Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Combining the spiritual and sexual

Sexuality is closely related to spirituality in several ways. In its negative aspects of lust, sexual excess, degradation and rape, it appears as the antithesis of spirituality, and in this light it has been seen in the Christian tradition. However, in its positive aspects our sexuality can open our heart to love, and enable us to have experiences similar to meditative states and mystical bliss during or instead of an orgasm and its afterglow. In a less obvious way, sexual energies can be channeled upward to develop our energy centers or chakra system and higher energy bodies. According to esoteric and yoga teachings, this is all part of our spiritual evolution.
Mention the word sex and eyes widen and ears perk up. The strong reaction the subject arouses reflects the spicy nature of sexual energy. Say you’re at the gym feeling tired and depleted. And say someone we find attractive starts working out next to us. Our energy level is suddenly boosted and as it sizzle through our body it becomes a combination of spiritual and sexual energy. All your favorite body parts come into play.
Pure sexual energy is as like dynamite: unstable and explosive. It can transport us to sublime states of bliss and delight (just as spiritual energy can), or cast us into the darkest pits of anguish, terror, and depravity. The volatile and wild nature of sexual energy convinced some religious traditions to view it as an impediment to spiritual development, and to some degree this belief still exists because of the confusion, heartache, and pain that sexual intimacy can cause.
But how do we redeem sexuality and elevate it to the spiritual status it deserves? How do we reconcile the square of sex with the circle of spirit when sexual pleasure is often responsible for so much shame, trauma, and pain?
Obviously, we can’t alter our sexual instincts. What we can do, however, is use spiritual practice to overcome the limitations imposed by nature on our sexuality. In fact, we can transform the inherent mismatch between male and female sexuality into an incredible opportunity for spiritual growth.
We can't have a healthy spirituality and healthy relationships without a healthy sexuality. Sexuality is about our relationship to ourselves and how we relate to one another as men and women both physically and emotionally. It doesn’t matter whether the relationship is short term or long term. Combining both aspects creates a richness to the relationship that blends body, mind and spirit.
I look at the books I write, full out erotic. I always begin with my characters, and as they develop the story unfolds. If there is not a richness to the relationship, the story doesn’t work for me. Why? Because to me any act of sex is as much spiritual as it is physical. To me, that’s the secret to a good—no, great—relationship.


7 comments:

  1. Hi Desiree-
    You said:

    But how do we redeem sexuality and elevate it to the spiritual status it deserves? How do we reconcile the square of sex with the circle of spirit when sexual pleasure is often responsible for so much shame, trauma, and pain?

    That's a big question, Desiree. On the one hand, there are those of us who are trying to make things a little more equitable. The rest are bound and determined to fuck it up. History has not been kind to the enlightened.

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  2. To begin with, men need to stop fearing female sexuality; the fear that they won't "measure up", so they'll be laughed at, is the most prevalent fear men have, to psychologists. The fear that a man will kill them is the female's dominant fear.

    Men need to teach their sons that women aren't just there for them to use and discard. The whole "spread your seed far and wide", along with the traditional image of the man NOT wanting to be married because then his "options are limited", is a load of horseshit. Most men are happier and healthier when married--they certainly get laid more often. And with the trade-off of no other women, can come the intensely personal spirituality we've been talking about here...that doesn't come from "hooking up". You have to really trust someone enough to make yourself vulnerable to them, in order for that level of sexual intensity to come into play.

    The flip side, of course, is the traditional (and I mean in the western world) image of the female as a spider seeking to entrap the male in her "web" so he'll marry her. Her intact hymen is supposed to be the carrot for his stick, and that's supposed to be what he values above all. "Why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free?" Sigh. Moo? To which I reply, "Why buy the whole pig when you only want some sausage?" Both statements are demeaning and rude, reducing people to their respective sexual parts, when we're all so much more than that.

    I raised my kids to think differently. It remains to be seen whether or not they'll find mates who also think like them. For all of the times they've rolled their eyes at us when we told them "If the camper is a rockin', don't come knockin'", telling us when we're smooching in front of them, "Get a room you two!"--at least they're aware that our love still burns strong between us, and that a committed married couple don't have to become bored with each other.

    And as you grow older together, sex may not be as frequent, but it still carries the same intensity of feelings and spirituality. That truly is something to strive for. It doesn't make for funny sit-com situations, nor does it bring in huge ratings for TV shows or movies, but it's the subject of most popular music genres, and most of our romance novels. I wish more men would bother to read some romance novels, to learn finally, what is it that "women want." (Of course women should watch porn with their men, to find out what he wants, so they can decide together what might be fun to try, and what needs to be kept in the realm of fantasy.)

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    1. Great comments, Fiona-
      If only everybody had your insights re: raising kids, perhaps in a few generations we could work things out between the sexes. Momma and I never had any kids, but we'll celebrate our fiftieth anniversary this year. We also make it a point to kiss every day, and get frisky every week or two, just to keep the fires burning, so to speak.

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  3. That both sexual and spiritual energy can transport a person to a sublime state is a really important commonality, I think.

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  4. You're one of the first of us, Desiree, to point out that sexuality can be a dark force, too, that drives us away from the Spirit. I do think this can be true in some cases. When sexual arousal leads to dehumanizing others, it's destructive and soul-destroying. And "others" can include ourselves. I recently reviewed a very dark book for Erotica Revealed, entitled Thirty One Days. that illustrates this incredibly well.

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    1. Thanks for drawing my attention that that aspect of the post, Lisabet -- it's worth reflection. Thanks also for the link to the review.

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  5. So true, Desiree, that sexual energy is volatile, sometimes unpredictable -- and not always positive. I even read somewhere that HIV is not only a damaging virus but a spiritual condition which rushes in where there is spiritual vulnerability. (That does stretch my credibility, but it's probably worth considering in the context of how people change each other in various ways through sex.) Sexual and spiritual energy do seem to converge at some point.

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