A sexual orientation centered around the seductiveness of nature has drawn eye-rolls from social media users, mocking people who have reportedly fallen in love with trees.

The term ‘ecosexual’ is the state of finding nature sexually appealing, whether that means feeling at one with nature’s ‘energy’ or physically caressing nature.

A sexual health coach on TikTok described ‘ecosexuality’ as an umbrella term for people who ‘treat nature as a sensual partner.’ But stories such as the Toronto woman who embarked on an ‘erotic’ relationship with an oak tree and a clip on the British TV show Naked Attraction in which a cast member calls herself an ecosexual have garnered social media responses like ‘Society is doomed’ and ‘Why aren’t people like this being locked up? Or getting treated?’

The ecosexuality tag on TikTok has been viewed more than 470,000 times, with videos showing people taking freezing cold plunges in creeks, caressing lemons, and rubbing themselves against trees.

The term was coined by former sex educated Annie Sprinkle who, in 2008, ‘married’ the earth in a green wedding ceremony. Her ecosexuality involved removing the term ‘mother’ from Mother Earth, and changing it to Lover Earth.

Other weddings followed: a blue wedding to the sky, a purple wedding to the moon, a white wedding to the snow and many more. Each time, Sprinkle vowed to love, honor and cherish a different part of nature.

Stefanie Weiss, an intimacy counselor, said that she feels her ecosexuality come out most acutely when she goes to the beach.

She said: ‘When I go, my whole body blisses out the first moment my feet touch the hot sand. Feeling the sun on my skin, the smell of salt or coconut oil, and the feeling of tiny waves nipping at my ankles—this is a kind of Eco-Sex.

‘Even if there is no human lover present, this brings me an undeniable erotic charge. That’s my relationship to the earth, and she never leaves me wanting.’

But the relatively new sexual orientation has many skeptics.

A doula and PhD candidate on TikTok said: ‘[Sprinkle] talks about it being like a sensual love affair. And I appreciate that because it removes this gendered idea of the earth as Mother into Lover.

‘And at the same time I think it can still fall into the tropes of fetishization and objectification.’

Other X (formerly Twitter) users were less balanced in their reactions to the clip from Naked Attraction.

One wrote: ‘Ecosexuality is just another word for “exhibisionist”’.

Another said: ‘#Ecosexuality is a term for those who enjoy inserting compost into their orifices. It’s very niche!’

And a third wrote: ‘On this one, I totally agree. Ecosexuality is not a sexuality, it’s just plain weird.’