January 27, 2016

Let’s Get Intimate: Sex & Celibacy on the Spiritual Path. {Adult Q&A}

alone bed

Do you have questions about creating intimacy or developing mindful relationships? Confusing questions? Awkward ones? Deep, dark scary ones? I want them. Email your questions to: [email protected].

All relephant questions will be answered with loving kindness. (Yes. Every one.) Authors remain anonymous. 

No judgments, just soulful answers.

Q. I started my journey at the age of 12. I practiced meditation and yoga, read many books, etc. I fell in love with a girl and in one delicate moment, we got intimate.

That created a huge amount of guilt inside me that I have done something wrong.

That incident also affected my capacity to concentrate.

I still believe sometimes that marriage is a hurdle on the way to enlightenment and strict celibacy has to be practiced.

I am confused. What should I do?

A. Dear one, I can understand your confusion. The most important message for you to receive is that sex is natural. Taking part in it with a willing companion is actually a sacred act.

Let me explain: When we are on a spiritual path, as you have been since childhood, what we are really longing for is union with the Divine. All life (including us) came from a mysterious and majestic force of creation. At the base of our spiritual path—whatever it may be—is a drive to reconnect, to return home, to Source.

We can accomplish (re)union with Source in many ways.

We can meditate, practice yoga, pray, fast, write verses, dance, even be celibate to clear our minds… As Rumi wrote, There are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the ground. In other words, how we pay homage to Spirit comes in many forms. This is in part due to the fact that we as human beings are so beautifully varied as living beings.

So what does this have to do with sex?

Before the dawning of patriarchal monotheism, sexuality was considered sacred because it was a pure act of nature. We need to procreate to survive, therefore, it is purely natural. But why was such a mundane activity thought to be sacred? In short, because sex is our limited human version of the Great Mystery’s ability to create life. When we engage in it, we are paying homage to Creation itself.

But there’s much more to it than that.

When we immerse ourselves in the pleasure of sexuality, we energetically reconnect with Source. We surrender to the Mystery and let it carry us. We return home.

When we make love, we release a hormone called, oxytocin, which promotes love and bonding behavior. (Pregnant and lactating women produce this as part of the bonding process between themselves and their babies.) You’ll be hard-pressed to find any spiritual path that does not include love as one of its major tenets. When we have sex, we are literally making love happen. Again, we are creating a connection to Source through our bodies and souls.

As previously mentioned, no spiritual path is superior to another.

We are all after the same thing. Part of the reason you have felt a lack of concentration since your sexual encounter is that you have spent a lot of mental energy trying to compartmentalize spirituality and sexuality.

What if, just for a few moments, you let spirit and sex intertwine?

You may wish to take a few moments in meditation to get quiet and, without any judgment, recall those feelings of intimacy you felt with your friend. What were those feelings? Did you feel as though you were creating love energy or destructive energy? During sex, did you feel elated or deflated? If you had a partner who shared your vision, would your spiritual path be enhanced or hindered by the act of making love?

All these are questions only you can answer for yourself on your path to reuniting with Spirit. What I can say is that that path is one of bliss. How you find that bliss is your journey. It may involve sexuality and it may require celibacy. That is your calling. I believe that feelings of guilt and shame are actually a kind of turning away from Spirit. We are made of love. How you find that love within you is itself a beautiful song that is sung throughout your life. Sing it proudly and with no regrets.

Happy loving!






Author: Rachel Astarte

Editor: Renée Picard

Image: danrocha at Flickr 


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