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John the Drunkard

This overlaps with the 'spiritual not religious' post below.

In my experience, as an atheist, an Alexander teacher and a sober alcoholic, most folks lack any vocabulary with which to own or appreciate really new experience. This is especially so if the experience is internal.

So, the vast tides of sexual feeling, the kinesthetic suprise in an Alexander lesson, or the relief from the compulsion to drink gets shoehorned into the only language the subject has--usually generic 'spirituality' and HallMark card woo-woo.

I believe that these clichés can really prevent people from grasping their new experience. The old mindset--religion, New Agery etc. crushes out the reality, the new learning is suborned into more support for the old prejudices.

cognitive dissident

Great article! Like your earlier ruminations about the religion-vs-spirituality issue, this piece is wonderful...one might say it's made of win.

You have a wonderful talent for bringing out the specialness of everyday life.

Jared Goddard

(Cross-posted to Blowfish.)

Greta, you’ve managed to put these feelings into words where I could not. As an atheist, I’ve thought of sex as one of the things closest to a religious experience I could have. It never really occurred to me why (or solidified in my mind) until I read this:

“It means that the act of sex, and the experience of sexual pleasure, connects us to every other living thing on earth. We are the cousins of everything that lives on this planet, with a common ancestor of primordial soup going back billions of years . . . and we are all related, not entirely but substantially, because of sex.

That is awesome. That makes me want to go fuck right now, just so I can feel connected with my fish and tetrapod and primate ancestors. That is entirely made of win.

I don’t think we need to see sex as spiritual in order to see it as transcendent.

I don’t think we need to see sex as blessed by the Goddess, or a telepathic connection between souls, or a channeling of the chi energy, or as any form of worship or spiritual practice, in order to see it as valuable. I think we can see sex as a physical act between animals . . . and still see it as richly, deeply valuable and meaningful. I think we can see sex as a physical act , and still see it as an act that connects us intimately, not only with ourselves and with one another, but with all of life, and with the expanse of history, and with the vastness of the universe.”

Also, “that is awesome” and “that is entirely made of win” made me laugh. I think I’ll need to share this with a few of my friends. Thank you so much for writing this.

Hambydammit

What a great article. There are times when I wish I could lead two or three lives simultaneously. I am full to the brim trying to maintain a blog on rational materialism, science and atheism, but damn, I wish I had the time to be an advocate for sex-positive non-theist living.

Having made the progression from fundamentalist Christian monogamist to something significantly more sex-positive (That's my business... sorry...) I can say first hand that there is nothing so eye-opening as realizing that you've spent half your life being literally less than fully human. I can't imagine going back to my previous attitude towards sex. It breaks my heart that so many of my friends, even my atheist friends, are so caught up in the cultural myths and lies that create so much sex-negativity.

For what it's worth, I wrote a rather extensively researched article on the cultural sexual myths, their origins, and their impact on modern society on my blog.

http://hambydammit.wordpress.com/2009/01/29/myth-sexuality-and-culture/

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