The purpose of this post is to begin to explore the question of how our sexuality can be used to enhance our spirituality, or, visa versa, how our spirituality can be used to enhance our sexuality. My thinking on this topic comes from my backgrounds and experiences in evolution, neurobiology, clinical sexology, anthropological, and my own life.
Given the widespread, Western culture’s general hung-upness and distorted views about sex, sexuality, and nudity, primarily I am talking about the good, old US of A here, that largely arose from the distorted views from Christianity and the Church. Here I present some of my broad-stroke thinking.
Let’s start off from a global perspective: sex’s evolutionary foundation. It all goes back to the DNA and genes: individuals are just the genes way of reproducing themselves. In the evolutionary “game,” there are to fundamental, premiere rules: survival and reproduction. You have to do both if you want to stay around, much less increase your numbers.
Sex is all about reproduction. Mother Nature, a.k.a., natural selection, has been working on this for billions of years. She found sexual reproduction was overall far superior tor surviving and reproducing for complex organism than non-sexual reproduction. Non-sexual, or asexual reproduction would be reproducing without sex as in just cloning or cells dividing. The reason sexual reproduction is superior is that it helps to maintain and creates genetic variability,.The more genetic variability a population or species has, the better it can adapt, cope with environmental change, evolve, survive and reproduce over a wider range of challenges. Likewise, the more genetic variation an individual has, the better it is at surviving and reproducing. Let’s turn our attention now to spirituality.
We don’t have to worry about spirituality as we climb up the evolutionary tree until we hit humans, Homo sapiens. Baring Lajitas Lizard in my books, I’ve never met a bacteria, amoeba, plant, or lizard that was spiritual as far as I know. I am defining spirituality here secularly: spirituality is about inner-peace, personal growth, and interconnectedness (non-duality). How can we use sex to enhance our spirituality?
I am looking for an answer here to this question that works for us in the West: characterized by Western education, industrialization, wealth (relative to much of the world), and democracy.i It is a Western psychology, hence the title, Psycho-sexual spirituality. Eastern approaches such as ancient Tantra practices from Indian/Hindu cultures don’t work well for Westerners.
Many of us have had sexual experiences that felt spiritual, so here is a clue. Intense orgasms have a way of doing that, sometimes bordering on the ecstatic. At least I know I have. Spiritual sex is about interconnectedness. It is deep intimacy of connecting between two individuals. How can we facilitate these type of intimate interconnections?
This is where us humans can differentiate between just having sex, or just fucking, which is great understand, from deep, intimate, interconnected, spiritual level sex. Nor is this to propose that such deep level of spiritual sex as everyday sex. It is more like special occasion sex.
Ancient traditions of Tantric sex are focused on participants reaching high states of ecstatic bliss, but without orgasms. It is religious oriented and a way of worship. Drawing from these practices, Western, neo-Tantric sex is about helping the partners to feel closer and have stronger orgasms by delaying them. This is closer to what I’m thinking about.
What I am writing here is about Spiritual Sex, which is broader than Tantric or neo-Tantric practicesii I’ve added the “psycho” to emphasize the tremendous importance of the psychological. Sex can add a whole new dimension to our spirituality, and our spirituality can likewise increase and deepen our sexual experiences.
Any of us can have sex that we feel is spiritual. An interesting side note here: people who identify themselves as “spiritual” have a higher frequency of sex encounters. Hmmm.
Again, it is that interconnection thing: Humans are social organism and we want to feel that interconnection. No, not everyone. We do have solitary hermits running around, but they are the exception. I consider myself an old eco-hermit, but still have a large social network—and still enjoy sex! How does one go about having more spiritual sex?
For humans and most mammals, touching is important. Take the failure-to-thrive syndrome of newborns: newborns and babies that are not held by caregivers fail to grow and don’t do as well as held babies. Or attachment disorder where due to early childhood neglect, the neural circuitry for healthy attachment and relationships fails to form. This is a stage-specific circuitry. Once that stage is passed, no amount of therapy has been found that will establish it. These individuals usually can only form unhealthy and sometimes very strange attachments to people and things. They have little empathy and too often end up manifesting with conduct disorder as children and antisocial personality disorder as adults. I have worked with a few of these. They can be scary.
One of the primary techniques used in clinical sexology with couples that are struggling with having sex, is sensate focus, where the couples go through exercises of non-sexual touching to help them overcome their difficulties,. They slowly work through from there to include sexual touching, and finally intercourse.
Spiritual sex can be a solo affair or between individuals, including group sex with more than two individuals. Variety can add spice, adventure, and depth to our sexual/spiritual experiences, often resulting in more intense orgasms and even multiple, orgasms. (I’m speaking from personal experience here and as an old guy too.☺︎)
Anything that helps you to feel “spiritual,” can facilitate increasing your sexual experiences. Mindfulness and mindfulness mediation can increase sexual spirituality. Candles, incense, music—atmosphere and ambience can be helpful too. Gently touches, rubbing and massaging.
Then there can also be augmentation with drugs when used wisely and in moderation. From my own experiences, a little high can make the sex more enjoyable and help keep things from getting boring. I’ve never evaluated it though from a spiritual perspective. Something to add to my bucket list.
All said, spiritual sex with a partner can be intense. Be warned.
i Henrich, J. 2020. The WEIRDest People in the World: How the West Became Psychologically Peculiar and Particularly Prosperous. Farber, Straus and Giroux, NY.