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Sacred Sex vs. Sex Magick

This post was written by Donald Michael Kraig
on June 3, 2011 | Comments (7)

In a post on a private, sex-positive forum, a person whom I’ll call EW asked about the difference between Sacred Sexuality and Sex Magick. He writes, “I’ve heard many people use the terms interchangeably and I’ve also heard them used to describe two different things.” He adds without defining either that he can do them separately or together.

He received a response from a man I’ll call SN. SN writes that Sacred Sexuality “is taking physical sex and linking it (usually though ritual of some kind) to the sacred/divine. Sex Magick is similar, but tends to have a concrete goal beyond just experiencing divinity.”

A woman I’ll call K2 responded that Sacred Sexuality is more than just physical sex, it’s “the opening of the spiritual barriers we create and allowing the flow of sexual energy to expand and reach a higher level of being. It is not always done through ritual, but can be.” K2 glosses over Sex Magick, saying that it is simply “used with a goal and practiced with intent to enhance a magickal working of some kind.”

I think this is an interesting question, especially when addressed to readers who are not necessarily familiar with any of the concepts of magick, Sacred Sexuallity, or Sex Magick. Here is my response.

Sacred Sexuality

I agree with K2, but would like to expand upon it. The concept of Sacred Sexuality is that of turning away from the idea that sex should only be done for reproduction (very “olde” school thinking) or for reproduction/bonding/fun (newer, but still old school thinking). Rather, sex and everything connected with it is a direct link to the Divine.

For thousands of years, humans have used all sorts of means to access something…more. In the past, one of the better-known means of shamans and mystics has been the use of mind altering substances. The modern and accurate term for such substances is entheogens, literally a substance that “brings the Divine inside us.”

It turns out that virtually every aspect of sexuality can cause our glands to release powerful chemicals that can have the same effects as entheogens. This means, as K2 points out, that the idea of Sacred Sexuality greatly expands the concept of what sex is, moving it from a purely physical activity to one that involves the energies that are automatically released and are intimately involved with sexuality. Virtually all ancient cultures have a name for this energy associated with sexuality that can bring us closer to the Divine, ranging from kundalini in ancient India to ruach among the ancient Jews. Sigmund Freud originally believed that this energy, which he called libido, was a real, physical energy. Later he change his ideas and claimed libido was only a desire and not an actual energy.

In many instances, the idea of this energy is associated with breath, and indeed, when we’re involved with sexual activity, our breathing tends to speed up and deepen.

Sculpture showing woman in Divine Ecstasy from the attentions of the god Pan.
From the Musée de l’érotisme (Paris)

Of course, if we run for even a relatively short distance our breathing will also speed up and deepen. To some this implies that the energy has nothing to do with sex. Rather it is about exercise and movement. To mystics, however, this implies that we should expand our definitions of what sexuality is and be able to find it in all activities of life. The energy of sexuality is at the very core of our being, and it is special even though so many people ignore it.

Sex Magick

I agree with EW that Sacred Sexuality (practices that lead to a way of thinking, acting, and being) can be used with Sex Magick or separately. Sex Magick, for me, is a technology.

There is a stereotype that after a couple has energetic and physical sex, she wants to talk, cuddle, connect, etc. while he rolls over and falls asleep. It is just a stereotype (I’ve been with women who are amazed that I even want to talk after ecstatic sex when all they want to do is sleep and I should shut the XXXX up!), and as with all stereotypes, there is some basis in reality—even if it is limited.

My point here is that for some people, sex is energizing while for others it is enervating; One person gets more energy while the other person feels drained of energy. The key thing here is that energy is involved and moving, in some way, within each person and between the couple.

One of the simplest scientific definitions of energy is: “the ability to do work.” Sex Magick is the set of techniques that allows a person or persons to consciously raise that energy—increase its level—and then use that energy to do some actual work toward achieving a desired goal.

But what work? Obviously, by the use of the term magick we don’t mean “mow the lawn” or “balance the checkbook.” So what do I mean by magick? I call it black box willed change. By “black box” I mean:

I know that if I do X I get the result Z, but I don’t know what happens between (Y).

For example, I know that when I perform the “ritual” of putting my car in gear and stepping on the accelerator (X) the car goes (Z), but I don’t know everything that is going on every second in the engine and drive train (Y). Even though it is all that unknown Y stuff that directly makes Z happen, the original cause of it was the action I began by willing X.

As a magickal example, let’s say it is your desire for things to be less tense at work or school. To indicate to the powers that be (your higher self, God, the Divine, the universe, etc.) that it is your will that things calm down, you perform a ritual you believe should have that result. This is the X part of the equation. A few hours or days later, things calm down. This is the Z part of the equation. What went on between X and Z, the Y part of the equation, is unknown. What is known is that the magick worked.

So for me, Sex Magick is the set of technologies that allows me to use the energies raised during any sort of sexual or sensual activity (physical or even mental) to achieve a desired goal by means that are not currently understood by Western materialistic science. Sacred Sexuality is the process through which we appreciate all the blessings that are found within sex and sensuality, and how sex and sensuality can bring us closer to the Divine. As such, Sacred Sex and Sex Magick can be used separately or to enhance each other.

For more information on Sex Magick, see my Modern Sex Magick, Sex Magic for Beginners, and The Complete Magick Curriculum of the Secret Order G.B.G. For more information on Sacred Sex, see my Modern Magick, Ecstasy Through Tantra, Kundalini, The Essence of Tantric Sexuality, Sex and Transcendence, and Tantra for Erotic Empowerment.

Do you agree with these concepts of the nature of Sacred Sex and Sex Magick? Do you see them differently? Add your thoughts in the comments section below.

Reader Comments

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#1 
Written By Annie
on June 3rd, 2011 @ 4:09 pm

First, let me acknowledge my respect for the author’s (Donald Kraig) knowledge on these subjects. Your writing, Mr. Kraig, has contributed to my own understanding thereof, although my reading and practice has ranged well beyond the content of Llewellyn titles to include reading and practice derived from academic works by scholars of esotericism. I would offer that, while acknowledging its role, you have perhaps understated the importance of ritual in sacred sex. In fact, ritual and its intention is the single factor elevating “sex” to “sacred sex,” or even to a divine encounter. Said ritual can be so elaborate as to structure the entire sexual encounter, rendering it a four-fold union of man, woman, goddess and god, or as simple as a prayer or invocation prior to or during sex, such as the “Yihuddim” prayer of Jewish mysticism: “I fulfill the commandment of copulation for the unification of the Holy One, blessed by He, and the Shekhina.” Without such ritual and sacred intention, there is no sacred sex.

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#2 
Written By Donald Michael Kraig
on June 3rd, 2011 @ 4:31 pm

Thank you for sharing your ideas, Annie! I would point out that we are in no way disagreeing. I wrote, “Sacred Sexuality is the process…” Certainly “process” can include ritual work ranging from a silent prayer to a full-blown rite.

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#3 
Written By Shaman Darkstar
on June 6th, 2011 @ 2:22 am

Ritual is important except when it is not. The matter is if it is real or artificial. If it must be ritual as dogma it is artificial. It is acting. If you try, then try wholeheartedly. Move into it, become the acting — dissolve the actor into acting and then see what happens. It will become real and then you will feel it is spontaneous. You have not done it; you will know then that it has happened. But unless you are total this cannot happen. Create the effect, be in it completely, see and observe the results.

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#4 
Written By Lynn
on June 15th, 2011 @ 4:47 am

Thank you for your article … it is very helpful to have something so well explained and yet nice and short – well done! I shall certainly use it and pass it on to clients and others.

The comments are very interesting too!

From my experience and perspective, sacred simply means ‘conscious’ and therefore no ritual is needed whatsoever. Intention certainly plays a part, but when one becomes consciously aware of the truth of Being, then everything becomes sacred anyway, and so intention is always there, because consciousness is who you are.

Ritual has it’s place and can be a beautiful and also fun but it is a tool, it is not the experience, and there is no need to become attached to using a particular tool.

I am without doubt that Source, God, Spirit, Divine Self (or however one wishes to term It) does not require ritual of us to consider us sacred. We have always been sacred and the journey/process is only to remember that.

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#5 
Written By Skye Alexander
on January 12th, 2012 @ 5:52 pm

Another interesting post, Don. Thanks! You very clearly, succinctly, and effectively explain both Sex Magick and Sacred Sex. I agree especially agree with your comment: “sex and everything connected with it is a direct link to the Divine.” A fellow author and I are initiating a series of “conversations” between writers on our blogs, and our first two address Spirit & Sex. If you or anyone else feel like sharing your thoughts with us, we’d love to hear from you.

Skye Alexander, Sex Magic for Beginners
skyealexander.blogspot.com

Trackbacks

  1. Sacred Sex vs. Sex Magick « WiccanWeb  on September 4th, 2011 @ 2:58 pm

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