Love, the Great Being that weaves through all things, sends us messages all the time. Constantly. Sometimes, when I’m in moments of awareness, it’s like I’m being bombarded, and I look to the heavens and say, Yeah, I know, duh!
But so many people, people who live in darkness and in their minds and in their confusion and fear, are not able to receive that love. They’re blind. It pops up in front of them over and over again, but they’re thinking of something else. Someone who wronged them, or some item they want to buy, or a memory of pain that haunts a particular place in their body.
We always have the potential to be in Love, because we move through its waters every day. And yet for many, the only acknowledgment of the potential for love comes through sex, since the sensory pleasure there is hardest to ignore.
But if there’s no depth in our sex, if it’s all about orgasm, how is it different than the relief that comes while going to the bathroom? How is it different than simply fulfilling an urge that will arise again and again, and afterward make us feel empty?
There is more to sex than orgasm, than reaching a height and descending again, but our spiritual teachers have rarely taught us, or they’ve taught us and the scriptures are buried and hidden. The way that sex functions in love, and as spirit, is to show what is really at play in a relationship—what are its potential pitfalls, where it soars, what’s missing, where two people connect. But most of us don’t know what to do with all that—we’re too interested in rushing toward orgasm. Or we’re lonely and we want what feels like a whole-body hug.
The problem with Christianity is that it has not taught us how to have good sex. Until now. (Enter MotherJana, thank you very much.) It has severed our spiritual sexual organs from our minds, from our hearts, and pointed its finger and said “bad, wrong.” So then we go wild and we stay in dark rooms grasping, knowing a piece is missing, but not sure how to find it and own it and use it.
Giving and receiving during sex is like giving and receiving during the rest of life. Are you awake and aware to what the Universe, your partner, is telling you? Are you able to respond to that? (Sometimes, the best response is to find a kind way to extricate yourself from the situation, because the experience of pain, domination, or manipulation is being masked by physical pleasure.) Are you able to give without an agenda, from a place of vastness and wholeness, and from a place of trust? (If not, you don’t belong in such close physical proximity to that person.)
I really don’t believe sex is something that needs to be limited to marriage, and Jesus never said this, either. But sex does need to come from a place of love. And there are depths to love. There are moments where there is not full-on romantic love, but great potential for love. And sex is an act that can help love grow deeper, vaster, wiser. But using sex like urination is a profanity, and it comes from a person not knowing themselves, living in darkness, not sure of who they are and what their place in the world is. It comes from a person not wanting to be awake to the aliveness that lives in every moment, the beauty that surrounds them in all things, and not just orgasm. So sex is something that should be handled with maturity, because when it isn’t, people get hurt. It is the doorway to one’s heart, and if someone doesn’t see it that way, that person has closed off their heart in all kinds of ways, and is not a good partner to be that vulnerable with.
And, as Esther Perle, the relationship and sex psychologist says, most of sex happens outside the bedroom. It happens in the notes and messages two people exchange with each other—is there a dance of giving and receiving? Is there vulnerability? Is there playfulness, openness, a willingness to learn and grow? It happens during communication—can two people effectively communicate their feelings, their desires, their fears? If this isn’t the case, once again, physical intimacy is probably not right for them. Because once you add the mess of pleasure (and there is certainly nothing wrong with pleasure itself), all that other stuff, the foundation for intimacy, gets scattered and confused and harder to put back together.
So many of us seek a partner from a place of woundedness and pain. So many of us are looking to a person and saying, Will you fill my cup? What we don’t realize, or want to know, is that Goddess fills up our cup in all kinds of ways, every day, if we’re open and aware. So we’re blind to think that one person, during sex, is going to do it all for us, fix all our problems, make life so much better.
Sex is like a new car. Everyone likes a new car. We don’t need it, usually. We can drive just fine with an older one that is sturdy and reliable. But sitting in a new car, its smoothness, its nice smell, its cleanness and clarity, that’s hard to beat.
(I’m such a sucker for metaphors.)
But if I’m a person who doesn’t know how to treat a new car, if I’m going to just bang it up, if I’m not going to respect it, then I probably shouldn’t have it. It’s probably not a good fit for me in this stage of my life. So maybe I spend some time getting conscious, knowing how to take care of my things, getting organized and in order, saving up. And then when it’s time for a new car, I’m ready, I’m caring, and I won’t take it for granted.
If I’m that kind of person, the person who knows how to drive with care, I’m going to love that frigging car not because it’s shiny or because of the way it makes me look to other people, or because I get high on a new thing before falling into sadness or emptiness when the newness wears off. I’m going to love that car, even as it ages, because it makes life easier and more efficient, and because the longer I drive it, the more I become in tune with it. The more I drive it, the more we make good memories, and get to know each other in a physical and energetic way. And it’s there for me. It starts up again and again. It helps take me where I need to go. Me and the car, we work together.
That’s what sex should be like too. No buyer’s remorse.