07 May 2007

Sexuality and the "Direct Experience of That Transcending Mystery and Wonder"

Back in February 2005, I had blogged about how self-discovery through masturbation could be viewed as a "spiritual practice" akin to prayer, meditation, journaling, etc.

This past weekend, I discovered a similar suggestion about the connection between sexual ecstasy and spiritual exploration on Greta Christina's blog. The following quote is a reader reply to Greta from Nina Hartley:

When I got older I found Betty Dodson's book and began using sexual energy as my "way in" to myself and, like you, found that ecstasy, joy, love, abundance, etc., were physiologic states that could be accessed through many doors: fasting; meditation; self-flagellation; twirling (as in Sufism); psychoactive drugs; chanting; drumming; dancing; prayer; singing and, most universally, sexual pleasure and orgasm. No wonder the powers that be want to keep little children from touching their genitals! We'd all see that we can talk to god anytime we want to, simply by touching our vulvas and penises, breathing deeply and paying attention to what feels good. Too easy.

These feelings emanate from our mid-brains and the limbic system. They have no words or images associated with them, they simply are. It's our pesky forebrains that must label every sensation and thought that comes through. So religiously indoctrinated people would label it "god," and I would label it "good." All these people seeking god, when he or she is at the end of our arms and the junction of our legs, there for the knowing.

And that's why religion spends so much time obsessing on sex and sex pleasure -- they need to keep up the lie that the average person needs an intermediary between him and god, and the priest class is that go-between. If more people found joy on their own, the church might go out of business. Hmm, it's an idea ...
Unlike some religions, Unitarian Universalism is OK with the sort of spiritual exploration described by Nina. While we haven't taken a vote at General Assembly in support of it, our lifespan sexuality education programs affirm both pleasure and self-discovery.

I don't think that Unitarian Universalism will go out of business because of it.


joseph said...

a UU minister friend of mine was travelling in Thailand and a monk told her that celebacy brings out our fullest spiritual power.

Natasha said...

I have had bad sexual experiences as a child and as a result my perception of sex and sexuality has been skewed. I used sex to substitute affection that I did not receive at home and at times as a form of self-punishment. I wanted to find sex to be a pleasurable experience, as I have heard others describe it. For the past few years I've gone from the extremes of trying everything sexually (with myself members of the opposite sex and members of the same sex) to abstaining from all sexual activity for periods of 2 years at a time. I've never felt a spiritual connection with god through sex. If anything I felt less of a connection with myself. I don't think there's anything wrong with sexual exploration. I just think that the experience of sex is different for different people. And everyone does not connect to god in the same way. For me I feel closest to god through dance and song and thought. I'm celibate at the moment; not because of religious beliefs, but because I feel it is the best way for me to be at this moment. i'm working on not substituting sex for other things that I may be lacking in life such as: more close friendships or affection. I'm doing this so that if and when I do meet someone whom I would like to share myself with I can approach a sexual relationship with the appropriate expectations and hopefully gain more spiritually in the end.