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Celibacy, Sexuality and Spirituality

#104: Celibacy, Sexuality and Spirituality

Jacqueline Hellyer - Tuesday, August 19, 2014



In many religious and spiritual traditions, including mainstream Christianity, whose values permeate modern Western culture, sexuality has not been considered spiritual. Spirituality was seen as lofty and above the physical, so to be spiritual, closer to God, one had to reject the physical, and therefore the sexual.

Sexuality was seen as an unfortunate necessity for continuing the human species, so married people had to have sex, although with the implication that it wouldn’t be particularly enjoyable, one would be doing it to procreate. The truly spiritual, though, would be celibate.

Like most things to do with sexuality in the West, this is actually back to front.

Many, but not all, spiritually developed people do feel less like sex, just as they also feel less like food (or certain foods like meat or sugar or spices). So spiritual development can lead to a desire for celibacy. However, assuming the opposite is right - forcing people to be celibate - does not actually lead to people becoming more spiritual. In fact it can do the opposite. As history so often proves, prohibition focuses the desires on what’s not allowed, leading to compulsive, addictive behaviours.

You see, the reason why highly spiritual people often don’t feel the need for sex, is that they’re already in a state of bliss. As one Buddhist monk replied when asked how he coped without sex: “Why would I want sex when I’m coming all the time?”

So celibacy is quite a natural and desirable choice for spiritual people.

It’s not the only one though. You can be feeling the bliss and still engage in gorgeous love-making, which will encourage and increase the bliss.

What you will lose as you develop spiritually, though, is a craving for sex, especially the high-intensity, genital-focused sex that tends to be promoted as ‘good’ sex. Just as your body will no longer want foods that don’t nourish it, you won’t want sex that doesn’t nourish you.

As you develop spiritually, the type of sex you have will naturally evolve along with you. It will become an integral part of your life. You’ll feel sexual energy permeate your life. It won’t be sex separated from the rest of life, you will live life as sexual expression. If that includes actual genital engagement, that’s all well and good. If you find that physical sex is no longer part of your self-expression, that’s great too.

The important thing is that your sexuality, celibate or active, is a natural extension of your true expression of self.

Celibacy can be a desirable choice for spiritual people, but it's not the only 'right' one.




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