[Written around 2004.]
People who are not fully enlightened have sex because they are on a misplaced search for the nurturance that only deep emotional healing provides. They may dress their motives for sex with societally acceptable terms such as “pleasure” and “biological drive” and “experimentation” and “need for release” and “love of intimacy” and even “recreation” and “physical exercise,” but no one who ventures deeply below the emotional surface is fooled long by these façades. Healing is the deepest human hope, and in sex we cannot help but fantasize its possibility.
But sex doesn’t heal anyone. Sex lacks the boundaries necessary for healing, and instead breeds the volatile and dangerous defense of projection. People project the potential healer onto their partners, who in turn project the same onto them. This may work for a time, but ultimately it causes more damage than it undoes. Sex is like tofu: it soaks up the flavor of whatever you cook it in. And if you cook with toxic ingredients, which everyone has percolating in their beings until you fully resolve your unconscious traumas of childhood, you’ll end up in a toxic stew of anti-healing.
A rare few – and no one I’ve ever heard of or met – are ready to fully handle the emotional side of sex. As the saying goes, “sex is simple, you’re not.” As long as people hold onto fantasies about who they are, and primarily who their parents are, they’re going to unconsciously want their partner to rescue them, and this can never happen. People must heal from within, and sex, even masturbation with the mildest of fantasies, is attempting healing from without.
So what then should people do with their sex drives? The only answer is that people must heal at their deepest core levels. They must become enlightened, through and through. Until they do they will have no choice but to act out through sex – act out unconscious childhood dramas of every variety. Their other option is to repress their sex drive, but this is equally as dangerous as acting out, because repressed drives act themselves out in other destructive ways.
But healing is hell. It’s much easier to act out – at least for a time. But acting out always catches up with the actor. Acting out is nothing more than a replication of unhealed childhood traumas – and a step toward death. Healing on the other hand expresses life. It is painful, it is heart-wrenching, and it is full of doubt. It is lonely, it is solitary, and it is tormenting. But it is honest. And it leads in the right direction. Although you have to sleep alone at night, at least you open the doors to the potential of having a real relationship with yourself.
What does deep healing look like ? And how does one measure progress in this healing process ?
This post doesn’t really take into account sexual anorexia.. That would be an unhealthy relationship to avoiding sex.
I wish that there’s a like comment?
i wonder where you would draw the line between “sexual” behavior and other kinds of relational behavior. i assume you do not advise the ceasing of all relational behaviors until one is “enlightened.” i don’t think the line is very clear at all, personally. i should read some more of your writings as maybe you answer this elsewhere.
Sexual Energy is THE most powerful creative force in the Universe.
As human beings we must purify our desires so we no longer waste and abuse this sacred power – celibacy until true spiritual healing has occurred is essential.
This worlds problems are due to the misuse and abuse of human sexuality.
Mindless sex is harmful to humanity the Planet and the Universe.
There is a spiritual purpose to male female energy and how they relate to creativity there is a spiritual purpose for having a particular gender- its not the sex that is significant more what it communicates .The spiritual communication of two homosexual men or two homosexual women is spiritually disordered and therefore harmful to the universe the world and humanity-the vast majority of heterosexual sex is also harmful to humanity.
There is a spiritual cause for all natural disasters, people are becoming increasingly ungodly and debauched in their thinking and behaviour. Most refuse to take responsibility because they do not want to change their lifestyles. A’ fallen consciousness is prevalent. If people refuse to be awakened through spiritual understanding of their creator then they will be awakened by the increasing intensity of man made and natural disasters. If the current ungodly conditions persist a downward self reinforcing spiral will be formed – that then makes it probable that the entire planet will eventually self destruct.
Thats the way I see things and Im not homophobic … I have been unfairly accused of it .Ive also been threatened with the police by a gay rights activist and publicly vilified as a judgemental prude.
It is the lack of spiritual energy that is causing our worlds problems, because humanity is not putting the right value on spiritual action.Everything we do affects the world also- everything we ever think affects the world. People talk about global warming,pollution and all sorts of issues with no awareness what so ever of their human orientated view of ecology there is no spiritual appreciation of the consequences of our actions. Same goes for sex.
“You heard it was said, `Do not commit adultery,’ but I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman in order to covet her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”
Jesus was telling us that thoughts were things -a wrong thoughtform is not a harmless powerless indulgence it will affect the sea of mind energy the collective conscious and the collective unconscious,all material things are imbued with thought radiations of other people thats how ppl get a vibe of a place they have never been to or a person they never met.
I don’t disagree with all of your opinions, yet you have to keep in mind that not all gay and bisexual men are the same. There are gay and bisexual men who are not into anal, and some have never even done anal. (I’ve never tried anal with someone.)
Have you ever heard of Frot or frottage (penile-penile sex or genital rubbing). It’s a safe, normal, spiritual, masculine, life-affirming, and romantic sex act that many men through out history have practiced and have even written about (Oscar Wilde, Gore Vidal, Yukio Mishima, D. H. Lawrence, Bill Weintraub, etc.). How does something like that hurt anyone? It certainly doesn’t spread diseases the way anal does. It certainly doesn’t lead to all forms of mechanicaly injury and damage and health risks the way anal does.
You seem very sure that Man2Man love cannot have a spiritual dimension. How do you know? Why are you so sure that only Man2Woman love can be spiritual?
Here’s my story. For the most part I cannot even enjoy masturbation or sex because I suffer from chronic pelvic pain syndrome, and so far I cannot afford to find a good physiotherapist to help me. (Although that’s definitely something I’m going to start looking into more.) And for the most part doctors haven’t been too helpful. There are very few resources for men who suffer from pelvic pain syndrome. (Maybe if I was living in California and making a lot of money it would be easier.) And the fact is that I’m 27-years-old, I’m in college, I still live with my mother, and I don’t have a job. At least not yet.
In addition, I believe that I was sexually and probably even anally abused in my early childhood and/or infancy. I once had a nightmare in which my mother anally raped me with a finger and it really hurt. I had that nightmare long before I ever experimented with marijuana. Recently I have experimented with liquid (edible) marijuana, and I feel like I may have unconvered some repressed traumas, yet I’m not 100% sure how much of it is real and how much of it is a product of (temporary) drug-induced ‘psychosis’, ‘speculation’, ‘brainstorming’, etc. I believe that the pelvic pain that I’ve been dealing with for years (which results in pain in my genitals/testicles) is at least partially related to sexual abuse from early childhood. In addition, because the pelvic pain makes it virtually impossible to really enjoy masturbation and sex (and actually tends to make those things painful), I’ve sometimes turned to anal fingering in order to pleasure myself and deal with the pain (since the pelvic pain doesn’t really affect that area of my body as much if at all). Yet at the same time I feel bad about that because anal is inherently dirty, disgusting, gross, etc., yet compared to actual anal penetration with a penis, anal fingering with lubricant is still pretty safe. Nevertheless, lubricant is expensive, especially the type that gives me the most pleasure.
I don’t think homophobia is the biggest problem facing gay men in the Western world. I think it’s the acting out of traumas related to anal abuse in early childhood. I think this repetition compulsion is the worst thing about gay male life in the Western world. Men treat each other like shit. Being a gay man, especially a bottom, is like being a slave, someone’s bitch, and that’s inherently degrading, damaging, painful, etc. If women had to deal with this kind of treatment in the Western world (this kind of objectification and abuse from other men), all the feminists would be up in arms over it. I think we should remember that gay men are human beings too, and we deserve to be treated with as much respect as anyone else (and that includes straight-identified women and men). I don’t think we’re worse than the straights, and I think gay (and bisexual) men should respect, love, and care for each other more (and treat each other better), whether they are friends or lovers.
In addition, I’m at least 95% homosexual, and I’ve been celibate since December, 2011. I haven’t had sex with anyone since then. The last sex act I did with someone was with a black guy, and it was missionary frottage (penile-penile rubbing and we both orgasmed at the same time). I’d like to one day find a man who I can have both a friendship with and a romantic/sexual relationship with. I don’t know if that will ever happen, especially if I don’t succeed in healing psychologically, emotionally, physically, etc. Hopefully one day I will. Anyway, I don’t think any gay (or bisexual) man would be doing anal if he wasn’t anally abused by a parent, family member, or some other (trusted or strange) adult in his (early) childhood. The abusers are to blame for ‘disordered sexuality’. And Man2Man love, sex, romance, and friendship can still be a beautiful, healthy, life-affirming, symmetrical, and sacred thing.
I found your suggestions very useful. I do agree with you that sex is harmful to a person who may still have childhood issues to deal with. But i am not certain refraining from sex is a realistic suggestion because humans do have a drive for sex of which they have to satisfy, The challenge should be to find a way to satisfy that urge in a healthy way. So i agree we need to become enlightened beings before we engage is sex.
I find Viktor E Frankl’s writing on the Meaning of Life to be very useful in gaining some insight about how to deal with the “existential vacuum” that is created when attempting to recover from childhood trauma.
What i am trying to say is that. sometimes focusing too much on the abuse only creates more neurosis. the more you want to avoid sex till you get better, the less likely you are to get better. Sometimes the only way to get better is to take a chill pill and stop taking the past so seriously.
There is NOTHING anyone can do about what has already happened in the past, but we have to find a greater meaning in our life by changing our attitude to the horrors of abuse. For example accepting that it happened, its awful, but i really have to move on.
To quote you “As long as people hold onto fantasies about who they are, and primarily who their parents are, they’re going to unconsciously want their partner to rescue them, and this can never happen. People must heal from within, and sex, even masturbation with the mildest of fantasies, is attempting healing from without.”
What i am suggesting is that perhaps this healing can only take place when we embrace the horrors of our past and accept it as a burden we will have to carry, and try to transcend it through creativity, positive experiences and changing our attitudes to the past.
Well this caught me off-guard. I act out my childhood trauma by going out to bathhouses (gay/Bi spas for men who seek out sex with other gay/Bi men). I hadn’t realize how much of a problem I have with this because of my unconscious need to heal my childhood. So I’m in agreement with why sex is inappropriate for most people, if not all people. Thank you Daniel.
thank you Joe. it’s interesting for me to read your comment, because i recently have been blasted by a lot of people for taking my point of view about sex too far. so i thought you were being ironic! then i read your comment again and realized — or believe i realized — that you were being serious. thank you!
all the best,
Do you have any examples (from your own or other’s experience) of how “repressed (sex) drives act themselves out in other destructive ways”. One disatisfying aspect of Alice Miller’s “thou shalt not be aware” is that she talks about everyone ‘re-enacting their traumas’ and for someone with sexual trauma this is extremely hard to see if you either avoid sex or are not even inclined towards it for whatever reason.
Although I don’t expect you to provide an answer relevant to me personally, examples might be helpful to give an idea of various ways this might happen, or is it completely different for everyone or not visibly traceable back to the source etc.
hi justine —
a simple example i can think of off the top of my head is catholic priests who repress their sexuality and it pops out in pedophilic urges. i also think, in a different direction, of people who get certain diseases or physical problems because of sexual repression. for instance, men who don’t masturbate or have any sex are at much higher risk (i hear) of getting prostrate cancer, because they get all plugged up. and i have heard people say (though with less medical evidence) of people who repress their sex drive getting different types of more sexually-related cancer (uterine, testicular, etc.). and then although it’s hard to pin down scientifically, i could see repression playing out destructive through feelings popping out in other ways — self-hatred, anger/rage toward others who are innocent, becoming super-pious or self-sacrificing in various ways (like religiously), etc.
greetings to you!
Okay thanks for responding. I understand that why (unconscious) repression is happening is also important in considering what side-effects might look like.
I forgot actually that ‘acting out’ depends also on the degree to which you are conscious of the underlying trauma. I was always at least half aware of one major aspect of my own and that changed things radically.
The problem seen among some (a lesser percentage than among the general population of men) Catholic clergy is not a matter of their repressing their sexuality, and the problem isn’t manifest in pedophilia. The issue was — still is in some places — homosexual ephebophilia, that is, it was a problem of priests abusing their power with post-pubescent, sexually mature teenaged boys, not kids.
I just heard your archived interview on Madness Radio, and am now perusing your web site. I have been recently listening to a lot of Madness Radio, partly in search of the parts of myself that feel missing or misplaced and partly to find better ways to help people experiencing altered states currently diagnosed as psychoses and other problems stemming from trauma. I too believe that we live in a world that is full of unknown and unacknowledged personal and social traumas. I find the idea of celibacy as a fascinating sexuality in itself, and am sure what you say is true about the damaging effects of sexual relationships in people who are unenlightened. It seems like you may be choosing to have sex now because you have taken severals steps towards your own healing. I am glad for you. Using sexual energy for creativity has been of benefit to me, but i reckon i have a lot more work to do to reach your level of practice and awareness. It is very inspiring to read your ideas.
greetings. good to read what you wrote. and i’m glad you are finding value in what i write. well, yes, i’m exploring romance a bit here and there, but pretty mildly……just seeing how it goes for myself. i was out of the romance loop for a lot of years, and seeing if trying it out is useful to me (and others). so far i’m not totally sure. but i’m exploring!
wishing you the best!
Daniel… I will say that what I read from your words is a huge amount of self-loathing. It is the Self that wants to have sex. It is the Self that wants to masturbate. It is the Self that wants to have kids and be a parent. To deny these things to your self is a form of self-denial. I do not believe healing has to, or can, happen through self-denial. Healing must, and will, always take place through self-acceptance. It is a form of asceticism. To deny yourself sex, when you want it. Through your life, you must model sane and healthy behaviours for others to follow. You cannot say “one must deny these and these things, and only when you have become enlightened, are you to become sane.” Of course not – sanity starts right here and now. The purpose of your life is for you to discover the natural and unique expression of yourself as a human being. Do not postpone this expression until conditions change. There are no conditions to reach before you can BE a thing. Your beingness is the only thing that matters, and it is like a universal model. What would happen if everyone modeled themselves after you? Would humanity fare well if everyone stopped having sex? Not at all.. It would not be healing at all. Be a sane model, Daniel..
Hi again, into it now. Yes, Daniel. All
Very true insights, in my experience.
I have been celibate for three yrs now. Very hard, after having nearly
Forty yrs of a regular sex life.
Your observations re the projections is so true. For thirty yrs , I tried real hard to ” make” a healthy relationship with my husband. But we were both too damaged. Had five children, and that just compounded our damage, while creating theirs..
Yet, my children are all powerful, kind, loving people.
The sexual urge hasn’t abated..
So I use it’s power to forge thru internal terrain. And yes it’s painful/ physically as well as emotionally. But my mothering is so much clearer , so much gentler( my youngest son is 16).
My mothering began at 21-47.
But with a big break between first and second child… Anyway. I panic a bit thinking I’ll never have sex again( I know people of my age ” should” be over it, at 62.. But my body hasn’t heard that rule yet). But I also use the panic to go deeper. And yes, I feel a better person. Not having another person so close in, that their mind
Tries to take over / define/ control mine… No more boring emotional scenes/ noise… But I do imagine, that those less damaged than me, can actually find relationships that respect.
very honest comments, Dolma. again, wishing you the best on your journey! Daniel
“people must heal “,”They must become enlightened” .In my opinion, a word “MUST” Not appropriate
Mike, in the most absolute sense no one has to do anything — but if they don’t then there will be consequences. it is in that context that i use the word “must” in this essay… that is, “Until they do they will have no choice but to act out through sex”…
all the best, daniel
The word “must” is appropriate- its urgent and imperative.
The “all too human” values of ordinary people do not provide any guidance for how people should act