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August 26, 2010
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November 10, 2010

Sex and Spirituality


I’ve seen a lot of talk about sex and spirituality and I have this strong sense that there is something very off about a lot of what people are saying.

The gist seems to be that on the one hand, there is sex. On the other hand, there is spirituality. They are incompatible; in some way polar opposites. You can make sex spiritual, “purify” it so to speak, but unless you do so by default it isn’t.

For me that idea contains two errors. At least. Let’s start with the first two which have occurred to me.

First is that spirituality is not about what is good or bad, what is dirty or pure. Spirituality is about growth and truth and raising your vibration. It’s about finding out what is the deepest truth of your soul and expressing it. If chastity is the deepest truth of your soul, express it, but not because sex is dirty or bad.

Next point. Sex and spirituality are not opposites. Just as spirituality does not equate to “good” or “pure”, sex does not equate to “bad” or “dirty”. Spirituality is an apple, sexuality is an orange. There is no cosmic gradient, no scale of purity or holiness in which we find spirituality on one end and sexuality on the other.

For me, when you disdain sex this way, or praise Tantric sex while inferring that other sorts of sex are worthy of disdain, you are just putting a “spiritual” veil on top of your guilt and shame about sex. That is what I’d call the opposite of spiritual. If spirituality is growth, then its opposite would be covering up issues in order to avoid having to grow.

The True Nature of Sex

So what is sex? Sex is just sex. It’s a biological function. As a function it’s not just limited to reproduction, but also within this species it helps us to release tensions and to bond. (In other primates it serves the same function as well, so this is not just limited to creatures who have an ego).

Sex is natural, and we (asexual people notwithstanding) need it to be healthy in a similar way we need sleep to be healthy. Some rare people live without sleep, and deprivation of either sex or sleep won’t kill you directly, but will reduce your ability to function and enjoy life.

Like sleep and food, sex is a bodily need that is very pleasurable to keep fulfilled. And that’s all it really is.

Sex and Love

What about love? Must sex be done with love? What happens if it’s not done with love?

In my opinion, sex is a great way to bond with someone, and a great opportunity to express love. It’s not the same as love, however. And God won’t punish you for having sex without love.

What I will say is that lack of love is a sickness, and this sickness becomes quite obvious in the realm of sex. I find sex without heart to heart connection very cold and desolate. But actually, I find it desolate to do ANYTHING with someone who cannot connect with me in an authentic and spiritual way.

Sex without love is destructive. However, eating without love is destructive. And so is anything you do without love. There is nothing special about sex, nothing that separates it fundamentally from any other thing we do.


Tantric Sex

There are such things as meditations through sex which are quite effective, and there are ways of playing with sexual energy to get it to help you do stuff. Some of these things come under the label of Tantra, some have different names.

In this article I don’t want to say that these practices have no value. I simply want to tear down the all too common misconception of sex as something to be changed. For me these practices are things to play with, but don’t change the fact that sex is important, natural, and a part of us. We can’t do Tantra all the time and neglect to have normal sex. I mean, we could, but the only real reason I imagine people would ONLY have sex in a meditative way and eschew all other sex is because they secretly thought sex was dirty.

And if a Tantric master is reading this (where have you been all my life?) I want to apologise for any glaring errors. Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe you can have Tantric sex all the time. But to focus on that point would be to miss the message I’m aiming to get across with this post. Sex is healthy and is not inherently low vibration. It’s a part of us and can’t be manipulated or changed without that damage reverbating on us. That’s all I’m saying.

High and Low Vibration Sex

I know sex can mix itself with low energies. I know it can. And I think it’s an excellent thing to work out how sexuality in your life has low vibrations attached to it, and cleanse those vibrations.

But that’s nothing to do with sex itself. Sex fundamentally has nothing to do with low vibrations. It’s neither high or low vibration, and neither causes you to raise or lower your vibration. As with food, the love and consciousness you put into sex will determine how healthful or unhealthful it is for you. And that’s all.

Sex and Spirituality

And if you are still trying to change sex, start doing some spiritual self work and learn to just leave it be. It’s a beautiful, wonderful part of ourselves that just wants to be expressed, and isn’t happy about how people have kept demonising it. Life is a game, eating’s a game, sex is a game. Don’t make it anything more than that. Just take it for what it is and enjoy.

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Sex is just something we do. It’s something natural, and we need it to be healthy in a similar way we need sleep to be healthy. Some rare people live without sleep, and deprivation of either sex or sleep won’t kill you directly, but will reduce your ability to function and enjoy life.

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22 Comments

  1. Sandy says:

    { Sex is just sex. It’s a biological function. As a function it’s not just limited to reproduction, but also within this species it helps us to release tensions and to bond. }

    I love this definition!

    And me too, always agree with the idea of sex shall be treated as natural need as sleep & diet, which kept in healthy style can bring bunch of befits And joys 😉

    Nice Article, Sophia ^^

  2. geek says:

    Hi Andrew,
    Do you know Osho? he talked a lot about sex, for example in this video:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s4h6UspyAlU

    enjoy!

  3. Holy Matrimony and Spiritual Sexuality
    by Rabbi Allen S. Maller

    Most Jews know that sexual activities between a husband and wife are a Mitsvah. Many Jews know that lovemaking on Shabbat is a double Mitsvah. Some Jews know that the Kabbalah (the Jewish mystical tradition) teaches that the Shekinah (the feminine presence of God) rests on a Jewish man when he makes love to his Jewish wife on Shabbat. Actually the Shekeenah can rest on a man whenever he makes love to his wife with a sense of reverence, tenderness, adoration and love. The Shabbat adds holiness and chosenness to their feelings. The key attitude is the sense that his wife is God’s gift, the source of his blessings, and the most wonderful manifestation of God’s presence.

    But very few Jews know that if in addition to this attitude, he also makes love to his wife intentionally desiring to imagine a spiritual unification within the heavenly realm as he unifies the earthly one, he and his wife enact a great Tikun- a spiritual mending or uplifting. This Tikun is woven together with similar Tikunim from other married couples into a crown for the Divine One who also unites with His Shekeenah on Shabbat and Yom Tov. Just as the prayers proclaimed in each Synagogue are all woven together into a crown for the Holy One of Israel, so too are the holy unifications of each couple married under a Hupah woven into a crown.

    In the past the esoteric details of how to elevate their lovemaking into a Tikun were transmitted orally and very discretely from mother to daughter. These details were based on the seventh chapter of the Song of Songs, a Biblical book that Rabbi Akiba proclaimed the holiest song in the entire Scriptures. A wife who desires to enable her husband to fulfill the Mitsvah of Tikun coupling should direct him to begin by kissing and creaming her feet (Song of Songs 7:2). Then she should direct him to slowly and reverently work his way up to her crowning flowing hair that entangles a King/God, (7:6) thus allowing him to climb the palm tree (7:9) and perform the unification below which is woven into the unification above. Over the years the spiritual uplift of this Tikun becomes greater and greater.

    Even fewer Jews know that the holy Kabbalist, Rabbi Isaac Luria, developed several Tikunim to enable spiritually aware Jewish couples to use their imagination to repair fractured hopes and intentions in those around them, to elevate broken spirits both near and far, and to re-energize efforts to make life holy. All of this through a couple’s own lovemaking at night. These Tikunim are among those referred to as Tikunay Hatzot-mid night spiritual exercises. Every Jewish wife partakes of some aspects of Leah and some aspects of Rachel (the two wives of Jacob/Israel). Like Leah, every woman is potentially very fruitful, both emotionally and physically. Like Rachel, every woman is potentially spellbinding and enthralling. When her husband regards his wife as a gift from God and loves her totally, faithfully and submissively, his lovemaking and partnership being more to give her pleasure than for his own pleasure, he realizes and actualizes her blessings and God’s blessings. This is especially important when duress makes her weep openly or inside, All forms of Tikun Hatzot stress this.

    Sexual activity prior to midnight increases the aspect of Leah. Sexual activity after midnight and in the pre-dawn or early morning hours increases the aspect of Rachel. Sexual intercourse with Leah, better known in Lurianic Kabbalah as the face of Imma, the great mother Goddess, helps to reduce negative actions and situations in family and personal affairs. Sexual intercourse during the second part of the night is with Rachel who ascends in the morning as Matronita, the ruling presence of Shekinah. Elevating Matronita helps avoid the worst case public scenarios we fear, and helps increases the number of small but important contributions to the improvement of Jewish and world society. One who regards his wife as a gift from God will pray in her intimate presence.

    These Tikunim should be done every Shabbat and if desired once or twice during weekdays. They are not magic, nor are they imaginary, but if faithfully imagined they always have a positive impact over time. A Hassidic mystic, Rabbi Nathan Hanover, adds, “After you perform Tikun Hatzot, prepare yourself and unify the Holy One with Shekinah by making your body, each and every limb, a chariot for Shekinah.”-Thus sexual activity should end with the wife above, feeling she is Shekinah-the ruling Matronita blessing her husband by raising to heaven, with her husband below feeling that he serves as a mystical Merkavah-chariot (as did the Holy Temple in Jerusalem) elevating her to the heavens. This helps actualize the images in their thoughts and desires and promotes remedies, rectifications, and blessings for those around them and throughout the world.

    All the above flows from the basic theology of Jewish marriage under a Hupah-canopy. Kiddushin-holy matrimony for Jews, is a reenactment by two individuals of the holy covenant first entered into by God and Israel at Sinai, when God and Israel first chose each other. God chose Israel saying, “You shall be a special treasure for me,,, a kingdom of priests and a holy nation” (Exodus 19:4-5). The Jewish people chose God by answering, “All that the Lord has spoken we will do” (Exodus 19:8). Torah is the Ketubah-marriage contract, between two covenanted partners. Mitsvot are their daily loving interactions. Torah Study and worship are the pillow talk between God and Israel. Tikunim- Kabbalistic mystical exercises, imaged meditations and sexuality are the intimacies of married life. The blessings of holy marriage extend far beyond the happy couple. As the seventh of the seven marital blessings says, they bring joy and happiness to the bride and groom and also to the cities of Israel and the streets of Jerusalem (a redemptive Messianic reference). Rabbi Maller’s web site is rabbimaller,com

  4. Antonia says:

    Hi Andrew,

    I clicked over from Fred’s blog. Interesting read. I appreciate your willingness to open discussion on this important topic.

    “Sex is sex…” Yes, you have some great ideas in this definition, but it’s still lacking (for me) the very topic you’ve addressed. Sex and spirituality are not apples and oranges unless viewed as a piece of the whole of which we’re all a part. Sexual energy is pervasive intrinsically throughout all of life energy. It is the very fabric through which we are all created. And, as creators, it is a valuable tool. Sex is a gateway, one of the greatest kept secrets. I highly recommend reading “Transcendent Sex: When Lovemaking Opens the Veil” by Jenny Wade on this topic, if you haven’t.

    I have studied Tantric practices (sexuality is a piece of this) for a number of years. Can you have tantric sex all the time? Sure. But, few have such time liberties, nor a willingness to show up at that level. Yet, spirituality is always present in sexuality.. indivisible..

    Cheers!

    • Andrew Gubb says:

      @Rabbi Allen wow, thanks for that!

      @Antonia Hey Antonia!

      I agree that this article is kind of lacking as a complete account of what it’s trying to talk about. For me I really just wanted to make a point because I see some people see sex and spirituality as some sort of opposites, which I object to a lot. I’m not overly experienced in Tantric practices, so I couldn’t comment on them much.

      Thanks for stopping by!

  5. marissa says:

    Hello!
    – i feel like you have really down played the spirituality of sex. Having sex, and eating food are not nearly on the same spectrum’s; I highly disagree that sex is just a biological function. Theres a reason that sex has been nicknamed as “making love” sex is an extremely powerful experience and when done with a person you are connected with, it is POWERFUL. During sex your soul connects with another, you bind with another person and start to merge with the unity again. I have had experiences better than ecstasy with my husband due to how connected we are to one another. I have honestly say i have never head eating food referenced to making love. And thats because eating is a biological function, but sex is much more than that.

  6. Sophia Gubb says:

    Hey Marissa… maybe I did underplay the spiritual aspect of sex, though I was attempting to make a very specific point: sex doesn’t need to be particularly spiritual to be OK. There’s an idea in society that sex is just bad, and this idea is often taken into the spiritual community and modified to, “Sex is bad but Tantra is OK because Tantra is spiritual.” No… sex, in itself, without modification, is good.

    I’d also challenge the idea that a “biological function” is beyond the reach of spirituality. I think there’s something very spiritual about the fact that we humans, along with the other “more developed” animals (Great Apes and the dolphins) couple with each other for reasons beyond reproduction. I think this power to develop bonds with each other, and the biological craving for something that exists primary to develop bonds, is very spiritual indeed.

    I see your point that food is not the same as sex. In some ways it definitely isn’t. But I thought it was a good example in that it can be a very simple act, and it’s something that’s not normally demonised in society (well… ok, not as much as sex). Sex is (in a certain perspective) definitely more spiritual than food. But there’s no *fundamental* difference between them, nothing *fundamental* that makes anything more or less spiritual (in this case, meaning “acceptable”) than anything else.

  7. Hanna Seithe says:

    Hi Sophia – see, Im already a fan of your blog.

    I must say I was utterly confused when reading this article. And before I write more I think I have managed to pinpoint the root of my confusion.

    Who are these kind of people that put sex and spirituality as opposite poles? I – honestly – have never been exposed to such beliefs (or at least none that I could take seriously). And I am just like this big questionmark … “How on earth could anybody (moralists excluded) say that sex and spirituality exclude each other?” Do I get you right that this is the kind of belief that you are referencing your discussion in this article to? Who are these people?

    He, he – I havent been this confused in a while.

    Love, Hanna

    • Sophia Gubb says:

      Haha. You lucky person — never met any of these faux-spiritual moralists :p They’re quite common in spiritual (or so-called-spiritual) haunts, online and offline. Your comment “I – honestly – have never been exposed to such beliefs (or at least none that I could take seriously).” is telling — maybe I took them too seriously :p But then if I hadn’t there would have been nothing to write a post about!

      Love!

      Sophia <3

  8. Tudor says:

    Ha! I have to express my opinion on this matter, just can’t help it. You see the thing about sex is very, very simple. Sexual energy = the prime matter of creation, the fuel that lights up every dream imaginable, the god force within all of us. Everything that exists now(physical and nonphysical) is pure sexual energy. You were born out of sex, plants were born out of sexual energy, animals in the exact same way.

    It’s just sexual energy expressed in biological, physical and emotional states AND THAT IS ALL THERE IS ABOUT SEX. Now just think about a society who condemns sex. They literally condemn their very essence and existence.

    Sex is normal, sex is fun, sex is uplifting, sex is creative, sex is literally life giving, without sex you would not be able to exist and anyone who begs to differ does not have a single fakin’ clue what they are talking about. So cherish sex, enjoy sex, praise sex, evolve sex, express sex in as many ways as you can imagine and I promise you that your life will be like a fairy tale until your dying breath.

    And so it is!

  9. Caramel says:

    Although I respect your and each of these peoples personal connections with sex, how can any of you decide that it is desirable, good and healthy etc,. for everyone else? To think that all other people are/think/feel like oneself, portrays a measure of psychological immaturity. How old are you all??

    We all experience life differently. and also at different stages and ages of life. It seems a bit arrogant “knowing” that “without sex you would not be able to exist and anyone who begs to differ does not have a single fakin’ clue what they are talking about” Wow! Strong statement!

    It seems to me that most people nowadays concentrate too much on sex! Everywhere you look and go it is pushed in your face…… blogs,. films, magazines,TV and more. You cannot escape it if you tried.

    Understandably the youngsters of today, having been born into such a culture and never having seen anything else, assume that I what I feel is overexposure, is normal. 100 years ago sex was taboo. It was not discussed openly and practised with shame or guilt. At that time, that was considered the normal way to be. So who is it that sets the accepted standard (which fluctates from one extreme to another at different times in history)?

    Yes sex is part of life and pro creation and indeed it can be a very enjoyable activity (although it very often is not as rosy as people like to feign). Sex can be “just sex”, but it can also include love,hate, giving, taking, tenderness, violence, revenge and much more.

    When one is young, curious and full of energy and driven by the biological force to reproduce, not wanting or having sex could be seen as unnatural or strange, but why do older people who have done their job of producing offspring, when already in their 50s 60s or 70s, still feel they have to stand on their heads or fold themselves up inside out, experimenting to experience a “tickle”

    Nowadays most people think that anyone 11 to 88, who is not that interested in partaking of sex, is “strange” or abnormal! Is it not perhaps that they blindly believe without question all that they are spoon fed by the media and commerce? Is the sex they dream of not all only “in the head” and a “fashion statement” that most people follow, because it is hip and the in thing?

    If everything was so rosy, why is it that so many people need Viagra and other aids? If it was so rosy they would not need to discuss the subject to death and get on with enjoying it instead.

    As for the connection between sex and spirituality? Where is the connection? Only in the perceived sensation found in it by small minds. Those who moralise about it can only be those who possess neither! Why would they otherwise be pondering about and make a judgement on the subject?

    Those who are sexual an sexual and those who are spiritual are spiritual and some people are both. What is the big deal? The equation of life is different for every one of us.

    Live and let live and be who you are. Follow your heart and do what is good for you without question, as long as you dont hurt others in the process. Who cares what others think as after all we are all one and the same. so in fact nothing really matters!

  10. Daniel says:

    I’m sorry but I must disagree with some aspects of this article. Lots of people are happy without sex – it cannot be compared to sleep: otherwise you’re saying that children should have sex too! It’s also not healthier to have sex. Celibate priests/monks etc. live longer than sexually active people and they also seem very happy to me.

    This is a poor generalization that I think you’ve made solely based on your own experiences.

  11. susan says:

    I agree with Daniel and I agree with Sophia. But one thing is sure… People do make whole sex act too big thing and meaningful, even it’s nothing special. It might be there or it might not. It can be good but so can be anything else what one experience in life. It’s there for a moment and then it’s gone and another experience and moment follows that…. There is nothing wrong or right in it. For Whatever happens in the moment and are allowed to happen with awareness and present can’t be bad. But when something happens out of need, unconsiousnes, greed so on it cannot be good.

  12. edweena says:

    i think sex is no longer connected to spiritual feelings anymore and has in fact not been connected for hundreds of years my own opinion sex once was like a sacred bed between two people who loved each other but for hundreds of years now there has been mult partners and multi wives how can sex be spiritual if you are shearing your lover with other people
    I would say that with love between two people sex is a very spiritual thing no matter when or how you do it

  13. Aswin.S says:

    Hi Sophia..
    I am Some one from India(Considered the spiritual capital of the world)..Let me say you something..You have mentioned that spirituality is something that doesnt have a good or bad variation..Madame, U were terribly wrong in saying this..Spirituality itself is concerned on the goodness of people.A real spiritual man is the man who leads a dharmic life and spiritual practices are something that equip a person with unique mental power that give unique control to the senses..I hope that most of the western- Indian gurus like Osho twisted the fundamentals of a dharmic life and gave a very dangerous definition to the westerners..Spirituality is not an anarchic condition of human mind..It is a firm and well defined rules of dharma that will liberate your soul..Sex is a divine biological function and should be carried out only between a husband and wife(couples with religious and societal recognition)

  14. Adam says:

    I disagree. You build a spiritual tie to each person you have sex with

  15. Cianna200 says:

    Than I have to disagree with you Adam. Not all sex is spiritual, and not all sex is good, like when sex is painful, or when you have sex and feel disgusted afterwards. Also keep in mind of selfish sex like rape, or lust driven sex, these should not be considered spiritual.

  16. Cianna200 says:

    I also have to agree with Daniel. Sex holds little interest to me, and to lots of other people, but we aren’t suffering from the lack of sex, in fact I believe the only people who’s body, happiness and health need sex are those who desire sex. I see myself as happy without sex, but there are people who think those who reject sex are or will be unhappy. Same with romantic relationships, I will do perfectly fine without them, but people think something is wrong with me. However these people are just projecting there own fears onto me and people like me, they are happy with sex and romance, so they believe all others would be happy with sex and romance, false. These people are just confused as to how other people can hold no interest into what they love and still be happy and even healthy. In fact, celibacy is encouraged in the bible, I am pretty sure Jesus Christ was celibate. There is no doubt in mind that sex is natural, and in some cases divine (I say some cases because there are unhealthy cases of sex like rape) , but celibacy is also sacred. Celibacy does not denote a negative attitude towards sex though, it is just the flipside of the coin.

  17. Anna hi says:

    You know your article is a strong evidence to you being a glorified slut. To keep having sex with anyone or everyone just for the sake of having sex is what unethical whores like yourself do to justify your sickness. Sex is not just a need, it is a need that satisfies your soul with love. Sex happens whole heartedly with someone you love. Sex with unknown ppl or ppl who don’t love is equal to cardboard. Don’t listen to this writer she is a sick minded woman. That’s all. Nothing more nothing less.

    • Sophia Gubb says:

      I’d normally delete this comment but I manage to find the verbal violence amusing rather than painful. This is probably because when I wrote this article, I hadn’t undergone a gender transition yet, and was understood by others to be a man. Funny how changing the name on the top of this blog changes how the same people seem to perceive the same message. (Certainly I’ve never been called a slut or a whore for saying such things when I lived as male).

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