When people hear the term "spiritual sex," a whole gamut of inaccurate notions and associations may leap to mind. Let's look at some of the most common misconceptions:
I'd have to change my religion to practice spiritual sex.
No. You don't even have to think about religion. Spiritual sex is not religious. It is a collection of techniques that facilitate a way of being together that invites a quality of sacredness--the spiritual graces, if you will--into your coupling. There is no need to get into any specific beliefs about God. In some cases, people do employ visualizations of deities, such as those from the Hindu pantheon during tantric sex, but this is unnecessary, not central to spiritual sex practices.
Spiritual sex is contrived. I think sex should be spontaneous.
Okay, I will go out on a limb here. Dare I say this? Spontaneity is a little overrated. Young people often latch onto it as the thing, but it's like impulse food. Do you really want to eat pizza every night of the week?
Anyone who has been with one partner for a long time knows you have to give some conscious attention to your sex life if you're going to keep the charge and intimacy alive. So creating rituals with your lover -- bathing rituals, touch rituals, a sacred evening where you agree to go slow and be very aware and sensitive to every touch you offer and receive -- these types of deliberative efforts have the potential to take you and your partner to a blissful turned-on state. And spontaneity manifests during the event itself.
For busy couples, especially those with children, spontaneous sex is not so easy. Planned sex may seem like a contrivance, but when you know you're going to do it, and you're looking forward to it, that can increase your pheromone output along with the endorphins and opiates coursing through your body as you anticipate sex for a day or even for several days.
Spontaneity is great as far as it goes, but it isn't always conducive to spiritual sex or even great sex. Especially in a long-term partnership, it only goes so far. It is great some of the time but not all of the time.
Spiritual sex is a production. It is too time-consuming. I wouldn't have the patience for it.
Well, you never know. You may think you wouldn't want to make love for hours and hours, but once you really get into some of the practices, those hours can just melt by! Also, once you've gained experience with the practices and seen where they take you, you may have "spiritual quickies" where you can get to that same exquisitely emotional, ultra-sensual place very fast. You might go there for just ten minutes and come away feeling hugely satisfied and connected with your partner.
There are also all kinds of ways to make love that don't involve the genital sex act. You can co-create sensual experiences with your lover involving touch, massage, eye gazing, breathing together, answering a series of spiritual-erotic questions together, etc. and you can do this for hours or for just 30 minutes or so. So there's lots of ways to keep it short.
Spiritual sex requires me to be limber and flexible, like a yoga teacher.
No, it doesn't! It's nice to be healthy and limber, but it's not required. You don't have to be limber to eye gaze, or to sit facing your partner and breathe together, or to lie in the spoon position with one partner's front to the other's back. Even some of the Kama Sutra positions are actually pretty namby-pamby!
No two couples are the same. Every couple is a unique combination. You and your lover have to figure out what works for you. Look for the positions that charge you up, or the positions you can hang out, groove and move together in. You have many choices.
My partner will think I'm nutty if I suggest we try spiritual sex.
Then don't tell your partner! Really. Your partner doesn't even have to know. Set up a sensual bath or massage time with your partner. Sit on the bed and look into your partner's eyes and suggest that you synchronize your breathing. Practice soft ways of touching and ask your partner to do the same. They will be blown away and think you've become the best lover in the world! You don't have to mention that these are neo-tantric intimacy practices. If your partner starts to wonder after a while how your sex life got so good, then you might "admit" what you've been doing and your partner will say, "Gosh, then let's go to the bookstore right now and buy a book on tantric sex so that we can get even better at this!"
Spiritual sex is a set of practices that gently dissolve the hard boundaries of body and mind that confine us, that keep us from experiencing all we possibly can when we're intimate with someone. It's a merging with your partner into an ecstatic place where you can experience higher awareness, harmony, divine energy and a feeling of union with everything. It's not an "other-worldly" activity, it's accessible and natural, and you don't have to join a cult, change your identity, or upend your schedule to have spiritual sex.
Suzie Heumann is the founder of Tantra.com. She studies, writes, has authored three books and makes films about conscious sex, Tantra and the Kama Sutra. Check out Tantra.com Premium for the most comprehensive tantra training available on the Internet!
Marc Polonsky (marcwordsmith.com) is a freelance writer and editor. He is the author of The Poetry Reader's Toolkit (Glencoe/McGraw-Hill).
HuffPost Lifestyle is a daily newsletter that will make you happier and healthier — one email at a time. Learn more