I can remember in college talking to my girlfriends and hearing about the only one of them who was confident and comfortable enough to go down on her boyfriend. I remember being appalled. Not only because it was totally not allowed, but also there was a major “ick” factor.
What was interesting was that she was also one of the most faithful women in my friend group. She was a Eucharistic Minister, went on retreats, was part of a small faith group, sang in the choir, did *all* the things.
How did she do it?
How could she be sexually confident and still be spiritual?
For almost everyone I’ve been who can check off both those boxes there’s two options:
1. Their spirituality and sexuality are completely unrelated
2. Their spirituality and sexuality are integrated so thoroughly that they believe their spirituality grows through their sexual actions and their sexual actions are heightened by their spirituality.
You can guess which option I prefer.
I could (and perhaps someday will) write a book on the second option, but today I’ll just give you a few steps to get there:
First: Trust that your spirituality and sexuality can feed one another.
Just like in so many areas of our lives, if you believe it, you can do it.
Second: Read Song of Songs/Solomon.
My favorite is the New Jerusalem Bible translation, as it’s just more poetic sounding. You can read it here.
I know lots of people say it’s an allegory for God’s love for humanity, but in my mind that’s just hogwash influenced by a ton of people who were uncomfortable with the idea that maybe sex is sacred and can be sacramental. Let yourself sit with the fact that this is considered a sacred text.
Pick a line that strikes your fancy and sit with it. Use it as a touch stone or mantra over the course of your day. My favorite line is “Your lips are a honeycomb, milk and honey flow”—now which lips he’s talking about you can decide.
Finally: Find a practice that allows you to experience God’s grace in your body.
For me this has always been dance, playing music, singing, etc. But, other activities could be mindful eating—truly savoring the flavors of a meal, working out in a way that feels pleasurable—being conscious of what muscles are working when, and not working out to the point of being so sore the next day you can’t walk; getting a massage and being grateful for the sensations your body can feel. Basically, anything bodily oriented that gets you in touch with your senses.
Over time this simple practice of finding God's grace in your body will help you learn that even your sexual pleasure (and that of others) is graced. That sense of grace in your sexuality will enable you to learn the sexual skills to help you feel sexually confident and spiritually engaged.
What was your favorite line from Song of Solomon? Where did you find God’s grace in your body? Let me know in the comment below or send me an email. I look forward to hearing all about your discoveries!