The Spirituality of Sex
By Laura M. Brotherson
Sexuality is a sacred and innate part of our being, designed by God for its' expression within marriage, not only for procreation, but also for expressing love, and experiencing divine pleasure. The spirituality of sexual relations, as a wedding gift from God, is something often overlooked in a society rampant with Satan's subtle and blatant deceptions.
Sex was created and ordained by God for the benefit and blessing of husband and wife. That alone makes sex a good and wholesome thing. But Satan has taken away the light and truth from sexuality, and our job is to restore it. Sex must be taken out of the darkness-out of Satan's territory-and restored to God's light.
One of God's first commands was for husband and wife to cleave (or join) unto each other and become one flesh...not just one heart, but one flesh (see Genesis 2:24). It seems that God intended physical/sexual communion as a vital part of His plan for marital oneness. God cares about our intimate relationship as husband and wife, and it is because of His influence in our lives that sex can be a spiritual experience.
Missing the Grander Meaning
If we see sex as solely a physical or carnal act, then we are missing out on its grander meaning and godly purposes. Satan strives to deceive us into disassociating sexuality with spirituality. Many of our struggles and addictions stem from a lack of spiritual/sexual development. No other crucible in life or marriage has the power for good or for ill, as does the intimate relationship between husband and wife.
When we ignore or avoid developing and mastering this sacred part of our very being, we are incomplete, and will someday sense the absence. It is our spirit longing for wholeness that directs us toward the path of perfection and completion- ultimately guiding us to seek the spirituality of our God‑given sexuality.
Sexual development, within the context of marriage and spirituality, is a refining process for the soul. It is intended to awaken in us higher faculties and nobler traits, moving us closer to becoming our divine potential.
What We Can Do
What can we do to better see the spirituality of sexuality, and experience it in a more spiritual light?
First, we must adjust our beliefs to allow spirituality and sex to coexist. If that is just too much of a mental stretch, then it will be difficult to find the goodness or spiritual connection inherent in God's creation. Reprogramming our minds with positive and productive beliefs can uninstall the negative conditioning we may have accumulated, and allow us to experience the spirituality of our sexuality.
One woman shared her struggle to connect the concept of sex and God, which was inhibiting her intimate relationship with her husband. She wrote:
"I was especially happy and relieved to read your simple statement that opened the doors for me-GOD APPROVES OF SEX and (here is the crucial point) WANTS YOU TO ENJOY IT! Logic has always told me that God approves of sex. It's how we make babies. It's what draws men and women together. Adam and Eve had sex or no one would be here today to worry about it! But for most of my adult life what I reasoned was that it is "OK" to "let" your husband have intercourse with you, but actually wanting to be kissed and touched or becoming aroused myself was something I was ashamed to express. During the times I got turned on and found enjoyment in sex it was barely over when I would begin to wonder if God was disappointed in my behavior. I can't over emphasize how much that simple statement, WANTS YOU TO ENJOY IT, has made all the difference for me."
Second, a spiritual union within lovemaking requires a greater investment of the heart and soul. Husband and wife must connect more profoundly on an emotional level, rather than merely going through the motions physically. This creates a significant challenge for both husband and wife to develop themselves emotionally and sexually in order to connect spiritually through sexual intimacy.
Third, as long as couples continue to experience sex from a state of neediness or emptiness instead of from a place of wholeness and genuine sharing, the spirituality of sex will remain obstructed. This places a heavy responsibility on both husband and wife to develop themselves within the divine context of their daily interactions to bring to the marital bedroom a self that's grounded in a sense of well-being, striving to become more whole. A spiritually based sexual desire stems from feeling good about oneself and wanting to share it with your spouse, rather than feeling dependent and inadequate.
With one's heart in the right place, sex can literally be a rejuvenation of the soul, as husband and wife join their bodies and spirits in an act of soulful communion with God. This divinely designed expression of love can provide mutual joy and pleasure, heal wounds in the relationship or the soul, cleanse, refresh and develop the mind, body and spirit, refueling both husband and wife with God's exquisitely energizing marital nourishment. There are few things that can bring greater joy and richness to a husband/wife relationship than spiritually connected sex.
Moving Closer to Each Other and to God
This kind of intimate sharing moves a husband and wife closer to each other and to God, protecting them from divisive influences by connecting them heart and soul. It enhances and strengthens the overall relationship at its foundation, which boosts the power and effectiveness of that couple in all areas of life. Sex reconnected with spirituality makes you want to be a better spouse...and a better person.
Harold shared the spiritual empowerment he felt, as he and his wife began to experience the spirituality of sexuality. He wrote: "Joy and I keep working on the things you've suggested and keep progressing in our intimate relationship. Lately I have just felt so full of love for everyone I meet or talk to--at work, at Church, socially, and everywhere. I am more in love with my wife than ever!" When the intimate relationship in marriage is right, everything feels right, and the world seems brighter.
Does sex as a spiritual experience mean that it must be somber and solemn? No. Spiritual sex can be soft and slow or passionate and powerful! It's the intent of the heart and the depth of emotional connection that makes the difference. As a consummation of emotional, physical and spiritual connection, sex can truly be a sublimely spiritual experience.
To learn more, see Chapter 2 of "And They Were Not Ashamed--Strengthening Marriage through Sexual Fulfillment."
Laura M. Brotherson, CFLE, is a marriage and family life educator certified by the National Council on Family Relations, and is the author of a bestselling book on physical intimacy and marital ONEness entitled, And They Were Not Ashamed - Strengthening Marriage through Sexual Fulfillment. For more information and to sign up for the "Straight Talk about Strengthening Marriage" newsletter, visit http://www.strengtheningmarriage.com/. Laura welcomes your comments at Laura@StrengtheningMarriage.com.
Visit Laura Brotherson at the LDS Family Expo, March 31 - April 1, 2006 (General Conference weekend) at the Salt Palace in Salt Lake City, Utah from 12 noon to 9 p.