7 of 9: Bisexuality, Gaia, Eros: Portals to the Arts of Loving – Preview
“Bisexuality, Gaia, Eros: Portals to the Arts of Loving”
BiReCon: Selected Proceedings from the 2010 Int’l Bisexual Research Conference
Serena Anderlini-D’Onofrio, PhD, Keynote Speaker
Part 2 – Addressing the Audience: Bisexuality and Ecology Today, Cont’d
“So, if the project of bisexuality in the late 20th century was to make bisexuality disappear because sex would be reorganized as the art of allowing the circulation of the energy of Eros in Gaia, why does bisexuality often register as a micro-identity today? The movement formed itself in the shadow of AIDS, when intense new fears of infection and contamination came up. Eventually those were partly assuaged by safer sex practices. However, changes in global ecology, including climate instability and the toxic soup that engulfs much of our lives, became more apparent and their effects could be observed in a variety of human health crises. Why do we perceive bisexuality as a niche within the wider LGBTQ spectrum, and one that is often made invisible, assimilated, collapsed within the wider community where it supposedly belongs? Defensiveness and fear of contamination still affect the way we approach intimacy. Has bisexuality imploded upon itself?”
To elaborate on these questions, I proceeded to use some anecdote, for which I offer some context here. As an experimentalist of the arts of loving, I tend to form constellations of amorous partners who are aware of each other, compatible, complementary, interdependent, and mutually respectful. Sometimes they also genuinely love each other. I structure my personal time and vacations around these experiments. Through books and other forms of study and intellectual expression I put out in the world, I tend to acquire new members in my amorous circles. In 2009 one new such member appeared, Dr. Carlo Consiglio, a zoologist and retired university professor from my birth city of Rome, who read Gaia and sent me one of his books on inclusive forms of love (2009). Carlo is a naturist, another passion we share. He got in action to form a group of like-minded friends to visit the naturist village of Cap d’Agde, in Southwest France, land of the mythical troubadours whose poems spread the virus of courtly love in early modern Europe; land of the Cathars and other free-love heretics.
Today, Cap d’Agde is a major gathering point for those who love nature, nudity, and sex, with a capacity of 31,000 visitors. We arrive in mid August, a merry fellowship of four, all from Italy with me the only one fluent in French. The campground where we stay is for family nudism, like the nearby beach. It’s populated with pur et dur, Birkenstock style nudists. One can observe entire multigenerational families in perfect suntans whose skins have never been marked by a bathing-suit line. No frills or sexy negligés here. It’s a completely desexualized style of nudism. Next is the plage des rencontres, a beach famous for its tradition of public sex, including male-female couples, scenes with multiple partners, some BDSM, and clusters of mildly aroused viewers forming around the most interesting action. Remember, this is France. All of this is not just tolerated: it’s legitimate, we learn. In addition, the “family” area of the nude beach, with children and all, and the public-sex area seem to have found a regime of perfect compatibility. Mutual tolerance and relaxed discretion rule. To continue the analogy with nutrition, in French families kids are known to learn about wine, be around it, smell it, get a taste of it for initiation at some point. The idea is that as adults they’ll drink moderately and make tasteful choices. So it is with sex, it seems. Naturists gather at Cap d’Agde from many world regions. Yet people seem to quickly assimilate French wisdom. Not too far from the non-sexualized nudism of the family campground where we are staying are large apartment complexes that host commercial centers. This is a much more sexualized area, with people wearing provocative costumes, mild BDSM apparel, full drag, and other imaginative outfits. It’s studded with Clubs Libertins. Inside, one finds separés for sexual activity in open view of other customers.
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Acknowledgment: This piece is pre-published here with permission of Routledge, New York, a division of Taylor and Francis.
Bisexuality Research Conference, 28th Bisexuality Conference, 10th International Conference on Bisexuality, London, UK, August 26-30, 2010
BiReCon Proceedings: A forthcoming issue of The Journal of Bisexuality
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