Many of you have expressed appreciation for this topic of spiritual sex and I'll share one quote from an email: "So rare do you hear people talking about the *truth* of sex, the beautiful, deeper, connections that can be made that go so beyond physical contact . . ." Whatever level of sexuality you choose, that's great, but I am choosing to write about the realms of sexuality beyond the pure physical act.
I thank you for responding and some comments have inspired me to choose the topic for this post. Even though spiritual sex is not synonymous with orgasms, there was considerable discussion about it; some comments even equated "spiritual sex" with "religion and orgasms." To date, all I've said about the subject is that the Performance Model (our culture's prevailing view of sex) has orgasm as its goal. Our culture is preoccupied with producing orgasms and sexual dysfunction is most distressing not only because of lowered self esteem but also because orgasms are negatively impacted (not having one at all, or not having it in the perceived "right way"). It's a huge deal in my field of sex therapy and much has been said about the various dysfunctions, but there is a way to shift out of this paradigm altogether so that pleasure is possible whatever the functioning level. So I'd like to discuss something not well understood in culturally normative views of sex.
There is something I'll call "conventional" orgasm, which may be what some of you are referencing as you write your comments. Neurochemically, orgasm releases the hormone oxytocin, which promotes good feelings and can lead to mutual comfort, safety, and caring, but not always. For example, if you have an orgasm with a casual encounter, it is unlikely to promote anything but a feeling of release with a strong desire to go home. Many times disconnected or addictive sex can lead to emotional irritability and intense feelings of malaise, self blame or even the blues.
Oxytocin breaks down quickly in the body, so the good feelings dissipate rapidly unless you choose to maintain the powerful relationship bonding that sex can offer. If you remember the exercise called Touching Hearts that I suggested in the second blog, (sadly, some people thought they'd feel silly trying it with their partners) there are great benefits from stimulating emotions that accompany open-heartedness such as appreciation, giving, caring, closeness. These emotions decrease our levels of cortisol, high levels of which are harmful, and increase our levels of the beneficial hormone, DHEA.
However, aside from genitally focused sex, with its relatively rapid release and let down after orgasm, there are two other levels (there are many, but I'm keeping it simple). These are:
Conscious Loving which is the enhancement of partner commitment through loving communion. It includes the experience of the "valley orgasm:" longer lasting and continuing waves of energy moving through the body. It is the heart level of sexuality.
Spiritual Union which is the ecstatic expanded experience producing altered states of consciousness. It encompasses the "cosmic orgasm:" the timeless, boundless state where orgasmic waves move through all the energy centers. Cosmic orgasm can and does occur spontaneously to anyone, but as a practice, it can replenish the life force with release through the crown of the head.
The truth is we are capable of experiencing orgasms in multiple dimensions. Energy centers, called chakras (meaning "spinning wheels" in Sanskrit) are not anatomical structures in the body but are clusters of oscillating energy. Chakras function like electrical transformers, lowering the vibrating rate of life force energy, called Prana in the Vedic system and enabling it to flow through the body. We are actually an organized combination of several energy systems around a unifying field. If we could see the subtle light bodies around us, we would look somewhat like a "luminous egg." It is the electrical energy generated from the combined subtle systems in and around our bodies. When you received acupuncture, for example, the meridians being stimulated with needles are aspects of these subtle energy systems.
If you interested in reading more about this or even getting some training, some of the esoteric systems of spiritual sexuality available in the West are: Tantra, Kundalini Yoga, Quodoushka, Egyptian, Taoist and Toltec traditions to name a few. These traditions offer wisdom about sexuality that can balance us and benefit our health as well as heighten spiritual awareness. My own research into esoteric sexuality has focused on the Stone and Bronze Age Pre-patriarchal cultures, and my final blog before I go on vacation in early September will be on the ritual of the Sacred Marriage.