What if instead of an obstacle, sex was a pathway toward a spiritual life?
Those of us who have been raised with religious backgrounds have often been taught that sexuality and spirituality are opposing forces, that you cannot be virtuous if you have sex because sex is a “sin” or is “unspiritual.”
Prior to dogmatic ideologies, sexuality was respected for thousands of years as a sacred expression of nature’s life force and the mystery of creation. Although I’ve written about the value of sexual transmutation, or sexual abstinence in the past, I want to make it very clear in this article that sex can also work as a catalyst for cultivating spiritual well-being.
To lead a spiritual life you need to embrace and respect your sexuality just as much as any other part of your nature. Although sex has been linked to many dirty and “perverse” ideas, the act of lovemaking can truly be something sacred and profound.
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How to Deal With Sexual Guilt and Shame
Sexuality is a taboo topic in our society because it is one of those primal forces which we consciously or unconsciously feel powerless to control. Deep down, we sense that it is connected to that unknown universal source of energy from which we came from and continue to exist within.
The feeling of shame is one of the biggest obstacles most of us face in learning to embrace our sexuality. In a culture that has infected us with the notions of virtue and shame; where a murder scene on television is more “viewer-friendly” than a lovemaking one; where women were once thought of as incapable of experiencing an orgasm, it becomes apparent how difficult it is to openly accept and acknowledge this life force that exists within us.
Shame is an emotion that we’re taught by our families and communities. Since a very young age we’re taught what we “should and shouldn’t feel bad about,” and as a result of this we develop the capacity to experience guilt. Through guilt we begin rejecting sacred aspects of ourselves and repressing them deep into our Shadow Selves; our sexual desires, quirks, attractions and fantasies.
I’ve even seen some people deny their sexuality, dismissing it as a “lower physical instinct/vibration” or claiming to “rise above it” as if there is a division between “lower” physical cravings and “higher” spiritual functions when we are seeking wholeness. Sex forms the base notes of your Spirit’s musical melody.
Of course, you are more than solely a sexual being: your sexuality doesn’t define you, but it is a part of you. But it’s by denying it as a part of you that you create blockages of energy within your body that perpetuates the fragmentation of your soul, keeping you incomplete and restricted instead of expanded and whole.
Ironically, it is the sexual orgasm that gives us a taste of soulful expansion, of transcending our limited selves, and feeling boundless for the first time in our entire lives (if only a momentary glimpse).
Spiritual Sex: 3 Types of Divine Union
Many of us haven’t been taught that sex is actually a powerful tool of transcendental development. In fact, spiritual sex is the quickest and easiest way to have something resembling a mystical experience.
The powerful thing about sexual energy is that it’s one of the few instincts within us that can rarely be completely “civilized.” If you are tired at home from work and a friend offers you to go out to watch a movie you may pass on the offer. But if you were to meet an attractive person instead who was to make him/herself available to you, it would arouse a deep energy within you that you weren’t aware existed.
Any type of ecstatic experience – like sex – is an ideal starting point to begin cultivating spiritual moments of “no-mind” and bringing them naturally into our daily lives. In my experience, there are three main types of sex that you can benefit from:
1. The Alert Union
Most first time sexual experiences with partners fall into this type of union. When we make ourselves vulnerable, intimate, exposed and “work” toward that mutual pleasurable moment of bliss, our conscious awareness becomes heightened by the novelty of exploring the other person’s body.
This union is not so much a mindful awareness but an alert awareness that instinctively takes over. Our feelings of vulnerability and excitement make our natural adrenaline mechanism stimulate alertness making the experience much more primal than spiritual. This type of sex is very addictive as the novelty of pursuing new sexual partners rewards us with that momentary “god-like” state of consciousness.
2. The Conscious Union
It’s typical however that as our sense of vulnerability and stimulation weakens so too does our desire for the first type of love-making (The Alert Union).
In The Conscious Union, we learn how to cultivate a more balanced form of spiritual sex, one that creates harmony between the passionate animal and sensually playful side of our sexuality. In The Conscious Union we listen to our sexual desires, explore our bodies and those of our lovers, build deeper intimacy through eye-gazing, sensually caress, and follow our deepest forms of sexual expression. These often generate intense feelings of union and love that briefly take us beyond our sense of self.
It is through this practice of conscious union that we can reach the next stage of soulful union.
3. The Soulful Union
There’s a beautiful term in the Sanskrit Tantric scriptures known as “Maithuna” which literally translates to “sexual union.” Maithuna is one of Tantra’s most important teachings as it makes use of conscious “sexual intensity” as a ladder that ascends to greater heights of intensity, focusing upon the illumination of the soul rather than solely on physical sexual pleasure.
The sexual urge derives its strength from the body and our emotions, and by itself is not powerful enough to lift us to new levels of conscious awareness. It is Tantric sex that helps us to experience a true sexual Soulful Union by helping us to embody our Soul. This type of sex can only be described as a feeling of boundless pure bliss, warmth and identity-merging (or ego death) especially during orgasm.
If you would like to experience Soulful Union via spiritual sex, here are some recommendations:
- Stay celibate for as long as you can. This will increase your sexual energy so that you can learn to channel it. You may feel a tingling sensation in your lower back, this is your kundalini energy which assists in the experience of Unity.
- Set aside time to dedicate only to your partner. Create a sensual space with candles, soft ethnic music, silken robes, aphrodisiac fragrances, and so forth.
- Sit in front of each other and lightly move your hands over your partner’s body (to awaken their nerves). Allow your soft strokes to tingle through their body, but don’t allow your hands to pass over their erogenous zones (nipples, penis, etc.), only near them. Prolong this state of arousal for as long as desired.
- Sit in each other’s lap (called the “yab-yum” position) and breathe each other’s breath. This allows both of you to consciously harmonize with each other.
- Maintain eye-contact throughout intercourse. Witnessing the act of love-making allows you to stay present and see something of immense beauty.
Spiritual Sex Connects Us Back With Our Center
Sexual energy is the bridge back to our Source; it is our connection back to the Life force. The physical, emotional and mental benefits of a healthy sex life are well documented and cannot be denied. Anyone who tries to make you feel ashamed about sex is an enemy of your spiritual growth.
I’ve come across so many couples who feel as though something is missing in their sex lives making it seem boring and aimless. We need to bring back our spiritual lives into our sexual lives and enjoy a loving communion with not only our partners, but with existence itself.
Sex that remains purely sex becomes a distraction and ultimately stagnates your spiritual growth. But when sex becomes an opportunity to return to the Source and becomes a doorway of transformation to higher states of awareness – it gains a whole new purpose.
In future articles I plan to explore the exhilarating but taboo world of ancient sexual practices. In the meantime, I’d love to hear your experiences with sex. How has lovemaking helped you on your spiritual path, and do you have any tips? Please share below.