Spiritually Incorrect

By The Lover

The Erotic Life: Sexuality as a path to enlightenment.
by The Lover
Okay, so let's just say it straight. Either God is an absolute shmuck, interested in torturing and teasing us through the ordeal of sex, or this whole life journey is – bottom line – all about it in some mysterious way. Those seems to be the two choices we are presented with, if we look at reality with even a little discernment.

Hardly anyone is really happy with sex. If they are, it is only in the first wave of the erotic encounter when passion is high and egos are low. After that, most everyone feels like they are not getting enough, not getting it right or not getting to move on when they are ready. And most everyone is quietly convinced that it has got to be better for somebody else.

If rampant dissatisfication produced by the great tease were not enough, sex is also a bigtime killer. Masculine shadow has men killing men over sex, killing women in domestic violence scenes, and using sex in war to break down the social order and humiliate their enemies. Rape leaves irrevocable damage.

{quotes}Anyone who (God forbid!) doesn't want the same kind of sex that the majority approves is in trouble. {/quotes}Same sex couples struggle, transgendered couples struggle, and anyone with any kind of alternative sexual drive has a rough start before the pleasure actually begins and ends. Sex really is the great mystery of our lives.

Two predominant groups of cultural forces suggest very different approaches to sex. One is arrayed to prevent us from getting it. They tell us that sex is immoral or sinful. Even when we think we have gotten free of them, they pop up again inside our heads, wagging their fingers disapprovingly.

You have to admit that these conservative sexual renunciates have a point. If you want to keep life simple, clean and orderly, forgoing or limiting the sexual experience might be an excellent choice. Just list the times sex got you into trouble, and all the pain that trouble caused you and your loved ones, and their logic makes sense.

Conventional religions, moralists and mythmakers fall into this category. They want to affirm love and passion as virtues, but divorce them entirely from sex. So they work hard to erect boundaries and prevent erections, to protect us from the pitfalls of sex.

While sex certainly requires a dimension of discipline, context and commitment, most of us know in our hearts that the moralists are wrong and that sex is ultimately – and overwhelmingly – good for us, and not merely as a side benefit of achieving loving relationship.

Another group tells us 'Sex is wonderful-if liberated, it is the panacea of all ills; if repressed the source of all dysfunction.' {quotes align=right}Freudians, along with many other schools of modern psychology, sexual revolutionaries and most of the commercial world are working hard to strip sex of anything remotely spiritual or emotional. {/quotes}They want to liberate sex from love, from Eros and from the myriad of existential and relational complexities. For this group, the sexual should be understood as nothing more than sensual pleasure and physical functioning.

Freud himself was the most influential modern thinker at this party. Rooted in a hydraulic model of the psyche, which slightly confuses human beings and steam engines, he taught that if we would just find a method for balanced release of sexual tension, we would be healthy and happy. Yet many of those who achieved this vaunted balance were shocked to find that the same old feelings of alienation, depression and emptiness still plagued them. Hydraulic equilibrium achieved, what are we supposed to when the sexual revolution does not actually liberate us from suffering?

A few decades ago, sociologist David Reisman called sex the last frontier. If this is true, then we appear to have crossed it and found it wanting. Psychologists report that patients rarely complain about sexual dysfunction or repression anymore, common complaints of Freud's day. The malaise of our time is the lack of feeling or passion. Sex is all around, and yet, it's hard to tell whether anyone is truly enhanced by it.

T.S. Eliot summed it up in his epic poem, "The Waste Land":

She turns and looks a moment in the glass,
Hardly aware of her departed lover;
Her brain allows one half-formed thought to pass;
"Well now that's done: and I'm glad it's over."
When lovely woman stoops to folly and
Paces about her room again, alone,
She smoothes her hair with automatic hand,
And puts a record on the gramophone
(III: 249 – 256)

These two approaches may currently be spiritually and politically correct, but they just don't cut it. So we turn to the hidden Wisdom of Spiritually Incorrect. Hidden in every great tradition is subversive mystical teaching. These teachings understand that embedded in sexuality's graphic detail is the holy, the wise, the sacred.

{quotes}The core of Spiritually Incorrect tantra is the realization that the sexual is more than a force to be merely controlled or merely indulged.{/quotes} Rather, the sexual-in all its power, intimacy, depth, pleasure and even in its maddeningly unsolveable difficulty-is the model for all spiritual wisdom. The goal of spiritual living is to become a lover and to engage all of life erotically. Sex is our most important guide, offering glimmerings of guidance which pave the way to enlightenment. Enlightenment is realized when one lives erotically in every facet of being.

One 13th century religious mystic said it most dramatically: "Whoever has not desired a woman is like an ass and even less than an ass, for it is from the sexual one understands divine service."

The God we believe in is the vitality of eros and the magnificence of all that is. The God we believe in is the force for healing and transformation in the world. This God clearly calls out to us that sex is the sacred.

Eros everywhere

Now remember, dear friend, we are not talking about sexual technique. Sexual technique can never make you a great lover. To be a great lover in all facets of your being, you must listen deeply to the simple, yet elegant spirit whisperings of the sexual. As Nietzsche said, "The degree and kind of man's sexuality reaches up into the topmost summit of his spirit."

Now what exactly is it that sex teaches us? The masters of Spiritually Incorrect view the sexual act itself as a great mystery which reflects all the deepest truths of existence. In the coming months, the aim of this column is to reveal these hidden truths.


-A Lover

This article was originally published on February 28, 2007.