THE BLOG
03/18/2010 05:12 am ET | Updated Nov 17, 2011

Sex And The Illusion Of Physical Form

"Maya" is a Sanskrit term that refers to the "illusion" of physical and mental forms. The idea is that to truly appreciate life, we have to look beyond the separateness of different forms, and connect with the unifying principles that connect us as "one" universe. In New Age wisdom, this truth is easily accepted, but what is the evidence that backs this up? If the physical form is in fact an illusion, who are you having sex with?

Consider the following evidence that substantiates the idea of Maya when it comes to physical form:

1. The human body is made up of 55%-78% water depending on physical size: This very fact confronts us with a stark reality: we are more liquid than solid yet we perceive each other to be solid. Yes, much of this water is not visible, but this is precisely the point. Invisible water escapes our perceptual assessments. We do not see our lovers as bags of fluid even though they largely are. Babies are virtual lakes (80% water) yet we rarely look beyond the surface.

2. Our brains are made up of nerve cells that connect with each other by means of a common space between the nerve cells. No two nerve cells actually touch each other. All "touching" is done by chemicals released from one cell to another. Yet, when we look at a brain, inside or out, it appears to be solid..

3. Dust in homes and offices consist mostly of human skin cells but also contain pollen, paper fibers and other substances. The point is, when last did you think that dust particles were mostly human skin cells? In fact, humans shed the entire outer layer of skin every day or two, at a rate of 7 million skin flakes per minute. Have you ever thought this was happening the last time you touched someone's body?

4. Have you ever looked at your face in bright light or with a magnifying glass? You would be shocked to see how many pores and cracks there are in the skin that we do not notice on a daily basis. Yet, when we are about to kiss someone, this is far from evident.

Yet, despite these few chosen realities, we would hardly be eager to jump into bed with a skin-shedding bag of water with canyons in their faces and holes in their brains. Still, this is precisely what we are doing when we are having sex. What's more is that make-up and clothing alter the physical reality even more, thereby challenging our perceptions and making us feel as though we are having sex with someone other than the person who is actually there.

The implications of "Maya" at the level of physical form are interesting and raises many questions:

1. If we actually cannot see people for whom they are, whom are we falling "in-love" with?
2. Does physical form matter when we fall in love?
3. Does it matter whether we fall in love with male or female bodies?
4. Are prejudices rooted in reality or appearances?

If we think more deeply about this truth, we can see that the illusion of "separateness" created by our sense organs that divide the world up into things is yet another illusion that we haven't even touched on. And if this were true, when we have sex with someone, are we having sex with ourselves?

Inevitably though, the idea of sharing water bags who shed skin and hide their facial crevices or bags that have holes in them that we cannot see is unappealing when we think about sex. For now, we have to ask: what in fact is this physical form we are falling in love with and why do we rely on the physical when it is clearly a "put together" image that is not related to the reality of how it looks?