August 10, 2010

The Spirituality of Sexuality

“Sexual love is the most stupendous fact of the universe, and the most magical mystery our poor blind senses know.” –Amy Lowell

Wealth, even extreme wealth, cannot purchase the most magical, mysterious life-changing sex on the planet. On the other hand, probably the only way to discover and cultivate this most coveted of human experiences is to be ready to give your entire life to the object of your love and the work of the relationship where it nests. It is without question the most powerful of all human exchanges that not only unites lovers to each other, but to the great mysterious force of love, which is the divine in the world. Perhaps this is why it is said that sexual instinct is never fully satisfied without love. Our hunger goes way beyond the biological drive for sex; we want union.

Today the study and proliferation of Tantra and the teachings of the Kama Sutra are available to everyone and often sold as educational pornography. What most people don’t know is that these sacred texts were originally available only after many years of study and devotion with a partner. Taking the art of lovemaking to spiritual heights was not intended for casual lovers or for mere opportunistic pleasure. Learning the secrets of deep union was considered one of the most demanding spiritual practices that literally opened one’s eyes to God through his lover. This was the forbidden fruit that churches tried to keep secret.

Consider the electricity that travels through a kiss in the early weeks of discovering that you can love someone more than yourself. Our biology takes over our life when love fills us. Although the intimate fire that burns between people in this honeymoon phase of love is unforgettable, it is the deep emotional connection and love’s experience of unity, which saturates us. Every woman in love will tell you that her sexual experience in love far exceeds any casual sexual encounter.  Recent studies show that a woman’s orgasms are not only strongly influenced by the feelings a woman has for her sexual partner but are tied to just how good her orgasms are. The feelings of abandon, freedom and safety that love creates initiates a neurological network in the brain that enables both ease of orgasm and the most intense sexual experience that most women ever report.

The early days of loving are easy though. Our biology leads us and qualities that might later bring us to distraction and discontent are endearing. Our tolerance levels are high because we also feel so deeply accepted and loved for our own quirks. Learning to extend those feelings over years is where many of us falter; partly because it is a skill we must learn, not a benefit we get from our biology. Tolerance, patience and forgiveness are the markers on the map to grow and mature the experience of love, that and the sex. When sexuality has the opportunity to unfold in a healthy relationship, experimentation replaces discomfort and embarrassment. As our personal boundaries expand, so does the experience of giving and receiving pleasure.

Sexual love is the best sex on the planet because it is infused with our truest selves. It can’t be bought, but it isn’t free. The devotion to loving another can and does consume lives. If love is the source of all religion, than sexuality is its alter.  I like how Rod McKuen shared this idea: “My religion is well known to those who know me. I believe in bodies, arms entangling and untangling. I believe, and I know it to be so, that there are so many curves and hollows in a single body that none of us can come to know them all within a single lifetime. I believe in one to one and one on one… I believe in spring, but only if I’m holding some well-loved face in my hands…”

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