Sex and spirituality don’t often end up in the same sentence. Particularly in America where attitudes about sex split between making it dirty and lust-related or “free” and easy. Both can be traps. On the side where physical attraction and sexual energy are viewed as “evil”, it denies human beings of our natural desire to connect with others and share this beautiful energy. On the other side of the spectrum, those who opt for being “free” with their precious sexual energy and “open” to hook-up with many partners, can fall into another sort of trap. When women or men, need the physical connection as a way to affirm themselves and gain a sense of self-worth, it can become an addiction.
The media plays on images of bodies, desire and attractiveness to give a false sense that we are only physical beings. Just look at the images of pouting young women and men in the jeans and fragrance ads. They limit and confine us to a material world, when we are so much more. If we’re not conscious, the advertisers can harm our deeper sense of self-worth by giving the sense that we are only as valuable to society as our sex appeal.
For women who look at the media standard of feminine attractiveness, sexy is practically the only way that we are portrayed. Some people may interpret the ability to wear mini-skirts and tiny shorts as “freedom”. But being free to wear sexy clothing is not necessarily liberating. In fact quite often it’s a trap for women and men who feel an obligation to dress sexily. They may restrict themselves and others to physical appearances and relate to each other only at this level. From this level, people may use sex to provoke, manipulate and control. Sex can become a way to take power over someone and disconnect. Or sharing one’s sexual energy in a healthy, loving way, can create a space for deeper union that happens when all aspects of the human being are engaged – body, mind, heart, and spirit.
A relationship where all of the individual is fully engaged, the person we feel attracted to is no longer an object to be consumed like a meal and then forgotten. She or he becomes a being worthy of respect. We know them as dynamic, alive, and vibrant and they expand our universe. Our partner, becomes a way for us to grow and learn, and experience the Divine in a delightful and magnificent falling-away of barriers where we open ourselves to being vulnerable in the most intimate way. This kind of connection and union nourishes our spirit, appeals to the senses, pleases the sensual, and satisfies desires in a deep and fulfilling way. It engages the emotions and the subtle senses. For some of us, this form of relating, can only come in a relationship where both partners are willing to be transparent and stand spiritually, mentally and emotionally naked in front of each other. It’s more than just bodies that meet. When the energy of love arises and both share the highest intentions and deep consideration for what is best for the other, the world of relating transforms.
Relating through the heart brings the wisdom to know when it’s appropriate to share one’s self in all of these ways, and with whom. The wisdom heart knows. It protects and guides us to make wise decisions that promote self-care and respect for self and others. When fully engaged at this level intimacy challenges us to face our fears, be fully present to the moment and live in a divinely inspired way. There’s nothing superficial about it.
Bio: Debra Moffitt is author of Awake in the World: 108 Practices to Live a Divinely Inspired Life. A visionary, dreamer and teacher, she’s devoted to nurturing the spiritual in everyday life. She leads workshops at the Sophia Institute and other venues in the U.S. and Europe. Her articles, essays and stories appear in publications around the globe and were broadcast by BBC World Services Radio. Visit her online at http://www.awakeintheworld.com.