Sex, Guilt, and Spirituality

It’s difficult to get through a day without thinking about sex. That’s not a confession, but an observation of the world we live in. We are surrounded by messages pertaining to sex. I can’t help but think about sex when I go through the grocery line. Seductively dressed women stare at me from the magazine covers, and headlines blurt out messages about how to have “good” sex. Humans have taken something that is quite natural and turned it into something unnatural, an obsession. Sex is something to be treasured and enjoyed, a way to express and receive love, and a physiological and emotional need. Our perspective has become distorted by sex as obsession, and our obsession can ruin a good thing.

Sex is fiery. On one hand it offers qualities such as warmth, passion, and excitement. On the other, its misuse can burn you. For many, the solution is simple: just follow the rules. Religions of the world have given us rules, sometimes contradictory, that tell us to keep sex within the confines of marriage. Most of the people in the world haven’t followed this track. Extremist religious views on sex (sinful, forbidden, etc.) have helped to incite the desire for that which is forbidden, sinful, and therefore, exciting. The meanings we have attached to sex have created much inner conflict for us. Inner conflict creates pain and guilt.

Unfortunately guilt, or the promise of, has been utilized to keep people in line regarding their sexual behavior. Certainly the fear of being a “bad” person has held many people back, but there is a cost. There is always a cost when we use guilt to motivate people. Guilt is destructive and demeaning to one’s self. Guilt makes a person feel small. Those who feel guilty for sexually related activities find themselves either unable to enjoy sex fully, or seeking it out in order to make themselves feel better. Guilt is not an effective response to what you did or to what you were thinking about doing. If you have made a mistake, the questions are: “What did I learn from it? Who am I today?–rather than who was I then?”

This is where spirituality comes in. There is a nonphysical aspect of you–or rather, the physical is an aspect of the greater nonphysical you. What I am saying is that you are not a body–you are a spiritual being. You have a body and you have urges associated with it, such as sex. You also have an internal guidance system, which I believe is your spirit, that is available to you. It is very wise and it is life affirming. Through meditation, prayer, contemplation, or simply by listening to your “hunches”, you can get in touch with it. In the late sixties many lived a life of “If it feels good, do it.” What your Inner Self says is: “If it feels right, do it.”

This requires you to be field independent. That is, you must be focused on this Inner Voice so well that you are independent of the opinions around you. There may be numerous influences around you telling you what you should do, but you focus on the relevant details and decide from your own Inner Voice. That is field independence. Parents would certainly like their teenagers to be field independent, that is, free of peer pressure, especially when it comes to things like sex and drugs. When parents use guilt and admonition as their main weapons to keeping children in line, it is more likely children will become field independent toward only their parents.

When I am listening to my Inner Voice and focusing on the relevant details, I can make good decisions. If I am confronted with a decision regarding sex, I can ask: • Is this the right thing for me to do? • Can I accept responsibility for all of the potential consequences? • How will I feel about myself later? • Does this affirm my life and the life of those affected, or is it destructive?

Some of you may be thinking that asking a bunch of questions like this would certainly take the fun and spontaneity out of sex and romance. Not really. These questions become automatic when you live your life consciously and you are connected to your spirit. If you are paying attention, you feel the answer before you even ask.

We live in a conflicted world that offers us conflicted and false messages. Religion and family tell us to hold back in the name of morality. Most of the world tells us we must all be seeking sex in some form, and that you must have it to be okay. The truth is, sex, no matter how good it is, doesn’t make you happy. Good sex is more likely the result of already being happy. Happiness is an inside job that cannot be given to you by the world. When you are connected to your spirit and living authentically, you create happiness within. Your inner happiness then causes you to shape your world, your relationships, and yes, your sex life (if you decide to have one) so that it beautifully reflects the peace and the joy that you carry on the inside.