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Author Topic: Ecosexuality and intimacy with non-humans  (Read 282 times)

keen

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Ecosexuality and intimacy with non-humans
« on: August 09, 2018, 02:18:26 pm »
https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/wdbgyq/ecosexuals-believe-having-sex-with-the-earth-could-save-it

A spirit worker friend of mine linked me this old article from Vice about 'ecosexuality'. We commended the piece and the performance artists referenced for bringing into mundane discourse the concept of intimate non-human relationships that aren't zoophilic or fetishistic in nature.

We also talked a little bit about the seeming discomfort more mainline pagans and polytheists have with OS-oriented people, and come to the conclusion that there's probably a comfort associated with the non-human party being non-physical or incorporeal (as is the case with gods and spirits), or that it's much easier to distance oneself, as the outsider, from that sort of relationship when there's no visual evidence of it actually existing. Much easier to sort of nod and smile and humor them, when maybe some part of you is still denying that any of what that person is experiencing is real.

Whereas, if you're more traditionally object sexual, and take your animism seriously enough to genuinely consider non-human and non-animal individuals to be real persons capable of agency and intelligence, then that line in the sand is much more easily washed away, and things quickly get uncomfortable. Even here, much to my surprise, the overwhelming response to the OS thread was "well, they're not hurting anybody, so it's not my business". It's the overwhelming response that most discussions about OS generate. What it is, though, is a very clearly a sugar-coated rejection of the whole idea, a refusal to seriously think about the repercussions this might have on one's own practice, ethics, and sense of what is perceived as being within the realm of possibility. Godspouses tend to see a lot of similar patronizing too, I've noticed. We are a very easy demographic to sweep under the rug.

At the end of the day, I have a hard time believing someone who says they're an animist if they're not capable of conceptualizing, accepting and celebrating these kinds of intimate relationships, even if they don't feel drawn to them for themselves.

Thoughts?
rotwork: on devotion to lesser-known and un-known gods, transplanting genus loci, art, and modernity

Sefiru

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Re: Ecosexuality and intimacy with non-humans
« Reply #1 on: August 09, 2018, 08:00:44 pm »
Even here, much to my surprise, the overwhelming response to the OS thread was "well, they're not hurting anybody, so it's not my business".

I'm not sure why you were surprised, or what kind of response you were expecting? From what I've seen, in most areas of discourse that concern sexuality and gender, it's good manners not to make statements about things one hasn't personally experienced.

This area is so subjective, and so intimate, that trying to talk about something we don't know about often results in putting our foot in our mouths, and it's easy for questions to become intrusive. I think many of us have been on the receiving end of that, so we're careful about what we say about orientations not our own.

Also, this is a public forum, and everyone on the internet can read these posts. Many people will be uncomfortable discussing sexual topics here for that reason as well.


Quote
What it is, though, is a very clearly a sugar-coated rejection of the whole idea, a refusal to seriously think about the repercussions this might have on one's own practice, ethics, and sense of what is perceived as being within the realm of possibility.

Quote
At the end of the day, I have a hard time believing someone who says they're an animist if they're not capable of conceptualizing, accepting and celebrating these kinds of intimate relationships, even if they don't feel drawn to them for themselves.

Quote
Much easier to sort of nod and smile and humor them, when maybe some part of you is still denying that any of what that person is experiencing is real.

I am detecting a bit of double standard here. You want others to accept your experience as real, but you don't accept others' animism as real if they don't conform to your personal expectations?

And hey:
Not everyone (or even every pagan) is an animist.
Not everyone who practices sacred sex/godsex/what-have-you is an animist.
Not everyone is willing, or even allowed, to discuss intimate aspects of their practice.

I used to have some links to good articles on god-sex and godslavery, but they are now broken. Maybe someone else has working links?

keen

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Re: Ecosexuality and intimacy with non-humans
« Reply #2 on: August 09, 2018, 08:20:23 pm »
I'm not sure why you were surprised, or what kind of response you were expecting? From what I've seen, in most areas of discourse that concern sexuality and gender, it's good manners not to make statements about things one hasn't personally experienced.

Of course. However, the fact that no one has made connections between this and other (relevant) areas to their personal practice, or pertinent traditions within the broader sphere of their religion, was very telling to me. Relationships with people is obvious - relationships with non-humans is categorically different and disquieting. That's usually my takeaway.

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I am detecting a bit of double standard here. You want others to accept your experience as real, but you don't accept others' animism as real if they don't conform to your personal expectations?

I had no idea that the basic tenet of animism, that the world is full of non-human intelligence and agencies, was under scrutiny. If you don't agree with that, why would you identify as an animist? That's as silly to me as claiming your monotheism belongs under the polytheist umbrella. You either believe in more than one god or you don't. It's kind of that simple.

Quote
And hey:
Not everyone (or even every pagan) is an animist.
Not everyone who practices sacred sex/godsex/what-have-you is an animist.
Not everyone is willing, or even allowed, to discuss intimate aspects of their practice.

Nowhere in my post did I claim that all pagans and polytheists were animist, or that godspouses/consorts/what have you were animist, or that everybody should be open and willing to talk about their spiritually-informed intimate relationships? I literally have no idea where you got that from.

-

My point is this: that if you believe that non-humans also constitute a variety of "people" (and this is calling out people who are self-identified, I am not prescribing labels here), then why are these relationships always viewed by these individuals as categorically different than relationships with human people? To me, it's as odd as claiming to be accepting of the existence of LGBT people in the abstract, and then being completely at a loss when you encounter your first gay person. I imagine most people here would be in an uproar if "well, so long as you're not hurting anybody" was the general response to someone posting about their queer relationship, because its kind of rude.
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Sefiru

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Re: Ecosexuality and intimacy with non-humans
« Reply #3 on: August 10, 2018, 06:51:22 pm »
Relationships with people is obvious - relationships with non-humans is categorically different and disquieting. That's usually my takeaway.

I had no idea that the basic tenet of animism, that the world is full of non-human intelligence and agencies, was under scrutiny. If you don't agree with that, why would you identify as an animist?

See, I read your OP as specifically referring to erotic relationships, and that you don't consider someone a real animist unless they "celebrate" erotic relationships with spiritual entities.

For what it's worth, I have several personal relationships with non-human entities, most of which are not erotic, and a few that are.

Quote
Nowhere in my post did I claim that all pagans and polytheists were animist, or that godspouses/consorts/what have you were animist, or that everybody should be open and willing to talk about their spiritually-informed intimate relationships? I literally have no idea where you got that from.

You seemed to be saying that intimate relationships are integral to animism. I was trying to point out that while there is overlap, each of those concepts can exist without the other.

I'm also trying to point out that silence does not mean absence: just because you  haven't heard from anyone who supports your opinions, does not mean they don't exist. In fact, there are several people on this board, including myself, who are involved in this kind of relationship. (It is of course up to them whether they want to speak up in this thread.) So saying that this idea is "uncomfortable" or "disquieting" to everyone is an inaccurate generalization.

keen

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Re: Ecosexuality and intimacy with non-humans
« Reply #4 on: August 10, 2018, 11:03:18 pm »
See, I read your OP as specifically referring to erotic relationships, and that you don't consider someone a real animist unless they "celebrate" erotic relationships with spiritual entities.

...No, you're jumping the gun. "Intimacy" isn't a term that's interchangeable with "sex". As someone who's also LGBT, I know all too well how folks like to portray queer and homosexual relationships as being purely about sex. And how much of a fight it's historically been to teach the general public that it's most emphatically not. I really shouldn't have to explain, then, how people ought to be celebrating love and emotional fulfillment wherever it's found?

Quote
You seemed to be saying that intimate relationships are integral to animism. I was trying to point out that while there is overlap, each of those concepts can exist without the other.

Again, you're jumping the gun. I'm saying they're simply related. I'm expressing confusion as to why someone would make enough of a mental jump to reference an orientation towards non-humans within the context of a religious subforum? If it has nothing to do with any of our religious proclivities, why not put it in one of the Social Discussion Forums? Clearly, other people have made that much of a connection already - and then actually failed to discuss it. So this is me, discussing it.

Quote
I'm also trying to point out that silence does not mean absence: just because you haven't heard from anyone who supports your opinions, does not mean they don't exist. In fact, there are several people on this board, including myself, who are involved in this kind of relationship. (It is of course up to them whether they want to speak up in this thread.) So saying that this idea is "uncomfortable" or "disquieting" to everyone is an inaccurate generalization.

I'm not talking just about this forum. I'm talking about what I've seen and read in my 8 years perusing pagan circles on the internet. I know there are others on here who participate in spirit relationships, I was a regular for many years. They're everywhere.

What interests me is the disconnect.

The link I provided, to bring it back around again, is largely politically motivated. Which, eh - I mean, go for it, it's not hurting anything I guess, unless everybody starts thinking that all human/non-human relationships exist to make for good political theater. I don't think that's the case, though, as the article is several years old, and their organization's activity has slowed down since then. Moreover, this is the first time I've heard about it. What ecosexuality and object-sexuality both have in common, is that they largely stem from a view of the world that extends personhood and agency to non-humans. Pagans and polytheists as a whole seem to talk so little about this (the aforementioned discomfort), whether or not they personally believe that there are any agencies in the world that aren't humans or divinities, or some tired variation of 'man is the measure of all things'. So much hubub about intersectionality a couple years ago - where is it now? Why is the box, the overton window, still so small?
rotwork: on devotion to lesser-known and un-known gods, transplanting genus loci, art, and modernity

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