Pornography. Masturbation. The Spiritual Story No One Wants to Tell.

Via Philip Urso
on Mar 19, 2011
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A spiritual, not moralistic context.

There. I said it. The words that must not be named.

Pornography. Masturbation.

It’s our dirty little secret.  No it’s our dirty big secret.  12% of all websites are pornographic.  70% of men 18- 24 admit to visiting porn sites monthly. Men are doing a lot of looking.

And, a lot of masturbating.

I’m taking up this subject from the spiritual viewpoint.  I’m not interested in morals or right and wrong here.  I am not saying porn is good or bad. But I’m curious—what might be the effect of pornography and masturbation on men’s spirituality? I’m talking to the men here, so yes, women, you can leave now.

I take that back for a moment. My colleague, the yoga teacher Deborah Williamson (yes, a woman), might have an insight into this question. I regularly team up with her and Stacy Dockins to teach Advanced Vinyasa Teacher trainings.  There, she explains in simple language a surprising spiritual principle.  In this article I am going to apply it to masturbation and porn.  As Deborah explains to the teacher trainees at our events:

When you are teaching and worried about how you look, whether people like you, whether they noticed that little mistake, if they are impressed with your “spirituality” — when any part of your teaching is about you — you are being selfish.

Spiritually, when you are being selfish — in other words, about “me” — you are in a state of fear, contraction, reaction, shrinkage (no pun), and judgment.  Let’s call this state “Darkness.”   One well-known way to leave this state of Darkness is to shift your attention to giving, sharing, and pro-action, and to be for and about others.  Let’s call this “Light.”

Okay. So what does this have to do with sex?

This strongly suggests that if men want Light, they channel every sexual thought or action from getting to giving.

Right away you might remember a sexual experience where it was about getting, specifically about you “getting off.”  You may remember that after this experience, you felt a drop in energy, or even a disappointed, empty feeling.  Not just the sleepy physical energetic drop that accompanies male orgasm; I’m talking about a spiritual letdown, a drop into Darkness.  Maybe even vague feelings of guilt or shame.

In The Kabbalah Book of Sex, Yehuda Berg explains that whenever we listen to and act on selfish thoughts, we drop into Darkness.  In the case of sex, we do experience a brief flash of Light (the orgasm) but if the act is done from selfish motivations, a drop into Darkness quickly follows.  This could be after masturbation or after a sexual encounter that was not about giving but getting,   I won’t go into Berg’s detailed explanation here, but I will outline some of the ways he recommends for men to turn sex into Light.  By the way, Light has its benefits.  In Light, not only do your life and relationships start working out, but Berg reports that, as your Light increases, your experience of bliss can be 60 times more intense than your best orgasm.

The Opponent


Berg calls the ego “the opponent.”   All of your negative or selfish thoughts come from the opponent.  They are the opponent’s “test.”   How you respond to ANY of your negative thoughts brings you either Light or Darkness.  He likens this to a game.

If you resist your negative thoughts, you bring Light in the same way a Light bulb filament resists the flow of energy in order to reveal Light.  This is similar to the way space is filled with the sun’s Light, but we don’t see it until it is resisted (or reflected) by our own atmosphere.

It’s pretty simple.  When you resist your selfish thoughts, you make Light.  If you don’t resist your selfish thoughts, no Light is revealed, and you remain in Darkness.

Light-bringing sex for a man is about sharing all his sexual energy with his partner.

A few thoughts about how men can build sexual energy for their partner and resist the Darkness.

  • Masturbation. Masturbation won’t make you blind, but Berg explains that for a man, it will result in s spiritual Darkness.  Resisting the urge to masturbate will bring Light. And resisting the act will bring more sexual energy to your relationship.  You will be in a state of foreplay all the time. Living in a state of foreplay means that you will automatically be nicer, and that could solve a lot of stupid problems in your relationship.

  • Pornography. Porn is generally not about sharing.  It is selfish, and this brings Darkness.  Resisting pornography brings Light and also brings your partner more than ever into a sexual Light.

  • Flirting. Flirting with someone other than your partner is not about sharing.  It’s a short-term ego boost that brings Darkness.  Resisting the urge brings Light.

How women share (Okay, I know you women are reading this too)

Berg describes a woman’s way of sharing in a beautiful way.  He says that women make Light when they “receive to give.”   This means that they give fully when they receive pleasure fully from the man who is giving it.  They receive fully in order to give their partner pleasure.   This brings Light.  If the woman receives pleasure just to receive, she will feel empty or guilty after.  That’s what the Darkness of a selfish act produces.

Rings true to me

I’m no expert on the Kabbalah but I do recognize sound spiritual principles when I see them.  This all makes sense to me.

I’ll give you that it has an almost old fashioned feel to it.  The Kabbalah is an ancient mystical part of Judaism that reads the Old Testament as metaphor.  Even though it is “old,” everything I have read rings true.  And I love that Berg has the balls to write about this.

And I love that the Kabbalah has the ancient ’nads to put it all in a spiritual context, not moralistic.

Especially on this massive topic that no one seems to want to talk about.

Kissing

From Berg’s book:

“Breath is essentially an aspect of of a person’s soul.  When breath is commingled through passionate kissing, two souls unite.  And it cannot be simple little kisses.  The kissing must be hot, passionate and wild.”

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About Philip Urso

Yoga Teacher Philip Urso loves to train yoga teachers how to teach exhilarating and unscripted vinyasa yoga classes. He co-founded Live Love Teach Yoga Teacher Training School with fellow yoga teachers Deborah Williamson and Stacy Dockins. His two 5-star podcasts on iTunes — A Crash Course in Miracles and Yoga Classes, Live Love Teach — have over two million downloads. Philip studies the dynamics of love and fear and teaches practical, reliable and lasting methods for choosing between the two. His Elephant Journal column explores these very themes. More info at PhilipUrso.com

Comments

108 Responses to “Pornography. Masturbation. The Spiritual Story No One Wants to Tell.”

  1. James says:

    Awesome write, really awesome. I agree with it 100% and fully relate with the feeling of Darkness..

  2. damian lopez says:

    Hello.On the topic of Pornography.I can understand why it can be seen as a practice that may lead you to a darkness.I feel that there is a huge difference between good pornography and evil pornography.For example if it is based on role play and love romance genleness even if its a bit very sexual like sucking or cumming or whatever it is,if it's with love and gentleness it's good.But there are pornos out there based on evil violence destructive behavior sado masochistic and even taking advantage of innocent poeple and exploiting them,that is evil.that means that not everything is in right or wrong.Masturbation with a sense of love and affection and gentle protectiveness cannot be by definition be evil even if it is selfish because of the lust involved.

  3. Benjamin says:

    This is amazing…Everyone has a different opinion , trying to convince someone, that what’s right for them…is right for everyone…!
    It shows the diversity of the topic and mirrors an echo for all of life’s opinions and self styled belief structures…
    It’s great that people would like to share there own guidance, but that dosnt make it universal. 🙂
    For me my advice would be to look past all the judgement, ritualistic power games and its associated social stigma, and you may find you can have some fun, and start making love to the world, with or without someone in front to you …
    We are after all physically anatomical humans , and men certainly / scientifically need to keep the flow going! (Imagine obstaining from blowing your nose for a year) !!?? So..
    Just enjoy yourself 😉

  4. El_Jairo says:

    Newsflash: Yehuda Berg was convicted for sexual assault himself. https://bewareoffalsekabbalah.wordpress.com/
    And his Kabbalah was the one Madonna was part of.

    I know this isn't directly related to this 'old' article but it does discredit what Berg has to say about any sexual topic.
    It is true though that the male energy is about acting and giving and the female is more about receiving the eternal flow of energy.

    But making people feel guilty about their way of sexuality by generalising? No not really spiritual.

    It is true however that you should be conscious about your intentions to something and thus what vibration your are tuning into.

    I do like erotic images and certainly stories but find most porn just too fake to believe and stay aroused.
    So yes pron is a crutch, a tool that you can use but it is in no way something that can replace real love.

  5. Butts says:

    Shouldn’t men receive to give? Coming from someone who doesn’t follow social norms, receiving to give can be a beautiful thing for men to do. It makes them pure, and beautiful lovers. I see the influence society has on men, and I somewhat shudder at the limitation.

  6. jamz says:

    Woah— watch out for your Christian hangover!!!!! Repressing any form of nonviolent sexuality is, well, still REPRESSION. Masturbation is one of my deepest spiritual practices when there's sincere love going into it…

  7. John Pierre says:

    Yeah its true but masturbation is the problem not pornography!

  8. Ajqij says:

    Dolphins masturbate frequently. Jus sayin….