Friday, September 26, 2008

Sexuality and Spirituality _ Part the Second

Part One -

The vilification of sexual congress started a very long time ago when the emerging Hebrew tribes (with their male godhead’s versus the female-oriented ancient faiths) jockeyed for power in Ancient Greece, Sumerian, Babylon and other ancient cultures. Scholars were quick to accept that the certain ancient texts referred to “sacred prostitutes” when in fact, a proper reading would perhaps suggest the word was closer to medium or priestess; thus, not prostitution as it might be viewed today but possibly (although not certainly) involving ritual sex – but ritual sex intended to be part of a sacred ceremony NOT sex for money.

The reality was that prior to the influx and increased influence of the Hebrew tribes (and subsequently the advent of Christianity), ritualized sex linked to the fecundity of the land and the health and prosperity of its people was recognized and practiced. The intrinsically spiritual nature of sex was seen as a conduit to a higher state of being – with the “king” or male being the seed and the female representing the goddess.

Oddly, a form of “sacred” prostitution is practiced to this day in India (although in actual fact, I believe that the “sacred” prostitutes are actually fully exploited women of the “untouchable” caste who are being exposed to HIV/AIDS at a horrific level with no recourse due to their caste status under the law).

The point to all this?

For centuries, what was once considered a ritualized, sacred rite which honoured both the woman and her partner as sacred devotees seeking enlightenment and a higher state of being has been brought to a level where the sexual congress which was part of a sacred ritual has been reduced to a purely physical coupling removed from any form of spirituality or emotional meaning.

As a result, sex has become in today’s society (and for a very long period of time) a bargaining tool, a commodity, an intolerable physical need, and/or simply a means to create more souls.

In view of the prevalence and readily available engagement of the sexual senses and opportunities today to engage in sex, it is highly interesting that for many people it has become something to be avoided, derided or ashamed of. This is not entirely surprising as when you view sex as an unfortunate urge, something to be done hurriedly, almost “gotten over with”.

The normal amount of time that intercourse lasts is between 3 (yes 3 MINUTES) and 13 … which is hardly enough time to satisfy either party. While men may orgasm, simply completing a mechanical coupling is hardly emotionally or spiritually fulfilling and most women are barely warmed up at that point.

(And as an aside, if I believed in god, I would rail against the irony of women possessing a clitoris – the ONLY organ in either the male or female physiology whose ONLY function is sexual pleasure – only to place it in a place where a very large percentage of women would never reach a peak of sexual pleasure.)

Having waxed on about the emotional need I have for connecting at more than a physical level with a partner, I want to elucidate.

I truly believe that most people – unless seriously emotionally damaged – seek some form of connection OTHER than physical with potential sexual partners.

Oddly, this can be applicable even to those seeking those one-night stands.

I know that there are those who would argue they WANT that “two ships that pass in the night” experience with no expectations other than quick hot monkey sex on both sides… BUT I challenge ANYONE to really think about those quick, chance met sexual encounters. I would bet that you have some good memories of some and not so good memories of others.

I think that is because regardless of the intention of either party, people connect at more than a purely physical level; even those who are merely interested in chance met encounters. If the feelings on both sides are spiritually balanced, open and receptive, then the encounter can be a positive one; if, on the other hand, there is a dichotomy or the spirits clash as it were, then both parties are usually left vaguely dissatisfied and/or regretful.

I do NOT confuse or expect that every single sexual experience must carry with it a meaning beyond a healthy enjoyment of the purely physical sensation and delight a good sexual encounter can provide.

NO – the point I want to make is that by indulging our PHYSICAL body, we in turn can and with no prior intent but only with an openness and receptiveness, can tap into a more satisfying physical experience with at least a vague awareness and acceptance of the spiritual element to it.

As a society, despite the explosion of apparent communication avenues and the means to communicate so readily and easily available, we are becoming increasingly divorced from the community of our fellow human beings. It is an obvious and sad dichotomy that as we overtly seem to “collect’ friends, we are in fact increasingly becoming insular and removed from actual human contact – and without human contact, we are further cut off from the possibility of access to a rich world beyond the obvious.

In short, the more connected we become, the more DISconnected we are.

Marshall McLuhan predicted a global village and purely in terms of the communication highway, we are indeed, having egress to societies, cultures and countries that for many centuries were simply fantastic possibilities.

But a village by definition is a close-knit connected community.

Instead, because we cling stubbornly to the surface of our “communication” roads and do not look beneath the surface, we have and are losing the ability to reflect ….

It really is not rocket science.

The bottom line is that human beings are complex, complicated and multifaceted. We are not simply a collection of cells nor are we merely organisms programmed to play out a predetermined set of genetic imperatives. For whatever reason and for HOWEVER we ended up as the quixotic, odd individuals we are- we NEED to look beyond the instinctual compulsions and tap into that spiritual universe which our ancestors believed was as real as the earth on which we walk. And being human, we need to utilize what we are given – in short, our physical bodies.

More to come


Buffalo said...

This is really good. You have put some research and one hell of a lot of thought into it. This type of writing is my bain; you make it seem to flow effortlessly. Tell you the truth, I'm envious.

Digger Jones said...

There certainly is a lot of thought put into this. I'll say up front that I'm a Christain, so I had to put aside my own bias to read what you actually wrote. In the bottom line truth of it, you actually don't have that many differences with what most Christians believe. We believe sex is an intensely spiritual experience and therefore should not be squandered thoughtlessly or recklessly.

The pagans, with the fertility rites, were engaging in a sort of variation off the "Blue Balls" excuse you alluded to in Part 1 of this series. Those boys were using all sorts of manipulation and guilt trying to get in your pants. How about this one: "Baby if you don't put out, the entire country goes to hell in a hand basket because we won't have any food!" Give her a title and a temple and some nice clothes...yeah that works.

And I think a treatment of the profane side would be in order as a follow up to your thoughts here. It seems as though fully 80% of all women have experienced some form of sexual abuse. There are some real deep spiritual consequences of that.

You muse about why God would put a clitoris outside of the reach of normal intercourse, and that is a bit of a problem. But I would think it would be more of a problem outside of a theistic system, since it has absolutely no evolutionary advantage or value!

If I manage to let go of my own bias (and bypass yours) I see that there is some common ground in that sex is more than the sum of its parts and friction. Creating babies is a significant part of it, but so is the bond that is enriched between two people who are answering each other's call and need for connection, comfort and communion. We willingly enter into a state of maximum vulnerability in order to share each other. As you rightly point out, intimacy is such a rare thing these days. It really and truly is our greatest desire in relating with one another. "Love's greatest desire is to find a love that will answer." -- don't know who said it, but I've always liked it.

selkie said...

Some interesting insights, Digger. And I do understand from the "Christian" perspective, being a former Catholic myself. Certaintly, I never grew up with any hangups about sex in terms of it being "bad" - insofar as sex was within the bounds of marriage of course LOL - (not something I agreed with - when I was a Catholic I was a very "bad" on in that while devout in some ways, I had some HUGE issues with the structure and doctrine).

And I mean, in many ways, the "fertility rites" to which you refer are intrinsic to the Christian church which puts such an emphasis on "go forth and multiply" - dictating monogomy and marraige as a way to ensure the best environment for bringing up and keeping safe progeny.

Where the dictomy occurs is that the Church cannot help but try to separate sprirituality from sexuality as ultimately sex can be such a powerful motivator and is so intrinsicly a part of the human psyche that it can sometimes move beyond church control.

But certaintly, in certain areas, there is no argument - while not for everyone - for many of us, sex is such an intimate, emotional and intense experience it seems to demand that there is something beyond what we have been TAUGHT to be "mere physical" (as something lesser).