The Sacredness of Sexuality … Is Sex Sacred?

What a topic! Well let’s start by defining what I mean by sacred. Sacred means something that is special, important, worthy of respect, pure … not a toy or something to be taken lightly. No, I’m not going to get all preachy or religious on you, but some of what I say is inspired by a theological seminar I attended on the weekend about just this topic. I went partly because I was curious and partly because I knew the organizer. Although I didn’t agree with a lot of it, I did find it quite informative and it gave me a lot of food for thought. So like I said, I won’t be talking in religious terms, but, there might be some theological undertones.

In general however, most major religions do consider sex a sacred thing between two people, typically married people. I won’t get into details, but pre-marital sex is generally forbidden. This also translates to cultural taboos as well. Things are slowly changing on the cultural fronts, however, there hasn’t been a shift in thought on the religious front. Sex has always been a holy and sacred thing not to be used as a “toy” (even though in practice it was and still is a different story). Essentially, sexual behavior is directly related to the morality of the individual. Makes sense, morality is what guides our actions (whether we are moral individuals or not). If you want to read more about each religion and their beliefs this is a pretty good source Religion and Sexuality.

In the latest issue of Psychology Today, their cover article 12 Rude Revelations About Sex (which is definitely worth a read) had this to say about what religions know about sex that we don’t:

“Only religions still take sex seriously, in the sense of properly respecting its power to turn us away from our priorities. Only religions see it as something potentially dangerous and needing to be guarded against. Perhaps only after killing many hours online at youporn.com can we appreciate that on this one point religions have got it right: Sex and sexual images can overwhelm our higher rational faculties with depressing ease. Religions are often mocked for being prudish, but they wouldn’t judge sex to be quite so bad if they didn’t also understand that it could be rather wonderful.”

According to religion, is sex sacred? Yes it is. OK religious stuff done. Let’s get to the real talk …

Is Sex Sacred?

What a loaded question!! Well, not really. Let’s put religion aside for a moment and think of sacred as something special and significant. So put that way, would you say that sex should be something that is special and significant? I would say a big YES. Why? Well, I’ll tell you. Sex has lost its special nature. I truly believe that in this culture of casual, unemotional sex, hook ups and booty calls, sex has lost its importance. So many people are getting hurt because sex is being misused. This isn’t an argument for or against pre-marital sex, it’s an argument to make sex special again. If it’s two consenting adults it doesn’t really matter, or does it? Well, I think it does, particularly since a lot of people are getting hurt because of it. Let me explain.

is sex sacredIn the search for intimacy and closeness, we tend to reach out to others in different ways. The desire for closeness with others is part of our humanity. Nothing at all wrong with that. Where it becomes a problem is when people use sex in a non-committal way to get close to other people because they don’t feel fulfilled. The thing is, these casual encounters, instead of fulfilling their need for intimacy, typically make them feel more alone and, in many cases, used. The emptiness remains and it’s joined by feelings of regret and sometimes guilt. This is the reality that many men and women face. I know this because I’ve spoken to many people who have had this experience, and, let’s face it, we’ve ALL been there. Some people are truly capable of having unemotional, purely physical sex, but most people aren’t. This is the reality of the current dating climate.  I’ve asked you before … who’s in control? You or your sex drive?

Food For Thought

I’m not here to judge or make anyone feel bad. I’m a bit on the fence too. Just wanted to put it out there as a thought. What if we restricted our sex lives to committed relationships? Could we avoid a lot of hurt and feeling used? What if we didn’t have sex on the first date? What if we didn’t answer that booty call? What if we made sex with our partners special? What if sex was about making that connection with someone even deeper? What if sex was about our partner’s pleasure and happiness before our own? What if sex was uniting two human beings into one? What if infidelity wasn’t an issue because sex was sacred? Is anyone ready to make a 180 degree turn back to making sex sacred again? Because isn’t the best sex that which you have with someone you truly care about, maybe even love? Food for thought.

Would love your thoughts and discussion in the comments! Please Note: No comment that is disrespectful to me or people’s religious beliefs will be approved. Thank you.

Your Sister in Dating Bliss,

Single Dating Diva

23 thoughts on “The Sacredness of Sexuality … Is Sex Sacred?

  1. Enjoyed your article ….I THINK very much like you. Me & my husband were each other’s 1st… we’ve been together 31 yrs so far….met him when I was 15 ….we dated for years but held off on the intercourse, it was just something I promised myself from a young age… due to seeing my mother use sex so casually with a variety of men, she lost any belief in love for herself and had a very difficult life as a result. We’ve talked about this…she’s told me because of her experiences….. that it came to mean “NOTHING” to her.

    I couldn’t be further from my own mother in my views/ how I have lived…….I believe in being best friends / commitment entangled before I would allow a man to enter me…. sex = forever for me….. I hold the “Romantic View” .(explained below)…. We actually waited till our wedding night for intercourse… we have no regrets… this is not to say we didn’t enjoy ourselves in other ways though, we did.

    This would be a great book to explore “Bringing Sex into Focus – the Quest for Sexual integrity” that explains the 6 sexual lenses people look through in our world today…(Covenantal , Procreative, Romantic, Plan Sex, Power view and Expressive)….
    because so often expectations/ our views are so different ….hurt and misunderstanding is often the result.

    Communication is key, but when it is casual, this just doesn’t happen….so the aftermath takes something away….little by little we learn to NOT be vulnerable, bonding is against the rules many times…and low and behold, it can become a “lifestyle” of HABIT…so when one does find one who may / could be a suitable match… the difficulty then is – letting the “emotional” flow as it should.

    I hold the Romantic View of sexuality …. from your article you do also… explained here “Sex should be reserved for those who are deeply in love with the strings of emotional attachment/commitment. Loveless sex is not appropriate, People should be sexually faithful as long as love lasts. Those who hold the romantic view often talk in terms of sex as sacred, as a Gift to be preserved & given to someone of profound significance.

    Romantic view holds that sex should be connected with a thirst for deep psychological & bodily knowledge, Mutually reciprocated gift-giving & intimacy are it’s purpose.

    The feeling of being in love is a feeling that one’s beloved is an irreplaceable soul mate.

    Complications arise, however, when romantic feelings do not last or when someone who has made a commitment to sexual exclusivity finds himself or herself in love with someone else.

    The romantic view emphasizes interpersonal intimacy, but sees the duration of commitment as contingent. Commitment lasts for as long as romantic love lasts. But commitment is a must. A one-time encounter with a stranger may be consensual -but it would not be appropriate for those who hold the Romantic view.”

  2. Pingback: The Sacredness of Sexuality … Is Sex Sacred? « How Long You Should Wait

  3. Pingback: Sex Is What’s Wrong With Dating | Single Dating Diva

  4. Great perspective!

    I find great sex to be stimulating, intimate, powerful, and rewarding. It is a special occurrence between two people. However, I only see it as sacred if the persons involved are committed to one another. Otherwise, it’s more for mutual satisfaction, as opposed to solidifying a bond. Remove the relationship from it and sex can only “go so far” in terms of genuine intimacy. It’s sad, but true. Also, the reality is you’re not going to extensively date everyone you have sex with, so I say enjoy the carefree encounters when you experience them.

  5. Definitely a lot of food for thought! Where to begin? Ok, I do believe that sex is a physical act and that individuals place our own values, expectations, and relevance on the act. IN reality sex is an intimate act but does not always = intimacy. I think the value or worth the act of sex has is defined by the individual and can change across partners, time of your life, or personal experience. So, with that said, I think sex can be “very special” but to place the label of “sacred” on sex, in my opinion, is harmful. It elevates the act of sex to a higher level that transcends and ignores basic human desires/needs. By labeling sex sacred, it is easier to invite judgments and unrealistic expectations; which typically land at the feet of women…not men! I see the perspective and appreciate those who choose to live their life that way but do not appreciate those who judge me for the way I choose to live mine. As for acknowledging and respecting “your sacred space”, that is truth. But I look at that from the perspective of keeping yourself emotional and physically safe and making the choice to allow someone to enter because of your willingness and on your terms…not because of any external pressures or expectations. Thank you for another wonderful read!

  6. Can we really have proper reverence for sex when we’re taught through our lives to view sex and the human body as shameful things? Think about how much violence children are exposed to in their lives. TV, commercials, games, music lyrics, the nightly news, and (disturbingly often) violence in the home. Contrast that to the outrage and vitriol caused by half a second of Janet Jackson’s nipple during a halftime show. Or how about the nonsense that comes out of parents when they find out their teenagers have begun exploring their sexuality with pictures and videos? We tend to internalize these messages at an early age, so how exactly can we develop healthy attitudes toward sex?

    • 100% well said – this is the start of a very good conversation that almost no one will entertain – I can listen to all viewpoints and of course do not agree with them all – but the one thing I find so cowardly and weak and self-disrepecting is hypocrisy!! (and I’m sure I’m guilty of it too in different ways). Lying to others is one thing but lying to yourself – how self-hating is that? Again – nice point made – Thank you for posting!

    • Let me add to my previous comment. I think sex has exactly one attribute that is special: the ability to create a life. Outside of that, it’s just an activity performed by 2 or more people that can provide physical pleasure. So no, I don’t think sex has lost any ‘specialness’ because I don’t think it’s ever had any special attributes other than creating life.

      What will make sex ‘special’ (in the context of this article) to me is the level of emotional connectedness and vulnerability between the participants. If you know yourself, are comfortable with yourself, and love yourself enough to drop all the barriers and be fully open and vulnerable with your partner, that’s when sex is truly special.

      I’d say that casual sex and emotional sex are both good, as long as you know exactly what you’re getting into at the time and it fits your needs (and the same things apply to the person you’re doing it with). If you’re doing one or the other and not feeling like it was worth it or fulfilling, then you likely should spend some time reflecting on where your emotional state really is and what you really want.

  7. I believe that sex has lost its specialness and reduced most humans back to their animal nature of just being an act with no emotions. Pleasure is short lived and often leaves one or both parties feeling empty. Being intimate requires trust and the ability to allow oneself to be vulnerable that applies to men and women. Whilst sex before marraige is a religious ideal, there is something to be said for waiting or as in the day of my parents ‘courting’!!! Builds anticipation, allows you to really see if you genuinely like someone or if it is just a hormonal overload, its great as a woman when a man is chasing, its great for men to pursue and as women we get to value ourselves and dare I say it, exercise some quality control. In sanskrit the term for vagina is Yoni which means sacred space – choose wisely who you allow to enter yours!!

    • Sacred Space. Well, I guess that about sums it up. So now, for each, the line between Sacred and Desecrated…therein lies the personal conviction, character, and the answer…well – at least now we know why Single Dating Diva wins Blog Awards. Well done. Well done.

  8. I think there is a lot to be said to having sex with other people before marriage just because then you have something to compare when you do meet Ms or Mr Right for want of a better word…..you need to sample a wide variety of different flavors and er, cuisines. I don’t really know if sex is sacred. To a large extent I find it to be a biological need like eating although there is a lot to be said for doing it with someone you love. But it can also be fun to do it as the equivalent of a quick snack like an Egg McMuffin!

    • Thanks Emma! I don’t think it’s an issue of sex before marriage as much as it’s an issue of sex being off the charts in terms of casualness. Perhaps we need to find somewhere in between?

  9. I think if the “sex” act itself keeps being given so freely, without any special meaning other than the sake of getting laid…then yeah, it’s definitely going to lose any meaning, intimacy, and specialness. It used to be that sex was the defining moment of being exclusive and that next step to a promising relationship. Now, it seems anyone and everywhere is ok, so that leaves less self respect, less dignity, and less trust. Mind you…the odd one night stand is warranted, everyone has an urge to just “get off”, The matter of sexy, exhilarating, anticipation and building up to the moment of being intimate with some for the first time in your relationship should be amazing! But it’s now gone…that “special moment” now leaves you feeling empty, when it should have left you feeling special, important and satisfied. :)

  10. Hey Suzie!

    Great post and I’m on the fence as well. Sex is only as sacred as the feelings we have for our partner. I’ve had great sex with people I can’t even remember and I’ve had embarrassing sex with women I have been totally head over heels for. (My GF including.)

    I think that sex shouldn’t be labelled as something even when you’re in a serious relationship. All sex has to be is FUN. :)

  11. Hey Suzie,

    Special? Yes. Sacred? No.

    I think it is as dangerous to put sex on a pedestal as it is to cheapen it. I think that sex between two people that know each other well and are in a committed relationship is far more rewarding than a one night stand, but at the same time I think the idea of no sex before marriage is absurd.

    Just my 2 cents!

    Cheers,

    Tom

  12. As always, a thought provoking, well written post!
    Like you, I think I’m on the fence with this one. There is a sacredness to sex that should keep it special and yet, there seem to be those who comfortably see sex as an activity. The specialness of the act isn’t diminished simply because they engage in casual sex. It’s as if there are two types of sexual activity: the kind that one engages in simply for fun and pleasure and the kind reserved for a committed relationship that is far more intimate and revealing.
    Not sure if that makes sense or not … thinking as I type! :-)

    • Thanks Rob! I just feel casual sex is causing a lot more grief than it’s worth. A lot of people are getting hurt. If someone can separate their emotions from the act then that’s one thing, but most people can’t. Hence, the fence lol.

      • What if there’s a third option? Sex between people who have taken some time to connect outside of the bedroom. You could almost call them friends, except I’m not speaking about a friends with benefits thing. People who are not quite ready to define their relationship as “committed” nor do they see the sex as just a casual one night stand type of thing.

        Just trying to blur the lines even more!

Would love your feedback and discussion! No negativity or advertising please :) Please note that all comments are moderated and must be approved.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s