I have posted a new article for the Milwaukee Examiner titled “Sacred Sexuality”
Sexuality is too often something that is thought of as sinful and something to be ashamed of. Sexual liberation is equated with perversion, moral weakness, or even in some places, a psychological illness. The United States, with its socio-cultural values deeply rooted in sex negative Western European Christianity, has a problem with us enjoying and embracing our sexuality, especially, and almost specifically, for non-procreative means. This sexual repression is the cause of much guilt, self doubt, as well violent sexual crimes, especially against women, since they are the supposedly the cause of the fall of man in the Garden of Eden.
To those religions and spiritual movements who believe in the sacredness of sexuality you will find that they believe that our sexuality can be a tool of healing and spiritual enlightenment when used properly and with the right intentions. Embracing and enjoying our sexuality can be a spiritual and moving experience that allows love to prosper and healing to begin. Connecting with another human being in such an intimate way can foster great feelings of love, contentment, self-value, and confidence, as well as emotional stability. Those wonderful world altering sexual moments can be a powerful spiritual experience that can reinforce our faith with the creator and another person.
Sacred Sexuality in the Past
All of humanity was not historically always sex negative. If you look to the past at some non-Christian paths you will find that some other religions have found something divine or sacred in humanity’s sexuality. There was even a sacred sexual Christian movement as well.
In Biblical and pre-Biblical days in Egypt, Greece, and Mesopotamia, there were religious sects dedicated to Isis and Bast, Aphrodite, and Ishtar/Inanna and Asarte respectively (and others) that held sexuality sacred and whose temples had women and men that were what we refer to today as sacred prostitutes, even though that is arguably not the correct translation for their title and position. These sacred or temple prostitutes were priests or priestesses that were trained and specialized in sacred sexual religious rites, and the use of sexuality as a tool for healing and spiritual enlightenment. These sacred sexual priests and priestesses held a prestigious place in their societies for their knowledge and abilities. They revered sexuality as a method of healing, enlightenment, bonding and pleasure.
In early Christian times we had the Christian Gnostic movement, which was present in pre-Roman Emperor Constantine‘s conversion to Catholicism and pre-Saint Augustine Christianity (200’s A.D), and had a similar attitude towards sexuality as a sacred and visceral part of our faith. This path was lost when Catholicism was made the official religion of the Roman Empire by Emperor Constantine and they moved to stamp out all of the other Christian movements to solidify their position.
Modern Sacred Sexuality Movements
Gnosticism is a current, and very much unknown, sex positive Christian movement that concentrates on the Christian Gnostic Gospels of Thomas, Mary, and Philip which were found in Nag Hammadi, Egypt in 1945, These gospels mention the Bridal Chamber and its ability for man to transcend through our sexuality.
If you look outside modern Christianity there is also the Pagan/Wiccan paths which also hold sexuality as sacred and some sects do have sacred prostitutes as well. We also have the Tantric and Taoist movements who also revere sexuality in a very similar way. In todays sexually oppressive society you still have a few options to explore, grow, and heal spiritually via your sexuality.
In the past our sexuality was seen as thing of healing and enlightenment and as time passed and philosophical and religious movements went on, they have become more and more sex negative much to our detriment. Fortunately there are movements which have retained a sex positive mentality and spirituality. Shifting our thinking and socio-cultural norms to revere, embrace, and respect our sexuality instead of loathing it will only help us to solve some of our problems such as our high rates of divorce and violent sexual crimes, as well as to increase our spirituality.
For More Info See:
Sexuality and Christianity
- Historical Roots of Sexual Oppression
- Christian Sexual Morality: A House of Cards Built on Stoic Philosophies?
- Christianity and Sex (The Christian Digest)
Gnostic Bible (Nag Hammadi)
- Nag Hammadi (Wikipedia) or Nag Hammadi Library
- Gnostic Gospels (Wikipedia)
- Sexuality and the Sacred in Gnostic Literature
- Gnostic Christianity: The Sacrament of the Bridal Chamber
- Open Letter Gnostic Scholars
Sacred Sexuality or Prostitution
- Internet Sacred Text Archive: Sacred Sexuality
- Introduction to the New Holy Erotics
- Sacred Prostitution (Wikipedia)
- Sacred Prostitutes (Johanna Stuckey)
- The Whores of Babylon via the Temple of Ishtar