Francisco.  A good crowd had turned up for the signing of the Ecosex Manifesto. (‘We make love to the Earth,’ seems to be the expression of the evening.)  Sprinkle was an unmistakable presence: fascinator of peacock feathers and a bright dress.  Across her right breast was a named tag pasted across naked flesh.  (Her carriage is enormous and almost as well known as their owner.)

What’s the fuss about?  Green sex, sexecology, sustainable sex.  Coitus can be environmentally friendly after all.  Locate, urge organizers of the new movement, your ‘e-spot’. Let us all be ecovestites.  Fancy juggling arboreal frottage?

The art displays are amusing themselves (one features Sprinkle on the ground, legs spread in a vegetable patch, with Stephens watering her pubis), but as with many ideological movements, its rehearsed humor, stage managed in terms of imagery.  The canned laugher hits you hard.  To have a genuine chuckle about sex would be unthinkable, precisely because people take it so seriously.

That said the slightly clumsy collages featuring the mining in Appalachia make perfect environmental sense.  The earth is being violated, and the issue of seeking its consent would hardly bother mining company executives.  Sprinkle and Stephens then take the next step and argue that such an avid, dedicated raping requires natural healing and counseling ? hence this Ecosex manifesto, with its penitent promises by the human race to make love to earth itself.  ‘I promise to love, honor and cherish you Earth, until death brings us closer together, forever.’  Rutting has never been so earthy.

Then come the signatures, and the launching of the manifesto.  Everyone is so chatty with the flowing chardonnay and punch the messages are already muddled.  Nor do the pens work.  Sprinkle gives one of the girls taking photo shoots her own camera.  ‘Do you know how to work this thing?’ she inquires.

Ideology of any sort is unhealthy.  It controls, packages, limits.  Followers, however green, red or yellow they might be, resemble incurious automata, chanting and mumbling the central mantras and nostrums.  Sex movements are no different, because the discussion, however free, is premised on the idea of ironing out contradictions.  Even a free sex movement will eventually have partitions and red books of instruction and prohibitions.  The habit of streamlining is irresistible to founders and high priests and priestesses alike.

Sex, precisely because it lies at the basis of life, is stunningly hard to pin down, to control.  In The World of Lawrence, Henry Miller attempts to decipher the mystique of sex.  ‘Sex is the great Janus-faced symbol of life and death.  It is never one or the other, it is always both.  The great lie of life here comes to the surface; the contradiction refuses to be resolved.’  Hence coitus, annihilation, liberation.

The body of literature available for perusal at the gallery, like any texts that seek to bolster the columns of followers, or win new ones, is unintentionally humourous. Stefanie Iris Weiss has a few tips to offer the lady with child in Eco-sex.  No raw meat, deli-meat, no pate, no shell fish.  In short, a half-decent Japanese diet with the occasional French trimming is off limits to the eco-sexualist.  The idea, incidentally, is not because Weiss is bleeding for the animals of the sea or the unfortunates who get slaughtered for the dinner table.  She is simply concerned about diseases and toxins.

Sprinkle and company may wish to have ceremonial reactions to nature (along with Stephens, she has, in all seriousness married the moon, fulfilling that old Republican observation that, ‘These people will marry anything’), but nature mocks them.  One can’t help but cast a thought to George Bernard Shaw on the essential rapaciousness of humanity: ‘Man,’ he wrote in 1928, ‘remains what he has always been; the cruelest of all the animals, and the most elaborately and fiendishly sensual.’

Besides, sex is complicated enough without more instruction manuals or dictates that already clutter the modern Californian home.  But let us not be too pessimistic.  And go back to the punch and extensive fruit platters.

Binoy Kampmark was a Commonwealth Scholar at Selwyn College, Cambridge.  He lectures at RMIT University, Melbourne.  Email: bkampmark@gmail.com

 

 

Binoy Kampmark was a Commonwealth Scholar at Selwyn College, Cambridge. He lectures at RMIT University, Melbourne. Email: bkampmark@gmail.com

More articles by:
June 29, 2016
Diana Johnstone
European Unification Divides Europeans: How Forcing People Together Tears Them Apart
Andrew Smolski
To My Less-Evilism Haters: A Rejoinder to Halle and Chomsky
Jeffrey St. Clair
Noam Chomsky, John Halle and Henry the First: a Note on Lesser Evil Voting
David Rosen
Birth-Control Wars: Two Centuries of Struggle
Sheldon Richman
Brexit: What Kind of Dependence Now?
Yves Engler
“Canadian” Corporate Capitalism
Lawrence Davidson
Return to the Gilded Age: Paul Ryan’s Deregulated Dystopia
Priti Gulati Cox
All That Glitters is Feardom: Whatever Happens, Don’t Blame Jill Stein
Franklin Lamb
About the Accusation that Syrian and Russian Troops are Looting Palmyra
Binoy Kampmark
Texas, Abortion and the US Supreme Court
Anhvinh Doanvo
Justice Thomas’s Abortion Dissent Tolerates Discrimination
Victor Grossman
Brexit Pro and Con: the View From Germany
Manuel E. Yepe
Brazil: the Southern Giant Will Have to Fight
Rivera Sun
The Nonviolent History of American Independence
Adjoa Agyeiwaa
Is Western Aid Destroying Nigeria’s Future?
Jesse Jackson
What Clinton Should Learn From Brexit
Mel Gurtov
Is Brexit the End of the World?
June 28, 2016
Jonathan Cook
The Neoliberal Prison: Brexit Hysteria and the Liberal Mind
Paul Street
Bernie, Bakken, and Electoral Delusion: Letting Rich Guys Ruin Iowa and the World
Anthony DiMaggio
Fatally Flawed: the Bi-Partisan Travesty of American Health Care Reform
Mike King
The “Free State of Jones” in Trump’s America: Freedom Beyond White Imagination
Antonis Vradis
Stop Shedding Tears for the EU Monster: Brexit, the View From the Peloponnese
Omar Kassem
The End of the Atlantic Project: Slamming the Brakes on the Neoliberal Order
Binoy Kampmark
Brexit and the Neoliberal Revolt Against Jeremy Corbyn
Doug Johnson Hatlem
Alabama Democratic Primary Proves New York Times’ Nate Cohn Wrong about Exit Polling
Ruth Hopkins
Save Bear Butte: Mecca of the Lakota
Celestino Gusmao
Time to End Impunity for Suharto’’s Crimes in Indonesia and Timor-Leste
Thomas Knapp
SCOTUS: Amply Serving Law Enforcement’s Interests versus Society’s
Manuel E. Yepe
Capitalism is the Opposite of Democracy
Winslow Myers
Up Against the Wall
Chris Ernesto
Bernie’s “Political Revolution” = Vote for Clinton and the Neocons
Stephanie Van Hook
The Time for Silence is Over
Ajamu Nangwaya
Toronto’s Bathhouse Raids: Racialized, Queer Solidarity and Police Violence
June 27, 2016
Robin Hahnel
Brexit: Establishment Freak Out
James Bradley
Omar’s Motive
Gregory Wilpert – Michael Hudson
How Western Military Interventions Shaped the Brexit Vote
Leonard Peltier
41 Years Since Jumping Bull (But 500 Years of Trauma)
Rev. William Alberts
Orlando: the Latest Victim of Radicalizing American Imperialism
Patrick Cockburn
Brexiteers Have Much in Common With Arab Spring Protesters
Franklin Lamb
How 100 Syrians, 200 Russians and 11 Dogs Out-Witted ISIS and Saved Palmyra
John Grant
Omar Mateen: The Answers are All Around Us
Dean Baker
In the Wake of Brexit Will the EU Finally Turn Away From Austerity?
Ralph Nader
The IRS and the Self-Minimization of Congressman Jason Chaffetz
Johan Galtung
Goodbye UK, Goodbye Great Britain: What Next?
Martha Pskowski
Detained in Dilley: Deportation and Asylum in Texas
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail