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wundayatta's avatar

How is love-making a spiritual experience? [nsfw]?

Asked by wundayatta (58377 points ) July 23rd, 2012

Or, from the opposite perspective, how is it not? How do you separate sex from love? If you believe they are inseparable, why do you think they are inseparable?

If possible, I hope you can talk about what specific physical experiences or practices bring up what kinds of spiritual connections or feelings for you. Is there any love-making practice that particularly connects you to your partner?

Even more, I’d like some insight into how you got to be this way. Were there experiences you had as a youth, or lessons you learned from some parent or other teacher that showed you sex either is or is not connected with love?

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9 Answers

bookish1's avatar

It can be a spiritual experience when it blasts the boundaries of ‘your’ existence wide open and out of time, when it’s about serving rather than being served.
I think I’ve always been inclined to view sex this way… as long as I’ve been sexual. Which has been a lot of my life, relatively speaking. Might be the fact that I’ve more or less been a pantheist and/or Hindu my whole life. I actually considered ‘toning down’ my perspective when I was younger, because numerous of my partners after my first girlfriend could not fathom seeing things in this way. I’m glad I have not, however.

Jenniehowell's avatar

Well – during many a sexual experience I’ve heard people scream out for God – does that count as a spiritual experience? Hee hee

I think sex can be a spiritual experience if/when it brings one or both (or all of the many) participants to a more intense knowing & experience of themselves. There are times when it releases something more within a person & they are able to break free from emotional blocks etc. There have also been reports of folks seeing “the light” while having an orgasm. This same “light” is reported by those claiming to have had healings during religious events or ceremonies. I suppose it’s possible to have a spiritual experience during sexual contact – of course one may first have to believe that something “spiritual” exists in the first place.

Sunny2's avatar

The exquisite sense of peace and happiness is as close to a spiritual experience as I’ve ever had.

DigitalBlue's avatar

I don’t know why I can separate love and sex, I have just always found it easy to do. It isn’t a necessary part of the equation for me. It’s all brain chemistry and hormones, both sex and love can have a druglike effect on us. I’m inclined to use the word “intoxicating” before spiritual, which I think applies to the feeling that I get when falling in love or having a great sexual connection with someone. Or both.

thorninmud's avatar

I agree with @bookish1 that experiences become “spiritual” when perceived boundaries fall away. That can happen under all kinds of circumstances, even extremely unpleasant ones, because the boundaries are a mental phenomenon and not an intrinsic property of the world.

But some circumstances make it easier to relax the mind’s boundary-making machine, so that the boundaries fade or blink out momentarily. Sex can be like that, with the lovers consenting to let the boundaries blur and meld in a spirit of trust and surrender. Sex can just as easily be alienating and boundary-reinforcing. It’s a matter of the degree to which the individuals are willing to mutually surrender.

That’s what all “spiritual” experiences amount to, really: trust and surrender. But that’s dreadfully difficult to do in many aspects of life, because we compulsively work to maintain a sense of individuality. That keeps the boundaries up.

wundayatta's avatar

@thorninmud You don’t say it, but the implication is that sex is a kind of experience that makes it easier to lower the boundaries. Assuming you think this, can you talk about how that works?

Ron_C's avatar

When it’s really good I find myself saying “Oh god, Oh god”, that’s pretty spiritual for an atheist!

thorninmud's avatar

@wundayatta I do think that, yes. That’s why sex is used in some traditions as a metaphor for all forms of spiritual union. Because so many of us have had a hint of that experience of surrendering individuality in the context of love-making, this can point the way to a more generalized surrender.

It’s no coincidence that the lexicon of spirituality often refers to “interpenetration”. It’s an insight common to many traditions that we are all shot through with each other, despite our illusions of separation. That illusion is sustained by enforcing layers of defenses, like the multiple walls around a medieval city. An outlying wall may be the language we allow another to use in addressing us. More sensitive still is the defensive physical distance we maintain. One of the last lines of defense is the skin barrier itself, what we allow into the mouth or other orifices. The ultimate defense—the inner sanctum—is one’s own sense of individuality.

Sex, then, is a passage beyond one of the most intimate defenses—the skin barrier—but not necessarily of that inner sanctum of individuality. That ultimate defense isn’t surrendered lightly. Allowing it to fall away is a kind of death; an exquisite death to be sure, but it still triggers an existential angst. Still, on some level we all long for that kind of death in union. If we have allowed someone through all but our very most intimate barrier, and they have proven worthy of our trust, then we just may let the surrender be complete.

Dsg's avatar

I do think it can be a spiritual experience, but both of you have to feel it. It cannot be one sided. Its a special bond, a connection that only 2 people can share. It’s letting yourself completely be relaxed and just let your feelings go.
Believe it or not but I have had a spiritual experience with someone dear to me on the telephone and it was amazing!!

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