Polyamory and Sex Could Save The Planet, Author Argues

magritte lovers rene photoThe Middle East is conservative. But could increased “polyamory” open people up to practices that could save the environment?

At first glance, sex and the environment don’t make obvious bedfellows.  How can the answer to our environmental problems – global warming, access to fresh water, ecological sustainability, and the use of fossil fuels  – possibly be found between the satin sheets of lovers? According to a growing number of greenies, free love may just save the world. In her newest book, Gaia: The New Politics of Love, author Serena Anderlini-D’Onofrio attempts to lay the groundwork for this premise.

And if you can get past any initial squeamishness, there is value in her message: Specifically, some behaviors typical between lovers in open-relationships, also known as polyamory, may indeed be the secret to protecting Mother Earth from her errant, environmentally challenged children. That would be many of us.

Living where we do, in the rugged climate that is the Middle East, many are personally invested in finding ways to better understand, reach and communicate with our neighbors who worship and celebrate differently.

Some even suggest that the answer to the Middle East peace process won’t come from obvious, political efforts, but through grass roots activities and outreach from environmentalists. Every time environmentalists talk about common concerns – because let’s face it, nature knows no boundaries – opportunities open up for dialogue on other challenges.

Until we heard about this book, however, it never occurred to us that peace might come from shifting our views on sexuality as well, from lying in green pastures together, if you will.

Don’t believe that we didn’t protest at the idea, our skeptical brains presuming that some sex conspiracy was at play by those in favor of open-relationships who were on a mission to convert as many ‘happily married, committed for life, no sex with any others till death do us part’ to their freer pastures. It’s easy to scoff at shocking ideas, and just as important to consider them before passing judgement.

Here’s what we learned from a brief exploration into the concepts of this book: sharing is caring. If we approach life with an attitude of fear – for example, there’s a lack of resources, amorous or otherwise – then we engage in hoarding behaviors. That’s my wife! That’s my water! That’s my land, my pastures and clean air! In other words, the concept of scarcity takes precedence over negotiation and trust, and power struggles ensue between partners.

Whether those partners are man and woman, husband and wife, Jew vs. non-Jew, Muslim vs non-Muslim, conservative vs. progressive, the end result is the same. Conflict.

Polyamory, on the other hand, advocates that partners relax their anxieties about not getting the love they deserve (which in turns causes all sorts of harmful behaviors such as adultery, infidelity, husband stealing, etc). The unexpected result, according to the author of this book, is that lovers are then free to embrace the love they have without feeling compelled to horde it all for themselves.

Are you with us on this? Love is not the crime: criminalizing the many manifestations of love is the crime.  As long as we believe the myth of scarcity, we hoard. As soon as we recognize there is actually abundance, we share. Apply this paradigm – inherent to open-relationships – to the earth (which she refers to as Gaia, implying that our planet is actually a living biota, a whole being made up of interconnected ecosystems of which humans play a part) and you can see the dots the author attempts to connect.

Free love = sharing = less hoarding = more for everyone to go around. In other words, making love is actually good for Mother Earth.

Our planet, by the way, doesn’t really need us to save it, it will continue its orbit, lifeless or not, regardless of how successfully humans steward our resources and relationships, regardless of the outcome of the current attempts to make peace, not war, in the Middle East.

That is why the ultimate beneficiary of all that sex and sharing really is humankind. And for those of us living on the frontlines in the Middle East, with our various experiences – sexual and otherwise – informing our beliefs about the solutions to the crises we all face – environmental and otherwise – the idea that sex may hold the answer to many questions is both the oldest, and newest, idea of them all.

Read more on greening your sex life:
Sister’s Sell Environmentally-Friendly Sex Toys
The Dinah Project Helps Create Environmental Sex Awareness
Green Prophet’s Guide to Greening Your Bedroom

Above photo: Rene Magritte’s Lovers.

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8 thoughts on “Polyamory and Sex Could Save The Planet, Author Argues”

  1. Vallin says:

    Now THIS is a great pick-up! (I’m going to post it on Fetlife, too)

  2. kiki says:

    Well, I think that this is a very simplistic way of looking at the benefits of polyamory … loving more will not change the behavior of people to use more efficient cars. I have lived in a polyamory world for years, and I cannot say that I am saving the planet with my way of living. However, there might be more waste and human tragedy due to people's EGO in their current loving relationship. Maybe polyamory means a better EGO, or a GREENER EGO for the planet. if you are in doubt, look at polyamoryworld.com or polyamorycity.com … to look at how people cherish they love for others in polyamory.

  3. Thank you so much for sharing this with me. I agree with you entirely that the two subjects are separated, and that it is an egregious error and insult to those who have AIDS, have died from it, or have lost a loved one to it. Please know that by writing this, I don't endorse any lifestyle – only the concept of sharing, of realizing that humans can better distribute resources, and avoid that traps of fear the permeate our current paradigms. Again, I REALLY appreciate such a thoughtful response.

  4. AIDS denial disbeliever says:

    Though I have no quarrel with this concept, I must say that I really struggled when reading this book. It is not an easy read at all. The author seems to ramble a lot and hypothesize without any real documented evidence that what she says is true. She is not a sociologist or anthropologist. I finally called it quits in disgust when I got to the part where she reveals that she is an avowed AIDS denialist. The assertion that HIV does not cause AIDS has been thoroughly discredited. Every person who dies of AIDS tests positive for HIV. EVERY PERSON. I find including this point of view in a book about polyamory to be egregious, offensive, and highly irresponsible in the extreme, since it offers a convenient excuse to people who don't want to be bothered with practicing safer sex, something that is essential to the responsible practice of polyamory. If I could get my money back I definitely would. I'm told that the author is using this to create controversy to sell more books. Disgusting.

  5. zaccai says:

    It's more than climate change –it's a paradigm shift for the planet — being generous with our love and honest with those we love is a great step towards healing our damaged relating processes which will also effect the planet

  6. I think the operative word here is 'choice'. Choice to love consensually and without fear from repercusions, whether the form of the relationship looks traditional or not. My bottom line about this topic is that the bond must be entered into willingly and with respect at the core for ALL involved- not the convenience of one partner over another, to satisfy perverted appetites that harm another, etc. etc. I personally find polygamy distasteful for the reason you mention – it is not equitable, and often, very young girls are irreparbably harmed (for example, husbands who 'temporarily marry' young girls so their families get the money and they get to have sex with a prepupescent child). So, when the whole world can embrace the difference between consensual vs. coersive sexual practices, and treat men and women with real and abiding respect regarding their sexual lives and identities, then maybe the whole world will be a more peaceful place. Thank you so much for visiting greenprophet.com!

  7. Yes, Tinamarie, you're right on, and indeed, in the context of sharing amorous resources in polyamory, we westerners ca better understand that exclusivity in romantic relationships does not connote western civilization as 'superior' or more civilized–as those in the culture wars would have it. On the contrary, there is something for us to learn from those who practice Islamic polygamy well: namely allowing older wives to participate in the choice of younger ones, thus creating the context for co-wives to get along and form sisterly bonds. On the other hand, what makes polyamory more sustainable than polygamy is that it is more equitable to women, more 'eco-feminist,' in that it allows both women and men to share partners and establish multiple relationships. Perhaps when the Middle-East adopts polyamory as a form of polygamy that is gender-equitable, will be the day that Muslims and Israelis will finally choose to get along!

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