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  #31  
Old 08-10-2018, 05:25 PM
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Are you equating intimacy with feelings? Sex is very intimate, though romantic feelings need not be involved.

Being somewhat demisexual, I get where you are coming from, though when I was younger I had no problems having sex for the sake of having sex. And with the handful of men I've had sex with there were no romantic feelings whatsoever. These days I don't really enjoy sex unless I am emotionally intimate with my partner.
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  #32  
Old 08-10-2018, 05:50 PM
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River, I'm quoting your post in bits and pieces to help organize my thoughts a little better, not to exactly call you out, though I am going to respond directly to a couple of things you said.

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Originally Posted by River View Post
Basically, I think, my point of view is that some things are just basically sacred, and sex is one of these.

All people and cultures have things which are held to be sacred and which are thought best treated with reverence.
*Your* point of view is that some things are basically sacred. Not everyone shares that point of view. I believe you're correct that all *cultures* have things which are held to be sacred. However, not all *people*, if you are using that term to mean a group of individual human beings, hold things sacred. Some people, as I think you point out later in your post, consider *nothing* sacred. Some people do consider some things sacred, but sex isn't one of them.

Quote:
Sex is sacred and ought to be treated with reverence because it can be among the most powerful gateways, or passageways to what is often called "spiritual" or "mystical" experience.
I would add something like "For me" or "In my opinion" to the beginning of this sentence, because like your statement about sex being sacred, this is a subjective thing. Not everyone believes as you do. There's absolutely nothing wrong with the way you believe, but there's also absolutely nothing wrong with *not* considering sex to be a sacred act. With this sentence in particular, people who don't believe in spirituality or mysticism likely don't think of sex this way.

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For me the whole of existence and nature is what religious people call "the divine" -- but since there is no divide between "divine" and "ordinary" and "everyday," folks like me can easily be misunderstood.

It is puzzling to me how we moderns can (and do, and don't) recognize and honor "the sacred" and things reverential by nature. Oftentimes, we simply deem nothing to be sacred or reverential by nature. And I think this does us -- and nature -- much harm. And yet I basically subscribe to conventional naturalism for most things.
I'm a Witch and a Goddess-worshipper, as well as holding nature as something sacred. So now I have another train of thought...

In Witchcraft (Wicca in particular; though I don't consider myself Wiccan, much of the studying I've done and things I've learned come from Wiccan beliefs), nature is sacred. Since our bodies are part of nature, they are sacred. Some also believe our bodies are representations of the Goddess and God, and that we each carry the Divine within us, which also makes our bodies sacred. And in the Charge of the Goddess, it says, "Let My worship be in the heart that rejoices, for behold, all acts of love and pleasure are My rituals." Which would certainly seem to support your assertion that sex is a sacred act.

I personally have trouble seeing it that way *all the time*, because I have experienced sexual acts that were not chosen, that were acts of violence and aggression rather than love, and that were damn sure not pleasurable. Of course, referring back to the Charge, if it is *not* an act of love and/or pleasure, it isn't of the Goddess and therefore isn't sacred on any level. But I acknowledge that sex, when done from a place of love* (more on that in a moment), consensually, and with the intention to create and share pleasure, can be and likely is a sacred act.

(*Love, in this context, doesn't necessarily mean romantic love. I feel varying levels of an emotion that I consider to be love for all human beings, because they're human beings and I believe all humans deserve love. And because as I said, as a Witch I do hold nature sacred, and of course hold the Divine sacred, and humans are aspects of both of those. I suppose another way of phrasing my sentence in the last paragraph might be "...done from a place of respect.")

However, again, not *everyone* believes sex is a sacred act or an act of reverence, or an act to be revered. And for those who do, sacred does not necessarily equal intimacy, because as I think I said previously, intimacy is, as far as I'm concerned, not solely a physical thing, it also requires an emotional and/or mental component, most likely both. I would actually go further and say that intimacy does require both emotional and mental connection/closeness, but does not *require* any type of physical closeness or connection. So as I'm seeing it, intimacy is a mind-and-soul thing, not necessarily mind *body* and soul. The physical component is a bonus.

If I have sex with Joe Randomdude who I met five minutes ago at a house party, it can be seen as a sacred act, because we are (hopefully) coming from a place of mutual respect and are honoring our bodies by giving and receiving pleasure to/from one another. ("All acts of love and pleasure") But it would, to me at least and to others, *not* be seen as an intimate act, because it is purely a physical thing. Joe Randomdude and I don't have any emotional connection or closeness; we've known each other five minutes and so haven't had time to form that. We probably have somewhat of a mental connection, but it's tenuous at best because it's formed from five minutes of conversation, so basically we're just connected enough to know we want to fuck. So while it could be sacred, at least in some points of view, it isn't intimate by the definition and description of intimacy I'm using.

Sex, sacred, intimacy... all of these are things that are to varying degrees subjective. Sex is the least subjective, because there are facts about what sex is, but it's still subjective in some ways because some people consider certain acts to be sex acts while others do not. "Sacred" and "intimacy" are almost entirely subjective, because they are based on individual perceptions and points of view. There are, to my knowledge, no *facts* about what constitutes sacredness, because different things--including nothing--are sacred to different people. There are no *facts* about what constitutes an intimate act, because intimacy is more of a sense or feeling than a quantifiable thing.

Again, this all comes down to different points of view, different experiences, and different belief systems, including but not limited to spiritual beliefs. There is no persuading others to agree with us, but then again, why do we need others to agree? This isn't a thing that's either right or wrong, it's just a thing that people view and experience differently, and everyone's beliefs, point of view, and experiences are right *for them*.
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  #33  
Old 08-10-2018, 08:33 PM
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To everyone posting in here:

This is seriously not easy material to work with -- for me or anyone, I think. It takes time and care and sensitivity to ponder and speak to in any kind of sincere, helpful and/or interesting way. I'm going to take it with that kind of slowness, 'cause I honestly am nowhere near having it all figured out! Thanks for participating in the conversation!

I seem to be comprised, in my attitudes and beliefs, of a hefty amount of both very pre-modern and modern (post-modern? amodern?) influences.

Like moderns -- and post-moderns (and amoderns)--, I generally want to allow for folks to decide, in general, what is sacred "for them," if anything. Respect for the rights and freedoms of individuals -- "liberalism" -- is a pretty modern thing. And I have a lot of that in my make up.

Premoderns were generally different, whether in civilization or in indigenous, tribal (etc.) cultural conditions. The notion of "the sacred," (and/or worthy of reverence) in pre-modern times and places was not decided by the individual, but was a cultural fact. You might disagree with your culture on such things, but it was highly unlikely that you did, or even could -- because these pre-modern cultures left little room for such reflection and discussion. Things just were as the culture said they were and that's that, end of story. (Often, if you thought and acted otherwise you'd be put to death, exiled, banished or punished in some serious way.) The notion of the sacred was, in this way, not open for discussion much, and very authoritarian in structure -- whether the authority was held by a sub-group of cultural elites (as in Civilizations) or simply distributed within the tribe (outside of Civilization, per se).

Like most folks living in modernity -- or post-modernity --, I'm somewhat conflicted about the sacred and about reverence. If you examine carefully, you may find that you're also conflicted about it, to some extent. Why? Well, if it is PURELY a personal decision and matter (what is sacred -- if anything --, and what is worthy of reverence) then some things which aren't really merely or simply personal matters can get neglected, often very badly. (We're in the midst of a global ecological catastrophe which, I think, demonstrates this point quite well. We also have other major social and economic problems which reflect a lack of a common, shared, sense of what is simply sacred and worthy of reverence. These things have become reduced to "mere opinion" in modernity and post-modernity. And, frankly, I think both a lot of good has come with this freedom to decide for ourselves what is sacred and worthy of reverence (if anything). And -- also -- a catastrophe has resulted from this very modern / post-modern condition.

"If life itself is not sacred or worthy of reverence, surely nothing is." I would say. And yet we -- collectively -- are not treating life as if it were sacred and worthy of reverence. We treat it as expendable, valueless. (I mean life in both the individual, biological sense and in the ecological, biospeheric sense.) And this tells me -- I think -- that something is wrong with our collective sense of "the sacred" and "what is worthy of reverence". For if we treated life itself as sacred / worthy of reverence, we'd begin to seriously address the crisis of destruction which, each day, results in a more damaged and broken ecosphere.

My point here is that ... perhaps we ought not to blithely regard all matters of sacredness and reverence as "mere personal opinions". AND, perhaps we ought not allow such matters to be imposed by authoritarian dictators and assholes, either. There may be a third way which is neither of these two.

Okay, that's my contribution for the moment. I'm sure I'll have more to say soonish.
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Last edited by River; 08-10-2018 at 08:44 PM.
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  #34  
Old 08-10-2018, 08:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vinsanity0 View Post
Are you equating intimacy with feelings? Sex is very intimate, though romantic feelings need not be involved.
I have no specific reason to take this question as directed toward me, but I'll answer it anyway.

I do not equate intimacy with feelings, but I do think that the attitude of willingness to be intimate and the attitude of willingness to feel are deeply related. And, speaking of related, I think both attitudes are about a willingness to be related (not in the sense of "relatives" [family], but in a larger, broader, more general sense).

I won't explain it in detail at the moment, but I have a certain way of thinking about the word (and thing) we call "intimacy," which posits that a fullness of intimacy requires a fullness of two main ingredients: (a) familiarity and (b) unfamiliarity -- or knowing and unknowing (known and unknown). When we think we fully know another person, thing, situation..., we are generally refusing relationship. Relationship is about ongoing, unending discovery as much as it is about knowing and being familiar. The surest way for me to disconnect from you and to not see or know you at all is to presume that I already know you.

Intimacy is, in large part, a willingness to be deeply related. It is a willingness -- an openness -- to surprise, ongoing discovery, unfoldment into both knowing and not-knowing. Rather paradoxically, knowing and "familiarity" can be the biggest blocks or obscurations to "intimacy". This relates to the sub-theme of "vulnerability" which has been mentioned in this thread, too. So-called "vulnerability" appears to be a necessary component to "intimacy" -- and relationship.
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  #35  
Old 08-10-2018, 09:42 PM
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Sorry for going on and on, even though I hadn't planned on it and said I was done for now. But that word "sacred" seemed to need a little more attention, as does the word "reverence".

Dictionary.com gets all the way to items (senses) 5 and 6 before going beyond any specifically religious senses of the word "sacred":

Quote:
5. regarded with reverence: the sacred memory of a dead hero.

6. secured against violation, infringement, etc., as by reverence or sense of right: sacred oaths; sacred rights.
https://www.dictionary.com/browse/sacred

All of the more common uses of the word "sacred" appeal directly to religion for their meaning.

And one obvious problem with this is that the various existing religions vary tremendously in what the regard as sacred. Another obvious problem is that many people are not at all religious. Another is that religion tends to rely on "faith" (blind belief, really) rather than reason or evidence to substantiate itself. Another is the problem of blunt authority as a way of imposing doctrines (including doctrines of "sacredness").....

Modernity -- the historical epoch we're ostensibly in -- results in a powerful erosion of religious authority in our world. And I happen to think this is a very good thing! But it also has the effect of eroding our COMMON sense of "the sacred" and of "that which is worthy of reverence," often reducing these to "mere opinion" or "religious relics".

Personally, I think there is as much danger and risk in regarding "the sacred" as a matter of mere opinion as there is in handing the matter over to religion and it's authoritarianism. But science, as we know it, isn't of much help in us finding guidance on such matters. Rationality, as we know it, isn't nearly as much help as we might wish it to be. So there is this very subjective aspect to the inquiry, "What is sacred? If anything. But is it purely a matter of subjectivity and mere opinion? Can we discuss the matter of sacredness and "worthy of reverence" without appeal to authoritiarianism, or reduction to mere relativistic opinion?

This question, you may notice, naturally expands to include all matters which appeal to a need for a "common good" (rather than a merely subjective sense of personal preference). If there are no common goods, aren't we at a loss to organize our activities in a way that allows for coordination and cooperation? And would this not lead to disaster?

Several folks in this conversation on sex in relation to sacredness (in this thread and elsewhere) have mentioned "sex workers" -- prostitution -- as an example of sex without intimacy. This forced me to look deeper for clarity and understanding. You see, I'm all for there being a right to be a sex worker / prostitute (it should not be illegal!). But I see prostitution as a symptom of something having gone wrong with "sex". When sex is a commodity for sale in the marketplace, it seems to me, that can only be a symptom of something having gone wrong. But it's not at all easy to point out what is "wrong" with it. And it's not very far down the trail of such inquiry that folks may bring up the question, "Well, what about food?" .... "If buying and selling sex is somehow 'wrong', mustn't buying and selling food be similarly wrong?" And I can only agree that, yes, it is similarly wrong. For food, too, is sacred. And somehow the buying and selling of anything tends to erode the presence of something which is most sacred about "the sacred" -- and that is that it is a gift. When things are sacred they tend not to be treated as commodities, but as gifts. Their value is in fact increased, rather than reduced, in having been given rather than exchanged.

And we're now in such a bad way with all of this -- the commodification of nearly everything -- that I worry we're losing nearly all contact with the notion (and experience) of "the sacred". When a market economy decides all value, we're totally fucking fucked! And I actually worry that we'll not realize this, will forget it entirely. And boy are we then utterly and totally fucking fucked.

----------------------------

Edit:

The notion of "the common good" has all but been abandoned by moderns / postmoderns, having been reduced to "mere personal opinion". (This, by the way, explains much of the "appeal" (ick!) of premodern religion, including "fundamentalisms" of all kinds.)

Unfortunately, in this post-modern condition, the notion of "the common good" has been largely reduced to the notion of "common goods" -- with "goods" being things bought and sold in a supposedly "free market". The Market, in this strange way (!) seems to have replaced religion in determining "value" (good). Good has become "goods" -- or things/services for sale.
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  #36  
Old 08-11-2018, 02:02 AM
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But it's only sacred if you make it sacred.

I think Bella holds sex to be sacred, which is a very foreign concept to me ( other than being raised Catholic where they tried to teach me that sex should be reserved for marriage). Usually I meet someone and there is a physical attraction and at least a little mental attraction, then we have sex. Then we sort out the rest later.

I don't think sex itself is a mystical experience, but I have had some really great sex. I've also had sex with people whose names I've forgotten.

I have to say you are in the minority, especially since there is no religious reasoning behind your philosophy.

Personally, I think sex is a basic animal instinct.
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  #37  
Old 08-11-2018, 02:12 AM
GalaGirl GalaGirl is offline
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I think "rutting/fucking" is basic animal instinct.

And "sharing sex/making love" could sometimes be taken to a transcendent, "holy communion" kind of place because it's a place where spirituality and sexuality intersect. Tantric sex is up in that bucket to me.

Everyone has their own thoughts sex and intimacy though.

Quote:
"If life itself is not sacred or worthy of reverence, surely nothing is." I would say. And yet we -- collectively -- are not treating life as if it were sacred and worthy of reverence.
I agree with you. I think all things are holy or infused with the holy as a pantheist. However not all people are pantheist. So what I can do is practice/live my life as though things are holy and hope that others will come to realize that we (collective humanity) could do better. I am not the "we." I am only one person. But I figure if I hold up my end of the collective sticks and enough people eventually do same, then there's enough "we" holding up their end of many sticks to make significant changes.

Otherwise... there is no sginificant change and then "we" run out. HOW? It depends. Likely we cause our own demise through collective foolishness. The sun isn't going to expand to gobble up the earth for a while. But it could happen that way too.

I often wondered what would happen if all the "save the earth stuff" changed to "save the humans" because that's what it is really. So the climate changes and we all die. So? The planet will keep on. It's got a much longer clock to go. Sun isn't red dwarfing right now. And left to its own devices it will heal itself. Maybe not be humanly hospitable but it will carry on until its own clock is up.

Quote:
This forced me to look deeper for clarity and understanding. You see, I'm all for there being a right to be a sex worker / prostitute (it should not be illegal!). But I see prostitution as a symptom of something having gone wrong with "sex".
Where is the space for the sacred prostitute then? We don't have much of that here in this american culture, but it has existed.

Does that mean there aren't ALSO prostitute related problems that are a symptom of sex gone wrong or society gone wrong? No. There can be those things too.

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When a market economy decides all value, we're totally fucking fucked! And I actually worry that we'll not realize this, will forget it entirely.
I am going to misquote it... but friends of mine have this quote in their home office. Something along the lines of

The economy can be about "bonus" stuff -- motorcycles and goods and whatnot. It cannot be about "basic needs" -- like food, medicine, etc. I shan't die if I have no motorcycle. Food is another thing.

So I agree with you there.

Galagirl

Last edited by GalaGirl; 08-11-2018 at 02:23 AM.
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  #38  
Old 08-11-2018, 02:37 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vinsanity0 View Post
But it's only sacred if you make it sacred.
Well, kind of. Another interpretation is that it is experientially sacred if we recognize it as sacred. If we don't recognize it as such, it doesn't appear to be (in our experience).

Quote:
Originally Posted by vinsanity0 View Post
I think Bella holds sex to be sacred, which is a very foreign concept to me ( other than being raised Catholic where they tried to teach me that sex should be reserved for marriage). Usually I meet someone and there is a physical attraction and at least a little mental attraction, then we have sex. Then we sort out the rest later.
I feel both lucky and blessed that I was not raised within any religion. I've been able to find out what "sacred" is -- for me -- without the interference of dogma. "Reserved for marriage" as a standard for the "sacredness" of sex, for me, is a silly and absurd notion. But this does not result in my tossing out of the baby (sacredness) with the bath water (religion).

Quote:
Originally Posted by vinsanity0 View Post
I don't think sex itself is a mystical experience, but I have had some really great sex. I've also had sex with people whose names I've forgotten.
Of course, I never said that sex automatically leads to or results in a mystical experience. I simply said -- or implied -- that it can do so, and that it's more likely to do so than lots of other activities (which is partly why it is sacred). You can have a similar experience as a result of eating a few special mushrooms, apparently (though I've yet to try this method). Those mushrooms are, then, sacred in my book! (Actually, there is now science showing that these special mushrooms frequently have this effect!)

Quote:
Originally Posted by vinsanity0 View Post
I have to say you are in the minority, especially since there is no religious reasoning behind your philosophy.
Actually, there are several quite different yet similar tantric traditions which agree with my point of view, here. But so what? I do not regard religions as providing any kind of actual, real authority on anything. (Tantra and neo-tantra are represented in very diverse ways, anyhow.) I do regard personal experience as valid and important, however. But only when many people report having similar experiences under similar conditions do I begin to consider these reports sociologically and psychologically significant. It just so happens that millions and millions of people have had "mystical experiences" while having sex. Sex is often regarded as one of the most common and frequent experiential contexts for "mystical" experiences (or, put in other words, experiences of being an integrated part of a unified whole cosmos, not separate from it but integrated with it). Another way of describing "mystical" experience is to say that in such experiences one feels "at one" with the other (such as the lover, but also the world and "universe". "God" as a word or notion may have nothing to do with it!

In any case, being a minority has never dissuaded me from thinking that perhaps I may have some understanding or insight.


Quote:
Originally Posted by vinsanity0 View Post
Personally, I think sex is a basic animal instinct.
I do too! But in no way does this result in it being less "sacred" for me. Animals can have experiences of the sacred, after all. And clearly we humans are mammals / animals / primates.

It would probably do us all well to develop a sense of "the sacred" which does not depend upon religious authority.

Last edited by River; 08-11-2018 at 03:00 AM.
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  #39  
Old 08-11-2018, 02:50 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GalaGirl View Post
I am going to misquote it... but friends of mine have this quote in their home office. Something along the lines of

The economy can be about "bonus" stuff -- motorcycles and goods and whatnot. It cannot be about "basic needs" -- like food, medicine, etc. I shan't die if I have no motorcycle. Food is another thing.

So I agree with you there.

Galagirl

This is encouraging for me. Thanks!

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Old 08-21-2018, 02:13 AM
TheLimey TheLimey is offline
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So, I've just read through this, and based on what I've just had happen to me, there's a lot here that makes sense and even sheds light.

Ultimately, I feel that intimacy is tied up with vulnerability. You cannot be intimate (and I don't mean sexually, but perhaps in the sense of letting someone close physically and/or mentally), for any meaningful length of time, without being vulnerable, and sharing that vulnerability.

My work has a a life coach on hand, who runs the 'blue sky thinking' sessions, and fosters the ethics/ethos of the company. Part of being a good coworker is accepting that you need to be vulnerable. Not being defensive, not being avoiding, being open.

So much of that runs through deep and meaningful friendships, and deep and meaningful relationships. Without being vulnerable, and having that reciprocated, you will never be intimate, in the sense of someone you trust, and who trusts you back, who you aid, as ND who willaid you back, and who you live, and who will love you vack
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