I want to know about sex & spirituality but New Agey stuff's too woo woo
February 4, 2014 8:04 PM   Subscribe

Do down-to-earth, no-nonsense and accessible-to-the-everyman books/resources on sex and spirituality exist?

I'm currently doing a course on female sexuality and have come up hard against a wall of resistance that I know is due to being raised in a hardcore fundamentalist religion that was big on making you feel bad about all things sex (and which I only left about 5 years ago).

I have been advised to help myself get over all that negative programming by reading about sex and spirituality, how many cultures, and religions even, believe that sex is very spiritual and part of getting close to god/divine.

Problem is, all the stuff I've read about this is really New Age-y and really doesn't speak to me. The course I'm doing is run by someone very down-to-earth, no-nonsense and accessible, and it's books/websites on sex and spirituality in the same style that I feel I'd benefit from reading most.

*I've asked the teacher for recommendations and waiting to hear back from her (it's an online course)

Do books/resources like this exist?
posted by Zaire to Human Relations (9 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
Well, for the straightforward stuff there's The Joy of Sex and Betty Dodson. But I don't recall much about spirituality in those.

What are the books and websites that resonated with you?
posted by bunderful at 8:16 PM on February 4, 2014

The Catholic version of this topic is "Theology of the Body," based on a series of lectures at the Vatican by John Paul II back in the '80s. It focuses on sexual encounter as a form of authentic self-giving that reflects "the mystery of God's love." Christopher West's stuff is probably the best introduction to the general subject.
posted by Bardolph at 8:33 PM on February 4, 2014

You might find some answers in certain practices and teachings of Tantra Yoga with regard to sex.
posted by rmmcclay at 8:34 PM on February 4, 2014

You might like this online excerpt from a pretty famous modern ethnography. It has just a little bit to say about Gede, the Vodou spirit of sex, death, and humor, and how 'he' acts during ritual possessions of a priestess in Brooklyn.
posted by Monsieur Caution at 8:58 PM on February 4, 2014

"Ecsstasy is necessary" by Barbara Carrellas was very good, in my opinion, because it treats sex as one part of living your authentic life and gives tips on how to discover what that is and how that works for you. There are new agey woo elements, but I liked that the spiritual aspect was left open to one's personal interpretation. You get to hear the author's ideas on how to figure out what the intersection of sex and spirituality is to you, rather than being told what to think. I also thought the discussion of boundaries was really thorough, practical, and helpful.
posted by blnkfrnk at 12:05 AM on February 5, 2014

Kody Hersh has recently started blogging about sex and spirituality at the website of First Day, a new Quaker magazine. Might be worth taking a peek.
posted by not that girl at 6:51 AM on February 5, 2014

Well, how woo is woo?

If you're looking for sex & spirituality, the spirituality component will always include some woo portion.

Personally I have a high tolerance for woo (energetic fields yes, aliens-government-conspiracy no), so my answer may be a bit much for what you're looking for. It's hard to tell from the question wording.

Personally I have found David Deida amazing. He talks about feminine & masculine energy, feeling comfortable in your body, and physical expressions of sexuality, drawing ideas from Buddhism & Hinduism but in a secular way. His aim is to make sex into an art, no matter how messy you are personally or emotionally. Here is another good link of his. He's talking about the art of two becoming one; or rather that it is two halves of the same consciousness coming together in bliss. Lovely!

Tantric sex - if taught poorly, it is all about the excitement, almost like mental spiritual masturbation. In truth it shouldn't be separated from spirituality (i.e. growing one's love & compassion); the spiritual component is much much more than sexy times. In fact, true tantra is only about the similarity of blissful feelings to sexual energy aka sexual arousal, only 0.01% of it is about actual sex. (I have studied this stuff through Buddhism & taught some intro courses, you can IM me if you want the long story.) Therefore personally I would be very very careful about who/what I followed in regards to tantric sex since there are a LOT of bozos out there who will teach you wrong stuff that can be damaging. That's why I like Deida - if you are going secular then he walks the right line, at least in the intro videos that I've linked above.
posted by St. Peepsburg at 7:47 AM on February 5, 2014

Listen to Leonard Cohen.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 8:26 AM on February 5, 2014 [1 favorite]

Thanks for all your responses. I will look into all your suggestions.

bunderful, I am reading Diana Richardson's Tantric Orgasm for Women, and find her style accessible but all the stuff she includes by Osho is way over my head into the mystic stuff. I also like Kim Anami's take on it all. She has a sense of humour and doesn't teach it like a religion.

blnkfrnk, I really like the sound of Ecstasy is Necessary. The idea of the spiritual aspect being left open to one's own personal interpretation totally appeals to me. The thing I don't like about a lot of Tantra teaching is it's so often taught like religion - we are right, everyone else is wrong. Not for me.

St. Peepsberg, I don't mind a bit of woo, as in I believe in energetic fields and the flow of masculine/feminine energy etc. but as I mentioned above, I find the mystical, prescriptive, smug guru, East-is-good-West-is-bad style of so much I've experienced from Tantra teachers doesn't meet my personal needs. I guess what I'm saying is I believe in the teachings, it's the style of most of the stuff about sex and spirituality that sets my teeth on edge. I'm looking for a Tantra teacher who has found a way to communicate in an accessible way. Kind of like the King James Bible translated into the NIV.
posted by Zaire at 6:07 PM on February 5, 2014

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