Sacred Sexuality, General

In his book Sacred Sexuality: The Erotic Spirit in the World's Great Religions, scholar Georg Feuerstein proclaims that all the great religious teachings share the hidden message that spirituality is, in essence, erotic and that sexuality is inherently spiritual.

The selected books reviewed below expand on this theme, showing how religious art and rituals from around the world celebrate the sacred nature of sexuality. They offer the reader a rich variety of techniques, rituals and practices for exploring spiritual sex.

Recommended Books on Sacred Sexuality, General

The Cosmic Embrace: An Illustrated Guide to Sacred Sex by John StevensThe Cosmic Embrace: An Illustrated Guide to Sacred Sex

This survey, through art from around the world, of the sacred dimension of sexuality demonstrates beyond a doubt that the notion of sexual relationships as something honorable, nonpossessive, fulfilling, and beneficial is nothing new, nor is the idea limited to the traditions of the mystic East. John Stevens shows how world sexual traditions have always had the spiritual as their highest goal. His survey looks at art from China, India, Native American traditions, ancient Europe, Japan, the South Pacific, Southeast Asia, Tibet, Greece, Africa, and Mexico, as well as art by modern artists like Eric Gill. 1999, Shambhala

Ecstatic Lovemaking: An Intimate Guide to Soulful Sex by Victoria LeeEcstatic Lovemaking: An Intimate Guide to Soulful Sex

In Ecstatic Lovemaking, Dr. Victoria Lee offers readers an approach to sex as a spiritual practice. She offers a soulful approach to sexual problems and inhibitions, opening the door to sex as it was always meant to be - a highly connective experience involving the mind, body, and soul. Chapter topics include increasing female passion, male sexual self-esteem, improving sexual communication, tools for passionate bonding, secrets of soulful sex, and sex and aging. 2002, Conari Press

The Encyclopedia of Sacred Sexuality: From Aphrodisiacs and Ecstasy to Yoni Worship and Zap-Lam Yoga by Rufus C. CamphausenThe Encyclopedia of Sacred Sexuality: From Aphrodisiacs and Ecstasy to Yoni Worship and Zap-Lam Yoga

The Encyclopedia of Sacred Sexuality contains more than 1,200 entries and a vast array of illustrations. The encyclopedia explains how to integrate body and mind, love and sexuality, and spiritual exercise and inner alchemical techniques in the practice of sacred sexuality. It also contains the most recent scientific knowledge of the brain, mind, and body as it relates to the erotic and sexual. Extensive cross references, quotations from sacred erotic scriptures, Internet resources, and 28 indexes to related topics within the book take the reader on an odyssey from almost any point of departure to the farthest reaches of this fascinating subject. 1999, Inner Traditions

Finding God Through Sex: Awakening the One of Spirit Through the Two of Flesh by David DeidaFinding God Through Sex: Awakening the One of Spirit Through the Two of Flesh

When the depth of intimacy you've been experiencing is no longer fulfilling to your heart and body -- when you sense that sexuality should go far beyond an embrace of brief satisfaction -- the time has come to explore your unique sexual path to the divine, teaches David Deida. In Finding God Through Sex, he presents a revolutionary new way to love -- one in which sex literally becomes an erotic act of devotional surrender, "making love, magnifying love, from the boundless depth of your heart through every inch of your body and in merger with your lover." 2005, Sounds True, Incorporated, 2nd edition

The Heart and Soul of Sex: Making the ISIS Connection by Gina OgdenThe Heart and Soul of Sex: Making the ISIS Connection

Based on a landmark sex survey, researcher and sex therapist Ogden found "the language of spiritual experience comes closest to expressing the fullness of our sexual response, for it is the language of connection and ecstasy." The book guides the reader on a path to her sexual "center" where healing, ecstasy and transformation occur. 2006, Trumpeter
Read an extensive review of The Heart and Soul of Sex »

The Hindu EroticThe Hindu Erotic: Exploring Hinduism and Sexuality

In this important book David Smith explores the true significance of Hindu eroticism. He argues that so varied, extensive and diffused is the Hindu idea of the erotic that it is central to understanding the inner heart of Hinduism. Profound and stimulating in equal measure, and illustrated throughout by some of the greatest examples of Hindu erotic art, The Hindu Erotic will be essential reading for anyone interested in Indian religion, sexuality, and South Asian culture. 2012, I.B. Tauris

Journey to Sexual Wholeness: The Six Gateways to Sacred Sexuality by kypris Aster DrakeJourney To Sexual Wholeness: The Six Gateways To Sacred Sexuality

Fragmentation of our daily lives and the split between sexuality and spirituality are critical problems in our culture. They can lead to tremendous suffering that includes sexual shame, anxiety, depression, and addiction. Journey to Sexual Wholeness tells the story of Kypris and her search for spiritual wisdom. She found Shamanic Tantra, a spiritual journey into passionate, creative life that includes a full and rich sexual connection to God. As Kypris tells her story she thoughtfully guides the reader in her journey along this path. 2008, Yabyummy Press

The Kabbalah Book of Sex: And Other Mysteries of the Universe by Yehuda BergThe Kabbalah Book of Sex: And Other Mysteries of the Universe

Most sex manuals focus on only one aspect: the physical mechanics of the act itself. According to Kabbalah, the key to finding real sexual pleasure lies in self-awareness, not technique. This groundbreaking book helps readers overcome shame and negative self-image and access higher levels of connection -- to themselves, their partners, and to spirit. Through the ancient wisdom of Kabbalah, sex becomes the truly sacred connection it was always meant to be -- thrilling, satisfying, and profound. 2006, Kabbalah Publishing

The Marriage of Sex and Spirit: Relationships at the Heart of Conscious Evolution by Geralyn Gendreau, Randy Peyser, Francesca Gentille, Courtney ArnoldThe Marriage of Sex And Spirit: Relationships at the Heart of Conscious Evolution

In The Marriage of Sex and Spirit, thirty-five of the most provocative and fresh voices of our generation give us the keys to transforming relationships from a source of grief and bondage to a celebration of self and other. Drawing together the most powerful wisdom of spiritual teachers, psychiatrists, anthropologists, educators, therapists, coaches, writers, artists, this groundbreaking anthology presents the visions and ideas that form the gateway to transforming both spirituality and sexuality. This powerful collection of practical techniques and breakthrough insights offers the potential to utterly transform your experience of relationships into a source of joy, inspiration and fuel for your spiritual and emotional journey. 2006, Elite Books

The Path of the Mystic Lover: Baul Songs of Passion and Ecstasy by Bhaskar Bhattacharyya, Nik Douglas, Penny SlingerThe Path of the Mystic Lover: Baul Songs of Passion and Ecstasy

Carrying on the living tradition of mystic minstrels, the Bauls roam the countryside of eastern India enacting the spiritual love dalliance of Radha and Krishna through songs and dances. The Path of the Mystic Lover explores the Bauls' lifestyle and philosophy, describing their sexual and ritual practices as well as their sacred teachings. 1993, Destiny Books

Red Thread of Passion by David GuyRed Thread of Passion

What do Walt Whitman and Annie Sprinkle have in common, or D. H. Lawrence and a porn queen? They share experiential knowledge that sex is one of the most profoundly spiritual human experiences. In an engagingly confessional voice, Guy describes his lifelong quest to understand the place of sexual passion in our spiritual lives. His self-revelation redeemingly serves as a bridge to the more extreme experiences he finds in literature and in life. This is a genuinely lusty book and a genuinely spiritual one, too. 1999, Shambhala

Rites of Pleasure: Sexuality in Wicca and Neo-Paganism by Jennifer HunterRites of Pleasure: Sexuality in Wicca and Neo-Paganism

Sex can open the door to many of life's greatest gifts -- pleasure, healing, worship, and transformation. Few belief systems are more open to diverse sexual expression than NeoPaganism. So how can NeoPagans practice healthy, sacred sexuality in a society that often devalues such intimacy? In Rites of Pleasure, Jennifer Hunter seeks the answer to this question by exploring the rich history and traditions of the NeoPagan religion. She takes a candid, in-depth look at practices and gender roles within NeoPaganism, from monogamy and marriage to sexual gatherings and polyamory. The result is a book filled with true erotic inspiration for those who wish to remove the mental obstacles that can prevent full and pure sexual pleasure. 2004, Citadel

Sacred KinkSacred Kink: The Eightfold Paths of BDSM and Beyond

Modern tools of BDSM, fetish, kink and erotic adventuring have roots that go far back into history, tools that have been used for reaching altered states of consciousness, creating spiritual epiphanies, and changing lives. In Sacred Kink you will find practical tools for your own sensual exploration. 2010,

Sacred Pleasure: Sex, Myth, and the Politics of the Body -- New Paths to power and Love by Riane EislerSacred Pleasure: Sex, Myth, and the Politics of the Body--New Paths to Power and Love

Eisler calls for a new sexual revolution, centered on a move toward partnership sexuality and its integration with spirituality and society in order to develop a place where everyone can realize a more satisfying and pleasurable life. She traces the course of sexual relations from prehistory through the present, along the way deflating sexual myths and misconceptions. She also examines the prevalence of sexual violence today and projects a future in which men and women will thrive together in harmony. 1996, HarperOne

A Sacred Sex Devotional: 365 Inspiring Thoughts to Enhance Intimacy by Rafael LorenzoA Sacred Sex Devotional: 365 Inspiring Thoughts to Enhance Intimacy

This inspirational book aids the reader to bring the experience of the sacredness of sexuality and sensuality into their daily life. Sacred Sex Devotional is filled with beautifully worded imagery, a true gem filled with emotion, thought, and feeling. 2000, Park Street Press

Sacred Sexuality: The Erotic Spirit in the World's Great Religions by Georg Feuerstein Ph.D.Sacred Sexuality: The Erotic Spirit in the World's Great Religions

Feuerstein advises that the fulfillment we long for in our sex lives can only be attained once we have explored the spiritual depths of our erotic natures. To this end, he delves into a wide variety of spiritual traditions-including Christianity, Judaism, goddess worship, Taoism, and Hinduism-in search of sacred truths regarding sexuality. He reveals that all of these great teachings share the hidden message that spirituality is, in essence, erotic and that sexuality is inherently spiritual. Feuerstein offers a wealth of historical practices and perspectives that serve as the bases for a positive sexual spirituality suited to our contemporary needs. 2003, Inner Traditions

The Secret History of Western Sexual Mysticism: Sacred Practices and Spiritual marriage by Arthur VersluisThe Secret History of Western Sexual Mysticism: Sacred Practices and Spiritual Marriage

From the ancient Greeks to Gnosticism and early Christianity, author Arthur Versluis uncovers Western sexual mysticism's secret roots in a survey that examines divine unions inherent in sexual practices. In combining many different elements from Kabbalism to alchemical currents, Secret History offers up a unique set of cross-connections essential to connecting spirituality with religious history. 2008, Destiny Books

Sex and Spirit: An Illustrated Guide to Sacret Sexuality by Clifford BishopSex and Spirit: An Illustrated Guide to Sacred Sexuality

This lavishly visual book traces sexuality throughout history. Drawing on a range of traditions and cultures, it explores the many ways human sexuality is entwined with the personal search for meaning. Sex and Spirit begins with an account of ancient beliefs and sexual practices, and goes on to examine the attitudes of the world's main religions toward sex. It looks at the dominant influence of Christianity on sex and spirituality in the West and delves into erotic symbols and taboos. One chapter focuses on sexual techniques for spiritual transcendence, while other sections discuss fertility, virginity, initiation, pornography, and love. Richly illustrated with contemporary and historical art, Sex and Spirit features erotic carvings, bedchamber books, and photos of sexual practices from around the world. 2000, Ulysses Press

Sex with Spirit: An Illustrated Guide to Techniques and Traditions by Michelle Pauli\Sex with Spirit: An Illustrated Guide to Techniques and Traditions

With full-color, suggestive, yet tasteful photographs, erotic art from sacred traditions around the world and inspirational quotes from literary and spiritual masters, Sex with Spirit brings alive the erotic world of spiritual masters where sexual union leads to divine bliss. In plain, tasteful, yet explicit language, Michele Pauli gives step-by-step instructions for awakening the senses with loving gaze and full-body erogenous zone massage. Sex with Spirit teaches the positions and the techniques of tradition, encouraging lovers to get in touch with their own and their partner's body, mind, and spirit. 2002, Red Wheel

Sexual Energy Ecstasy: A Practical Guide to Lovemaking Secrets of the East and West by David and Ellen RamsdaleSexual Energy Ecstasy: A Practical Guide to Lovemaking Secrets of the East and West

A Joy of Sex for the new age, this treasury of eastern and western sexual secrets will help couples enjoy the best physical and spiritual relationship possible. The book contains Tantric and Taoist techniques of sacred sexuality, guided meditation passages, and tasteful drawings. 1995 Bantam Books

Sexual Secrets: Twentieth Anniversary Edition: The Alchemy of Ecstasy by Nik Douglas and Penny SlingerSexual Secrets: Twentieth Anniversary Edition: The Alchemy of Ecstasy

First published in 1979, this popular book (over 1 million copies sold) presents a concise and articulate overview of the history and philosophy of sacred sex. Practical exercises and meditations are interspersed throughout. Sexual Secrets works well for people who like to know the background of what they are doing and want to pick and choose the activities they will do in their exploration. The book is lavishly illustrated with wonderful erotic drawings by Penny Slinger. 1999, Destiny Books

Shamanism: A Biopsychosocial paradigm of Consciousness and Healing by Michael WinkelmanShamanism: A Biopsychosocial Paradigm of Consciousness and Healing

Shamanistic practices involve ancient traditions that have been found in similar cultures around the world. The roots of shamanism in practices of healing, prophecy, group leadership, art, and mythology reflect common neuropsychological bases that make shamanistic ecstasy (altered states of consciousness) possible. Winkelman details the surprising ways that shamans in preliterate cultures used ecstatic states for healing and transformation, and suggests that the rational-scientific biases in modern Western culture blind us to the powerful possibilities contained within human neurobiology. 2010, Praeger

Unprotected TextsUnprotected Texts: The Bible's Surprising Contradictions About Sex and Desire

Knust's impressive and highly readable analysis of Old and New Testament Bible stories explores mores of ancient cultures, which supported prostitution and polygamy along with slavery and patriarchy. In doing so, she makes a convincing case for religious leaders and others to take greater care and responsibility in extracting the wisdom needed for healing contemporary society. She asserts that the downfall of Sodom and Gomorrah came not because of rampant homosexuality but as a result of its leaders ceasing to seek justice, rescue the oppressed, and protect widows and orphans. The book also explores an array of taboo subjects: female sexual desire, divorce, infidelity, homosexuality, celibacy, menstruation, cross-dressing, and circumcision as well as the perennial need for intimacy and human contact. For those wanting to understand the Bible as a chronicle of human conduct for achieving the goals of survival, peace, and fulfillment, this is a treasure. 2011, HarperOne

The Way of the Shaman by Michael HarnerThe Way of the Shaman

This classic on shamanism pioneered the modern shamanic renaissance. It is the foremost resource and reference on shamanism. Now, with a new introduction and a guide to current resources, anthropologist Michael Harner provides the definitive handbook on practical shamanism -- what it is, where it came from, how you can participate. 1990, HarperOne, 10th Anniversary Edition

Wild Nights by David DeidaWild Nights

Meet Mykonos: scurrilous madman -- and voice of truth. Wild Nights presents David Deida's remarkable account of his days with the unconventional teacher who revealed to him the deeper wisdom of the erotic path to the divine. From our very first encounter to the "burden of bliss" that is his parting gift, Mykonos challenges our understanding of what makes a spiritual life. Brutally candid, he offers his teaching to anyone ready to listen, with an uncanny ability to see into the hearts and minds of his students better than they can their own. Charged with provocative scenes of unbridled passion and play, Wild Nights explodes with spiritual insights into our choice to "open as love, or close and suffer" . . . yogic sexual techniques including circular breathing and expanding feeling beyond the self and into the heart of a lover . . . and why, for some, full sexual expression is a requirement of spiritual maturation. For its honest depiction of the spiritual teacher and student relationship -- and the questions it demands we ask about our own sexuality -- Wild Nights proclaims David Deida a guiding light in the often cloudy realm of sex and spirit. 2005, Sounds True, Incorporated

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