Sex as Sanctuary
There aren’t enough sanctuaries in this world. Places that are separate, holy, and most of all profoundly safe. Spaces that people can go to for refuge, healing, and nourishment in the hurricane of chaos that is life.
Like ritual, sanctuaries are spaces that take you out of the mundane and into the sacred, the beautiful, and the revelatory. From churches to nature reserves, they are places expressly for the things that make life meaningful.
Sanctuaries are places that should not be intruded upon. To this day, immigrants and refugees claim sanctuary in churches. There isn’t much that is still regarded as sacred in this post-modern, secular society of ours, but even the most vulnerable of us can still claim this refuge.
On the individual level, your sexuality can be your personal sanctuary. Rather than a physical building or space, you can carve out sacred time in your busy life for the restorative, healing gifts that sanctuary can bring.
When you treat sex as a sanctuary it becomes more than just periodic release. All emotions and experiences can be welcome there. Anger, sadness, joy, grief, tears, laughter… all have a place in the bedroom.
When you allow your emotions to manifest physically, they flow through you. They don’t stagnate in your heart and affect your life. The limits to your healing and growth are defined by the limits of what you let yourself feel. By surrendering deeply to your feelings, you develop the capacity to heal yourself from whatever comes your way.
Fantasy and shadows are also welcome. You may protest a thing in the street and crave it in bed, and that’s absolutely ok. Just because you fantasize about something doesn’t mean you actually desire it in real life and it doesn’t make you a bad or immoral person. Fantasies are nothing more than an idea that, for whatever reason or no reason at all, turns you on.
The life of the average person in this world is full of bureaucracy, policies, and rules. Everything from how you drive your car to the dimensions of the pillow you sleep on at night is determined by some type of regulation or standard.
Sex can be an amazing escape. You can be animalistic, primal, even violent, so long as you have the consent of your partner. It allows you to truly follow your impulses and express your carnal power.
It’s a space where you can express your true and authentic self, whatever that may be in the moment. No socially-acceptable masks need to be worn. You can be whoever you want to be. You can feel whatever you need to feel. You can express whatever you want to express. It is one of the few places where you can truly be free.
In addition to liberation and cathartic authenticity, sex allows you to nourish yourself with pleasure. After allowing difficult emotions to flow through you like a flood, you are bathed with the healing balm of pleasure. Feeding your cells, pleasure is a delicious sensation to your nervous system and can leave you feeling refreshed and restored in a deep way.
Sex is ideal for this type of soul-level healing and expression because it is typically very private, providing an essential ingredient for intimacy and emotional safety. Except for your sexual partner/s, most people aren’t interested in the details of your sex life. Your favorite sex position is something that even the nosiest of neighbors typically doesn’t want to know.
When sex is made a sanctuary inside of a committed relationship it is incredibly gluing and healing. Though exquisitely vulnerable, it is a key to taking your relationship to the deepest levels possible. By expressing your hurts, your sorrows, your discomforts together in such a physical way, you bind yourselves together in an remarkably strong partnership.
If you are single or your partner isn’t interested in this level of intimacy, you can still have sex as a sanctuary for yourself. Having a regular self-pleasure practice that allows you to process and heal is an incredible form of self-care, (even if it only happens in the shower.)
If you want to create a sexual sanctuary for yourself, here is a practice that will help you get started. This process may be intense, but remember the key to establishing this refuge within yourself is vulnerability. The more you open up the more powerful and restorative it will be.
This is easiest done first in self-pleasure and incorporated into partnered sex later once you’ve mastered it.
Sexual Heart Healing
Set an intention to let yourself feel everything that comes up. Every emotion, every sensation, every desire. Set an intention to surrender and allow.
Begin turning yourself on.
Once you feel a decent amount of pleasure, like a 4 on a scale of 1-10 where 1 is feeling a slight turn-on and 10 is an orgasm, ask yourself “what emotion am I feeling right now”?
When you have identified that feeling, notice what the physical sensations associated with that emotion are. What do you feel in your body? Does it feel tight and clenching in your gut? Heaviness in your chest?
Allow the sexual pleasure and the sensations of the emotion to blend together. Let your emotion and pleasure transmute into each other.
Follow your impulses. Let yourself cry, scream, laugh, writhe, or express in any way you feel, all while continuing to pleasure yourself.
Give yourself permission to use your sexuality as a refuge. It is a profound expression of self-love to take the time to really be with your emotions, your experiences, your fantasies, your wounding, your animal nature, your impulses in an active and free-form way. It’s a beautiful way to restore, nourish, and heal yourself.
Give yourself the gift of this beautiful, energetic homebase from which to process life’s rough patches and celebrate life’s victories. It’s a delicious and highly-effective form of self-care. Let yourself taste the sweet freedom of sanctuary.
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