By: Suzanne Maiden
The sublime power of sex; heightened sensual sensations, aroused emotions, the divine expression of love, the final crescendo culminating in physical ecstasy is a true spiritual gift. I recently had a lengthy conversation with a young person regarding the distinction between what we termed ‘physical maintenance’ vs. making love. I was so struck by this person’s eloquence and ability to language such profound feelings. This young male longed for the union he formerly experienced with another. He had access to others, and indeed acted upon their sexual willingness to provide him with ‘physical maintenance.’ But, his experience, in his final analysis, felt barely more than any other physical task one does to maintain the body.
Our dialogue intrigued me. I pondered his emotional longing to sexually express his most tender feelings to another – not just any other but the other. As a psychotherapist, I am very comfortable discussing sexuality. However seemingly odd or culturally aberrant one’s fantasies appear, I’m not squeamish. I am fascinated how sexual fantasies become activated. But, that is a different essay.
I realized, even for many young people, meaningful sex is much more the objective than orgasm. Meaningful sex is the closest way we can go beyond the human condition. The physical connection through sexual intercourse accesses the sacred, the celestial, and the divine ~ in this manner we transcend from physical beings to spiritual. Spiritual ecstasy is when we glimpse the other side with our lover. Through powerful and meaningful sexual union we cross the portal.
When sexual intercourse is seen from this context – an attempt to cross the threshold into spiritual ecstasy, then it is understandable why everyone seeks it. The issue arises when one misinterprets their sexual appetites as merely primal, when in fact they really search for something so much more profound. Casual sex encounters, I postulate, are really misguided attempts to connect with the divine.
Because our culture is uncomfortable with openly discussing sexuality, people acquire false beliefs around sex. Some people end up bumbling around for decades having multiple partners, they get physical maintenance through immediate sexual satisfaction – but the question remains, is it enough? Is the experience life-sustaining? I believe the multiple-partner person actually seeks a sexual union with the other in an effort to transcend them towards spiritual ecstasy. I believe each of us desperately wants to open our divine gift of sexual intimacy which will transcend us to spiritual ecstasy.