Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Thoughts on the Sacred and the Erotic

I just read a blog post from PhD in Parenting, which addressed the meaning of "discreet" in terms of dress whilst breastfeeding. One of the comments brought up the dichotomy between the sacred/holy and the erotic/sexy. I don't believe it was intended for that to be the focus of the comment, more that it was an offhand explanation of his personal preferences/opinion.
But it made me think.

 Why do we have that dichotomy? Why is that a part of our culture? A part, it seems, of many human cultures - though I'm not traveled enough to speak from experience.

For me, the erotic without the sacred (at least in company) is pretty much blasphemy. I mean, if you need to take care of things yourself, by all means do so. Biology has to have a say, too. But the act of lovemaking is, to me, the giving of oneself fully, and the accepting of another. Fully.

It is a closeness, a bonding, a love and a joy so deep that another human being can be created out of it.

That's really not something to be taken lightly, or diminished. In fact, there is no closer experience that two adult human beings can share, and it is, therefore, one of the most sacred things that human beings can experience. At least, to me it is. The only thing I can think of that could possibly rival it is the carrying and birthing of a child - but that's another discussion altogether.

That's why I can't understand people who say, "it's just sex." Is it? Do you really believe that? If you do, then I truly hope you have some other means of experiencing the depth which lovemaking creates within those of us who feel otherwise. Those of us who consider it sacred.

I suppose one could argue that I'm just parroting back what mothers have been telling their daughters for years - the standard party line they give in school sex ed classes. I remember the silly paper hearts they made us tear up and try to tape back together.

But somehow, it seems like those lectures missed the point. Maybe it's because they focused on trying to avoid the sacred along with the blasphemous. Maybe it's because sacred is defined differently by every human being. Or, maybe, it's because they try to emphasize the value of "saving it" without really acknowledging the value of "giving it". Because, really, what they're thinking about is teen pregnancies and STDs. While those are important topics and also not to be taken lightly, they overlook the depth and meaning that sex should always include.

As I said once before, biology has to have its place. But, because we're human, the psyche does, too. When we separate what was meant to work together, and stripping away the most valuable part, that is when the beautiful and sacred becomes dirty. Why would we do that to ourselves?

Why can't the erotic also be the sacred? And if it hasn't been in the past, why not give ourselves back that power? No one can take it from us. We can only deny ourselves, and that strikes me as a particularly foolish thing to do.

I don't know exactly how I will talk about this with my daughters, when I have them. But I do know that there won't be any paper hearts, and I'm pretty sure that we'll talk about it before biology starts to get pushy.

Most importantly, I know that I will never devalue the act of lovemaking.

I'm not sure how this ended up being a post about sex education. All I really meant to say is that the erotic is the sacred. The only way to make it otherwise is to intentionally strip from it everything worth having.

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