Monday, November 20, 2006

Sex In The Present Tense

Sex is a calling to reach out and touch Infinity -- that holy, unspeakable point where Now meets Eternity, the yearning, active pleasure where there is Nothing but Forever, and yet Something More -- and and the Final Surrender of our illusions of control and self to a totality of Being in Bliss with Another, with whom we dance as two-yet-one, sharing Everything, because it is ours to share.

Yet being Present to God, to ourselves, to our lover is anything but easy. Sexual distraction offen supplants sexual attraction as neurons weave across our brains digesting the days experiences and running futily over to-do lists, as though thinking over impending tasks and responsiblities repeatedly could actually get them done in the heavens, and then on earth. What a twisted form of repetitious prayer that's bound not to work anyway. And meanwhile, in the bedroom, our bodies move against our lover, or we just get annoyed when our spouse approaches in heat, because we don't want our daily stresses interrupted, lest we lose the little control we sense we might still cling to by rehearsing our emotions and to-dos to death, detracting from our original "I dos" and causing a sort of spiritual-sexual death that separates us from our spouse and our joy in being alive together.

When you notice yourself withdrawling emotionally from sex, or sex period, imagine that this is your one moment -- and your eternity. Bring yourself to your life, your body, your lover and God all around you, flowing through you, blessing your passion. Try it for seconds at a time. I find when I engage in sex this way, I become more aware of when I'm "not there" and sometimes underlying issues of trust in my spirit. I bring myself back to the moment and the physical sensations and the soul of my partner, laid bare before me, and I risk laying myself genuinely open. I bring myself back, again and again, for the sweet moments of really being alive to God, my lover and the rhythms of my own spirit flowing through my body. For me, sex becomes a form Christian meditation, worship -- even spiritual discipline. And it's alot more fun than fasting. :)

16 comments:

Nancy said...

You bring up trust, Jemila...it took me a long time to get to a place where I could get some handle on the issue of trust in a man. I still find I struggle with it on and off. My husband has been supportive of me as I have worked through this and has on occasion even come up with interesting ways to help me confront it.

Jemila Monroe said...

Interesting ways to help face and heal trust issues...if there are any you feel comfortable sharing, I would love to hear more.

Julie said...

great thoughts.

taking that time to switch focus, to open oneself up I think could make a huge difference. But it would need to be a mutually agreed upon process... because I get the feeling that saying "I need time to spiritually prepare myself" could easily be taken the same way as "I have a headache"

Jemila Monroe said...

Thanks Julie!

Nancy said...

Jemila: Partly it is in the experience of introducing role play in our sex lives and even more so, it is his willingness to creatively incorporate my desires into the mix. Again and again he demonstrates in word and action that my pleasure is HIS pleasure. This contradicts the message of my youth, that sex was just for men and men used women for their own sexual enjoyment and women should not expect anything out of it. While I have believed in my head that those messages were huge lies, it is my husband that has helped bring that knowledge into my heart. God has used him well to help restore and heal these wounds.

Anyone here read the book "Passionate Marriage"? It is an excellent resource if you aren't queasy over certain words and can sort through the "secular" (I apologize to those of you who see there a false distinction)point of view of the author.

Jemila Monroe said...

Nancy, thanks so much for sharing your experience and thoughts. If you ever want to post a book review of Passionate Marriage, or put up a few excerpts or ideas, that would be awesome. I'd love to add you as a member -- think my email is on the book club link, so if you're interested, give me a write.

Jemila Monroe said...

Julie, I was thinking some more about what you wrote, and I think in my experience, there are sometimes when I can be present to my own trust/avoidance issues or distraction, and there are other times where a mutually agreed upon, "Let's take a break and rejoin when I've had a chance to spiritually center" would be helpful. Informally, for me, if I'm feeling like I'm sort of going along in the process but not there and experiencing some issues, a few times I've just verbally asked to stop for a little while and just look in each other's eyes...this has been quite helpful to me.

Psalmist said...

I probably won't visit here a whole lot, since I'm single and celibate. But I actually have something relevant to post to this discussion, I think.

I was married for many years before I finally accepted the cold, hard truth that the husband who abandoned me wasn't ever going to come back. I had married quite young and much of the marriage was truly awful. But in the early years, at least the sex was phenomenal. He was my first, so there were no comparisons--for all I know, he may not have been all that great. BUT, to me, he was "all that."

All this to preface, I remember thinking, as a young Christian woman, after one of our early times together, that heaven will be that kind of intensity, that kind of contentment, love, joy, fulfillment...that "all in all," but not just with two becoming one, but with ALL of God's children enjoying union with God through eternity. Just one of those "ah-hah!" moments, I suppose, and it could be WAY off-base. But it also occurred to me that two-as-one is as much as we mortals are wired to stand. Anything more would be way too much in this life, so I was thinking that was why God gave us such an all-encompassing mortal foretase of what awaits us in the next life.

And no, I wasn't smoking or shooting or popping anything. ;)

Jemila Monroe said...

Psalmist, I completely agree about sex being a foretaste of union/bliss/passion of Union in heaven. I disagree that you don't have much to contribute on account of being single and celibate. Your contributions and thoughts are always welcome and needed. Sex may be only for people who are "sexually active" but sexuality, including the creative energy that comes with libido, belongs to everybody. It's just how you use that energy and relate with it and the world and other people that varies depending on circumstance and choice.

Psalmist said...

Well, how much/little I contribute will depend on a lot of factors that are deeply personal to me. While in theory I tend to be fairly progressive about human sexuality (recognizing orientation as separate from practice, advocating for informative sexuality education for children and youth, considering many artistic nude depictions to be healthy and appropriate for public viewing, and so forth), I don't tend to be comfortable talking much about my personal experience of my own sexuality. IOW, it's my business and I tend not to make it anyone else's.

So, I might contribute a little on the theoretical side of things, but I doubt I'll choose to say much about my personal situation.

Cynthia said...

" ...because we don't want our daily stresses interrupted, lest we lose the little control we sense we might still cling to by rehearsing our emotions and to-dos to death, detracting from our original "I dos" and causing a sort of spiritual-sexual death that separates us from our spouse and our joy in being alive together."

WOW! Jemila, you have peeled back the layers to reveal the root of sexual disconnect in my own life.
My husband and I have just come through, and to be honest are still working through, a very difficult time in our marriage. It is humbling to say that we have been married for 21 years, have nine chlidren and we were just about ready to throw the in the towel.
On a different note, the hierarchial complementarian teaching we sat under for so many years, was the most damaging to our marriage.
But sexually, a disconnect because life just IS and life with a bunch of kiddos really just IS! However, the root was an intentional holding onto the stress, instead of laying it down and exchanging it for intimacy.
We have a commitment to make time for each other, even though there may be initial reluctance because of life but to challenge each other to leave it all behind.
Thank you so much for this safe place.

Jemila Monroe said...

Psalmist, you're welcome to share as much or as little as you like and contribute only theoritically if that's more authentic for you. Glad to have your voice and thoughts in any form. It's a good thing to be stretched by perspectives that aren't often articulated, (and I think the church is very impoverished in the area of a positive understanding of senxuality/spirituality for singles,) so please share in whatever way has a sense of rightness for you.

Jemila Monroe said...

Cynthia, your sharing and your heart is so beautiful. Thank you. I pray this continues to be a safe place for healing and renewal. You're not alone.

What's it like having nine kids? My daughter (4) wants 11. I'm pregnant with # 3 :)

I have to say I'm impressed that you're finding time for your voice and passion and to prioritize going in uncomfortable and challenging places in your marriage, all with nine kids AND church baggage. More power to you, however life IS right now at this moment.

Nancy said...

Cynthia: No doubt that you and your husband absolutely have to set aside time for just the two of you and NOT feel guilty about it! Your children will always benefit from the solid foundation that you and your husband can create by devoting such time and energy to one another, that important "grown up" time where you can enhance emotional connection and play together. Otherwise, I could see the activity of daily life making you strangers to one another, lonely and frustrated. Good for the two of you!

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