Monday, December 20, 2010

While reading 'The Soul of Sex' by Thomas Moore, I had so many sparks flying - things I wanted to share here and how they intersected with experiences I was having. But when I sat down to write I couldn't untangle one from the other and follow a cogent line of thought from inspiration to conclusion. There was simply too big a chunk of inspiration at once. I was brimming and spilling with things I wanted to touch on. I couldn't just choose. Instead I'll write several posts. Missing some things I wanted to grasp until they come around again. And they will overlap. Excuse the redundancies.

I used the little snippet from the book in pursuit of a tangent of my own on Desire so I thought I would present the thought in a fuller, original context. The conversation shifts from Desire alone to its role in soulful sex.

And that's a topic I love exploring - how soulful sex fits into an unleashed life - so here are some decadent morsels from the Erotic Intelligence subchapter.

In order to discover the sublime joys of sex, we may have to develop a special kind of intelligence about the erotic life. As a therapist I found that one word characterizes most people's attitude toward their own sexuality - confusion. They don't understand their attractions and desires. They feel generally that their sexual lives are and have always been a mess. They believe that they are blind and powerless in the face of passion. They sustain the hope that one day they will find sexual bliss, but so far that hope has not been realized.

I find that my sexual life sometimes *seems* like a separate thing to deal with apart from my creative health or spiritual growth or intimacy in the social realms, or the development of my intellect - well, separate from all the rest of myself in general. I'm supposed to talk about it as though it is. Do I have a satisfying sex life is asked as though its different question from whether i have a satisfying life. But it isn't. I feel my creativity the way I feel my sexuality. And my comfort and ability to unleash passion toward anything is inextricably linked to my feelings of the erotic energy in me. My soul speaks to me through my sensuality - I can't separate out the wild health of my sexuality with the needs of my soul in any of its expressions. This confusion Moore refers to - not understanding my desires or attractions, feeling overwhelmed by a passion, disturbed even - I know it. And i've seen it filter into all sorts of unexpected restrictions. Restrictions that have relented as I sought to understand the intimdating desires underlying them.

The ego trusts the mind, and so we often look to a book or an expert for guidance through sexual confusion. The soul, on the other hand, operates primarily on the principle of eros. Desire and pleasure are signlas of its current condition and need. Erotic intelligence requires that we appreciate these usually neglected feelings and use them as guides.

And isn't this just a terrifying suggestion: to appreciate our neglected sexual feelings? those desires that flash their heat in us when we least feel able to acknowledge them. And yet, we must - eventually, turn toward that heat and be bathed by it or burned as it requires.

Desire has its own intelligence. If we think that the mind is the best guide through life, we will make choices by gathering opinions and weighing the options. But if we follow the soul, we will understand that desire is also an indicator of what is needed and what is best. We may be confused, especially at the outset of desire, about the exact nature of our soul's longing, but over time we will become clearer about what the soul is seeking. This is a dynamic way of life rooted in deep longings that call for a response, rather than a static way based on fixed ideas about what is prudent.

Foregoing prudence is a shameless rebellion that makes my skin tingle. Certainly the part of Unleashing that excites me the most. Not being held down by fixed ideas - but allowing a wilder instinct have its say. Always learning more and more ways to do this wisely and deeply. Allowing me to have a stronger trust, which lets me have more profound intimacies in my life. I love even more being in a position to help others strengthen their own experience of trust and gain deeper, more intimate experiences of their own.

Because the soul is so deep and so high, when we are connected to it - mainly by being responsive to its desire - our very sense of self has a sublime quality. Today some would call it personal excellence. Renaissance people spoke of it as virtue, by which they meant not moral integrity so much as personal power and capacity.
Many studies on sexuality and agression make it clear that eros requires a solid sense of power. In mythology Mars is a special lover of Venus. She smoothes his harshness, and he gives her sensuality an attractive measure of strength and forcefulness. Powerful and creative people are often sexually attractive because of the mysterious connection between sex and strength.

I love the idea of being responsive - responsible - to desire. That Desire calls us to develop our personal power, our inner core of strength. Not to dominate or destroy or force - but to make us able to respond to desire, follow through on the tasks our soul set out for us and to be accountable for our influence on the soul's of others throughout our pursuit of our desires. I find that incredibly sexy. and soulful.

May our listening to the tugs and nudges of our attractions and pleasures refine our ability to sense the subtle. May our devotion to Desire cultivate a wisdom in us of our true strength and power so that we can respond to life and beauty and love as it calls us. Respond with courage and integrity. And passion unleashed.


Editor said...

If your readers and you are interested in Thomas Moore's work, you may enjoy a blog, Barque, dedicated to him at It links to other online resources about Moore's writings.

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