We have grown up in a world that is ‘genitally armoured’. Kids are taught to refrain from touching and to hide their genitals. Masturbating is a taboo and premarital sex a sin. We have a very strong sense of moral civility in which sex is a shameful and blasphemous thing to indulge in. But this isn’t about a question of being moral or shameful, but understanding what our bodies need and what they don’t. A deep-rooted fear of sex can lead to certain disbalances in the body such that many people are not able to come to terms with their bodies. Since times immemorial, Taoist masters, tantric adepts, and shamanic healers have emphasised the importance of sexual indulgence. The principle idea behind sexual healing is that one’s well being is a state that can be attained by one’s own means. A body is self-sufficient to cure itself and fitness comes from within.
We got in touch with Teal Swan, an international spiritual catalyst, to understand what she has to say about the idea of owning up to one’s sexuality and how sex can be used to heal. Following are excerpts from a candid mail conversation with Teal.
What is sexual healing?
Sexual healing is the idea that sex and/or sexual energy can be used to heal and it is also the idea that we can heal our relationship’s sexuality in and of itself. Assuming that the process of sexual healing is that of healing one’s relationship to sex and sexuality in and of itself, it is similar to a rehabilitation process.
What is the process of sexual healing?
It is going to be an individual process because different people have different traumas. You cannot help someone heal sexually who has a pornography addiction in the same way you would help someone heal sexually from a total aversion to sex. In general, a person has to find new positive ways of relating to sex, revisit and bring resolution to the past sexual traumas that created poor relationship to sex, develop a relationship to their body, change their thoughts about control and loss of control. To sum up the process neatly, a person has to re-claim their authentic sexuality.
How long is the process?
This is one question without an answer. It completely depends on the individual and the ailment they are struggling with.
Does it heal both the partners or only one?
We live in a universe that is one. You cannot exist in a bubble. Any time you heal, you add healing to the world. It is very hard for one partner to begin a process of sexual healing and have their partner stay in an unhealthy pattern of sexuality. Often, it catalyzes the other to enter a process of sexual healing as well, or to go elsewhere to find another dysfunctional sexual relationship.
Does healing require two partners or can it be achieved through masturbation alone?
Sexual healing involves both. It is incredibly healing to develop a relationship with sexuality separate of anyone else through masturbation. But we cannot stop there. The majority of sexual damage happens in conjunction with ‘relationship’ with other people. The aspect of trauma that is caused by relationships can only be healed in the context of relationship. So asking this question is asking if someone can get over their fear of drowning while never going near water again and the answer is no. Their relationship with water is only ultimately going to be repaired by interacting with water and by having that interaction go well.
What are your views about multiple sex partners? Is it too much beyond the pale in our society (more so in India)?
I am not going to say that anything is “good or bad” in and of itself. But in general, our decision to have multiple sexual partners comes from our fear of intimacy, fear of commitment and fear of lack of freedom. It is a rebellion of sorts. With the exception of a few scenarios, most people would be more successful at creating healthy sexual relationships, and especially sexual healing, if they developed that relationship with one person and established trust with one person and used the stability of that level of intimacy to expand their sexuality.
What are your views on Osho’s ideas about sex, that we as a society are afraid of sex and the more sexual a person is, the more intelligent he is?
Osho is one of my favourite new thought leaders of all time. I agree that our relationship with sex around the world is dysfunctional. We get mixed messages about it all day, every day. We are afraid of sex, we use sex to control each other and it is one of the biggest dysfunctions in the human race. We need to awaken around the subject of sexuality. Like him, I embrace sexuality as an important part of spiritual practice instead of as detrimental to spiritual practice.
But, I also believe that we all have ‘shadows’. I believe that ‘relationships’ was one area of shadow in Oshos’ life. I think he is absolutely the number one teacher to listen to when it comes to self liberation. But I think he is not the teacher to listen to when it comes to building a healthy committed relationship and many of his ideas around sexuality fall in alignment with that. I do not agree that the more sexual a person is, the more intelligent he is. There are some highly sexual beings who are doing incredibly unconscious things that damage life on earth. I think Osho was here to stretch people out of their comfort zones, which was their prison. But anything taken to an extreme becomes dysfunctional.