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As I snuggle next to my love in a hazy, post-coital bliss, everything seems right in the world.
The sun streams in from the bedroom window, and I can feel a warm breeze caressing my naked body. Though if it had been raining or snowing, that would have been just perfect too.
The bills, the chores, the project that needs to get completed are no longer significant. There’s newfound confidence that everything will be okay. Even the anxiety I felt regarding my relationship has dissipated. In fact, now it feels more robust than ever. As do I.
I feel revived. Energized. I feel like a goddess—and I remember I am one, too. I’m the sacred prostitute that connects to the divine through my sexual experiences.
Did that description remind you of anything else? To me, it makes me think about how it might feel to be spiritually awakened. Though sometimes these feelings may be brief, I think of my sexual encounters as mini-enlightenment experiences. These glimpses of loving awareness can give us an idea of how it feels to be fully embodied and connected to the universe.
Sex is a thread that weaves our humanity and divinity together.
Of course, for many of us, this wasn’t always our experience. I can think back to my 20s, where countless hours were spent, and bottles of wine consumed, in deep conversation with my girlfriends, asking what seemed like existential questions:
How soon should you have sex?
What makes sex “good?”
What do you do if the sex isn’t good?
We believed that if we could just figure out the answers to those inquiries, we could crack the code, and our lives would flow with ease. We were treating sex as a means to secure the attention, affection, or relationship that we really wanted. It took a little while to realize that sex isn’t a milestone on the way to a mundane goal—and I’m not using the word mundane as boring here, but as earthly and material—but it is a portal into loving awareness. It is the thread that weaves our humanity and divinity together.
Like meditation, prayer, and journaling, I learned to make sex part of my spiritual practice. Through my romantic encounters, I found that I could create deeper intimacy with my lover, come back to my body, and get closer to the divine.
While you could argue that the physical act of sex didn’t change, my mindset around it did. And truthfully, once I started to look at sex through a new lens, not only did I feel better about the act emotionally, but it was much more physically satisfying too. Of course, this shouldn’t be a surprise. Our mind, body, and spirit are interwoven and inextricable. When we account for all three, we deepen and enhance our experiences. The ordinary becomes extraordinary. Sex became part of my spiritual practice.
And although sex with a partner is terrific, we don’t need a partner to enjoy the benefits of sex as a spiritual practice. In fact, even if you do have a partner, make sure you take some time for solo interludes to remind you that the most important relationship you have is the one with yourself.
Here are five ways we change our mindset around sex and make it part of our spiritual practice:
You’re an erotic being, and not because of how you interact with others in bed. You are erotic because of your relationship with the material world. We often think of foreplay as the time leading up to intercourse. Consider your life foreplay. Walk barefoot on the lawn and feel the sensation of your feet pressing into the soft earth. Linger in the bathtub enjoying a warm soak as the scent of lavender essential oils wafts in the room. Savor the taste of dark chocolate before swallowing. Smell the earthy aroma of your coffee before you take a sip. All of our experiences have the potential to be erotic. How you interact with nature and the world at large is likely how you will act in bed. Eroticism is the practice of slowing down, focusing our awareness, and deepening our appreciation.
2. Care for your Temple
You’ve likely heard that phrase “your body is your temple” in regards to eating well or getting enough exercise. Maybe you’ve even shrugged it off as a bit too aspirational. Though according to ancient wisdom traditions like Ayurveda or Tantra, you really are divine and your body is holy. It’s both your sanctuary and vehicle while you’re here in this human form. With that in mind, consider how you care for your body. Are you careful with what you put into it? This includes food, substances, and even penises or vaginas. Do you engage in activities that strengthen you? Do you have sex with partners who have your best interest in mind? Treat your body as you would a church, temple, mosque, or other place of worship.
3. Create a Ritual
A ritual is an activity or action that we perform to connect with the divine. If your body is a temple, consider sex with your partner or by yourself a ritual. It’s an act of worship. Make it an offering to the divine. You can add elements such as candles, music, and incense. Sexual energy is the merging of our human form with pure consciousness or the divine. Sex as a ritual has long been performed to release fertile energy to the earth to encourage crops to grow. What is the energy you want to release?
4. Engage in Role Play
Imagine you and your partner are deities coming together to worship each other. Hieros Gamos (a symbolic ritual where humans act like a god and goddess in a sacred marriage) was the original role play. How does it feel to be devoted to providing your partner with pleasure? How does it feel to be devoted upon? Through your coupling, notice the glimpses of awakening. You are present, authentic, vulnerable, spontaneous, and connected. Witness your true nature.
5. Meditate on Pleasure
Consider sex a meditation—an awareness of pleasure meditation. Rather than focusing on achieving orgasm, can you focus on giving and receiving pleasure with presence? Experiment with touch. Communicate with your partner about what turns you on. Look into each other’s eyes. If your mind starts to wander to kids, work, or bills, gently bring the focus back to the body. While experiencing pleasure in a particular spot in the body, see if you can grow it throughout your body and all the way to the crown of your head.
Sex allows us to create a connection with another that builds trust and intimacy and, lastly, brings us closer to the divine. It helps raise our energy, elevate our mood, and gives us a more positive outlook on life.
When we finally get out of bed, I feel inspired and invigorated—like I just came out of church. In fact, I did. If my body is my temple, sex with my partner (or myself) is a form of worship. It brings me closer to the divine, my beloved, and gives me a glimpse of my wild, vulnerable, and ecstatic nature.
My church offers no absolutes
She tells me, Worship in the bedroom
The only Heaven I’ll be sent to
Is when I’m alone with you”
“Take Me to Church,” Hozier