Think back to a blissful day or night of lovemaking. Hopefully, you experienced physical pleasure and emotional connection. Those are generally the reasons we desire sex.
However, you might have also experienced a sense of timelessness, unification of body, mind, and spirit, and at the time of orgasm, a loss of self. In fact, the French word for orgasm, la petite mort, translates to “little death.” We can consider it the death of the ego because, at that moment, you’re no longer focused on “I.” You weren’t worried about the bills that have to be paid, the dishes that need to be cleaned, or how you look naked. You got to experience pure consciousness. After, you may have basked in the afterglow as bliss and love permeated your entire being, feeling at one with yourself, your lover, and maybe even the universe.
Did that description remind you of anything else? To me, it makes me think about how it might feel to be spiritually awakened. Though sometimes these feelings may be brief, we can think of our sexual encounters as mini-enlightenment experiences. These glimpses of loving awareness give us an idea of how it feels to be fully embodied and connected to the universe.
Like meditation, prayer, and journaling, you can also make sex part of your spiritual practice. Your romantic encounters can be used as a path to create deeper intimacy with your lover, come back to your body, and get closer to the divine. Although sex with a partner is terrific, you don’t need a partner to enjoy the benefits of sex as a spiritual practice. In fact, even if you do have a partner, make sure you take some time for solo interludes to remind you that the most important relationship you have is the one with yourself.
Here are five ways to make sex a spiritual practice:
You’re an erotic being not because of how you interact with others in bed. You are erotic because of your relationship with the material world. We often think of foreplay as the time leading up to intercourse. Consider your life foreplay. Walk barefoot on the lawn and feel the sensation of your feet pressing into the soft earth. Linger in the bathtub enjoying a warm soak as the scent of lavender essential oils wafts in the room. Savor the taste of dark chocolate before swallowing. Smell the earthy aroma of your coffee before you take a sip. All of our experiences have the potential to be erotic. How you interact with nature and the world at large is likely how you will act in bed. Eroticism is the practice of slowing down and becoming aware.
Care for Your Temple
You’ve likely heard that phrase “your body is your temple” in regards to eating well or getting enough exercise. Maybe you’ve even shrugged it off as a bit too aspirational. Though according to ancient wisdom traditions like Ayurveda or Tantra, you really are divine and your body is holy. It’s both your sanctuary and vehicle while you’re here in this human form. With that in mind, consider how you care for your body. Are you careful with what you put into it? This includes food, substances, and even penises or vaginas. Do you engage in activities that strengthen you? Do you have sex with partners who have your best interest in mind? Treat your body as you would a church, temple, mosque, or another place of worship.
Create a Ritual
A ritual is an activity or action that we perform to connect with the divine. If your body is a temple, consider sex with your partner or by yourself a ritual. It’s an act of worship. Make it an offering to the divine. You can add elements such as candles, music, and incense. Sexual energy is the merging of our human form with pure consciousness or the divine. Sex as a ritual has long been performed to release fertile energy to the earth to encourage crops to grow. What is the energy you want to release?
Engage in Role Play
No, not doctor and patient (though you could do that too, just for fun). Consider you and your partner deities coming together to worship one another. How does it feel to be devoted to providing your partner with pleasure? How does it feel to be devoted upon? Through your coupling, notice the glimpses of awakening. You are present, authentic, vulnerable, spontaneous, and connected. Witness your true nature.
Meditate on Pleasure
Consider sex a meditation — an awareness of pleasure meditation. Rather than focusing on achieving orgasm, can you focus on giving and receiving pleasure with presence? Experiment with touches. Communicate with your partner about what turns you on. Look into each other’s eyes. If your mind starts to wander to kids, work, or bills, gently bring the focus back to the body. While experiencing pleasure in a particular spot in the body, see if you can grow it throughout your body — all the way to the crown of your head. Sex can be part of your spiritual practice to help you reconnect with your body, mind, and spirit. You create a connection with another that builds trust and intimacy, and lastly, you get closer to the divine. This helps raise your energy, elevate your mood, and give you a more positive outlook on life. Best of all, treating sex as a spiritual practice allows you to catch a glimpse of your genuinely awesome, vulnerable, ecstatic nature.
Several years ago, Lisa Marie Rankin left her job in the corporate world to pursue her passion for writing and teaching yoga, meditation, and spiritual concepts. Lisa Marie is also an Ayurveda wellness coach and helps women optimize their health by holistically caring for their bodies, minds, and spirits. She teaches women to reconnect with their bodies, prioritize, pleasure, and rely on their inner wisdom so they can become a goddess. Lisa Marie Rankin holds an MBA and MS from Bentley University. You can find her essays in Human Parts, a Medium publication. She lives right outside of Boston with her children, dog, and a flock of chickens. In her free time, she enjoys hiking, snorkeling, and spending time with Mother Nature.