Let’s talk about sacred sex, via the medium of delicious toast.
I don’t think bread is sacred. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t sacred to you. Some of you might do the church thing, for instance, where you kneel at the altar and the priest gives you either the literal body of Christ or something representative enough that to pop it in the toaster would be sacrilege. Judaism has some pretty cool sacred bread stuff too, if I remember right from R.E. classes. Or if you observe Ramadan and eat bread during iftar, then as you chew you might marvel in the wonder of what God does for you/is to you/means to you, and have a nice spiritual moment.
I don’t have a bread ritual, though – I tend to just toast it, butter it, then eat it standing up in the kitchen.
Roughly the same applies with sex.
Yesterday a friend of mine sent me a message someone had sent him in which someone talked about the magic – the sanctity – of sex. It wasn’t specific to any one religion, it just included a lot of spiritual stuff: sharing souls, the healing power of two people, the ‘connection’, ‘authentic purity’ and a few other nice buzzwords.
Sacred sex is fascinating
I find this stuff utterly fascinating, mostly because it falls so far from my experience that it’s like visiting a foreign country: similar but different. People still buy groceries, but they haggle for them in a market rather than get them from Tesco. They have unique greetings and customs and clothes. You might not suddenly wander in to a new country and immediately adopt all their customs, but it’s nice to sit in a café on a street corner and learn more.
A few years ago, at one of the Eroticon conferences, I went to a workshop about sex and spirituality. It was a writers’ group, so people were mostly focused on how to capture that feeling of sex as a sacred thing when they were writing erotica. There was a lot of discussion about explaining those feelings – the ‘healing’ nature of sex, or the ‘intense connection’ between two people who were spiritually intertwined.
I didn’t get it, but it was fun to listen. In the same way it’s fun to listen to someone who has a fetish that I don’t, or watch a film a friend has raved about – I get to experience something I wouldn’t otherwise through fresh eyes.
When sacred sex becomes a problem
Annoyingly, though, many of the people who view sex as sacred would also say that it can only be that. Sex, for them, is an intense connection between two people (and yes, I chose ‘two’ deliberately – most often ‘two’ is the number used despite the fact that excellent sex can be had with a bunch of people or on your own), and so that is how it should be for everyone.
The message my mate sent me included something along the lines of:
“If we fully understood the power of sexual energy we’d never have casual sex.”
Which is… well, bollocks. And it’s exactly as bollocks as me saying:
“If we fully understood how fun casual sex was, we’d never insist on emotional intimacy.”
Just as some people are never going to enjoy having a dirty fuck with a stranger, so others won’t ever ‘get’ the intense, deep, spiritual connection that sacred sex fans enjoy.
I don’t think I ever have.
Don’t get me wrong – I’ve felt really really strongly about some people. I’ve been trembling with desire, and hopelessly in love, and occasionally felt a wave of cathartic happiness rush through me when a guy I feel this way for places a hand roughly on one of my tits. But I don’t think I’ve ever felt spiritual about it. It’s not about a higher power: it’s about something inside me. Something much much lower down.
Anyone who likes sex is, to a certain extent, an evangelist for the kind of sex they like best. I’ve been guilty of sex evangelism, especially when I started blogging. I used to write posts about how I hated the idea of ‘making love’ or how everyone should enjoy spanking. Why guys should fuck me in exactly the way I wanted, and others should experiment with the kind of kinks I liked because they were just objectively more fun.
There’s an acronym in the kink community, presumably invented by someone with a healthy fetish for ridiculously long acronyms: YKINMKBYKIOK. Your Kink Is Not My Kink But Your Kink Is OK. Coined, I’m guessing, after far too many tedious discussions in which one person tried to explain why their kink was The Best And Only Way, and other kinksters were sick of rolling their eyes so hard they hurt.
But just as one particular kink – casual sex, splosh, plushophilia, whatever – is never going to float everyone’s boat, so sacred sex won’t do it for everyone either. If intimate connections and spirituality do it for you, that’s awesome. And I’m certainly not going to pop up in your bedroom to tell you to do it more casually any more than I run into my local church on Sundays and start telling them how to eat bread.
So by all means enjoy your spiritual connection, and the deep and meaningful bond you share when you fuck, just try not to evangelise about it as if it’s the only way. I appreciate that for people who are truly, hardline religious, asking them not to evangelise is impossible – they genuinely believe they’re saving my soul. But if you’re simply a spiritual fucker without a direct religious affiliation, then please beware of getting too evangelical.
It might sound right to you, because for centuries we’ve had an idea of sex twinned with morality, which insists that loving sex is more morally acceptable than sex that’s purely for physical pleasure. The religious people will continue believing it, but those of you who are spiritual but not religious can – hopefully – understand that sacred sex can also be a huge turn-off. For me it’s a genuine turn-off. Not something I need to learn to like, or open my heart to appreciate: just a kink that doesn’t do it for me. At all.
I no more need spirituality in my bedroom than Catholics need a toaster during mass.