Fundamentals of Ecosexology Part Two
Move on over, Dr. Ruth! When a specialist in human sexuality says, as Dr. Ruth did recently, "there is nothing new under the sun," it’s time to move on, as she has, to other areas of interest. As for me, sexology still feels like a fresh world, a lush conceptual landscape of abundant sexual diversity. For me, co-creating a vision of ecosexology - and thrusting my hands into its warm, moist soil - will always be a sure cure for sexological ennui.
At the moment, ecosexology presents as a collection of interesting concepts but not everyone is convinced of their usefulness in sex therapy, counseling and education. As one reader wrote (in another forum): "it would be difficult to use this theory for a clinical ecosexologist in practice." However he did agree that "it could help individuals' sexuality [to be] living in a less toxic, ecohealthy, more spiritual non-dogmatic environment."
I understand why this reader can’t quite connect the dots. Last week I simply tilled this column’s “soil” and sprinkled conceptual seeds over fertile ground. They’d barely begun to sprout. Even so, I promised you an abundant harvest of “more concepts, goodies and resources.” This week, I want your imagination to take a fast-forward leap, to visualize these conceptual seeds as rooted and blooming in a “garden” of clinical practice. In this way, it should be easier to see if ecosexology has something to offer you, in your own erotic life, or as a potential client, or even as a practitioner.
But first, let’s revisit a few basic premises of ecosexology.
The first premise is that we can’t escape our relationship with the planet and ecosystems where we evolved over eons, though we can disrupt or deny it. This includes our erotic nature. Many cultures continue to develop and promote energetic practices which are grounded in this premise, such as Tantra, Healing Tao, Qi Gong, etc.
The second premise is that "healing" of some sexual concerns may be gained or enhanced, in some cases, through an awareness of erotic ecology and active reconnection with nature and the energies of the earth (perhaps through the above and similar practices).
The third premise is that certain types of erotic behavior and consumer choices cannot fail to add to the burden of pollution affecting countless ecosystems. And that the effects of pollution in turn affect human health and capacity for erotic behavior.
I am sure others can add basic premises and core concepts, but for the purposes of this column, let’s stick with the above.
Let’s also imagine that the most fertile grounding for ecosexoloy consists of the sexologist’s classic, non-judgmental, sex-positive, client-centered approach to clinical work. And as biodiversity is essential for the overall health of the planet and all its creatures, so we should proclaim sexual and gender diversity as essential for the overall health of our collective erotic ecology and pledge to do all we can to nurture and nourish this.
The Fertile Ground of Clinical Sexology
Let’s say you’ve made an appointment with a clinical sexologist. Sexologists typically offer sex counseling and education to support you in experiencing greater pleasure, improvement in sexual and gender self-acceptance, sexual function, and intimacy in the way which is most appropriate to your orientation and preferences. Sexologists seldom pathologize consensual adult behaviors and interests. As a client, you can probably expect to encounter these basic components of clinical practice:
The sexologist will take a detailed confidential sex history in order to have the best understanding of your background, experiences and presenting issues;
The sexologist will probably structure her/his/hir practice on the PLISSIT model (permission, limited information, specific suggestions, and when appropriate, intensive therapy - possibly as a referral to a psychotherapist);
Within the PLISSIT context, the sexologist will offer a combination of modalities, depending on education and expertise: talk therapy, discussion or counseling; sex coaching, "home play assignments"; mind-body techniques (such as hypnotherapy or Sexological Bodywork); educational materials; and so on.
If you are a potential or practicing ecosexual, many of the following conceptual seeds can be planted in your own erotic soil. If you like, you can begin to incorporate these ideas and tools into your general health awareness as well sexual behaviors and attitudes.
A clinical sexologist can grow into an ecosexological practitioner by planting these seeds as well, incorporating these elements into an overall philosophy of clinical work and using them during specific portions of a session or treatment plan. These seeds are therefore organized in a sequence that would make sense to a professional practitioner, flowing from principles to screening tools to specifics.
Precaution says, “First do no harm.” With regard to human sexual behavior and function, the precautionary principle could encourage everyone to switch to less toxic personal care and consumer items in order to improve overall health, which might then have a favorable impact on specific sexual concerns.
Here is a good definition of the precautionary principle and its applications: