I am a ‘SexEcologist,’ exploring the intersections between sexology and ecology through art, theory, performance, film making and theater. I aim to seduce people into engaging ecological issues by making the environmental movement more sexy, fun and diverse. Much of my work is collaboratively conceived and produced, with my partner, artist Annie Sprinkle Ph.D., with various activist groups, and with communities of artists internationally.
Beth Stephens is an interdisciplinary artist, activist and a professor at UC Santa Cruz. Her visual and performance work has explored themes of the body, queerness, and feminism for over 25 years. She has exhibited and performed in many museums, galleries and theaters across the US and Europe, such as the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Vortex in Austin, PS1 in New York City, the Museo Reina Sophia in Madrid, Spain and the Muesum Kunstpalast in Dusseldorf, Germany.
SexEcology is the current focus of Stephens’ research. Stephens and Sprinkle coined the term and have been developing this new field of research over the course of their twelve-year collaboration. They shift the metaphor of Earth as mother, to Earth as lover, to inspire others to engage in a more mutual relationship with nature and with each other. By injecting sensual pleasure, humor, and absurdity into otherwise seemingly impossibly situations, Stephens and Sprinkle engage the unexpected to encourage us to slow down the alarming speed of our lives. By extension Stephens hopes that this “slowing down” will increase awareness around the current rate of ecological devastation and enable humans to engage the complexity of changing habits in order to create a more viable means of human and non-human survival in the future.
During the summer 2013, Stephens completed a documentary feature film, Goodbye Gauley Mountain: An Ecosexual Love Story, currently showing at film festivals nationally and internationally. This film will be the Practice as Research component for her degree. It juxtaposes mountain top removal coal mining in Appalachia with ecosexuality as a means of calling for an end to the destruction of the mountains.
Other recent collaborative projects with Annie Sprinkle, include their theater piece, Earthy; An Ecosex Boot Camp, with support from the San Francisco Arts Commission, UCSC and the National Queer Cultural Festival. The 1st International Ecosex Symposium, ecosexlab.org held in three countries– Spain, France, and England–where they hosted panels, performances, ecosex workshops, a Grande EcoBouffe, and the world’s first Ecosex Film Festival.
A 2nd International Ecosex Symposium is in the works for 2015.