Oh, God: Sex and Spirituality
It's unfortunate that the predominant narrative about religion and sex in our culture is a negative one that causes people to feel shame and guilt about their desires, behaviors or identities. It doesn't have to be that way. One of my favorite parts of the trainings that I facilitate is asking participants to consider the ways in which sexuality education (or sex itself) can be religious. Some of their answers:
- Both can teach you values and a way of being in the world.
- Both can offer a sense of wholeness.
- Both demystify.
- Both encourage respect for others and a doctrine of doing no harm.
- Both can be a means toward social justice.
- Both involve love, passion and joy.
- Both are healing and transformative.
- Both create communion and community with others.
Sexuality and spirituality can each be affirming, celebratory and uplifting. They can also both be seriously damaging. We shouldn't accept that, and we also shouldn't feel like we have to give up our spirituality in order to embrace our sexuality, or vice versa. Adding a spiritual dimension to sex and a sexual dimension to religion makes both more powerful.
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Laura Anne Stuart has a master's degree in public health and has worked as a sexuality educator for more than a decade. She owns the Tool Shed, an erotic boutique on Milwaukee's East Side.