Peak LibidoSex, Ecology, and the Collapse of Desire
Peak Libido
Sex, Ecology, and the Collapse of Desire
What is the carbon footprint of your libido?   

In this highly original book, Dominic Pettman examines the mutual influence and impact of human desire and ecological crisis. His account is premised on a simple but startling observation: the decline of libido among the world’s population, the loss of the human sex drive, closely tracks the destruction of environments worldwide. The advent of the Anthropocene leads to the decline of eros, the weakening of the link between sexual pleasure and human reproduction, and thus, potentially, to human extinction. Our capacity to care for one another in any meaningful way is being replaced by a restless, technologically-enhanced zombie drive. The environmental crisis of our time is also, and simultaneously, a crisis of human reproduction and of interpersonal intimacy. What Freud called ‘libidinal economy’ has morphed into libidinal ecology.   

Drawing on the work of a wide range of thinkers from Georges Bataille to Donna Haraway, Pettman explores the implications of peak libido, linking this development to the new cultural interest in eco-sexuality, polyamory, and other cases of the ‘greening of the libido’. <i>Peak Libido</i> is a forceful reminder that our hearts and loins are primarily ecological organs, beholden to their wider environments, and, as such, they share the same fate.
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  • November 2020
  • 166 pages
  • 143 x 219 mm / 6 x 9 in
Available Formats
  • Hardback $64.95
  • 9781509543021
  • Paperback $19.95
  • 9781509543038
  • Open eBook $16.00
  • 9781509543045
Table of Contents
Preface : Libidinal Ecology
Introduction: This Coital Mortal
Chapter 1: Queer Nature: Pink in Tooth and Claw
Chapter 2: Whose Libido?: Exploring the Natural Philosophy of Love
Chapter 3: Get Thee To a Phalanstery (or How Fourier Can Still Teach Us To Make Lemonade)
Conclusion: Sex and Sustainability
Epilogue: Seeking Carnal Knowledge in the Midst of Idiocracy
About the Author
Dominic Pettman is University Professor of Media and New Humanities at The New School, New York City.
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Peak Libido is a brilliant and even entertaining book on a very serious topic: the worldwide decline of libido, the loss of the human sex drive and even of fertility, which closely tracks the destruction of environments worldwide. What has been called the Anthropocene leads, paradoxically, to human extinction. Thus the project of imagining an erotic Green New Deal. This is utopian thinking (in the positive sense of the term) at its most audacious.
Allan Stoekl, author of Bataille's Peak: Energy, Religion, and Postsustainability

"Peak Libido does more than take the metaphor of Peak Oil to think about the sexual economies of the twenty-first century; bodily erotics are inextricably intertwined with our consumption, extraction, transformation and destruction of what we have belated come to call ecology.  Dovetailing a nuanced theory of waning desire with cultural analyses of sexual commodities, Pettmans account of the states of desire of twenty-first-century life is lucid, readable, entertaining, original and thought-provoking."
Claire Colebrook, Pennsylvania State University "
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