MODERN PRACTICES OF SACRED SEXUALITY
(Excerpt from: Sacred Sexuality–A Manual for Living Bliss by: Michael Mirdad)
The model of modern sacred sexuality has the same theme, or goal, as its predecessors, but with two primary differences. First, today’s arts of sacred sex are a melting pot, or synthesis, of the more ancient practices. Second, because of the prevalence of sexual abuse and generations of sexual repression, the future for practicing true sacred sexuality includes a greater emphasis on sexual issues and healing. This healing is necessary to make room within a person’s being for a greater quantity and higher quality of energetic ecstasy.
In an age when people believe that “more is better,” it’s no wonder men and women obsess over shallow levels of sexual relations and feel pressured to have orgasms, or even multiple orgasms. Yet, people actually need to move in the opposite direction–slow down, relax, and heal the inhibitions, fears, and traumas causing the constrictions that prevent the fullest release and best experience possible. To experience the most profound levels of sexual ecstasy, the practitioner must be willing to release, even if only temporarily, the drive for explosive orgasms and surrender to a quest for self-discovery and healing.
Additionally, in modern times, with so much information available on sexuality, there is a growing eclectic approach to sacred sex. People are able to pick and choose the best from all of the ancient arts of sexuality. There is also a growing use of the sexual arts for healing, especially for issues like sexual abuse. Consequently, as people heal, they begin to experience themselves and others differently.
The sexual healing process involves learning the difference between healthy (spiritually-centered) and unhealthy (ego-centered) sexual encounters. For example, there are numerous characteristics that differentiate an ego-centered encounter from a sacred sexual one. The former involves a search for pleasure and the fulfillment of a sense of lack, while the latter is based on sharing of expansiveness, freedom, and unconditional love. The ego-centered encounter involves judgment, control, and selfish agendas. It’s motivated by the need to capture and possess a desired person (or object) who eventually becomes unfulfilling, which leads to the search for yet another person (or object). However, in a spiritual encounter, all relationships are seen as mirrors of the self, while the heart remains open to freely express and receive love without possessiveness. This freedom creates a feeling of inner peace and fills the body with trembling vibrations or waves of energy. Ultimately, each new (spiritually focused) sexual encounter is a fresh and loving experience that reflects the presence of the whole universe.
“Love is the secret key; it opens the door to the divine. Laugh, love, be alive, dance, sing, become a hollow bamboo and let His song flow through you.”
–Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh
Although no single set of guidelines for practicing sacred sexuality is right for everyone, some common principles include the following:
1. Sex is one of the most powerful manifestations of intimacy and love.
2. The most profound experience of sex begins with individual self-awareness and healing.
3. Safety is a crucial part of an intimate, ecstatic experience.
4. Foreplay is an important part of intimacy and should begin with an awareness of your partner’s body and needs.
5. Sacred sexuality means paying more attention to prayer, meditation, environment, aromas, music, breathing, clothing, and intimate contact (smiling, kissing, gazing, biting, tickling, and touching).
6. Sex is not the goal in sacred sexuality–love is!
7. Orgasms are not the goal of sacred sex, so relax and enjoy all feelings.
8. Sacred sexuality can enhance all sensations, including orgasms.
9. When approaching an orgasm, you can choose to experience various levels of ecstatic release. There are physical orgasms (e-jaculations) and energetic orgasms (in-jaculations), as well as emotional, mental, and soul-level (total-being) orgasms.
Most sex therapists are trained counselors specializing in human sexuality and are not “sex surrogates,” which is another field of sexual healing. Nevertheless, because sex therapy involves a subject with such fear-based stigma, it bares the burden of controversy. For some people, sex therapy can be an invaluable way of accessing and dealing with sexual issues–potentially to a point of resolution.
A sex therapist is also an educator who is usually well informed on the subject of human sexuality. The treatment routine varies from person to person but generally includes education concerning human sexuality, as well as specific sexual exercises recommended as homework. The education and exercises are prescribed to the client and partner (if applicable) to help them reprogram their minds and bodies concerning the subject of sexuality.
Sex therapy is often sought out by individuals who suffer from such forms of sexual dysfunction as addiction and inhibitions. It is also sought out to resolve sexual issues between partners. The most common themes addressed in sex therapy are the lack of sexual arousal, the inability to reach orgasm, and the inability to orgasm during intercourse.
To treat a lack of arousal, the sex therapist usually first prescribes specific techniques for awakening the body using energy massages with as little sexual contact as possible. Then, therapy progresses to contact exercises that stimulate the entire body with touch, kisses, and massage, while focusing on each of the sensations experienced. This phase can progress to playful genital contact, but without pressure to go further. When the client is ready, he or she is urged to practice oral pleasuring to whatever degree is acceptable. The goal is to allow any fears or inhibitions to surface and pass or be re-programmed. Eventually, the client is urged to attempt intercourse with their partner, even if in limited stages.
To treat a client who is unable to have an orgasm, the sex therapist attempts to remove the client’s tendency to unconsciously override the orgasmic reflex. Therapy includes accessing whatever issues are causing the mind to shut down the body’s response. The treatment for such orgasmic dysfunctions includes teaching the client to relax as much as possible during sex and to recognize subtle signs of pre-orgasm. The client is urged to become aware of his or her responses if and when orgasmic sensations arise. For example, he or she might experience a tensing of muscles, a desire to leave the body, feelings of fear, and/or physical discomfort. Once these bodily clues are revealed, the therapist has a map of the terrain that needs to be explored, which is why sex therapy so often produces positive results.
As previously mentioned, sexual therapy is a valid technique for healing sexually related issues. However, it is but the first in at least three forms of sexual healing.
All forms of sexual healing are effective for balancing and healing the “root chakra” or pelvic region–areas that often hold sexual shame. Yet, despite the success of all types of sexual healing, some styles (such as sex surrogates) are still frowned upon by many so-called “open-minded” healers and therapists. Therefore, getting hands-on assistance with these kinds of issues is relatively difficult, since there are very few therapists who are trained in this field and are willing to enter the realm of one of humanity’s greatest taboos.
In most cases, there are three phases of sexual healing, which should follow this order:
1) Sex Therapy (counseling)
2) Contact (hands-on) Therapy
3) Sacred Sexuality (such as Tantra).
As mentioned, the most widely accepted form of sexual healing is the first phase–sex therapy–that actually resembles psychotherapy and mostly involves conversation, exercises and homework related to the client’s particular sexual issues.
The second phase of sexual healing is a more radical stage, which includes the hands-on approach of sex surrogates. Sex surrogates are usually not licensed and are rarely acknowledged and accepted by the more mainstream professionals. Nevertheless, they play a potentially valid role in the goal of sexual healing. A trained sex therapist might verbally teach a man who suffers from premature ejaculation how to deal with the fears that lead to this problem. A sexual surrogate, on the other hand, might work with a man who suffers from premature ejaculation and show him how to prevent this problem by learning specific techniques while having sex with the therapist or surrogate. Both systems are valuable and effective, but merely take different approaches. Although it’s often the case that the latter approach can lead to quicker breakthroughs, it can also stray into dangerous terrain when there may be unknown, underlying problems that a trained counselor is more prepared to deal with.
If there is any concern about potential sexual issues, inhibitions and/or abuse, the counseling phase should be experienced first. Then, the individual should move into the second, or contact phase, which might include physical bodywork, sensual massage, and even exercises in arousal.
The third phase of sexual healing is the practice of some type of sacred sexuality. Although many individuals might prefer to jump right into the third form of sexual healing (such as Tantra), which could be seen as the blissful phase arising from having done thorough work in the other two stages, it’s best to experience the initial two stages of sexual healing first. The initial steps of healing should reveal any personal issues concerning sexuality that need to be addressed, which, if ignored, could trigger greater trauma.
These various forms of sexual healing are not as rare as might be imagined. Sexual healing can be defined as “awakening a person’s desire to feel alive and/or awakening the sensual self, but without the usual shame or hidden agendas.” On a smaller scale, it’s similar to a healer or therapist who offers a client unconditional love and acceptance, activating a deep potential for healing. It’s also similar to performing a “random act of kindness” and not being attached to the outcome. In a broad sense, you offer a type of sexual healing whenever you give a compliment or appreciate someone’s value, because in all such cases you are assisting to activate a person’s will to live–potentially blissfully.
Sexual healing can assist to release trauma, restore normal sexual functions, and release unhealthy inhibitions and shame. It can also encourage self-esteem, and awaken unconditional love and self-worth–physically, emotionally, and spiritually. As we individually heal these restricting issues, we do so for all humanity.
Ultimately, if a person can find the courage to walk through the gauntlet of sexual healing, the rewards are countless and far-reaching. While the time it takes to heal varies for each person, the ultimate goal for all of us is to experience and integrate (1) a union with God, (2) a union within our own being (mind, body, and soul), and (3) potentially a union with partners.