Here’s a subject I tackled previously in my blog at http://haringliwanag.pansitan.net. I originally wrote it for Blogadahan, a website. I reworked and rewrote it and submitted it to Philippine Star for my regular column on their Sunday Life section but they thought it was more appropriate for a Monday article. It came out last June 4, 2007. Enjoy this!
A Woman’s Sex
It has the original mouth but remains wordless;
It is surrounded by a magnificent mound of hair.
Sentient beings can get completely lost in it
But it is also the birthplace of all the Buddhas of the ten thousand worlds.
–A poem by Ikkyu, a Japanese Zen Buddhist priest and poet
Now I’m sure I have your attention. No one can escape sex. It’s one of the primal urges we are born with. A male fetus gets a hard-on every 30 minutes. That media is so sexually charged is because they know we can’t resist the allure of sex.
Sex has to be one of the biggest stories in most people’s lives. Woody Allen likes to joke (with more than a grain of truth) that a man spends the first nine months of his life trying to get out of the womb and the rest of his life trying to get back in again! And not surprisingly like all big stories, sex carries with it all the conflicting feelings—pleasure and pain, affirmation and guilt, pride and shame, seriousness and comic laughter, holiness and profanity, etc.
Sex is one of life’s great renewable resources. It will take a special kind of person to tire of it. This crazy, paradoxical thing called sex actually makes the world go around. Everyone who was ever born has wondered, fantasized, and pined for it. It is definitely one of the big ticket items in this lotto game called life. When choosing a partner, you’re always hoping for the right sexual chemistry.
Sex is the reason for its own pursuit. Certainly, it commands respect. It is smarter than many of the smartest people I know. I’ve seen people jeopardize relationships, health, money and future in pursuit of sex. And I’ve also seen people’s lives enhanced when they awakened to their sexuality, when every flirtatious glance promises an invitation to a bigger dimension of life, a promise that is hard to resist.
There is a lot to what Freud said about sex being the great raison’d’etre for everything we do. He says a young man grooms himself, becomes an athlete, gets A’s in school, etc. because he wants to make himself more attractive to those he desires to engage in horizontal activities with. Why does a man want to get rich, get a high position, own a lot of goodies? Isn’t it because by doing so he becomes more attractive to women? The joke about the Mercedes Benz being the greatest aphrodisiac for women says a mouthful.
And for women, there’s the whole make-up and fashion industry. Speaking of make-up, anthropologist-writer Desmond Morris who wrote ‘The Naked Ape’ speculates that wearing lipstick is an unconscious attempt to reproduce what a vagina in heat looks like, and it comes from our primate past when we were still walking on all fours. Can you possibly miss the connection?
Scientists suggest females in all mammalian species desire partners who can support their offspring and so they look for powerful, strong alpha males to impregnate them. And they say that generally, women are more faithful than men (perhaps in exchange for security) since their goal is to find males who can protect and assure survival of their offspring.
Males, on the other hand, want as many offspring as possible. Males spew out six million sperm cells every time they come while women only release one egg every 28 days. Males are more prone to having a number of partners, or ‘quantity’ to assure progeny. Women go for ‘quality’ and so they usually have sex with the assurance of having good offspring.
OK, enough about sex in its basic form, content and intent. If the title of this piece is to be accurate, I must bring this discussion to another level.
Freud’s observations only go so far. Surely, the reason why sex is so attractive goes beyond reproduction and ensuring the continuation of the species. There’s got to be more going for it than that. Sex is a great and wonderfully pleasurable act that can be enjoyed on several levels.
Sex is so—elastic! It can be a solitary experience not worth talking about or it can be THE best, most memorable event in one’s day or week or year. Like many people, I have enjoyed sex on different levels–from the earthy, sensual, purely physical up to, I dare say, the divine.
When it is with The Right One at The Right Moment, sex is an out-of-this world experience; its intense, sensual pleasure can touch the very core of who we are. And the identity of who we are which unravels when we surrender to that awesome pleasure vortex of sex as we let it take over us completely, is nothing short of heavenly, cosmic even! Separate human beings meld and awaken, even if only momentarily, as the very Universe itself. Orgasm is the Big Bang recreated (pun intended)! As millions of sperm are released when a man comes, so do millions of stars explode in empty space– supernovas coming to life.
There are those who may believe that any talk of sex vis-a-vis heaven is not only inappropriate but contradictory, or even antithetical. But M. Scott Peck says that it is not unusual to read spiritual, mystical writings of saints and monks in practically all religions that are dripping with sexual overtones. Teresa de Avila, for example, wrote that sexual language was adequate for explaining the love between the soul and Christ. A line in Songs, which goes, “Let him kiss me with his mouth’s kisses!” is both sexual and spiritual. A medieval nun’s journal I read (I can’t recall who), she would implore God to ‘break me with your battering ram!’ And aren’t nuns’ vows akin to being ‘married to Jesus’?
In Indian religions where Tantric sex is practiced, lovers gaze at each other as if they were gods and goddesses. And Tantric deities are of course known to consort for hours! Sex can indeed be a stairway to heaven. The metaphors are quite telling. There are many more examples. M. Scott Peck, after observing the sexual-spiritual connection, posits that the spiritual among us ‘must be horny’, and then he turns the tables and asks, ‘but are the horny spiritual?’
An intriguing question, and my answer to that is, like Peck’s, a ‘yes’. Sex, and all other activities that are potentially addictive are, to lesser degrees, gateways to ecstasy or heaven. But just like the mythical Icarus who flew too close to the sun that melted his wings and killed him, these potent gifts are only good when utilized in moderation. Alas, contrary to popular belief, too much heaven can be toxic. And mindless, unconscious, meaningless sex can kill its very appeal and attraction by making its endless mystery a profanity.
Sex, where one is consciously awake, alive and present to its great mystery and the loving exchange taking place, is infinitely better than sex for physical release alone. (For that, you don’t need a Significant Other, just any body will do, even your solitary own). Where the former engages in intercourse with ALL of the universe till there is nothing else but ecstasy, the latter is simply the rubbing of skin to relieve an itch!
The French refer to an orgasm as ‘le petit mort’, which literally means ‘a little death’. We ‘die’ into the experience by surrendering to the shuddering pleasure of an orgasm. We forget we are living in the mundane world for a brief but eternal moment as we enter heaven.
I realize that many people may not be comfortable with the idea that of a connection between sex and the divine. The conventional wisdom is that the two are anathema to each other, and never the twain shall meet. But it is precisely because sex and the divine are yin and yang that makes them such a dynamic unity. While they seemingly repel each other, they are also irresistibly drawn to one another.
It’s just one of God’s crazy paradoxes—that one can have a piece of absolute heaven while being firmly on terra firma.
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