Sex & Spirituality
by Kelvin Chin, Life After Life Expert & Meditation Teacher
To be clear, this essay does not address the issue of power and sex, or non-consensual sex, which is a different topic that I cover in my blogs on Cruelty.
Power — whether emotionally, physically, or intellectually — over another in order to get happiness by causing them suffering or pain
is “cruel” behavior.
Clearly, that is not spiritual behavior.
In this essay, we are talking about consensual sex among adults, where neither person is pushing their power over the other.
Lots of people are good at being sexual, but how many people can be sexual when they are ‘being good’?
HOW MUCH SEX?
How many people between the ages of 18 and 99 do you know who would like to have more sex? Maybe they would say, as much sex as possible. Some might even say, all the time...
OK, maybe not everyone has that level of appetite, but I’m pretty sure that most people on the planet would have a lot more sex if they didn’t feel burdened by their various beliefs and other restricting factors.
Let’s talk about some of those beliefs and see whether they make sense or not.
OUR BELIEFS ABOUT SEX
So, what stops most people from having as much sex as they’d like?
Most people would say things like — STDs, pregnancy, or various beliefs about it being “socially unacceptable,” or even “against one’s religious beliefs.” Some might even believe celibacy is more spiritual, that it conserves life energy.
To be clear, I’m not here to promote indiscriminate sex, violating marital vows, or ignoring safe sex guidelines.
I am here, however, to discuss the guilt or negative thoughts, or limiting beliefs often associated with sex. I also want to explore some alternative perspectives on sex itself.
Here we go...
IS SEX WRONG?
Why is sex considered “bad” or “wrong” by some people? Taboo?
Aside from the possible health-related reasons that a percentage of our society may legitimately have regarding sex, the most widespread source of negative views about sex seems to be from various religious beliefs. And these beliefs are not isolated to any particular cultures or scriptures — they are worldwide. These beliefs have been passed down for generations, for thousands of years — they have influenced our great grandparents and parents, as well as our world’s political leaders, and our advertising agencies and movie moguls. And therefore, these beliefs have influenced many country’s laws and cultural norms — and ultimately, our personal relationships.
WHO STARTED THIS THINKING THAT SEX IS WRONG, “Lesser”?
Many different religions have long-held beliefs that it is “more spiritual, more godly” to spend as much time thinking about or devoting one’s life efforts to seeking God. That celibacy was the ideal.
I think this is because many of the originators of that thinking came from more ‘reclusive lives’ — perhaps even as monks or nuns in the Western traditions, or as yogis and gurus in the Eastern traditions. Their life choices dictated that they divorced themselves from physical sexual activity, and over time I think they developed a negative attitude towards it — a view that it was somehow “lesser” than their spiritual choice to be celibate — that by being celibate, they could more quickly and effectively be “closer to God,” or “become Enlightened.”
That was their belief.
Very few of them chose the “householder” lifestyle of having a family with children, and all the responsibilities that go along with that choice (arguably a much more difficult road in life to navigate than sitting quietly in a cave, monastery or convent being fed and cared for by the local devotees…but I digress). As a result, their experience base became more and more limited over the many generations of monks, nuns, yogis, and gurus who came through those various traditions. And with each passing generation of reclusive celibates came more and more justification for the sex-free lifestyle they had each chosen. To them, having sex and having relationships with the opposite sex was a distraction from their focus on “being with God,” towards “seeking Enlightenment.”
So, you see, it all makes sense. I think it’s explainable as a choice they made for seemingly good reasons at the time, not only because they believed it was good for themselves, but also because — by extension — they believed it was good for us. But we need to also recognize that they were in their own small universe, talking only among themselves reinforcing a limited range of life experience. Drinking their own Kool Aid, so to speak.
But let’s think about this ourselves, for ourselves. Does it make sense to view sex as inherently good or bad — spiritually speaking?
MAYBE SEX IS NEUTRAL
I think sex itself is neutral. What I mean by that is that sex itself is not “loaded” emotionally, spiritually, or psychologically all by itself.
It is a physical act through which procreation occurs, the continuation of the species is ensured. We, however, tend to associate various emotions and content with it — both good and bad — “he or she loves me (or at least is attracted to me…!!),” “too much sex is slutty,” etc. But those are associations that we do from within the social norms of our respective cultures — absent that, sex itself is largely a neutral act — especially from a spiritual perspective.
JIMMY CHOO STILETTOS
It is analogous to going to shop for a new pair of Jimmy Choo shoes. For some women, that act may simply be a neutral act — merely a shopping task on their To Do List. OK…maybe that’s a small percentage of our Western urban culture’s female population…!! But, for other women (and yes, for some of us men who are comfortable shopping for our women), shopping for new Jimmy Choo stilettos is an emotionally stimulating, almost ‘religious’ experience eliciting pleasure responses from a whole host of sensors.
So, see what I mean?
Much of what we do in life are mere acts to which we attach and associate certain emotionally-charged experience. But, in a vacuum, the act is merely an act, a process. In this case, buying a pair of shoes.
I think sex is largely the same.
And therefore, I think a good starting point would be for us all to view sex as neutral — and most importantly, “Guilt-Free.” Again, not to be irresponsible in our actions or relationships at all, but to be free from any guilt of having sex.
No spiritual guilt around sex.
“HOW” — NOT JUST THE “WHAT”
Instead of looking at sex through the guilt lens — the “right or wrong” lens, as is often done — let’s look at it through the lens of “Personal Choice.” I think this is a much healthier way of looking at sex.
Some may choose to engage in being very sexually active. Others may not. Those are choices that need to be respected, since Free Will is the most important aspect of our being ‘self-aware minds,’ in my opinion.
And, most important within the concept of Personal Choice is “The HOW,” not just “The WHAT.”
In other words, I think our intent is key, and while merely having a good intention is not good enough by itself — i.e., actions and their results do matter — when all things are equal, when the actions are basically the same, the intent behind them becomes critical to look at.
For example, in dating, breaking up is a common process that couples go through. But, “How” they break up — i.e., the process and how they treat each other within that process — is critical. Is there an intent to hurt the other person? True — in a break-up, often one or both parties get hurt. But, is there an intent to hurt, and moreover is there an intent to lessen the hurting of the other as much as possible?
And with sex in that dating relationship, it is no different. How we treat our partner in the process of dating that leads up to having sex, through the act of having sex and afterwards is critically important to how we assess ourselves and how we are assessed by others as respectful spiritually minded, kind lovers. Hot sex does not mean disrespectful, hurtful sex.
Those are factors I think we need to look at more closely when assessing how “spiritual” we are in our dealings with others. Not just looking at the “What,” but also inspecting the “How.”
CAN SEX BE MORE THAN NEUTRAL?
Although having sex may be largely a neutral process, can it be more than that? Can it be more of a positive experience — in a physical, emotional and even a spiritual way?
I think it definitely can be…
- A source of physical pleasure
- A way to relax, release stress, improve sleep
- A way to release endorphins
- A way to let go and ‘surrender oneself’ completely (albeit momentarily)
- A means of connection with another — emotionally, mentally, spiritually
So…what about “Spiritual Sex”…is it an oxymoron or is it something we can aspire to and experience in our daily lives?
We’ve listed above several ways for us to experience sex in more than a neutral way — in the various ways we can experience sex as a positive experience without hurting others.
Let’s focus now on the last one we discussed — sex as a means of “connecting” with another person, because ultimately I think connection both with ourselves and with others is the essence of what spirituality is about.
MORE THAN THE TRADITIONAL VIEW OF “SPIRITUAL CONNECTION”
This is where I depart from most writers and thinkers about sex. I see sex as a vehicle through which we can experience the FULL RANGE of connection — mentally, emotionally, physically — on all levels.
Those who may be more attuned to language in the many spiritual schools that exist now worldwide use terms like “chakras,” “energies,” etc. They typically view sex as a lower chakra, a lower energy experience. And sometimes, if there is a very special connection between the sexual partners, they may view sex as a higher energy experience.
I say No — it is not an ‘either-or’ proposition. It can be BOTH.
In fact, I see it as possibly even more than that.
I see sex as a possible vehicle for ALL connection — through all levels of chakras. Not just the so-called ‘higher energies’…the higher chakras...nor just the lower chakras. This experience of being able to access and experience any and all of the chakras and energy centers throughout the body during sex is what I would redefine as “spiritual.”
It can be experienced as a pulsating of the energies through the entire body and energy centers, not just during sexual climax, but throughout the act of having sex. Some have labeled it a kundalini experience, but I choose to use more neutral, non-cultural language and just call it a pulsating energy flow that can occur. Very physical, yet energetic as well.
And with the right partner, the experience can be a catalyst for connection and healing — a breadth and depth of connection that is seldom experienced with another person. You know the expression, “The whole is more than the sum of the parts.”
CHOOSING SPIRITUAL SEX
I think, in the end, it can be a choice, a personal choice we can make, perhaps even just through our intention to make it so. And, if our experience of ‘turning within’ has been effective and we have developed a strong connectedness within ourselves, then we can translate and seemingly ‘transfer that energy and connectedness’ out to others — in this case, with our sexual partner.
This would truly be “spiritual sex” — a liberating experience and at the same time an intimate connecting experience both with oneself and one’s partner.
Extremely physical from the root energy centers through the heart center and embracing the ethereal — in sequence and all at once. That is what is possible.
Most people experience sex simply as physical connection. Some experience it as emotional connection. And a few people experience it as spiritual connection with oneself and the other person.
But, ultimately, everyone experiences it as some form of connection. This is where I think the emphasis should be.
Connection with oneself and with others is where life happens. Looking at sex as yet another vehicle through which to experience human life would only enrich and enhance the relationships of people worldwide.
After all, isn’t it our relationships throughout our life that really mean the most to us?
When people are on their deathbed, it’s not all their cars and houses and jobs and money that they have (or don’t have) that flash through their mind and are most important to them at that moment. It’s their loved ones, their friends, their teammates, their colleagues, who are the most important to them in the end. Their friendships, their relationships.
So, why wait ’til you’re on your deathbed to enrich and explore...and cherish those relationships?
We all need to start now.
And, while I’m not suggesting that everyone go out and have indiscriminate sex with strangers, I am recommending that we take another look at how we view sex. I am strongly recommending that we look at sex as another vehicle through which we can connect in many ways with another human being.
And that we come at this with respect, kindness, and without guilt.
Kelvin H. Chin is a Meditation Teacher, Life After Life Expert, and Author of “Overcoming the Fear of Death.” He learned to meditate at age 19, and has been teaching Turning Within and coaching others in their self-growth for 40 years. He helps people understand their life challenges through their individual belief systems, and helps them find their own solutions. His past life memories reach back many centuries, and he accesses those memories in his teaching and his coaching in the same way all coaches draw on their own available experiences for perspective and effective analogies. He can be reached at www.TurningWithin.org.