Sex and the Soul
By Great Sex Coach Cynthia Perkins, M.Ed.
The title of this article is likely to provoke many feelings, thoughts, sarcasms etc., as many people falsely believe that sex, spirituality, and the soul are at opposite ends of a continuum. It is incredibly sad that something so beautiful and intrinsic in our nature is so poorly understood and completely obliterated in our society. Most of us are taught from an early age that the body is dirty, sex is bad and that we shouldn't touch our genitals. Somewhere along the line we developed this inaccurate perception that sex and spirituality are separate and that in order to be spiritual you need to be asexual and that you are a better person if you divorce yourself from your sexual energy, feelings, desires, and needs and that spirituality is somehow superior to sexuality.
These attitudes are in complete contradiction to what is natural and healthy. It is like cutting off one of your legs and trying to run. We are taught to suppress our sexuality and to feel shame for being a sexual being and therefore this creates the problematic patterns we see associated with sex in our society such as excessive sex partners, violence, dissatisfaction with ones sex life, sexual confusion, degradation, incest, addiction that are practically an epidemic. We have created a society with two sexual extremes and very few people are able to find a healthy medium. At one end we have people with very few or no limits where meaningless sex, addiction, violence, rape, incest, degradation etc. occurs and at the other end we have people with very rigid limits who are afraid of sex, who are uncomfortable even talking about it, who don't know even know what arouses them, who think it is dirty and bad and should be hidden and or not engaged in. The common thread in both of these extremes is shame. People at both ends of the continuum are experiencing shame but exhibit it in different ways. These are prime examples of what happens when we disconnect our soul from our sexual selves.
One of the factors that cause sex to create such great difficulty in our relationships is because sexual energy and spiritual energy feel very similar. Sometimes it is difficult to tell the two apart. They often overlap. Because our society doesn't encourage awareness or understanding of either one of these energies we are left to try and figure them out ourselves and in our ignorance we develop patterns that are unhealthy. Sex is very spiritual and spirituality can feel very sexual at times. I also believe this is one of the factors that makes sex addictive, as I believe all addictions are really a search for the spiritual. Addictive substances and activities give us that incredible whole, at one with the universe, complete, euphoric feeling that spirituality makes us feel. Because it feels so wonderful, we want to feel it over and over so we keep doing the substance or activity. After awhile we need more and more of the substance or activity to have the same feeling. We are not taught that these incredible spiritual feelings can be achieved on a regular basis through developing deep healthy relationships with the universe, others and ourselves.
I have written "The Lovemaking Smorgasbord" to help couples understand each other's needs better and develop more soulful relationships that lead to more passionate and satisfying sexual experiences. You can find hundreds of tips to help you on this journey.
Sex is not bad, dirty, unhealthy and the root of these problems. It is the separation of sex from our souls and suppression of sexual energy that creates these problems. It is the lack of understanding and awareness of our sexual energy and the ignorance this creates that causes us to act in ways that our troublesome and destructive. Being taught to suppress and divorce our sexual energy separates us from a vital piece of our spirituality. Our whole survival is dependent upon sex as well as being one of the most pleasurable experiences we can have and one of the most spiritual experiences one can have when in the context of love and respect. Sexuality is a core ingredient of our spiritual make up. By continually trying to suppress sexuality we are only throwing fuel on the fire. The solution is to explore and embrace our sexual energy, thoughts, feelings, and fantasies. Reclaim our sexuality and reconnect it to our souls. Get it out in the open. Part of the reason destructive sexual forces have so much power is because of the suppression and shame. Problems loose their power when brought out in the open and dealt with directly.
So how do we shed ourselves of years of negative conditioning and develop a healthier attitude, reconnect our souls with our sexuality and celebrate our sexual selves. Well to begin with and to ensure that our next generation will be a more sexually enlightened group of people we start by teaching our children. From a very early age we help them to develop a healthy appreciation and respect for their bodies and promote a healthy attitude towards masturbation. We talk freely and openly with them about sex without shame. We encourage them to talk to us and ask questions. We teach them the difference between healthy and unhealthy sex. We teach them that sex is human, healthy and sacred and not just a physical act.
My personal belief is that healthy soul-satisfying sex takes place between two people who connect on many levels and do or are on their way to care about each other. In my experience the deeper the relationship and the deeper the spiritual connection is then the more fantastic and spiritual the sex will be. Healthy spiritual sex can also occur by yourself if you are without partner by deepening your relationship with yourself. Meaningless or casual sex usually results in feelings of emptiness, unfulfillment, and shame. It takes us further away from our souls and leaves us searching for more in someone else. In my opinion, great sex requires deep spiritual connections, deep intellectual connections, communication and as the relationship evolves trust will become an issue.
Sometimes we meet someone and have an instant attraction. In this instance great sex can occur quickly, but if deepening of the spiritual and intellectual connection, communication and trust are not nurtured then this attraction will diminish and die. These things can only be developed over time and therefore the deeper the trust, the connection and communication is then the less inhibitions we will have and the freer we will become in enjoying our sexual experiences. The sex will become even more explosive and we will be able achieve new heights of passion and fulfillment we didn't know existed. The depth of relationships has no limit except those that we bring to it with our own fears and issues and therefore if we allow the relationship to grow and deepen there will always be another higher level of great sex to be achieved.
I understand that many people are comfortable with casual sex and that especially in adolescents, young adulthood and phases of adulthood such as after divorce that it may be necessary to experiment, retaliate or be reckless to find ones way and learn. There may also be times in our lives when we are not able to find a partner that we connect deeply with and may still have the need to fulfill our sexual needs. But, ultimately I believe that what we find is that the most fulfilling sex is that which is explored with someone we care about, but we may have to go down many roads and go through many experiences to learn this for ourselves. So while we are on this journey or when we are with our loving partner I believe there are some basic principles we should teach our children and abide by ourselves to promote spiritual, respectful, ethical sex. Those principles are:
- Neither party should be hurt physically
- No coercion or manipulation
-you should always be clear with your partner about your motivations and expectations
-you should not be getting your sexual needs met outside your primary relationship, unless your partner has given you permission
- Both parties should agree upon the activity engaged in
- Both parties should want the same result. (Ex. If you are looking for just sex then you should not have sex with someone you know is looking for a relationship. )
Other steps you can take to continue to celebrate your sexuality may include beginning to tell yourself different messages. Tell yourself that sex is great, wonderful, good and spiritual. Find some good books on healthy sexuality and erotica and read, read, read. Visit some web sites. Do everything you can to educate yourself. It will probably take a long time to override the old voices in your head and you may need to hear the new messages over and over. It may be helpful to talk to someone like an advisor or an educator to help validate your new messages. Try to find friends who are on the journey of understanding their sexuality or who are comfortable with sex that you can share this aspect of yourself with freely.
Explore your own body and discover what you like and what you don't. Find what excites you and what doesn't. What feels good and what doesn't. Make love with yourself. If you have a partner, let your partner know what you need and want and when you become comfortable with it, then allow your partner to watch you while you fulfill yourself. This can be very arousing for both partners and it teaches you both new things about each other's bodies.
Be adventurous. Be aware. Be present in the here and now. Allow yourself to become immersed in the sexual experience. Open yourself up and fully experience each touch, sensation, smell, movement, sound and taste while you are making love with yourself or your lover. Tune into your body and soul and listen to the yearnings of your soul; they will guide you. Be willing to try new things even if they feel foreign or scary.
Get naked outside and make wild passionate love. Personally I believe that there is not anything more arousing and spiritual than to be naked outside and make love with the feel of the elements upon your body. There is something incredibly freeing about it and it elicits uninhibited passions. It takes you back to the primal basics. This can be done either by yourself or with partner.
Communicate. Communicate. Communicate. This cannot be emphasized enough. Talk to your lover about your feelings, needs, wants. Express your fears, inhibitions and embarrassments as well as your fantasies and expectations. If you are without partner then get to know yourself completely from the inside out. Not only will this enhance your sexual experience, but will make life more fulfilling in general and if the time comes to be with a partner again then you will be a better lover and better able to enjoy the experience fully. If you are with partner then get to know yourself and your lover from the inside out.
Sex is one of the most powerful spiritual experiences we can experience. It should be celebrated and honored for the magnificent gift that it is. Reclaim your sexuality. Experience the wonder and joy of soul-satisfying sex.