THE SACRED IN SACRED SEXUALITY
The term sacred sexuality is in a way misleading because it can be interpreted to imply that sometimes sex is sacred and sometimes it is not. As human beings we are born with certain instincts and urges such as the urge to eat when we are hungry and to sleep when we are tired. We also have a sex drive. All three of these natural urges are necessary for our survival. Food and sleep keep us alive and so the innate need for them is an important part of our being human, so much so that it the urge is automatic. Go long enough without food and your hunger increases and increases until you can think of nothing else but how hungry you are and/or you will waste away and die. In the case of sleep you will eventually fall asleep whether you consciously want to or not.
As humans, our sex drive also has a purpose. Yes, it helps us keep our species going by creating new life, but it has another purpose as well; it is a homing signal, a reminder of from where we originated and of what is important in life. In fact, our sex drive is so strong and so important to express that it will be expressed in one way or another. Even if we try to tame it, express it in only in ways we think are socially acceptable, hold it in due to shame, fear of what others will think, cultural conditioning or other reasons, it will express, just perhaps in a way that is unfulfilling or even violent in its misdirection. Sex in and of itself is not dangerous, it is how we approach it, stifle it, misdirect it and color it with our own agendas based on past experiences, beliefs, etc. that make sex seem like less than the innate, beautiful, fulfilling experience that it ultimately is.
One of the reasons we crave sex so much is because of how wonderful it feels. This is such common knowledge that it is woven into our culture in just about every way possible. It is on our minds a lot (have you ever read one of those studies asking people how often they think about sex?!) and it is even part of how many of the products we use are promoted. Sex is part of how we respond to the people around us, and based on their response to us, we form opinions about ourselves. Sex is probably part of most every interaction we have, one way or another. It is a mental process as much as a physical thing that we “do” with someone. It is a foundation for how we feel about ourselves and how we take that sense of self into the world on a day to day basis. You can even think of sex as a currency or current of energy that we exchange in how we perceive others, how we respond to them based on that perception and how we feel about ourselves as a result. And interaction and exchange takes place, even if it is very subtle.
One of the gifts of having a sex urge is that it drives us to meet that need which often brings us together with others who also wish to meet that need. In the sexual interaction, an energy (current) exchange takes place physically but it again also takes place in how we feel about ourselves and the other(s) based on the interaction. Our past experiences have created expectations of ourselves, of our partner(s) and of the experience created together. Where it falls short of fulfillment, it is easy to attribute this to something about men, women, sex, the person or people you are with or to yourself. Thus sex has the capacity to stir up a lot of baggage, which we often continually perpetuate upon ourselves and each other. When this happens, sex can feel unfulfilling both physically and emotionally. Regardless of how much sex we may be having, if it is not fulfilling, it just leaves us wanting more and more as we try to get our fill. And if we have sex while feeling lack of trust, past hurts, repressed anger, etc. it is hard to really enjoy it fully because we are closed off to what makes sex most juicy (openness to experience it). This is similar to how some people approach food or other substances or experiences. More is not necessarily better. Nor is variety in terms of partners necessarily going to bring about the fulfillment we seek, it is how we choose to experience something that makes it fulfilling and sustaining. Experiencing the sacred in sexuality is a path of sexual and life fulfillment because it helps us to experience the whole of what sex is and what we are. Once we experience this wholeness, everything can be fulfilling if we so choose. Sex is never quite the same again.
Sacred sexuality can be thought of like stopping to smell the roses. Life is full of colors, textures, small details, tastes, sounds and more that are always present when you choose to take notice. A piece of fruit can be savored for its color, shape, size, scent, texture, taste and how it is presented (among other things). Or in a hurry to feed a hunger, we can gulp it down and not notice any of this, and feeling like we are still hungry for more of something. Sacred sexuality brings our attention to what is already present in our own bodies, in the bodies of others (if you choose to share the experience with others) and in what is created between people in the moment. In this regard sex is somewhat like dancing. An exchange of current (energy) takes place that is not just two or more people, it is something in and of itself that contains and includes whoever is present as one experience together. What’s more is that as you become aware of the sensations in your own body, it has a positive impact on the body of your partner(s) and of the overall experience.
Some people equate sacred sexuality with specific types of practices and/or techniques such as those of Tantra. Tantra is one approach to sacred sexuality but there are others such as Kama Sutra, Healing Love and more. Also, sacred sexuality can be experienced and enjoyed any time a person or people chose to savor the sensations and experience of pleasure in the moment. It can be independent of any specific approach or practices. Many people find the practices/techniques to be helpful in learning how to be aware and present to what is happening in the moment instead of stuck in the mental and emotional baggage and limiting self beliefs from the past. Since this type of conditioning is so much a part of how we interact, I believe learning and using practices and techniques such as breathwork, sound, eye contact and body movements are extremely valuable and helpful. However, it is important to keep in mind that these practices and techniques are not the full picture of sacred sexuality; they are just ways to be present and open to the fullness and wholeness of the moment. Many people equate sacred sexuality with techniques and lose track of sacred sexuality in its whole and ultimate form, which is the gift of being present (presence).
When people are truly present to themselves and each other sexually, their thoughts and baggage melts away and they become aware of the life force that sustains and unites them. The experience of divinity from which they came opens inside and around them and the feeling is exhilarating and pleasurable and much more. It is as if your senses open up even more and you feel pleasure/divinity/life force in greater depth and breadth because you are open to feeling more of it. It is always there and it is limitless. Sacred sexuality opens you to more of what is always present and this openness extends beyond “having sex” to an openness in everyday life, although the sex is really wonderful and that is a great reason for sacred sexuality in and of itself!
One of the great things about sacred sexuality is that you can choose to experience it at any time. Sexuality is life force energy (current) and it is always present. With practice you will be able to feel and enjoy your sexuality any time you wish, even if you are not with any other person or not in a relationship. Sacredness is about how you perceive things, about the openness to experiencing the divine within and around you. Any time you experience life force energy, you are experiencing sexuality. And when you shift your perception to go beyond mental conditioning, baggage, etc. by being present to the sensations in the moment, you are tuning into the sacred. Sacredness and sexuality are one…if you choose to experience them as such. From the experience of sacredness and sexuality being one, you can sense the sacredness in all experiences and all people. In life and in the bedroom, sacred sexuality can include things that many people would not typically define as sacred. However, if you are open to experiencing sacredness, you will learn from experience that it is everywhere. It is life changing and ultimately I believe it is what sacred sexuality is truly about.
A friend of mine once told me that sacred sexuality is not so much about knowing the sacredness in sex, but more about knowing that sexuality is the foundation of everything sacred in life and about life. He dreams of the day when not only would sacred be used to define sexuality but sexuality would be used to define and understand sacredness. Humanity has separated itself from sexuality; and when we objectify sexuality, we objectify ourselves by cutting ourselves off from our sacred source. Sacred sexuality is about being present to the fullness, the perfection, of our experience as human beings with our hearts and senses open to the depth and breadth that life is.
Linda White Dove