Somebody once commented privately on my blog, “I like the more spiritual things you write but it doesn’t sit well with the sexual stuff”. I have also had people say that they enjoy my sexy posts but get a bit bored with the overtly pagan and spiritual things. Well, I’m sorry (not), but for me sex and spirituality have virtually always been linked in some way. At least, in my mind and in my life they are not separate entities. I am a very sexual person and I am also a very spiritual person. I am not schizophrenic, these are two important parts that contribute to making me whole. In my opinion it is unhealthy that society often seems to invent a huge chasm between these important aspects of life.
Sex is fundamental; without it we would not be here. Some people say that death and taxes are the only two certainties in life. I’d argue that sex is a certainty too because even those who don’t actually do it must surely think about it from time to time. Sex is the means by which we procreate and the way in which human kind endures. We are hard wired to want it, need it, respond to it, think about it, dream and fantasize about it. Yet sex is not only about procreation, it can be about pleasure and pain, love and intimacy, beauty, lust, envy, greed, power… It can involve every human emotion and can trigger all kinds of personal growth and alchemy. Psychologically it is one of the key triggers and primal motivating forces in life. And sometimes sex can fundamentally alter our state of mind, it can transport and change us more powerfully than any drug to a different level and state of being. It can indeed be the gateway to a spiritual experience.
Spirituality is harder to define but for me is the most important aspect of life no matter what religious or spiritual beliefs a person has. (Although in my opinion the benefits of spirituality, while still there, are hindered and minimized in people who don’t have any spiritual beliefs). Spirituality is a sense of awe and wonder about the universe we inhabit, it is a sense of potential, a sense of what we could be and what we could achieve. Most importantly I think it is a sense of communion with the universe and the creator (however one visualizes that) a feeling of being open to the magic and the power of creation. It also is (or induces) another state of mind where we feel in tune with the whole of nature, less protective of our individualism, more open to the needs and feelings of others, a state of mind in which we tend to have more noble and altruistic thoughts and ideas. Spirituality inspires us as individuals and as communities to learn, to grow and to do things better.
As I write this it occurs to me (perhaps not too surprisingly) that there are certain ideas which crop up in both my descriptions of sexuality and spirituality. Creativity and creation. Altered states of mind. Communion and intimacy. Inspiration and imagination. Awe. Power. Personal growth and alchemy. Indeed, if I spent longer on the two descriptions I know I would come up with even more connections and similarities.
How sad then that some religious groups and sectors of society seem bent on separating sex and spirituality completely. Some even appear to elevate spirituality so that it becomes something beyond the bounds or aspirations of most ordinary people while at the same time demonizing sexuality as if it were something vile and profane which hinders spiritual growth. I think such ideas are a travesty.
I think sex and spirituality can and should compliment each other. In balance both of them lead to personal growth and wisdom. I personally believe we become better people for exploring and enjoying both of these fundamental aspects of life. Almost without exception some of the wisest and most obviously spiritual people I have ever met have also been among the most sexually open minded. The reverse is also true, very often the people who struggle the most in their spiritual aspirations are those who are the most damaged or repressed sexually.
On my own pagan spiritual path I have been lucky to be freed of some of the restrictions and taboos that seem to trouble some people on other spiritual paths. This has allowed me to experience and cultivate spiritual insights and progression through sex and even learn techniques to channel sexual energy for more spiritual and magical uses. I feel a bit sorry for those whose religious or cultural ideas preclude the same possibilities of growth and pleasure.