The Bones of Sex and Spirit
by Sam Webster ©1996
IMHO, all discussion around sex and spirit come down to two fundamental notions that unpack into four.
First, all is dependent on the idea that sex is good. It would not be much of an issue in a culture that was sex-positive and did not view sex as a commodity. This is not to cast aspersions at those who trade in sexual services. The problem here is that sex is used to sell other products while the simple trade in sex is considered foul and degenerate. If sex was viewed as innately good, then its traffic would have no moral or criminal consequence. Thus one of the core purposes of the sex-and-spirit argument is to celebrate sex and sex-play.
Further, since sex is somehow seen as less than good, we also miss out on it as an access to spirituality. Spirituality awakens when we come in contact with the limits of human existence. The main categories of this are Life, Death, Birth, Food, Cosmology, Ethics, and of course, Sex. When we suppress thinking about sex in a positive light we can not enter the spiritual through that door. But if we see sex as one of the entry ways into depth spirituality, we begin to develop images and metaphors of divinity and divine action, of spirituality, that involve paired sexual union. (Generally paired, though the number is not that important, nor are the genders.) Thus the next task of the sex-and-spirit discussion is to enable aspirant to approach the mystery of Sex in life.
Once we are able to approach sex as one of the loci of the sacred, with it all sexual interactions become sanctified. The imagery of sexuality becomes sacred while sacred imagery becomes sexualized. We can find in our sacred sexuality a space of worship. Adoration of our sexual partners as revelers of the sacred is then a natural corollary.
The task is then to teach the invocation of deities and forces. The result is contact with the numinous and the exaltation of spirit and soul. Inspiration and enthusiasm arise.
There remains a problem as yet with the spirituality outlined above. It can be self-serving and self-absorbed. Pleasure and delight can be very distracting, yet they can also be entry ways into deep awareness of suffering and the need for change. They also bring the power to do something about it. This is where a sexual spirituality must aim. For from the state of divine exaltation brought about through invocation and sexual union, it is possible to heal self and others, to envision new possibilities, transform the degenerate, and relieve suffering. Being able, it becomes required.
Any other arguments in this discussion are either cultural and esthetic trappings necessary to enliven our senses and emotions in our practice or are the methods of practice themselves. These four points, on the other hand, are the aim.
- Sex is good.
- Sex is a locus of, or contact point with, the sacred.
- Divine presence can be invoked in and by sexual union.
- The power raised in inspired sexual union must be placed in the service of liberation from suffering and the attainment of enlightenment.
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