We are a society that is starved for deep and meaningful love. Sex seems to be the stand-in for intimacy. Somewhere between little girls who dream of a fairy tale romance and little boys that are raised to deny their emotional selves, we’ve created a monster—sex. A person doesn’t have to look very far to see the relics of our collective consciousness.
Sex appears everywhere: television commercials, movies, newspapers, and billboards line their messages with naked or mostly-naked bodies (mostly women’s) that have been buffed up, made up, and touched up. The hemlines of many a woman seems to get shorter in a desperate attempt to get attention while many young (and not so young) men still actively gawk at, sexually harass, or exploit women.
It seems to me that these blatant displays of sex and sexuality are really people who are “looking for love in all the wrong places.” I should know. As a child model who learned by watching the models around her of the supposed importance of perfect skin, perfect hair, and a perfect body, I bought into the notion that “pretty” girls are happier and attract their Prince Charming. They live happily ever after, and of course, that includes the perfect sex life.
I learned much later in life that attractiveness is subjective and just because the media and fashion industry attempt to sell a particular look as attractive, doesn’t make it so…and certainly not to everyone. As I grew into a short, curvy woman with black wildly curly hair, I questioned whether I would ever find the man of my dreams, or whether the man of my dreams would be attracted to me. After all, I had observed tall, skinny, blonde models glorified as goddesses. Little did I know that beauty truly is in the eye of the beholder, not the brainwashing to which we are socially-subjected. Later, when I confessed to the man of my dreams that I thought he could be with anyone he wanted–a tall, thin blonde perhaps–he laughed and said, “I’m a tall thin blonde why would I want more of that?” He was attracted to the combination of my characteristics: physically, emotionally, intellectually, and spiritually.
Most people accept society’s notion of “love” as this superficial display of sex and bodies that surrounded them at every turn. I awoke one day from this pervasive fog and realized that there was only one way to have a deep and meaningful, loving relationship that is full of intimacy—by learning to love and respect oneself. For me, that journey included boycotting women’s fashion magazines and avoiding movies that degrade women or portray them as sex objects.
I am a firm believer that a fulfilling sex life comes from self-acceptance and self-respect. Sacred sex, or more aptly, sacred love, is the outcome of believing that you are worth the love, attention, and appreciation that another human being will have for you, and of accepting nothing less. By gaining respect for yourself, you learn to avoid relationships where there is little mutual respect and the resulting lack of intimacy—relationships that may have plentiful amounts of sex or none at all. Either way, these sexual relationships may have nothing to do with love, particularly sacred love.
Sacred sex is the result of a tremendous amount of emotional work on oneself and one’s relationship. It is the byproduct of intimacy that begins with how you treat yourself, your partner, and how you are treated in return. Of course, relationships are not always full of bliss. Sometimes, they can be downright hard. But, at their core, there needs to be respect.
This respect begins, first with oneself. When a person truly respects herself, she respects the partner she chooses. When she respects this partner, she treats him as an equal—in all things from housework to finances, to childcare and love and intimacy. Long before there is sacred sex in the bedroom, there is the foundation of sacred sex in other aspects of life.
A person cannot assume his partner will be ready for lovemaking at the end of a long day when his partner has had the exclusive responsibility for cleaning the house, making meals, and taking care of children. A disparate breakdown of work and responsibilities is not the stuff of loving relationships and mutual respect. It may be commonplace, but is not the basis of sacredness in a relationship. Neither is insulting or belittling a partner, treating him or her as a housekeeper, sex object, trophy, or babysitter.
Sacred sex is also about making a commitment to your partner. I am constantly dumbfounded at the number of men and women who are in serious relationships yet take every opportunity to flirt with or “check out” other people: real or two-dimensional ones in magazines, television, or on the Internet.
Sex is part of a healthy relationship, not the replacement for one. Sacred sex has little to do with the actual act of having sex and a whole lot more to do with physical, emotional, and spiritual intimacy, commitment, love, and respect that may or may not result in physical lovemaking. When a relationship has all these components, the expression of such powerful and beautiful love will most likely result in sacred sex—the physical, emotional and spiritual kind.