The Sexy Spirit
Gina Ogden peeked into America's bedrooms and found lots of...spirituality going on.
BY: Interview by Holly Lebowitz Rossi
|Open Your Heart & Mind to Pleasure|
If somebody is closing themselves to spirit, you can't just bonk them on the head and say, "Open up!" I would say that in preparing for a marriage, it's important that you find some measure of compatibility about your spiritual values.
At the same time, we have to honor that spirituality has many faces, and that going to church or believing in a certain manifestation of divinity is not all that counts. So like sexuality, I think we've measured our spirituality by how many times we go to church, and that isn't always the useful measure. There has been very interesting brain research that is really just coming into its own that shows that on sexual stimulation, every part of the brain lights up. The part that has to do with spiritual and religious ecstasy as well as the part that has to do with physical gratification. So whether or not we're aware that sex is spiritual, or that we're being "spiritual," we probably are. There's been other brain research, I call it "love research," that show the biochemical roots of how we reach out and love, and that stimulated from the brain certain neurotransmitters that go through our bodies, so if somebody is "not spiritual," we may need to look at, are they depressed? Is there something from their childhood they're holding onto? Do they have some self-image negativity going on? It's so complex when you begin to get into the relationship between the physical and the spiritual. Let me sum it up by saying that we are hard-wired to connect sexuality and spirituality.
What happens to a relationship over time when sex is stuck in the "performance-only" mode?
What I mean by the performance-only mode is only having 12-minute intercourse on Friday night, period, without any eye contact. That may be over-stating it, but you get the picture. When you're in those patterns that don't change, it has a ripple effect all through the relationship, and the relationship becomes stuck. She always does the dishes, he always mows the lawn. She always takes care of the children, he always puts the money in the bank. When you get into that kind of rigid role playing, what happens 10 years, 20 years, 30 years into your relationships is stagnancy. It's as if your body can't move anymore. You begin to get arthritis. You see people walking around who are bent over and stiff, and it's the same thing with couples. You see them in restaurants, they're not talking to each other. They order each other's meals, they become totally predictable, and ultimately either they end up hating each other and hating themselves, or they end up having affairs or getting divorced, or making alliances with their children against one another, their friends against one another.
|Open Your Heart & Mind to Pleasure|
The real juice of their lives is outside of their relationship. It's in their jobs, or it's in their friends, or their golf games, or they sit endlessly in front of the television and triangulate the relationship in that way. In good, long, healthy lives, people grow and change, and our sexuality needs to grow and change. In our 50s and 60s, we may not be able to perform intercourse they way we used to. He may not be getting big, hard erections. She may have entered menopause and her vaginal secretions aren't what they used to be. But there's more to sex than intercourse and performance. In my survey, the women and men who said they connected their sexuality and spirituality also said their sexual satisfaction gets greater with every decade. The 60-year-olds, the 70-year-olds, even the 80-year-olds, are more satisfied than the 30-year-olds. This flies in direct conflict with what medical people are telling us, and what pharmaceutical companies are telling us, and that is that sex goes downhill after the age of 30 or so, and you'd better get medicated, you'd better get counseling—there's something wrong with you. I say, there's nothing wrong with you if you're connecting on all cylinders—body, mind, heart, and soul. There is no reason why you cannot grow sexually and happily into the sunset of your years.
Is there room for the occasional "quickie" in a spiritual sex life?
Oh, yeah! If you really think on spirit, the changes happen in the wink of an eye. A quickie can be just as spiritual, just as enlightening, just as invigorating as an hours-long tantric session. What I'm saying again goes back to the ISIS wheel—body, mind, heart, and spirit. Sometimes you're both really in that physical lust place, and you just need to "do" each other, and that's the closeness right there.
You talk in the book about women who can achieve orgasm just by thinking of a particular image. Is "thinking" a less spiritually sexual activity?
For some of these women, it was just about opening up their crown chakras and allowing spirit to, in an instant, connect with their root chakras so that their whole beings opened up. They experience that as orgasm, they called it, "thinking off." So there's nothing unspiritual about sex except what culture puts onto us and tells us is dirty. And there's nothing unspiritual about sex except if we disconnect it from the rest of our being and we start using sex for power over somebody—power over a woman, or for women seductive power over a man, usually emotional seduction. So sexuality, sexual energy is spiritual energy. If you can imagine that and take the cultural overlay out of it, there is no difference. Our sexual and spiritual energy are one—it's how we choose to use it. So as long as you're using your sexual energy for growth and for good, then your sexual energy is spiritual. Enjoy it—it's fun!