In another thread in this forum [http://www.polyamory.com/forum/showthread.php?t=226]
, I recently said that I prefer to treat all sexual exploratoin and expression as "sacred". In this topic, I want to say more about what that means to me, and does not mean to me, at present.
First of all, the term "sacred sexuality" is not at all uncommon, though the terms mean different things to different people, according to whatever tradition or traditions of thought and belief they are inspired by. Many people using such a phrase are coming from a particular religious or spiritual tradition. Indeed, the word "sacred" sometimes has an off-putting feel to people who are not religious or who are atheists, etc. But it should be pointed out here that the term "sacred" also has a very secular or non-religious meaning, as well. The concept of "the sacred" needn't rely on any religious belief or affiliation--though it may.
The basic idea of "sacred" I have in mind doesn't rely on any theological or religious beliefs--though it may be called "spiritual," in some sense. (That's a whole topic in itself!) The Merriam-Webster's Online Dictionary defines "sacred", in item 2-B, as anything "entitled to reverence and respect."
And in 5-B, "highly valued and important <a sacred responsibility>"
) The American Heritage Dictionary also has both religiously contextualized and non-religously contextualized usages of the term "sacred".: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/sacred
According to the American Heritage Dictionary, reverence is "a feeling or attitude of deep respect tinged with awe; veneration." http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/reverence
And "respect": http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/respect
So we begin to see that both religious and non-religious people use similar concepts, though they can also be very different. For some, an external "God," on high, above or beyond the world, decides what is sacred and informs us little people down here as to what that is. It's a very authoritarian sort of thing, with some big Sky Daddy passing down the law to us mere mortals and foolish children, and scolding us as He does it. This is NOT what I mean by "sacred" -- or even "holy". Holy means wholesome:
Following such a pattern of thought, you can begin to see what I mean by something being "spiritual". Spirit means breath. Who among us does not breathe?! What do we breath with? We breath together. To breathe together is the literal meaning of "conspiracy". Look it up!
[L. spiritus "soul, courage, vigor, breath," related to spirare "to breathe," ]
So, when I say that sex is "sacred," I mean that it is appropriate to treat it with awe and respect, and not to treat it too lightly, as if it were not important. It is very important. Like fire, it can burn you (or another) or it can warm you. It is nothing to trifle with!
Sex play can be light and lovely, and needn't always take place in long term committed relationships to be treated as sacred. But it should never be trifled with, because it will burn - or harm - those who don't give it the reverence it is due.
All of this can be understood in terms of somatic psychology, wherein it is well understood that to touch the body is to touch the soul/psyche. Who is touching if not a soul/psyche (soma)? Who is being touched?