6 of 6 – EcoSex @ U Conn – Weiss’s EcoSex – Student Report: Michael’s Take
The EcoSex course at U Conn is in process. It’s a great experience. We are reading amazing books. Thinking out of the box and across disciplines. Students are sending their responses in, with discussion questions. In class, we connect the dots: a holograph of what we’ve read together, the “required readings.” Multiple perspectives and good synergy. Here, we offer a glimpse. Stefanie Iris Weiss’s EcoSex: Go Green Between the Sheets, was one of two introductory books. We got five responses: from John, Alex, Adam, Rhiann, Alissa, and Michael.
I found EcoSex: Go Green Between the Sheetsto be an interesting introduction to the eco-sexual movement. The first thing that struck me generally about the book was that Stephanie Iris Weiss wrote it very directly with a primarily female gendered audience in mind. This intrigued me because this is something that I had never consciously thought about in a book that I had read.
As to the actual content of the book, I found most of her discussion of harmful chemicals and science came from a reasonable footing given my experience in science classes. However, within the section on “Scent and Sensibility” in Chapter 2, I thought the Weiss’s writing was sensationalist to a degree because she uses the term volatile organic compound (VOCs) to demonize the chemical fragrance of perfumes. While I agree with Weiss’s criticism of secretive “proprietary blends” from mainstream perfumers, I felt that the broad use of the term VOCs was problematic because it gives the impression that all of these compounds are harmful when it is just the subset of synthetic ones that are. The aromatics and DIY alternatives she describe all contain VOCs as well because all scents we are capable of detecting are because of VOCs and I think it misinforms the layman reader into possibly thinking all of these compounds may be harmful.
In addition, with many of the products she recommends, Weiss stresses the importance of buying them in the organic variety. While supporting organic products is definitely a good thing, I would have liked a discussion of the eco-friendly trade-off between buying local non-organic products and organic products that require burning oil to ship them long distances. Similarly, I would have liked her to bring up the environmental harms of lithium mining in her discussion of hybrid vehicles and technology.
1)Is it more important to buy a local product that may not be organically certified or a product that has to be shipped a long distance but that is organic?
2)How do you think technology and our society’s mantra of recycling electronics on a biannual basis fits into the eco-sexual lifestyle?
3)How much of the advice and tips in the book do you plan to incorporate into your own life?
Let “nature” be your teacher in the arts of love. Education is the heart of democracy, education to love. Come back for more wonders: Students Responses to appear every Tuesday. Book Reports to be scheduled soon. Check out our summer offerings: Ecosexuality in Portland, OR, July 17-21. Registration here!
Serena Anderlini-D’Onofrio, PhD
Gilf Gaia Extraordinaire
Author of Gaia,Eros, and many other books about love Professor of Humanities