The term “sacred sexuality” is often misused and frequently misunderstood. What is sacred sexuality anyway? What do we mean when we talk about sex being “sacred”? And why should you care?
It is helpful to first understand what is meant by the term “sacred”.
Sacredness is often associated with something that is
“set apart” from the ordinary or something that is revered as being “set above” or “holy” and very often this is revered as something separate from ourselves.
I believe that this is a limited and even inaccurate understanding of what sacredness actually is. That which is sacred is inherently a part of us, not something separate. In fact it is exactly because of this connection as being part of us (not separate from us) that anything is made sacred in the first place.
In other words, nothing is inherently “sacred” in and of itself. What makes something “sacred” is our relationship to it. Let me say that again:
What makes something sacred is our relationship to it.
It is not the thing itself that is sacred or holy. Rather it is how we treat that thing, and how we relate to that thing which makes it sacred or not.
It is also helpful to understand the following: what is the purpose of this thing we call and treat as sacred? How do we use this sacred thing to access something beyond the ordinary, beyond ourselves?
The sacred is associated with the transcendent. Something that is treated as sacred is endowed with the power to transport us from the mundane ordinary reality of our lives and into the direct experience of the transcendent and even the mystical.
So when it comes to understanding what is sacred sexuality, in my opinion it boils down to one thing: How you relate to and use sex as either:
1. As a means for self-gratification: to get your needs met, to satiate your physical cravings for pleasure or connection, and to enjoy a few minutes of and genital stimulation.
I liken this example to going out to eat at a nice restaurant, getting some tasty food off the menu to satisfy your hunger, feeling full for a little while until the next time the hunger sets in.
2. As a means to access the transcendent and enter into the mystical, as a path of self knowledge, and ultimately as a way to experience the Divine which innately includes the experience of ecstatic states of expanded pleasure, access to cosmic awareness, and feelings of profound union wholeness, and love.
I liken this approach to a mystical experience, a doorway to the transcendent where we feel expanded, connected, fulfilled and inherently whole.
Sacred sexuality then is ultimately a spiritual practice. It is a path where the practitioner uses sex and intimacy as a way to transcend the ordinary mundane world of duality and separation and enter into the domain of profound states of ecstasy and love, union, healing and wholeness.
The very purpose of sacred sexuality is to engage the practice of love. Sacred sexuality is the practice of embodying and becoming the energy and expression of love in the world; not as a means to try to get love, but as a transformative path where we allow love itself to be the grist for the mill so to speak, where we learn to allow love to work in us and through us as we literally become the embodied expression of this love.
It is a pathway in which we come to know ourselves and to know God or the Divine through another and through sex (an idea at the core of Tantra and tantric sexuality).
It is where sex is the vehicle through which we engage in the holy practice of giving and receiving greater and greater amounts of love for the purpose of our own spiritual growth and evolution.
In the path of sacred sexuality we do this not for our own selfish gains, as a way gratify our own desires and get our “needs met” or as a way to soothe our human insecurities, but as a means to literally move beyond the limitations of our human wounding by allowing ourselves to be expanded open into the direct and infinite flow of Divine Love.
In this way sex is merely the vehicle which can take us there and which gives us access to this eternal fountain which quenches all thirst and satisfies all hunger.
As long as we remain in the realm of using sex only for the purpose of self-gratification; as a way to escape our own loneliness, satisfy our horniness, unload our stress, and as a way to just “get off”—we will never truly be satisfied or touched by the deeply transformational and healing power of sex.
Sure the stress will be relieved for a little while and you’ll probably fall asleep more easily. Sure you will feel connected for a few minutes before it’s all over and the feelings of isolation and existential loneliness set back in. Sure your horniness will be relieved for awhile until it comes back in a few days or weeks craving to be satiated again.
And hey, there’s nothing inherently wrong with any of this!
But the truth is that as long as this is the level we are engaging on with our sexuality, we will always unconsciously be longing for what I call the “unidentifiable more”.
We will always feel sexually hungry or sexually frustrated. We will continually wonder why we feel so disconnected or why we are just plain disinterested. We will always remain somehow just a little bit unsatisfied no matter how much sex we may be getting and no matter how many orgasms we may be having ad no matter how many uncomfortable sex positions we may be trying.
There will always be a sense that something is missing, that something more is possible. There will always be a silent longing for something more. And this “unidentifiable more” as I call it can only be had when we begin to take a different approach to sex entirely. Where we shift the entire conversation from one of trying to “get something from sex” to one of “seeking something eternal through sex”.
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Recommended Reading on Sacred Sexuality
Tantric Orgasm for Women by Diana Richardson
The Enlightened Sex Manual by David Deida