One of the biggest misconceptions about sex is its perceived immorality. Sex is sacred in truth and due to its connective energy between two people is often cited as a spiritual experience. That’s not meant in a religious way, per se, but as a purer energy, sex provides a direct link to the divine. It seems we have been doing it wrong for a long time. So we decided to explore the sacred connection between sexuality and spirituality.

5 Basic Components of Sexuality

Sexuality has left the realm of taboo and become a normal part of life for much of society. This shift has been transformational to our culture as a whole. It wasn’t even legal to act on homosexual urges until 1967 in the UK.

As always, there is still some distance to go in the acceptance of sexual preferences and orientations. Still, the distance that we have traveled in even just 10 years has represented fundamental shifts. These changes occur mainly in our understanding of sexuality. When thinking of sexuality among humans, there are five basic components:

  • Sensuality – This refers first to the acceptance and awareness of one’s own body. In addition to this, it refers to the ability to find pleasure in yourself or others.
  • Intimacy – The need we have to be close to others and our ability to do so. This is the giving and returning of emotional closeness.
  • Sexual Identity – Knowing what you like and what your partner will like. This includes gender identity, gender expression, and sexual orientation as well. All play a role in understanding the identity of your sexuality.
  • Sexual Health – The physical ability to have and enjoy sexual intercourse. This refers also to sexual intelligence and one’s understanding of safe, healthy intercourse.
  • Sexual Behaviors – Knowing who does what and which body part goes where.

The vague cloud that hangs over all of this is the power and agency that we all have over our sexuality. There are positives and negatives that go along with every person’s sexual agency.

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The good side of this is the ability to harness this power within. Doing so brings a sense of self-worth and the power to consent and decline sexual encounters. When a person understands and is confident in their sexuality, they can confidently navigate it.

It’s not all great, however. This also includes the power we have to influence or manipulate others into having sex with us. Every sexually active person has a responsibility to understand and control this ability. 

Even if you think that you would never use your sexuality in a manipulative way, it’s imperative to know that you could. Without an understanding of the harm you could cause, it is much more difficult to do so. A firm foundation of your sexuality and a spiritual connection can help to keep this ability in check.

Defining Spirituality

Spirituality contains a broad spectrum of beliefs and understandings of the universe. Spirituality today is a lot less cut-and-dry from the religions of yore. A movement past that has led us to a place where much of our deepest values and beliefs are individualized. One who attends a non-religious meditation center will not find themselves having to sign a list of beliefs to become a member.

Classic understandings of spirituality distill it into three elements: relationships, values, and life purpose. Let’s look at each of these a bit further:

  • Life Purpose – This refers to a person’s motive for being. Their goal for this life. Having a reason for living here is one of the most important elements of spiritual growth. Without a purpose to exist, it is much harder to fill your spirit.
  • Values – These refer to a core set of beliefs that drive your actions. The values placed on each person’s heart are unique to them. These include, among other things, compassion, integrity, and other noble efforts.
  • Relationships – This involves three separate relationships of equal importance. That is, the relationship you have with yourself, the one you have with your spiritual self, and the one you have with others. All three of these are necessary for a fulfilled spiritual existence. 

It is not possible to have healthy relationships with others without a good one with yourself. Similarly, it is not possible to enjoy the company of yourself without the growth of your relationships with others.

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A healthy spirit is dependent on these three pillars. All three require mastery before it is possible to move on. This entails a search for the mystery beyond understanding or the Devine Mystery. 

The Sacred Connection

So where does sexuality and spirituality connect? Sexuality and fertility are at the heart of nearly every religion and form of spirituality. The story of the Abrahamic faiths revolves around the creation of a reproductive universe.  The charge these faiths give to man: “be fruitful and multiply.” 

Modern understandings of spirituality often emphasize the Earth Mother. Her ability to birth all life is a necessary connection for contemporary spirituality. Connection with nature is an act of connecting with the reproduction of the universe.

Relationship Between Sexuality and Spirituality

Sexuality has been culturally affected both negatively and positively by spirituality. On one hand, repression and demonization of sex by some religious movements have caused tremendous harm. Puberty tells our bodies that we are adults and ready for sex by the time we are 13 but then society tells us to feel shame if we act on it for several more years.

Even couples that do manage to abstain from sex until marriage may find themselves having to grapple with it. Flipping the switch from sex being evil to celebrating it is difficult. This is because thinking of consensual sex as being immoral is an inherent problem. 

Sex Should Be Celebrated As Joyful

These days, sex is much more celebrated as a joy of life. This, too, leads to its own ups and downs. One thing that seems to have shifted is more people standing up to say they aren’t ashamed of their sexuality. Modern spiritual movements include sex-positive attitudes that respect the sacred act of sexuality.

The reverse side of this is a culture of sexuality that can be purely pleasure-oriented. When the societal shame fell off of sex, it became easier to cover up personal problems with meaningless interactions. Shows like Too Hot to Handle showcase people proudly claiming they are incapable of not having sex.

The extreme form of this comes from sex addiction. Sex addiction, like other forms of use disorders, is often the result of deeper emotional distress. An underlying deficit in the sexuality or spirituality of the person involved. This is to say nothing of those who use their sexual agency to manipulate or force others into sex.

Sexuality Among Highest in Spiritual Realms 

Sex isn’t just a part of life, sex is the act of life. Reproduction is what keeps us fed and moving forward as a universe. Life on the grand scale revolves around generational evolution. It is not possible to grow as a planet without the cycle of life and rebirth.

This means that the two most sacred things in this universe are the birth of new life and the passing of old. There exists nothing without reproduction but sex goes beyond just that act. Sexuality belongs among the highest of the spiritual realms. Even sex without the purpose of reproduction can be a sacred celebration of life and fertility. This is only possible when we treat it with that amount of respect though.

Sex between two partners is a beautiful expression of love and creation even when there isn’t any actual creation. It is the oldest ritual given to humanity and some of our most ancient forms of religion found their foundation in fertility.

Where Religion Falls Into Play

Just because modern spirituality doesn’t typically fall in line with traditional religion doesn’t mean that it is irrelevant. For starters, many people are still firm believers in their faith and that is perfectly acceptable. 

Those who chose to abstain from sex until marriage for proper reasons will likely find it to be a magical experience with their spouse. Allowing everyone to live their spirituality including those who believe in traditional viewpoints. 

Religion Has Historically Been Restrictive

While religion has historically been restrictive when it comes to sex, this is not always the case. Though it isn’t common yet, there are a few sex-positive churches that have seen the damage demonization has caused. For any person that believes in an all-creating God, sex has to be a part of that. Not just that, sex is an act of creation itself, connecting it with the genesis of existence itself.

The negative effects of years of oppressive attitudes are still present as well. As a result, many face the need to unlearn negative habits or belief systems with sexuality. Even a person many years removed from religion may find themselves dealing with shame and guilt. When receiving conditioning for an entire childhood towards a negative viewpoint, it can be hard to clear it from the subconscious. 

Aligning Religious Values With Spiritual Values

Those who follow a religion are likely to say that it has a role to play in more than sexuality. Religion to the religious plays a role in every element of their lives. For them, the question of “does religion have a role to play in sex” may seem ludicrous. It would be like asking “does air have a role to play in baking a cake.” Though the two aren’t directly connected, you cannot bake without air to breathe.

This is a good practice for all spiritual practitioners, not just those belonging to a religion. The tenants that ground you to your spirit should play a role in every choice you take. If you’re gearing up for a sexual encounter that questions your values, life purpose, or relationships, you should stop. The task of spirituality is in taking our values and extending them to the world around us.

Deepening Your Spiritual Sexuality

The sexual life force behind humanity is an overwhelming spirit. When experienced properly, sex is an all-encompassing experience. As the walls fall down around them, the couple remains with only each other–alone in a universe of their making.

Unfortunately, society often reduces sex to the mere act of orgasm. Pornography and casual encounters encourage quick sexual interactions with little emotion. While the main effect of this is on the single individual, couples often fall into a similar trap.

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Ditch The Boring Sex Routine & Get Creative

After a large time spent together, sexuality can fall into a routine. Often, this is one that neither party finds particularly stimulating. In these instances, sex may become quick and pragmatic. As opposed to the spectacle of lovemaking, this is more of a ritual of release. 

The improvement of many elements of life is possible through the simple act of intention. Transform your sex life from something that you get thrown into from time to time and set aside time to really drink each other in. 

For couples, a huge part of their spiritual life should include serving their partner. If this is a person that you have decided to spend your life with, that has to include serving and lifting them up. With sex, that looks different for each couple but the best way to find it is through the process of time.

Drop The Ego & Use The Serving Mindset

Regardless of how long a couple has been together, exploring each other’s bodies is an act of worship. It’s a way to connect with another being and provide them with pleasure. When relationships have lasted for some time, it becomes easy to lose sight of this. Sex can easily transform into something that happens at set times for set durations.

If you want to grow in your spiritual sexuality with a partner, you must spend time in this worship. Set aside much more time than you actually need for sex and devote that time to each other. Nothing is wrong with sex for release and “quickies” are fun parts of a sexual relationship. As long as they are a part of it.

Conclusion

Society has begun moving past the sexually repressive nature of traditional religious teaching. Even as it does, each individual must take a look at their own sexuality and how it fits into their values and belief system. 

Sex is often reduced to the completion of a sexual encounter but the journey to and through the act is just as important. It is unreasonable to suggest that every intimate time with a partner be a spiritually important event. Sometimes, sex really is just about animalistic desire and that is not a problem in itself. Again, the issue is an intention and in setting aside time to intentionally grow the relationship of sexuality and spirituality with your partner.

Charlie Penwarden

Former mental health nurse turned consultant with a critical focus on human behaviour research analysis and the optimisation of mental health management to prevent illness and promote life harmony.