Sex and climate. Sex and environmentalism. Perhaps those iterations don’t have quite the same ring as ‘sex & rock ‘n roll’. But sex and climate/environmentalism are two topics with more in common than you might think, and both are poised to break into mainstream culture due to their respective fundamental influences on wellbeing. And since we are living in an age of hyper-awareness around all things wellness, it’s no surprise that the health benefits of sex and nature are getting more attention. (See: how a healthy sex life is directly correlated with one’s happiness, and how time spent in nature aids in mental wellness.)
To clarify, we’ll use the terms ‘climate’, ‘environmentalism’, and ‘nature’ interchangeably here, since the overarching concept of having concern for Earth’s natural environment and biodiversity transcends them all.
Right this moment, we are in the midst of a rebirth regarding the notions of sexual wellness and environmentalism. Each one is conceptually expanding to be more inclusive and appealing to a much wider audience. This is in contrast to the historically narrow representations of each topic, minimized to a mere fraction of their respective full expressions, much to the detriment of all humankind. This has left the majority of people cut off from experiencing the utmost levels of pleasure and fulfillment from these two essential areas of life, when in fact, we should all feel empowered to embrace and integrate both topics into our lives in any way that feels authentic.
First, let’s talk about sex. Historically, the perceptions and assumptions around the sex industry have been scandalized and made taboo by mainstream standards. Visions of seedy sex shops selling visually unappealing toys and leather and metal outfits come to mind. No offense to the humans involved in those designs. But that image of the industry has dominated the culture of sex for much of modern history, effectively turning off everyone else who doesn’t identify with that particular version of sexual expression.
As a result, sex and the more holistic ‘sexual wellness’ are topics that have been shrouded in secrecy and shame, left to hibernate in society’s dark corners. It’s a coin flip as to whether or not couples regularly discuss their sex lives, that is, outside of the arguably unsexy nature of reproduction planning. And it’s doubtful that sex has been a hot topic of open discussion at the average dinner party. But think how much we could learn and how much we could uplevel our game if the topic of sexual wellness were normalized, and perhaps treated similarly to fitness, for example.
Thankfully, this shift is taking place, and influential people like Gwyneth Paltrow have been reversing the taboo, and elevating the concept of sexual wellness for years – albeit not without controversy (those old preconceived notions die hard). Still, the topic of sex is now an opportunity area in which we can enhance our overall wellness. Think empowered self pleasure, relational support around how to talk about sex, tastefully-designed products to get you there, and even dating apps that encourage openness and safe exploration. A new modern ecosystem is forming of like-minded experts, brands, products, and potential sexual partners that are relatable across a spectrum of identities and tastes. Things are looking up. 🍆
Speaking of looking up, environmentalism has been on its own journey towards a rebrand, and it’s finally evolving past the stereotypical ‘tree-hugging hippie’ persona. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but it’s simply not an identity that most people relate to, nor is it one that feels realistic when applied to a modern lifestyle. The old view of environmentalism through the lens of American culture positioned an Earth-loving lifestyle as weak and non-aspirational. There’s been a collective knee-jerk reaction to poking fun at environmentalists, and an ingrained hesitation towards actively supporting environmental values or behaviors. When contemplated, it’s perplexing how the concept of championing life’s most basic essentials could be seen as uncool. It might just be humanity’s most successful brainwash. Don’t worry, that era is coming to a close.
We got to that point from decades of unrelenting influence to buy and want more and more stuff, subtly trained to forget about need or waste. ‘Stuff’ is problematic in that the making and consumption of it has negative environmental consequences at multiple stages of its lifecycle, and we live on a planet with finite space and resources. The societal focus on ‘stuff’ has led to an obsession with the artificial and a severed connection to our natural world – hence the current trifecta of planetary crises: climate change, biodiversity loss, and plastics.
But an awakening is underway, a Great Restoration of the very fragile, yet beautiful relationship between humans and our home planet, Earth. The basics are obvious – clean air, clean water, and ideal temperatures are essential table stakes. Yet they don’t get most people excited. Lifestyle activities on the other hand, now that’s where environmentalism intersects with modern living, and how it is becoming relatable.
Think about the activities you most enjoy in life. More often than not they are nature-dependent, either from doing them in nature (running, skiing, beaching) or requiring nature’s bounty (ingredients to make beer, the inspired food at your favorite restaurants). These places, things, and activities bring us happiness, alignment, and mental clarity – every single day. Imagine a world where we honor this connection between our natural environment and human activity. Instead of ignoring, we prioritize the preservation and health of the places and resources that power our best lives. That’s what modern environmentalism is all about, and it’s another area of prime opportunity to enrich our overall wellness. Tree hugging optional.
We’re beginning to see – dare we say cool- examples of this playing out across all culturally relevant verticals. Positive environmental action is seen in professional sports and venues, the music industry is taking a stand, more and more tv shows are working climate into the plot line, and of course here at Gen E, we are offering consumers the easiest way to be a modern environmentalist through set it and forget it environmental micro-philanthropy.
So there we have it – the parallels between the modernization of sexual wellness and environmentalism in our current culture. At once increasingly accessible, attainable, covetable, and core to a life well-lived. Now get out there and turn on your love for the planet, and for yourself.