by Al Link and Pala Copeland ~ 4 Freedoms Relationship Tantra
Published in two parts: Part I, Tone Magazine April 2003 and Part II, Tone Magazine May 2003
People who regularly experience pleasure tend to be happy and are almost certainly a lot nicer to be around. Sex is one of the healthiest and most beautiful ways to experience pleasure. A committed long-term relationship legitimizes sex and offers the needed safety and security to help you open to the many delights of sexual pleasure. Sacred sexuality practices such as Tantric and Taoist sex offer the further possibility of elevating your relationship to become a spiritual practice, thus re-uniting heaven and earth (sex and spirit). In this way it is possible to set your soul free by celebrating your body rather than denying it.
“Pleasure then becomes a universal, uplifting and healing experience that brings you closer to each other and to God, not an individual craving that sets you apart and drives you deeper into selfishness. Indeed, in this view it is the absence of pleasure that brings about suffering. For instance, developmental neuropsychologist James W. Prescott advanced the theory that deprivation of body pleasure has a direct impact on the amount of warfare and interpersonal violence. ‘The reciprocal relationship between pleasure and violence is such that one inhibits the other; when physical pleasure is high, physical violence is low. When violence is high, pleasure is low. This basic premise…provides us with the tools necessary to fashion a world of peaceful, affectionate, cooperative individuals.’ Sacred sexuality is one of those tools. By reuniting these two most powerful motivators—spirit and sex—we can heal the damage their separation has caused.”
Few things could be as important to your happiness as a relationship that satisfies through and through, and healthy passionate sexuality is one of the most important keys to relationship success. Equally important, commitment in long-term relationship seems to be essential to create a moral legitimacy for passionate sex. The simple (not necessarily easy) recipe is: relationship commitment + passionate sex = enduring happiness.
However, “even as sex is now more openly displayed, more freely accessible and almost obsessively examined, on a grand societal scale it remains at heart soul-less—separate, fleeting and essentially physical. While sex may be an expression of genuine love it is just as often a means to gain power, a bargaining tool for self-worth, a routine tension release, or a hedonistic escape. Sex may feel good, but for many, down deep it is still bad, as is most pleasure. Even though the pursuit of pleasure is part of the Canadian dream—an unassailable right—it is a guilt-ridden hunt, filtered through the notion that what comes from the body or pleases the body is against the soul. People are caught between choosing one or the other— diving headlong into hedonism—where only pleasure is important and all else falls by the wayside—or denying themselves pleasure to save the spirit.”
One step on your path to reclaim the joy of pleasure is to examine your own beliefs and assumptions about sexuality. Completing the following questionnaire will enable you to determine if you are limiting yourself with sex-negative ideas or are allowing yourself to experience the sexual/spiritual ecstasy that is your birthright.