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Sacred Sex URLs and Text

To: alt.magick.tantra,alt.magick.tyagi,alt.religion.sexuality,alt.magick.sex
From: nagasiva@luckymojo.com (nagasiva)
Subject: Sacred Sex URLs and Text
Date: 20 Apr 1999 00:27:02 -0700

[from http://members.tripod.com/~maenad/faq.html ]

                    The Sex and Spirituality F.A.Q.
                                   
     * What is the relationship between sex and spirituality?
       What is sacred sexuality?
     * What are the advantages of practicing sacred sexuality? What
       are the disadvantages?
     * What is the philosophy behind sacred sexuality?
     * What are the main traditions or schools of sacred sexuality?
     * How is sacred sexuality practiced today?
     * Do I have to give up my religion to practice sacred sex?
     * Do I need to have a partner to practice sacred sexuality?
     * Do I have to be promiscuous or have multiple partners to
       practice sacred sexuality?
     * How does polyamory fit into sacred sexuality?
     * Do I have to be heterosexual to practice sacred sexuality?
     * Are bondage and domination (B&D) or sadism and masochism
       (s&m) compatible with sacred sexual practice?
     * What is sex magic? And how is it different from sacred
       sexuality?
     * What kinds of techniques are utilized in sacred sexual
       practice?
     * What about passion and spontaneity? Do I have to give those
       up to practice sacred sexuality?
     * What is a whole-body orgasm?
     * How can I get started?
     ____________________________________________________________
   
   What is the relationship between sex and spirituality?
   
   Historically, sex and spirituality have been uneasy bedfellows --
   while some ancient religions did include sexuality in their
   rites, others sought to control sexuality, either by suppressing
   it or by severely limiting its expression. Most of the dominant
   religions in the world today are sex-negative, preaching the
   suppression of the sexual urge or the channeling of that urge
   into socially-acceptable forms (marriage as reproductive
   arrangements).
   
   Which ancient traditions chose to include sexuality as a
   spiritual act?
     * The Sumerians performed the Sacred Marriage, a union between
       a priestess of their goddess, Inanna, with a priest-king, as
       a means of obtaining the favor of this goddess for their
       cities. In Greece, this type of ritual sex was referred to as
       the Hieros Gamos; and evidence indicates that it was also
       practiced by the Egyptians in the cult of Isis up until the
       Roman era. Hints from various ancient sources indicate that a
       Hieros Gamos may have been part of the Eleusinian mysteries.
     * Sacred prostitution, a means by which men could visit temples
       and have sex with temple prostitutes in order to commune with
       a particular goddess, was practiced in numerous ancient
       Middle Eastern cultures, and in India up until the 1950s.
     * In India, the Tantric tradition, overseen by the god Shiva
       and his consort Kali/Parvati, continue for hundreds (possibly
       thousands) of years before being incorporated into Buddhism.
       Practitioners of Tantra seek enlightenment and union with the
       Divine through sexual rites and other forms of meditation and
       ritual.
     * After Tantra was brought to China by traveling monks, it was
       combined with Taoist philosophy and Chinese medical theory,
       and was used by those who sought to increase health and (in
       some cases) achieve physical immortality (through sexual
       techniques thought to prolong the vitality of the
       practitioner).
     * Some sects of early Christianity incorporated sexual rites
       into their religious practices; all of these sects were
       persecuted into extinction by the Roman Catholic Church once
       it was able to successfully consolidate its political
       standing as the sole religious institution of Europe.
       
   What is sacred sexuality?
   
   Sacred sexuality is a form of spirituality which sees sex as a
   means of experiencing or communing with the Divine. Sacred sex
   harnesses the power of sexuality for the purposes of accelerating
   personal transformation and enhancing spiritual growth. Sacred
   sexuality has been practiced throughout recorded history: in
   India, Tibet and China; and throughout the Middle East and
   Europe.
   
   Sacred sexuality is an ecstatic path -- its practitioners use sex
   as a means of inducing an ecstatic trance state which enhances
   their perception of the Divine and reduces or eliminates their
   sense of themselves as separate from the Divine.
   
   What are the advantages of sacred sexuality? What are the
   disadvantages?
   
   ADVANTAGES:
     * Increased vitality and health
     * Enhanced perception of the Divine in all aspects of your life
     * Intensification of pleasure, both sexual and otherwise
     * Deeper intimacy, not only in your romantic relationships, and
       but in all relationships
     * Release of negative conditioning
     * Deeper sense of communion with the Divine
       
   DISADVANTAGES:
     * Potential physical discomfort (sacred sex techniques increase
       the flow of energy through your body, and can aggravate
       existing physical conditions).
     * Potential emotional discomfort (sacred sex techniques require
       a great deal of honesty -- as you begin to explore your
       sexuality, you will be exploring your entire being --
       sexuality touches all areas of the psyche. Negative mental
       conditioning, repressed emotions, and spiritual weakness will
       be brought to the surface of your consciousness, where you
       will be forced to deal with them.)
       
   What is the philosophy behind sacred sexuality?
   
   Sacred sexuality is based on the philosophy of sensualism: the
   idea that enligthenment is reached not by retreating from the
   world, but by participating in it fully. Sensualists believe that
   the spiritual world is not separate from the physical world, but
   inherent within it -- that the Divine exists right here, right
   now. Sensualism suggests that we are here in the physical world
   to learn certain lessons, and that we learn those lessons through
   our experience of the physical world, which is also the world of
   the Divine.
   
   Sensualism contrasts with the philosophy of asceticism, which
   postulates that the spiritual world is separate from the physical
   world, and that one must turn one's attention away from the
   physical in order to perceive the spiritual. Most of the world's
   major religions are primarily ascetic: Christianity, Judaism,
   Islamic, Buddhism. However, the philosophies of sensualism and
   asceticism can be seen as complementary: it is possible to
   incorporate both sensual and ascetic techniques into your
   spiritual path.
   
   Sensualism also differs from hedonism -- hedonism is a
   materialistic philosophy which does not recognize the Divinity
   that is inherent in the material: hedonism is a philosophy of
   consumerism, in which the individual is encouraged to indulge in
   material pleasures simply for the sake of indulgence.
   
   What are the main traditions or schools of sacred sexuality?
   
   The two most widely-practiced traditions of sacred sexuality are:
     * The tradition which is based on Tantra, an Indian religion
       which incorporates ritual sex into its practices. Tantra was
       eventually incorporated into Buddhism to form Tantric
       Buddhism, but in most cases the ritual sex was eliminated,
       and only the symbolism of sexual union as a metaphor for
       union with the Divine was retained.
     * The tradition which is based on Taoist alchemy, a Chinese
       spiritual system which evolved after Tantra was brought to
       China (through Tibet). Taoist alchemy is a combination of
       Taoism and Tantric sexual practices, many of which have been
       modified and added to by Chinese practitioners throughout the
       centuries.
       
   Neither Tantra nor Taoist alchemy are limited to sexual practice
   -- they are spiritual systems which include sexual techniques as
   part of a larger spiritual practice.
   
   How is sacred sexuality practiced today?
   
   Today there are many different schools of sacred sexuality. Some
   are based on Tantric teachings, others on Taoist teachings; some
   combine techniques from both traditions, and others are even more
   eclectic, drawn from a variety of other traditions and from their
   founders' personal experience. Sacred sexuality today is taught
   in a number of ways: as a tool for healing sexual trauma and
   awakening sensuality, as a way to deepen intimacy and strengthen
   relationships, as a path to enlightenment and
   self-transformation, and as a key to communion with the Divine.
   Sacred sexuality can be used to achieve each of these goals;
   understanding what you want from sacred sexuality will make it
   much easier to find sources which will teach you to apply sacred
   sexual techniques to your goal (or goals).
   
   Do I have to give up my religion to practice sacred sex?
   
   No. Although the sacred sexual techniques which have survived to
   the present day were developed within particular religious
   contexts (Tantra and Taoism), they can be used to open your
   consciousness to all forms of Divinity. How you incorporate
   sacred sexual technique into your own spiritual path is a
   personal choice, and you are free to practice in whatever manner
   you are most comfortable.
   
   However, if you currently participate in a religion which is
   sex-negative (i.e. which teaches that sex is evil, sinful,
   immoral, wrong, or intended for reproductive purposes only), you
   may experience some difficulty integrating your experiences with

   sacred sexuality into your primary belief system. You may also
   have some mental conditioning around the subject of sex which
   will make your practice of sacred sexuality more difficult.
   Sacred sex will encourage you to re-evaluate what you have been
   taught about sex in the past, and will lead you to a new
   understanding of the relationship between sexuality and
   spirituality. Unless you firmly believe that sex and spirituality
   are mutually exclusive (and if you do, you probably aren't
   reading this FAQ), you should be able to incorporate sacred sex
   into your existing religious background.
   
   Do I need to have a partner to practice sacred sexuality?
   
   Sacred sexuality can be practiced either alone or with a partner
   -- ultimately, the techniques are designed to help you achieve a
   state of balance within yourself, as well as in your
   relationships with others and with the Divine. Many of the
   techniques can be performed just as effectively by a single
   individual, using self-stimulation as a means for generating and
   raising sexual energy. In fact, even if you do have a partner,
   it's a good idea to practice these techniques on your own as
   well:
     * Individual practice increases your own sensitivity to energy
       and your own ability to control its movement through your
       body.
     * Individual practice allows you to learn new techniques more
       quickly, without the distraction of a partner.
     * Individual practice allows you to maintain your own ideal
       state of health, sexual and otherwise, without relying on a
       partner.
     * Individual practice can make it easier for you to tune into
       your own inner experience, making it easier for you to work
       on achieving internal balance.
       
   Do I have to be promiscuous or have multiple partners to practice
   sacred sexuality?
   
   No. Although some ancient texts recommend promiscuity as a means
   of achieving detachment from one's sexual partners (as well as
   from the rest of the physical world), it is not necessary to do
   so in order to practice sacred sexuality -- these techniques can
   also be practiced effectively within the context of a committed,
   monogamous relationship.
   
   How does polyamory fit into sacred sexuality?
   
   Polyamory and monogamy are both compatible with the practice of
   sacred sexuality. It is not the type of relationship you have in
   sacred sex, but the quality of the relationship(s). Practicing
   sacred sex with a partner requires a great deal of trust and
   commitment. Some people find these qualities in monogamy, and
   some find them in polygamy: what is most important is that you be
   dedicated to furthering your own spiritual growth and the growth
   of your partner(s), and that you be able to recognize the spark
   of Divinity within your partner(s).
   
   Do I have to be heterosexual to practice sacred sexuality?
   
   No. Gays, lesbians, and bisexuals can practice sacred sexuality
   -- the techniques of sacred sex are focused on the movement of
   energy through the body, and the sharing of energy between
   partners -- the gender of the body (or bodies) involved is not
   nearly as important as the strength of the energetic polarities
   within and between practitioners. These energetic polarities
   sustain the flow of energy during sacred sex (and in the rest of
   life as well), creating the conditions which allow you to achieve
   ecstatic communion with the Divine.
   
   Non-heterosexuals may experience some frustration with the
   available books and other materials which teach sacred sex, as
   both Tantra and Taoist alchemy developed in societies whose
   gender roles were rigidly defined, and most texts today assume
   that the practitioners will be heterosexual. Many texts even warn
   against homosexuality, but this is a cultural bias which was
   transferred to the sacred sexual traditions, not a spiritual
   truth. Extended practice of sacred sexuality strengthens both the
   traditionally masculine and feminine qualities -- androgyny, a
   state of wholeness within the psyche, is one of the end results
   of sacred sexual practice.
   
   Are bondage and domination (B&D) or sadism and masochism (s&m)
   compatible with sacred sexual practice?
   
   Bondage and domination and sadism and masochism can be
   incorporated into sacred sex, if you so desire. Both of these
   styles of lovemaking can be used to induce and/or strengthen an
   ecstatic trance. This is a matter of personal choice.
   
   What is sex magic? And how is it different from sacred sexuality?
   
   Sex magic is a subset of sacred sexuality, and incorporates many
   of the traditional techniques of sacred sexuality into magical
   practice as a means of raising energy which can then be channeled
   into a magical working. Sex magical workings can be directed
   towards achieving union with the Divine, accelerating personal
   transformation, or achieving goals within the physical world.
   
   What kinds of techniques are utilized in sacred sexual practice?
   
   Some of the techniques used in sacred sexual practice include:
     * Meditation
     * Visualization
     * Chanting of mantras (phrases which are repeated over and over
       again while the practitioner is in a meditative state)
     * Gazing on yantras (geometric designs in which various
       deity-forms are thought to dwell)
     * Chakra work
     * Massage
     * Prayer
     * Specific patterns of breathing
     * Contraction of the PC and anal muscles to retain energy and
       to circulate it within the body
     * Specific sexual positions
     * Rhythmical thrusting (the male performsa specific number of
       thrusts, with a particular timing, repeated a certain number
       of times)
       
   What about passion and spontaneity? Do I have to give those up to
   practice sacred sexuality?
   
   Many beginners find it difficult to concentrate on specific
   techniques while they are having sex -- after all Western society
   treats sex as oneof the few times in your life where you are
   supposed to "lose control". Sacred sexuality, on the other hand,
   requires that you gain precise control over you body: the
   techniques are designed to help you harness the energies of sex
   in new and unfamiliar ways. In the short term, this new physical
   discipline may decrease your ability to enjoy sex, because
   practicing a special breathing technique or counting the number
   of thrusts is distracting you from the pleasurable sensations.
   (This is one of the reasons why it's a good idea to practice
   these techniques by yourself, during self-stimulation, before you
   use them with a partner -- it gives you greater control over the
   type of distraction you will be learning to overcome.)
   
   Once mastered, however, sacred sexual technique increases your
   pleasure tremendously by slowing down the sexual cycle and
   allowing you and your partner to remain in the arousal stage much
   longer -- a necessary condition for experiencing the whole-body
   orgasm. The techcniques also teach you how to expand the energies
   of the orgasm and to direct them upward throughout your entire
   body, inducing a state of bliss in which it is possible to
   commune with the Divine.
   
   When you first start, you may feel a little bit frustrated or
   distracted -- don't worry about it. Just keep practicing the
   techniques until they are second nature. Ideally, the more you
   practice on your own, the more easily you will learn to use them
   successfully with a partner.
   
   What is a whole-body orgasm?
   
   During "normal" sex, you experience what is referred to as a
   genital orgasm: an orgasm in which the sensations are centered
   primarily in your genitals, and which usually last only a few
   seconds. The energy which you raised during sex is dissipated
   when you experience a genital orgasm -- this is why many people
   feel drained immediately after sex.
   
   A whole-body orgasm, on the other hand, is an orgasm in which the
   energy of orgasm is drawn up from the genitals into the rest of
   the body, and the sacred sex practitioner learns to prolong the
   experience of orgasm for minutes or even hours. In the whole-body
   orgasm, the energy raised is not immediately dissipated, but is
   retained and remains available to the practitioner, leaving them
   feeling revitalized and alert.
   
   There are a variety of techniques through which sacred sex
   practitioners learn to experience the whole-body orgasm (see What
   kinds of techniques are utilized in sacred sexual practice?).
   There is no single technique which you can use to force your body
   to have a whole-body orgasm -- everyone's body is different, and
   you will need to experiment with various techniques (and
   combination of techniques) to learn which work for you.
   
   How can I get started?
   
   There are many books and videotapes available to those interested
   in the study of sacred sexuality, and a number of instructors
   offering workshops and/or personal instruction in various
   systems. Below, you will find some resources to help you get
   started.
   
   BOOKS
   
   These are a few books to get you started -- this list is far from
   complete. Detailed reviews of many of these books (and others)
   can be seen at http://members.tripod.com/~maenad/reviews.html.
   
   Jewel in the Lotus: The Sexual Path to Higher Consciousness, by
   Sunyata, Saraswati and Bodhi Avinasha.
   
   Sexual Energy Ecstasy: A Practical Guide to Lovemaking Secrets of
   the East and West, by David and Ellen Ramsdale.
   
   Sexual Secrets: The Alchemy of Ecstasy, by Nik Douglas and Penny
   Slinger.
   
   Sacred Sexuality: Living the Vision of the Erotic Spirit, by
   Georg Feuerstein.
   
   Sex, Magick and Spirit: Enlightenment Through Ecstasy, by Bonnie
   L. Johnston and Peter L. Schuerman.
   
   The Chinese Sexual Yoga Classics, Including Women's Solo
   Meditation Texts, trans. Douglas Wile.
   
   The Art of Sexual Ecstasy: The Path of Sacred Sexuality for
   Western Lovers, by Margo Anand.
   
   INSTRUCTORS:
   
   If you decide to seek an instructor, it is important that you
   select one who is compatible with your goals and your style of
   learning. Don't be afraid to interview the instructor before
   committing to classes, and to check the instructor's references.
   You can also speak to students who have taken classes with the
   instructor already, to get a better idea of how the instructor
   teaches and what you will be learning from him or her.
   
   For a listing of instructors, see:
   http://www.newhoo.com/Society/Sexuality/Tantra/Instructors/.
   
   WEBSITES AND OTHER ONLINE RESOURCES:
   
   You'll find a wide variety of resources by searching in various
   search engines using the keywords "tantra", "tantric", and
   "sacred sex".
   
   For an annotated directory of online resources (always being
   updated!), see http://www.newhoo.com/Society/Sexuality/Tantra/.
   
   Subscription information for the Sacred Sexuality Mailing List
   and Tantra Personals can be found at
   http://members.tripod.com/~maenad/.
   
   --revised 8/15/98
     ____________________________________________________________
  
	Copyright Bonnie L. Johnston, 1998
 
EOF

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