Many of us are inclined to rebel when someone tells us what to do. We do not always take kindly to being told what is right and wrong sex behaviour. However, ethical living is part of spiritual healing according to the world’s spiritual traditions. Following a set of rules of conduct such as monogamy is said to be conducive to personal growth.
Sex with Different Partners
“Isn’t sex a basic drive that needs to be satisfied, just like hunger and thirst?”
“Isn’t sexual expression one of our inherent freedoms?”
“Isn’t sexuality a way of expressing our unique individuality?”
To answer “yes” to these questions may be correct for some but it is to miss a deeper principle, for it ignores the idea of a growing union of mature love between two people.
There are many reasons for coldness developing between a couple but one of the most damaging tends to be the sense of hurt and distrust in one partner caused by the other becoming sexually drawn to another person. Does a casual attitude to sex lead us to make light of any indiscretions? The idea of extra-marital relationships is sometimes softened to such terms as: `fooling around’, `flings’, and `affairs’; suggesting that infidelity can be guilt free and harms no one. But of course it does.
Perhaps this is why In the West these days, people tend to speak as if it were tolerable to have more than one sexual partner as long as you do not deceive anyone. Consequently, a few people have a so-called `open’ relationship. More common is an apparent social norm of `serial monogamy’. In line with this view, one should finish a sexual relationship before taking up with someone else.
Noticing an attractive person other than one’s lover is naturally likely to happen most of the time. I would argue one can appreciate good physical looks while at the same time respecting the person. However, there are increasing degrees of disloyalty – for example flirting, spending time with this other person, sharing intimate confidences, lingering kissing or embracing as part of social greetings and farewells, not to mention engaging in physical intimacies when alone together.
Mature Sex Love
Some psychotherapists have written about an immature kind of love. They say this follows the principle “I love because I am loved.” ” I love you because I need you.”
On the other hand they say that mature love follows the principle `I am loved because I love,” “I need you because I love you.”
In addition to giving, mature love implies other basic elements such as concern for the life and personal growth of the other, responding to their needs, respect for their uniqueness, seeing them as they really are and helping them to grow and unfold in their own ways, for their own sake and not for serving oneself.
A roving desire seems very different from exclusive commitment. Using another person as a sex object demonstrates a complete lack of true caring. It is not showing love at all to someone but simply using their body as a source of excitement, physical pleasure and perhaps conquest. Nevertheless many people feel they fall in between these two extremes. Exclusive commitment is seen as difficult. It conveys a sense of purity, innocence, and decency with respect to sexual partnership – an attitude thought to be an ideal not easily attained.
Sex and Gender Differences
There is a good case to argue that the origin of exclusive sexual love is spiritual. One argument is that sexual attraction corresponds to human gender differences.
Much controversy surrounds the subject of male and female gender roles. I believe neither sex is superior to the other – just different. Modern feminism is less concerned these days about proving women can do what men can do. Instead, it places more emphasis on feminine values and interests. We do well what we are interested in. This might be successfully helping to create a collaborative mood within a professional meeting or calm atmosphere within the home. Women tend to give importance to feelings and relationship whereas men tend to act in terms of rules, and what they judge to be right.
An objective stance is thinking about the external aspect of things whereas a subjective one is seeing things from a personal angle. Men have no exclusive hold over objectivity in their thinking but they tend to be more interested in this stance than women. Neither have women any exclusive orientation towards subjectivity but they have a tendency to be drawn to this approach than men. In common parlance we speak of feminine intuition.
In my view these differences are the basic reason why an erotic interest usually develops between the two sexes — why male and female get together. They say opposites attract. Each partner can develop to be a different side of the same coin; growing together they may become as one. The husband tends to love having ideas, ideals and projects to accomplish, whilst his wife tends to love nurturing and embodying them in their relationships together and with others.
When a couple are devoted to each other and growing together, they increasingly act as together as one unit. Seeing their ideas and feelings reflected in each other they are then drawn away from self-orientation. As far as their ideas and feelings are good, they can grow in contentment and tranquillity. Longer version of this article
Copyright 2013 Stephen Russell-Lacy
Author of Heart, Head & Hands Swedenborg’s perspective on emotional problems