For centuries, mystics have advocated that sex, can be a powerful tool for spiritual growth. The act of lovemaking can be a viable path to higher states of consciousness and just as effective as meditation, prayer and other traditional religious or spiritual rituals. Can I get an Amen?!
From the beginning of the human race, sexuality and spirituality have always been linked. The Babylonian goddess Ishtar seduced a mortal man, Gilgamesh. In Canaan, the chief God El has sex with the goddess Asherah. In Egyptian religions, the god Osiris has sex with this sister the great goddess Isis. The Hindu god Krishna has sex with countless women, often at the same time. Annual pre-Christian rituals in Europe often involved sexual rites among the peasants that promoted the fertility of the land and celebrated the sacred marriage between god and goddess.
Only in the last 2000 years of Western civilization have sexuality and spirituality been forcibly separated and made to appear as enemies. Most scholars believe the separation was solidified with the rise of monotheistic, male-dominated traditions (Judaism, Christianity, Islam). Religious leaders taught that sex should be reserved for marriage, and, even then, only for procreation.
The West is not the only part of this crazy world with far too many sexual-spiritual hang-ups. Many Hindu and Buddhist traditions believe the body and physical desire are roadblocks to enlightenment and therefore need to be transcended. But the East had much more libidinous fun than the West, not to mention far fewer restrictions when it comes to sexuality.
Perhaps the most famous example of the East’s openness to sexuality is the Kama Sutra. This intensely detailed, carefully diagrammed erotic love guide originated in India around the third century, B.C.E, well over 2000 years ago. Although Western versions of the Kama Sutra have been diluted (pop culture has reduced this complex, exquisite sutra to a simplistic book of sexual positions), the original is far more elaborate than you might imagine. The original Kama Sutra not only includes tantalizing descriptions of the sixty-four sexual positions but offers advice such as how to handle yourself in a relationship, it provides detailed grooming hints designed to make you an attractive, it also covers topics like beading necklaces, tattooing, archery, writing poetry, dancing, magic, chemistry, and architecture, etc. I studied the Kama Sutra in Tibet and learned if you place the tip of the tongue at the back of your front teeth when you reach an orgasm you stimulate all of your chakras for more intense experience.
The Kama Sutra is one of the most well known sex guides but the world’s earliest sex manual came from China. These poignant works, many based in Taoism, not only prescribe having sex as much as possible but also advocating prolonging the sex act as long as possible. Both men and women must achieve and orgasm so that the dual energies of yin-yang (yin is the feminine, yang is the masculine) can be brought into harmony. Sexual intercourse was believed to be one of the main roads to heaven.
Sexuality is an organic, natural part of being human, of being alive. And when we aren’t conscious about it, or when we deny it, or when we are ashamed of it or unhealthy with it, we miss out on an incredibly viable piece of life, an intimate experience and expression of who we are, and a powerful way to experience divinity.
To cultivate an empowering sexual consciousness start by setting your intention. Try holding your present moment and awareness. Treat your body as divine. Treat your lover as divine. Be aware of the divine energy swirling around you as you have sex. Sexuality is not just the act of sex; it’s a passionate attitude, an exchange of living energy, and a way of engaging the world on a fully appreciative deeply sensual level.