Can sex be a spiritual experience? More often than not, spiritual practices are kept separate from our sexual life. Even when sex is acknowledged as a very good gift from God to be enjoyed in marriage, rarely is sex also seen as a spiritual experience. We may be able to accept that God approves of sex, but, for most of us, being deeply conscious of God during sex seems rather foreign.
One definition of spiritual practice is anything that opens our attention to the presence of God in our lives. This may occur through more traditional types of spiritual practice including praise and worship, Scripture reading, prayer, or devotional studies.
Less recognized approaches, such as watching the sunset, discovering scientific truths, or caring for a sick child may also provide just as spiritual an experience. God’s presence can be enjoyed at church and at the grocery store, and whether we are playing softball, washing dishes, or having an intimate encounter with our spouse (Psalm 139:7-12, God’s presence can be found everywhere).
All of these activities can be spiritual experiences, if in the midst of them we simply open our awareness to God.
Brother Lawrence, a kitchen worker and doorkeeper at a 17th century monastery, makes the point of practicing the presence of God during the most commonplace and menial tasks of life. His words speak powerfully to the idea of experiencing God during sexual experiences with our spouse. He writes:
When we are faithful to keep ourselves in His holy presence, and set Him always before us, this not only hinders our offending Him and doing anything that may displease Him, at least willfully, but it also begets in us a holy freedom, and if I may so speak, a familiarity with God, wherewith we ask, and that successfully, the graces we stand in need of. (The Practice of the Presence of God)
When we faithfully keep ourselves in God’s presence during sex, we are better able to reflect His divine love. Our focus is no longer limited to just meeting our physical and emotional needs, as we now have a holy freedom to be true conduits of Love during sex. Sex now becomes a deeper experience; it becomes sacred.
Begin to allow sex to hold a deeper meaning by opening your awareness to the presence of God during sex. At first, this may seem strange, difficult, or even wrong. With practice, and while still basking in the physical and intimate delights with your spouse, you will be able to discover the fuller joy and pleasure that comes from being in the presence of God (Psalm 16:11).
Spiritual sex takes time to practice and learn. As such, this type of sex is not very common, nor is it frequently discussed. Our sexual lives are often the last parts of us to develop spiritually, if ever at all.
Editor’s Note: Originally published on Building Intimate Marriages.