Bella Vida Therapy

Molly Papp, MS, MPH, CSAT, LMFT #88196

Bella Vida Therapy

Molly Papp, LMFT

You deserve a beautiful life

Sex, intimacy, and relationship therapy

Sex and Spirituality: How Much Do They Have in Common?

I remember being in high school and hearing rumors about how "church kids" were having a lot of sex. I always thought that was ironic, given the fact that they were supposed to be virgins before marriage. As a nerdy, shy 14-year old with bad hair and pale skin, I was not one of those kids, but I did have my first kiss on a mission trip to West Virginia. Even the controversial Duggars have a million and one kids, so they must be having sex all the time. Well that and not using any type of birth control. All of this has made me wonder, what is it about God that makes people so horny? Is there a common link between God and sex?

I believe that yes, there is a parallel between spirituality and sexuality. Both are essentially a search for wholeness. A search to connect with someone and something higher than yourself. Both involve pain and not knowing. And both are ultimately involve a leap of faith. Falling in love and giving yourself over sexually to your mate is a risk. It is scary and places you in a vulnerable position. True intimacy in sex is not simply the physical act of intercourse, but the connecting of two people at the deepest emotional level. If you have not experienced that type of sex yet, know that it does exist. But it involves being able to let go of all your defenses and truly let yourself be seen by another person. It's hard! And demands trust first and foremost. But it is also incredibly profound. Feeling loved for who you are in mind, body and spirit is exhilarating. And more fulfilling than any casual 'hook-up' could ever be. Those are exciting sure, but not the same as intimate sex with someone you love who loves you back, despite your flaws. Your crooked nose, flabby thighs, weird birth mark- those don't matter when you're being sexual with them. It's not about the physical stuff. That is simply the tool used to further the emotional connection.

The search for God is different of course (no one is having sex with Jesus..that I know of), but very similar. It involves desiring to feel loved and protected. It is intangible. It cannot be bought or created, but rather it's felt. Whatever your spiritual affiliation is, hopefully you can relate to that overwhelming emotion of feeling safe and protected, no matter what life brings you. You are loved completely for yourself. You are whole. When we lack that wholeness in life, we tend to search for other ways to fill it (aka addiction to drugs, idolizing celebrities, obsessing over work, you name it).

I don't say this to preach to anyone, completely the opposite. I myself have struggled with faith my entire adult life. What I want to do is  illuminate the correlation between the love you can feel from a higher power, to the love you can feel through intimate, healthy sex. It may seem crazy to some to place so much weight on sex, a mostly physical act. I challenge all of us to use sex as more than just that. It is truly the closest you can get to another human being. And the most exposed. Not only physically but emotionally. If you are (both) present during sex and one with your lover, you can experience that intense passion, no matter how long you've been together. Joy to the World indeed!