Why Sex Magic is a Subversive Activity.
Sex is magical. I think many of us glimpsed this, perhaps before we knew anything about 'magic'. Many of us, often not understanding what it was we were experiencing, felt the touch of the divine, or the flow of universal energy, when we were in an aroused state with a lover, or at the moments before, during or after orgasm. In a sex-postive, magic-positive, free culture, this would have been one of the ways we learned to connect with the truth of our magical selves. But in this culture this rarely happens. Instead we are encouraged to attach the 'magical' feelings to the other person (we are told there should just be one other person!) involved, to think that the feelings are a part of romantic love, not the birthright of us all. We can see this progression in so many popular songs. Magical, elemental imagery often accompanies descriptions of sex, but this becomes trapped within the restrictions of the couple relationship. Thus, in Kiki Dee's 'Amoureuse', popular when I was in my late teens and just discovering sex:
'Deep inside I feel my soul aflame,
Can my life ever be the same?.....
Turn the key into another world....
When I am far away
I feel the rainfall of another planet'
becomes: 'I should have told him
that I'd do anything if I could hold him
for just another day'
Magic becomes possession, becomes fear, becomes powerlessness.
Sex in this patriarchal, Western society is used to keep us down, to constrain and deny our energy and to stop us from changing the society for something better. We are taught from an early age that only in a couple relationship can we find true fulfilment. Our time and energy goes to finding the relationship and to maintaining it. If it 'works' then it becomes a closed circuit that stops our energy from being effective in the world. If it doesn't 'work' then our energy is taken up by suffering and by more searching. The binary model of society keeps us in a couple dynamic where society's power dynamics are acted out between us – we are constantly taken up by what is going on in our couples and, again, have no energy for societal change.
Sex is the thing we are all taught to want. It will give us status, security, confidence, everything that we need! Sexual pleasure is the only pleasure worth having, and if we don't have it we must long for it. And indeed we do long for it, for those glimpses of magic that are maybe the only way we have ever experienced the true nature of the universe. But the only ways we are told that we can have it are 'casually' or in a couple. We are encouraged to think that 'casually' is only for a certain time, mostly when we are young. Couple-dom is where we will find 'fulfilled' sex. Once we have found this we will not want anything else, and we had better not lose it, especially as we get older, or we will never be 'fulfilled' again. And sex, we are told, like love, is a scarce commodity (in capitalism everything is turned into a commodity; scarce, and therefore profitable) and there is not enough to go around. Only the successful will have it, everyone else will be considered somehow lesser. We are taught, above all, that we have to rely on others for fulfilment.
Sex magic turns this on its head. Everyone has the power of their own sexual energy and access to the energy of the whole universe. When the earth is your lover you will never have unmet needs! The planet will never reject you or constrain you. Its energy is available to you always. To experience sex magic you don't need to go on a date, you don't need to attract anyone, wait to be chosen or fear that you will be left for someone else. You can experience sexual energy any time you like and share it with the earth, trees, the sea, magical beings, deities – the possibilities are endless!
In sex magic we are not waiting to find someone we are 'attracted to'. We are not waiting for someone to 'turn us on'. We can share our sexual energy with others if we, and they, choose. But we are not dependent on anyone else for our pleasure, or for our power.
Sex magic does not constrain energy, it does not limit us. Instead it teaches us to expand our capacity for holding and containing energy, so that more energy is available, for our pleasure and for the things that we choose or are called to do. We learn to build energy, to harness it and to release it. We learn to channel the energy of the universe which is limitless, and in doing so we become limitless too. We learn to live within and to move and use our own power. We no longer give our power over to others but are in charge of it for ourselves.
Sex magic raises energy and pours it back into the earth for the earth's healing. In learning to work sexual energy we learn to be effective magically, and this can also make us more effective in other areas of our lives, where we are working for the earth and its people. Sex magic can be directly used for spells of magical healing and protection. It can help us to balance ourselves, give us more energy when we need it, ground it when we need to rest. It can support our activism and our building of the new. It can help build and sustain community and connection.
Through sex magic we reclaim ourselves: our bodies, our energies, our souls. We learn that our self, our soul, is not distinct from our bodies or from our energy bodies. We learn that we are in fact not distinct from the universe in which we move. One of the biggest wounds the patriarchy has inflicted on us is the separation of humans from the earth, and the dividing of us into separate parts, that can be controlled and enslaved. Divide and rule applies, not only to the different groups of people in the world, but to each individual. It is, arguably, the origin of all the splits.
Sex magic reclaims our sense of ourselves as vibrant, sensual/sexual beings. In this society, one of the few times when we are aware of our physical bodies (or, often without realising that is what we are aware of, our energetic ones) is when we are 'having' sex. When we have 'finished' we return to a state of unawareness, almost of deadness. Through practising sex magic, we can reclaim awareness of our bodies, of the whole of ourselves. As we learn to hold more energy the line between arousal and non-arousal becomes blurred, we are aware of the strong pleasure and power of our bodies and our selves more of the time. We don't need to 'have' sex to feel ecstasy, we only have to flow, to feel the energy that is always there.
Sex magic helps us to be 'in the moment'. Being 'in the moment' can sometimes seem like a 'new age' cliché but in fact it is a profound learning and a profound movement for change. The patriarchy keeps us out of the moment as much as it can. We are encouraged to live in the past – regretting, mourning, suffering – or the future. Whether it is the christian idea of heaven as a reward for suffering on earth, or the adverts telling us about the amazing nights out or holidays we can have if we work hard, it is about being somewhere else, not being in the now, not being in our own bodies, our own selves. Living in the future is always an illusion, as it will never be exactly as we have dreamed it, and so we never really live. Not living, we cannot change things, in our lives or in the world, we can only plan to change them. We cannot connect with others and we cannot connect with the earth.
Sex under the patriarchy is not about being in the moment. It is goal-oriented, about achieving orgasm, about building towards a future, about what Sonia Johnson calls 'excitation exchange'. It is about performance and about technique.
Sex magic on the other hand is about the moment. A ritual or a spell may have a goal, it is true, but we cannot raise or direct energy without being in the moment, without experiencing what we are experiencing now. Building energy is what we are dong now. Holding energy is what we are doing now. Sending and directing energy is what we are doing now. Sharing sexual energy with others, be they human or non-human, is about being aware of the energy, the energetic and/or physical touch that is present here, now. Our goal is to experience, to be in the moment as much as we can. From the moment, from the eternal 'now', we can build the future that we want. This future will be rooted in reality. It will not be dreamed out of a theoretical position. It will not be sought through means that are not consistent with the dream, and which therefore will change the outcome beyond recognition. Learning to be in the moment; to adapt our plans to the reality of living people, of the living earth, and of their needs and desires, we will build a future based on freedom, respect and compassion. Based on the deep subversion of love.