By Arthur and Ana Lups, M.D.
Issue: Fall 2004, SEXUALITY: A CONTEMPORARY LOOK - Issue #37
Sexuality has many meanings, ranging from across those connected with all of our personal thoughts, fantasies, memories or desires associated with “having sex” to the literal merging of male and female germ cells. Clearly, sexuality is a word that means a lot to us. Compared to the amount of time we dedicate every day to our jobs, to childcare or to recreation, the time that we actually spend having sex is relatively short. Still, few days pass in which we do not have thoughts, fantasies, feelings or wishes in which sex plays the central role. Sexuality pervades deep enough into our existence that looking closely at the question: “What does sexuality mean to me and what do I want to do with it?” is justified.
One thing is clear: sexuality and love seem to be related. How? Plato remarked that the more we know, the less we understand. With love, that certainly seems to be the case. Rudolf Steiner tells us that at our core we are spirit and that behind all the external phenomena of the world are spiritual beings. He points out that if we overcome the thought-patterns that limit the content of our thinking about the sense perceptible world, we will develop perceptions of beings that our eyes, ears, touch and smell cannot perceive. We are imbedded in and related to these spiritual beings, ranked in a hierarchy that was portrayed in the past as leading from the Angels on up to the Seraphim. The future of human evolution is connected to our again becoming aware of them, and to our bringing qualities into the angelic realms that only humans are able to develop. The conscious evolution of the human ability to love is one of these qualities. Sexuality is one of the many opportunities through which we can hone our ability to love willingly.
In order to understand this, one can take a closer look at what actually takes place when we have sex, or better said, make love. The controversial psychiatrist Wilhelm Reich, MD (1877-1957), who later in his life emigrated from Germany to the United States, conducted extensive studies of the psycho-physiological basis of the coital act. In his book The Orgasm Reflex (1943), he developed the idea that an energy cycle of stimulation and orgasmic relief lies at the basis of coitus. Excitation and building-up of tension are followed by a sudden release: the orgasm, and then relaxation. He saw this as a natural and rhythmically reoccurring life process, inherent to the human organization.
Although we respect his conclusions, we recognize that this life process is only one aspect of making love. Granted, our urge to have sex arises out of our physiological organization. The actual act, however, can bring us into an enormously intimate encounter with the “I,” the unique, eternal being of our partner. And it is the “I” that actually directs the course of the sexual act, guiding feelings of affection and tenderness and a sense of trust towards our partner as the sexual tension builds up. Towards the heights of this cascading process of mutual approach between two partners, no contradictory impulses exist. The consciousness is tuned toward the streaming sensations of pleasure, pleasures that are distinctly different for male and female. She is absorbed in the preparation to receive and embrace the male, and he loses himself in her welcoming warmth as he penetrates. Then, as the involuntary orgasm approaches, the lovers lose all interest in their surroundings, absorbed as they are in their own sensations and those of their partner. The orgasm produces a loss of consciousness of one’s surroundings, creating the state in which the lovers can meet each other in their true -- for the senses not perceivable -- form. It is in this moment, when the two lovers meet in the timeless space that is created by the orgasm, that we can receive our partner in the temple of our heart. And here then takes place an act of love, given out of free choice, enabling our partner to thrive in earthly life, because he or she is loved. The sexual cycle has delivered us onto a plain where we can choose time and again to open up our hearts for the “I” of the partner, making a home for this “I” in our own being. Then, relaxed we lie, thrilled by the past experience, slowly regaining awareness of life around us. Finally we walk away from the scene, inspired to recognize in our partner, as daily life shrouds our purity, the “I” towards which our love flows.
Arthur and Ana Lups, M.D. manage Pleroma farm, an anthroposophically inspired therapeutic retreat and farm. Pleroma Farm is located in the Hudson Valley in New York State. For more information, look on the web at www.pleromafarm.com