“Ecosexuality and the Conscious Sensuality Approach”
My Journey from Eco-Warrior to Conscious Sensuality Teacher
For years I worked in the environmental and political realms and even though I was successful in my career, I felt frustrated by the fact that many people seemed blind to the destructive environmental impact of their choices. I wanted to make a difference and help create a more sustainable, beautiful, peaceful world but I didn’t understand the connection between emotions, sexuality, and intimacy and a more ecological lifestyle.
Now I see that many people were just as disconnected from the environment as they were dissociated from their bodies and senses. If one lacks sensitivity to one’s own body, it is much harder to be sensitive to nature outside yourself. Ecosexual discourse offers a new perspective on this. One way to feel more connected with one’s body and nature is to relate to one’s own body as an ecosystem, and to ecosystems as bodies. When we are disconnected from our bodies, when we have less conscious awareness of being in a state of ease or stress, we are more likely to be in stress. This stress easily spills out to affect our surroundings emotionally and physically. On the other hand, when we can easily access states of relaxation and pleasure by ourselves and with others, we can use that state of awareness to increase our sensitivity to others and nature.
At the time that I worked as an environmental activist, I longed to live in an intentional community. I idealized communities and felt trapped in a monogamous, suburban, nuclear-family box. Intellectually I knew the benefits of community, but had yet to experience living in an intentional community. I had visited many communities, but somehow never made the leap into joining. This may have been because of unconscious fears and emotional patterns that kept me from opening and sharing myself more deeply with others.
One of the aspects of co-dependent relating is holding shame about aspects of our being, particularly our emotions. In co-dependent relating we find a partner with whom we can release emotions unconsciously and this protects us from having to create more intimacy with others. We then become dependent on this person to run interference between ourselves and the outside world.
When we live in community or at least within a circle of greater intimacy, we are less likely to go into co-dependent and unconscious ways of relating. This is because there are more people available to give us reflection and point out the ways in which we are unaware. In many intentional communities there are regular processes to give people reflection. Ideally these processes are done in ways that build love, trust and understanding.
I have found that I am best served by living in a community of people with whom I share love and trust. I do not need to share sex with other people in a community. I can be monogamous or even celibate for a time if this is my desire, but I am diminished if I only have one other person to connect with emotionally. Monogamy can be greatly supported by a community of people who can help meet everyone’s needs for emotional clearing and physical nurturing. However, the fact that people are often attracted to and desire sexual connection with people other than their partner needs to be understood with openness, and without judgement or shame.