I can’t help thinking that Valentine’s Day is too early in the year: Sex in the great outdoors is often as good as it gets, but not in mid-February! The Pagan celebration of sex and fertility, Beltane, falls on May Day, and by then there’s a least a chance that couples will want to mark the rising of the sap in the woods.
Assuming that sex in nature is often more exciting than the indoor varieties, why might that be so? Most of us will look and feel better after even a brief time outdoors. OK, that’s a generalization, but walking gets the blood flowing, tones the muscles and fills our lungs with fresh air. There’s also a lot of evidence that being outdoors improves self-confidence and reduces stress (see Ecopsychology research). More importantly perhaps, we get far more sensory input when we’re in nature, and if we’re in the right mood some of that sensory input can promote an erotic affect.
I got chatting with Mark Walsh (Integration Training) about this while we were shooting some video interviews.
Many years ago I wrote a chapter called ‘Sacred Ecology’ for a book on contemporary Paganism. In it I suggested that “good sex is the closest most people get to a truly spiritual experience”, but added that “ours is not an erotic culture … & sex has become a form of consumption” (Harris, 1995: 152). Which brings us back to Valentine’s Day, which is arguably no more than a cynical attempt to make money from the beauty of erotic love.