Sexually Free vs. Promiscuous

 Posted by on October 21, 2010
Oct 212010

by TM Bernard

From a spiritual perspective, sexuality is more than just opening our bedroom to a variety of experiences, partners and practices. As I understand it (and to be clear, I consider myself a student, not a teacher), sacred sexuality comes with a lot more responsibility, and requires that we make our choices consciously and with consideration for everyone involved.

“The knowledge that one is truly free and is simply choosing between different options is very different that someone who is afraid to pursue what they want.” writes Robert Sibrel of, a website committed to helping people use sensation to increase awareness. Specifically, total sexual freedom – the idea that we can love and be loved in ways that don’t fit neatly in a normative box – is different from indiscriminate sexual contacts. From the outside looking in, this might be confused with promiscuity, but only if we view sex as a physical union.

I submit that promiscuity feeds into and manifests fears, limitations and restrictions, whereas sexual freedom is all about courage. Let me explain.

First of all, I’ve come to believe that fear is a great teacher. And what we fear most about love and sexuality (or anything in life for that matter) is where we have serious growing to do. Fear that isn’t dealt with can wreck havoc on love of self and love of other. It also interferes with our ability to be conscious in our ‘love – making’ decisions.

The more we face our fears about love and sexuality, the more we push unnatural and harmful boundaries, the more we paradoxically have less to be afraid of. Our sexual choices become more authentic, unfettered by useless social constructs, prejudices or shame.

The natural outcrop of this is that we come to accept that one “form of relationship is [not] necessarily more enlightened than the other, because ultimately it is how we grow from our experiences that determine transcendence,” explains Sibrel. When we make love from a conscious place, we choose lovers and experiences that reflect our most authentic selves, and challenge us to grow sexually and otherwise.

For example, someone who is serially monogamous might suddenly find himself or herself invited into a new paradigm of sharing love. Others may grabble with pelvic pain, anorgasmia or bi-curiosity. Yet others may discover that for them sacred sexuality requires a period of abstinence.

The point is that we all have boundaries – not all of them are bad, and we do have to acknowledge that an learn to differentiate between those that serve a good purpose, and those that don’t – and some of them need to be explored if we want to become more enlightened lovers, or heal sexual wounds, or tune in to our deepest needs.

And yet, few people give themselves the sexual freedom they need to, Sibrel writes, “so they continue to make agreements that cause repression, dishonesty and distance. Often the agreements that are sought and demanded of lovers reflect unrealized desires we are projecting onto our lovers.”

The result of allowing fear to dictate our choices is that eventually we end up violating those sexual agreements that don’t line up with our soul’s desires. The results of acting from a place not grounded in love are behaviors such as promiscuity, infidelity, sexual dysfunction and abuse.

On the other hand, since total sexual freedom it is rooted in courage, our sexual experiences can be extraordinarily blissful, honest, and dynamic. Paradoxically, Sibrel points out that such an approach means we also have to allow, “that no one will be your lover or that many people will judge you because they envy your power and courage. They will seek to enroll you in their conspiracy of fear and call it altruism.”

Courage isn’t the absence of fear – it’s simply doing what you must despite any panic you might feel. Otto Rank, a student of Freud, said that people vacillate between the Fear of Living and the Fear of Death. I imagine that sacred sexuality is the ultimate path of the sexual warrior; it pushes us gently towards all our uncertainties, and asks us to see the grand design, purpose and ecstasy in all our intimate encounters.

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