Woman falls in love with an oak tree, calls herself an ecosexual: What does this mean?

Woman falls in love with an oak tree, calls herself an ecosexual: What does this mean?

Dec 28, 2023 - 23:30
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Woman falls in love with an oak tree, calls herself an ecosexual: What does this mean?

We have all heard of tree huggers. But Sonja Semyonova, an intimacy coach from Vancouver Island, British Columbia, has taken her love for Mother Nature one step further. She has announced that she’s in a relationship with an oak tree near her house and that she began having ‘erotic’ experiences for the tree in summer 2021.

Her relationship with the tree has put the spotlight on ecosexuality – a rather new form of sexuality in which one professes love and attraction for Mother Nature.

We dig deeper and find out what exactly is being an ecosexual and the love that Semyonova has for the oak tree.

An ecosexual, explained

There are heterosexuals, asexuals, bisexuals, pansexuals and many more sexualities out there. Of them, ecosexual is a relatively new entrant. Being an ecosexual is defined as a person who finds nature romantic, sensual and sexy. An ecosexual can also be a person who imagines the Earth as their lover.

To some, calling themselves ecosexual is a way of signalling their environmental activism or beliefs.

According to Jennifer Reed, a sociology PhD student at the University of Nevada at Las Vegas, the word started appearing in online dating profiles in the late 1990s. Back then, it was a way for daters to communicate that protecting the earth is so important that they want a partner who also cares about the environment.

Many view being ecosexuality as a positive form of environmental activism rather than a sexuality itself. Image used for representational purposes/Pixabay

For many, Annie Sprinkle, a sex educator from Philadelphia, and her partner Elizabeth (Beth) Stephens, an art professor with the University of California (UC), Santa Cruz, are pioneers of ecosexuality. And they started officiating marriages between people and the Earth. In 2011, they also came up with an ecosex manifesto, which clearly states: “We shamelessly hug trees, massage the earth with our feet, and talk erotically to plants. We are skinny dippers, sun worshippers, and stargazers. We caress rocks, are pleasured by waterfalls, and admire the Earth’s curves. We make love with the Earth through our senses. We celebrate our E-spots. We are very dirty.”

For many ecosexuals, it is more than just sexuality. It’s a positive form of environmental activism – something light rather than the doom and gloom often associated with climate change, as the Washington Post reports. In an interview to the American daily, Stephens had said, “So much of the environmental stuff is very apocalyptic, which is understandable, but that shuts people down, too.

“We felt as environmentalists, we needed to change the way people looked at the earth.”

And while many accept ecosexuality as a movement, few others identify it as a sexual term. Some have suggested that this movement is offensive to people in the LGBTQ+ community because it’s more of an activist movement than a genuine sexuality.

Sonja Semyonova’s love for oak

For Semyonova, her exosexuality stems from her love for an oak tree. The 45-year-old has said that the feelings she experiences with the oak tree are what she has always sought in a human.

But how did she find her one true oak? Semyonova says that in the winter of 2020 amid the COVID lockdown, she would go on daily walks. The road she took was lined with trees, but out of all, one large oak caught her attention and she began having “erotic” experiences the following summer. “I was walking a path near the tree five days a week for the whole winter,” she told the Toronto Sun. “I noticed a connection with the tree.”

 

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She added, “I would lie against it. There was an eroticism with something so big and so old holding my back.”

And while she does accept that it sounds strange for a human to fall in love with a non-human, she is all for it. “The presence I feel with the tree is what I’m looking for but that’s a fantasy with a person. I had been craving that rush of erotic energy that comes when you meet a new partner and that is not sustainable.”

The intimacy coach has also pointed out that she doesn’t indulge in any sexual act with the tree. “A big misconception is that ecosexuality means sex between people and nature, it’s a different way to explore the erotic. To watch the changing of the seasons is to me an erotic act. You go from death in winter and then everything comes alive in spring and mates. There are similarities between sex with people and the eroticism ecosexuals feel with nature, but they’re not the same,” the woman stated.

Speaking to the media about her ecosexuality, she said that she believed that everyone is an ecosexual and that if each person embraced this feeling, it would make the earth a better place to live.

With inputs from agencies

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