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Spiritual, Romantic, Sensual

By by Carl S ~

If you're raised in a society inundated with the indoctrination that spirituality is far, far, superior to sexuality, you might be tempted to believe there's something to it. Is there something to "spiritual" that makes it superior to being a fully aware, alive, person? Can it compete with sex? Nah! Having a "relationship" with a spirit-being in one's own head can't compare with one with a real person, even if it's a messy relationship. You can never be sure where you stand in relation to your imaginary other. This is why so many people have difficulty relating to their biblical god: they're never sure if they're pleasing him. They go to humans to find out, but they might just as well have someone reading tea-leaves for answers, for all the good it does. God the spiritual being is only another vaporous monolith to our senses; there's no "there" there.

Many, many people have tried to live totally spiritual lives. Have you met them? They are boring individuals, hollow inside like Easter candy bunnies, all sweetness and light, without depth. They've traded the dirtiness of sexuality for spiritual antiseptics. Consider nuns offering themselves to Jesus with their "spiritual marriage.s" This is quite an oxymoron, for a woman. Catholics eat wafers and tell themselves they are then in a communion with Jesus. As my ex-wife would say, "Catholics believe in holy communion; but intercourse, now that's real communion." Believers in spiritual things describe a baby as "a miracle." Babies come from sex. Since I've been responsible for making two babies, I guess I'm a miracle worker, having made two miracles that Jesus never did.

Having a "relationship" with a spirit-being in one's own head can't compare with one with a real person, even if it's a messy relationship.Now, some people will claim that the sexual experience is itself spiritual. Tell that to Masters and Johnson. Nobody in his/her right mind would prefer the spiritual over the sensual. If the spiritual is such a superior state of being, why are unwed pregnant girls predominantly in the bible-belt of American southern states? And why are so many clergy members guilty of pedophilic crimes and adultery? Even the celibate know that a spiritual relationship with one's imaginary spiritual lover (all-in-one's-head masturbation) needs to be supplemented with sexual release via imaginary encounters.

Holy experts have prated on for centuries about the war between the body and the much more "superior" mind/soul. They do protest too much. If their spiritual was superior, there would be no contest. It's in their heads, their attitudes towards pleasure. Those of us who are normal know it's a great feeling to be a sensual animal. It's what we are, and trying to be "other" is costly to our minds and bodies. We are all of us "body." There's no separate "spiritual other."

Trust religions to tell us how to live our sex lives? Religions have it in for women. Religions preach a woman's purpose on earth is to have children. Religious pressure is truly against a woman's right to choose. (And it is unfair to children if the woman doesn't want children, but does so because of obligation to her religion.) She has every right to sexual pleasure, to intimacy, without the consequences of pregnancy. Do religious leaders care? All their privileged "spiritual" claims are excuses for all manner of injustice. That's the opposite of making love.

It would be interesting to compare the statistics for religion and pornography to see which is more lucrative. Each is in the business of exponentially making money through excitement and emotional manipulation. We're not counting the millions spent on dating services or sex chat sites. Apparently, a sizable audience for pornography is the spiritually-speaking clergy.

When I was about to be married for the second time, I told a co-worker. Since I was no youngster (close to retirement age), he said, "Oh. For comfort." I told my soon-to-be bride, and we both had a good laugh about it. We'll be old some day, with all our infirmities, reliving our sensuous memories, smiling about our secret time together. No god can match that loving.

Believers will sometimes admit their beliefs make no rational sense, but they do give them "comfort." (Placebos do, too.) Their god and their biblical passages have been sanitized. He is a Mantovani-Leroy Anderson being, pleasant but passionless. If you desire personal recognition, go to a real person, even one who doesn't like you. But you shouldn't feel so desperate you go to God. In agreement with our commenter, Cognitive Dissonance Relief, I think the believer's comfort comes wholly from the human helping and healing of their church tribe. Each to his own. I'd rather cozy up to a homeless person on a park bench who has loved and lost and loved and lost again, and is still a romantic, than seek comfort with churchly companionship. And the homeless person, unlike them, wouldn't judge me. With that homeless person I could learn things about life outside my sheltered existence.

Have you left or been expelled from church and found yourself without that "comfort?" Go out and make friends, already. Don't want to feel depressed? Do something for someone. The world's a big place, and there are a lot more unbelievers like you, waiting to be cared about. (I think of the woman in a Margaret Atwood story who felt ignored by her husband. She thought: I could pick up someone. "At least he would be grateful.") The comfort you're looking for can't come from that God created from spiritual silly putty, changing shape while you try and relate to it. You can do better with a pet. A dog, horse, or cat will love and return your affection, unconditionally, without judging you. Interesting, isn't it, that God is incapable of giving you what a pet can provide?

You can re-appreciate the relationships you have. You can be creative in creating sensual ambiance. I read couples used to warm up to foreplay with Johnny Mathis love songs. It makes sense that each generation has its own songs. Some that should transcend all generations would be "Dances Sacred and Profane,' or Ravel's "Daphnis and Chloe," with its full orchestra and chorus. And I wonder who would make love to "The Rite of Spring?" In the December of my life, I wish to be just like the Alzheimer’s-stricken woman at our local assisted living place. I must have reminded her of someone she no longer recognized. She walked up to me and stood smiling for the longest time. Ah, romance!