Synopsis: Very different mindsets about this topic help you explore your own, and how you might change your life for the better via love-filled, spiritual sexuality are covered here. Explanations of spiritual love (even for atheists), sexual love, sexual spirituality, spiritual sexuality and their mixing and more.
Can We and Should We Mix Sex and Spirituality?Which of these following people think the closest to the way you think?
Trevor said, “I can’t think of sexual love and spiritual love at the same time. For me it’s almost like they’re enemies or at least they belong in completely different boxes in my head”.
Celia replied, “I’m just the opposite. To me all real loves (sexual, romantic, parental or whatever) are spiritual. If it’s not spiritual it’s not real love, no matter what kind of love it is”.
Donald added, “I guess I don’t know how to even start thinking about what spiritual love means and putting the word sexual with the words real love gives me trouble too”.
Darla related, “I’m wondering if that’s what went wrong in my love life. Just possibly I didn’t do romantic love or sexual love spiritually enough, so maybe my love life was bound to mess up”.
Jacob then asked, “Are we sure we are talking about anything real? What do all those words really mean? I know what my religion and sex are but spirituality with sex and love just confuses me.”
Ava emphatically pronounced, “Love and spirituality are the most real things in my life and they’re what make my whole life work right including the romantic and the sexual”!
Noah then firmly declared, “I don’t think we can or should try to mix sex with the spiritual. Sexuality will just corrupt the spiritual and bring us down into sin”.
What About You?Which of these people comes closest to having said what goes on in your head if you ponder spirituality mixed with sexuality and love? Or do you think something entirely different from all of them?
Now for a couple of other possibly life-changing important questions. What do you think about your spiritual life becoming more sexual and your sexual life more spiritual? While we are at it, what do you know about the many religious movements and teachings the world over and throughout history that pronounced the unity of the spiritual and the sexual to be a good thing? Also what do you know about what the religion you are most familiar with has to say about spiritual and sexual love? Then there is what the nonreligious but spiritually-oriented ideologies and philosophies say? Finally, do you want to consider the spirituality of agnostics and atheists. Many say they are quite spiritual.
Now more personally, Do you suppose you will live more fully and more fulfilled if you achieve a greater confluence of your sexuality with and within romantic love and spirituality? Will those you love benefit more from your love if you work to intertwine these parts of your life?
How Were You Taught?Were you perhaps subconsciously trained to keep spirituality and sexuality in separate boxes in your head like Trevor? If your love life has been very troubled or disappointing could Darla’s concerns be yours? About these matters, is your background training deficient, conflicted or just unhelpful leaving you confused like Donald or maybe a bit rigidly dubious more like Jacob?
Figuring out what and how much has already gotten in your head about these issues is often a good way to start exploring for what may turn out to be stupendous improvements in your life. I say that because that is what has been true for the many who proclaim the integration of sex and spirituality has been for them, nothing short of stupendous.
What Is Real Love?To answer this question I refer you to the definition of love mini-love-lessons at this site (see “The Definition of Love” and “A More Ample Definition of Love”).
What Is Spiritual Love?Spiritual love can be described as a sense of mysterious love connection with that which is perceived as being far greater than the self. It also is seen as transcending the ordinary, the mundane, the usual, the normative, the common and even time and space, and as infinitely profound and often amazingly life changing.
Is all real love spiritual? Sages of quite a number of diverse spiritual and metaphysical traditions have said that it is. Interestingly, several teach that before anything there was only love and love in its need to be creative burst forth with the birth of the universe. Therefore, everything of real importance is of love and especially is that true of sexuality because it can lead to the miracle of birth. Another shared teaching holds that the substance of deity is pure love from which all real love flows (see “Spirituality and Love, Great and Grand”).
Throughout history and all around the world, those in love relationships, be they spouses, lovers, deep dear friends, loving parents of a newborn or even lovers of life itself, proclaim the experience of love to sometimes be awesomely spiritual. Many a couple experiencing amazing love-filled sex testify to having undergone a profound, spiritual/sexual experience.
Some reductionist scientists posit that spiritual love must only be some unusual, neurophysical event in the brain. However, others comment that this reductionist explanation might describe how spiritual love is neurochemically processed and that cosmically there may well be much more to it than that arguably arrogant conclusion suggests.
More Spiritual or More Religious?Spiritual seekers tend to be quite different from religionists though many are both. Spiritual quests lead seekers along mysterious paths into the unknown as well as toward uncertain goals. Religionists, on the other hand, tend more to accept and profess established doctrines and credos. Spiritual seekers often grapple with the great questions like why are we here and what is my purpose in life. Frequently they then quest for their own individual answers and personal enlightenment. Religionists more often conform and adhere to the belief systems provided for them by authoritative sources. Spiritual seekers can tend to be more open to a diversity of love experiences and understandings while many religionists not so much. At least that is what some research suggests.
What Is Sexual Love?Sexual love is easier to define. It simply is real love integrated with natural sexuality. As such, it can be experienced confluently with spiritual love.
What Is Sexual Spirituality and Spiritual Sexuality?These two can be described together as grand and powerful feelings of intimacy while feeling and acting passionately sexual and, at the same time, feeling intensely loving which brings on a sense of transcendental and oceanic connection with that which is far greater than the self. It often includes awesome feelings of being a part of the universal, unknowable and immensely wondrous. Spiritual sex and sexual spirituality also can be described as incredibly precious, highly personal, extraordinarily intimate, deep core uniting with the sacred spirit of another and/or a deistic presence.
Exploring Sexual and Spiritual Love TogetherBy exploring this mini-love-lesson, you already are joining millions of others who have, or are exploring sexual and spiritual love often together with a loved one or more. I suggest the next step might be for you to read more about it. There is plenty written. For that, you might check-out Sacred Sexuality by A. T. Mann and Jane Lyle, perhaps followed by Sex and Spirit by Clifford Bishop. Love and Living by the Cistercian monk, Thomas Merton, is full of the wisdom of love and the theological. For a more deeply psychological understanding, Sexuality and Spirituality, Pursuing Integration by Dr. William F. Kraft will do nicely. All of these help in giving a fascinating and wonderfully, wide-ranging look at the many components of our subject. The first two of these sources especially cover what a great many, different approaches actually have done about exploring love-filled sex and spirituality.
Some books give sexual/spiritual procedures to follow in the form of a series of exercises, and a fair number of couples have followed these and reported positively about their results.
A Google search will show you a huge number of other sources, many of which are not very useful in my opinion. Some are just propaganda for selling a particular brand of religion or costly stuff. But then again, some sources are quite fine, helpful and less expensive.
The next thing you might consider doing is attending workshops, retreats, courses, spirit quests, getting group coaching and attending other more experiential events. Tantric workshops and retreats are among the most popular in this area of spiritual sexuality. These kinds of experience-based events have a great range of intensity and for some are quite shocking.
So, considering the experiential, are you ready for participating in or observing reverent eroticism, prayerful masturbation and sacred mutual masturbation, liturgical naked chanting and dancing, reverential group nude massage, sacramental lovemaking, genital sanctification, risqué and sensuous religious rituals, aphrodisiac ceremony, orgasmic blessedness, Goddess sex and a great deal more. It is important to select carefully which of these kind of and level of experiences you will be okay with. Be sure to get enough information ahead of time from those who are in charge. Many of these are for couples only but there are ones for singles available. My suggestion is to carefully consider doing at least one or two of these type things but only if they seem to have a lot to say about love itself and are not ridiculously expensive. Perhaps start with the milder ones and watch out for con artists (see “Sex Fears Mastered with Love”).
Now, if you are in a romantic type, love relationship, consider together following a guidebook or receiving instruction in a course of spiritual/sexual/love-based procedures available via a well credentialed, trained and qualified sex educator, counselor or therapist with some modern loving, health-oriented, spiritual background and see where that leads.
This is not to say that a couple in a deeply loving relationship must search outside their relationship to learn and experiment with combining sexuality and spirituality. In a mutual, loving and trusting environment, peak experiences can be achieved together. Just don’t play strike one, you’re out; time and patience often leads to success. Outside alternatives sometimes offer things a couple might not have thought of or instructions that might prove helpful.
One More Little Thing: With whom might you lovingly talk-over this mini-love-lesson, perhaps mentioning where you got the ideas from?
As always Go and Grow with Love
Dr. J. Richard Cookerly
Quotable Question: If we keep the sexual and the spiritual separate, who benefits and who is perhaps harmed?