Spiritualizing Sex

Sex is generally a taboo subject in most churches, but not at The Unity Center of New York City! Justin Epstein takes a candid look at how sexual energy and expression can be part of our spiritual growth.

FULL VIDEO TEXT: (Transcription by Victoria Barkley)

How do you spiritualize sex and your sexuality? Here are some ways: One is to think of sex less as a physical act and more as a means, an instrument for expressing love and tenderness for the person that you love and are with.

The sages and the wise ones have instructed us that our deepest longing is for union with God. And we may seek that union with other people, thinking that—and it’s possible—but we may be looking in another person for what can really only be found in God. And our deepest yearning is for union with God.

If all of this is an expression of God—the material world, is an expression of God. But if we just live for pleasure, we can lose, or get lost, or drawn away, like the prodigal son, from that higher longing and yearning and connection. This is what I understand from some of the sages.

Yogananda said it this way: “Behind every rose bush of pleasure, is a rattlesnake of disillusionment.” You know, with the physical body you can experience tremendous pleasure, but if you keep touching the same area on the physical body, it loses its pleasure. That’s true with anything in the material world.

I’ve shared this before: One time, when I lived in New York before, I loved mangos. I just ate mangos all the time, until eventually, I couldn’t stand a mango. I didn’t want a mango for ten years…you know, because I just got tired of them…

People who are seeking only pleasure and fulfillment through the material world may experience what one sage called anguishing monotony. Anguishing monotony…is this all there is, God? Is this all there is? And so, to look at sex as just having sex…which I have to admit, because of my own education through movies such as Porkie’s and American Pie and Ridgemont High and all this crazy stuff that I saw as a teenager, growing up…I kind of looked at it as just sort of a sex act for many, many years…

I didn’t realize until years later that the higher purpose and the deeper fulfillment is when sex is an expression of love and tenderness for the other person. That is the higher expression of sexuality. It’s when it’s not done just for the pleasure of it. It’s not done to manipulate or to control or as a means of power. It is an expression of love and tenderness that one has for the other person. And it can be that and that’s how it becomes spiritualized. Sex becomes more than a physical act although that’s part of it. It becomes a communion, and a union in love, an expression.

The Hendricks, Gay and Kathlyn—Katie as he refers to her—they have worked with couples for many, many years and they have experimented in their own relationship also, with each other…And one of the things they teach couples to ignite love and fulfillment through sexual union is to actually have a spiritual approach.

Scientists say that everything is matter, energy and space. And you and I are matter, energy and space.

We have this physical body, through which we experience the pleasures of the world and sense the material world. We also have the energy body…If I were to ask you right now to close your eyes for a moment, you might try that, and just scan your body from the top of your head to the bottom of your feet and just notice anything that tells you you’re alive. Maybe you feel pulsations of energy. Maybe you feel waves of energy moving through you. What gives you the sense that you are alive? That’s an expression of your energy body…the energy, the aliveness that’s in you…Your physical body and yes, you have an energy body…

And then we have the space body. The space body, as scientists say, when you look out at the stars, the relative amount of space between the stars is relative in our own bodies…the amount of space in between everything that’s in our body, even though we may feel like we’re tightly wrapped in a physical body, there’s a lot of space in this body…and that you can tune into your space body when you turn within and just notice your awareness, your consciousness and sense the spaciousness within you. They say that you sense your space body by looking within and seeing how open you feel to being loved and to loving.

How open do you feel, within yourself, to being loved and to loving? Space might be the equivalent of love…love equals space…When you love someone; you give them space to grow, to unfold, don’t you? When you love yourself, you give yourself space to grow, to unfold, without judgment, without criticism…without all the craziness of the judgmental mind…you give yourself space.