Is Sex Just a Physical Act?
What is sex, seriously? A clear look at a hot topic.
Thought experiment: consider sex as nothing more than a physical act between two bodies.
A harmless romp. A contact sport where the "contact" part feels good. A stress-reliever somewhat on the same level as jogging.
There seem to be benefits for seeing sex this way: it's simple, uncomplicated; it can feel liberating; it can seem to free us from a lot of the...well, complexities that always seem to surround sex. There's no reason (aside from STDs and pregancy) to avoid it, so if it feels good, you can do it. And if it ever seems to get dull, boring or uninteresting, the answer is to search for for different, more unique, more exotic physical sensations. Because that's all it is - physical sensations.
But is it the truth? Is that really all there is?
Consider the alternative view: sex is not merely a physical act between bodies. It involves a person's mind, emotions, identity, even (arguably) soul.
Which, in your experience, do you think it is?
Consider a few pieces of evidence.
- Why is sex, under many circumstances, usually followed by some kind of guilt, shame, awkwardness, or regret? That could indicate at least some kind of direct connection to the emotional life.
- Do we consider ourselves to be "merely" bodies in any other parts of our lives? If not, why would we do it for the topic of sex?
- Why does every major religion have very clear ideas about sexuality that contradicts the idea that sex is "merely" a physical act? If they're just being repressive or something, why would they be repressive? (Or in other words, what's the benefit of just spoiling the fun for everyone, if that's all it is?)
- Why does almost every serious movie that features "casual sex" and follows the consequences of it seem to lead - often immediately - to drama? ("Drama" definitely being something that involves heart, mind, emotions, etc).
- If "sex is natural" (and therefore, maybe simple and uncomplicated?)...one could also say that "eating is natural," too - even much more natural. Yet, why are there so many millions of cases of eating disorders, billions spent on dieting programs, confusing about what/when/why to eat?
- If sex is something "casual," a sport, like jogging...consider your average teenage boy. Have you ever known anyone to be as obsessed with anything as much as almost any teenage boy is about sex?
- If sex really is nothing more than a simple way to have fun and feel pleasure...why would so much of humanity, throughout history and today, so emphatically argue that it isn't - that there's more to it than that? If it's really so simple, why is it so largely seen as more complicated?
- If sex is essentially a harmless romp in the hay...then why has every major spiritual tradition in history treated it as something to be taken seriously?
- If sex is nothing more than a physical act...then why pornography? Why "sex addiction"? Why are so many people so completely obsessed with something that's really "simple"? Why do so many individuals - men, especially - ruin their careers and lives over it?
- If sex is inherently something merely physical and therefore truly "casual," then what about things like rape, incest, pedophelia, necrophelia, exhibitionism, voyeurism, etc?
We could keep going...but you probably get where we're going with this.
It seems to us...that when you take a clear and honest look at the facts...
The idea that "sex is nothing more than a purely physical act..." just doesn't hold up to the evidence.
As far as our experience goes, a no-nonsense and unbiased look at the matter reveals that, well, sex IS complicated. It is DIRECTLY connected to emotions, thoughts, identity, (arguably) soul. The teachings of every major religion ISN'T just a bunch of confused, random dictates on this or that or the other (why would they all agree on many of the most basic points? The idea that they're all equally mistaken seems more far-fetched than thinking they might be on to something.
And so on.
So if this is the case...
- Meaning, if sex really IS something that's connected to our emotions, hearts, minds, identities, even souls, if you're into that kind of thing...
OK, then: what next?
Well, one interesting place to possibly look into is the teachings of David Deida and Barry Long...
"Given our obsession with sex,
we need to get more of it, not in quantity but in quality.
It's like a person addicted to junk food.
He eats as much as he can because there is nothing there.
If he were to eat real food
- unprocessed, close to its earth origins, wonderfully prepared -
he might leave the addiction behind.
We need more sex, not less,
but we need sex with soul."
- Thomas Moore