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Sex, Religion, and Spirituality

What is the relationship between sexuality and spiritual freedom? Where does sex fit into the pursuit of enlightenment? Is it an integral—and therefore spiritual—part of who we are, or is it a blind biological drive that distracts us from realizing our highest potential? These challenging and complex questions are deeply relevant for the serious seeker of truth today. But in a world literally overflowing with divergent attitudes about sex and religion, the sacred and the profane, how are we to navigate?

In order to get our bearings, we went to the experts: as many and as diverse as we could find. Experts on tantric sex, experts on celibacy, rabbis, priests, swamis, Tibetan lamas, philosophers and gurus, whose inquiry and insight we hope will shed some much-needed light on the relationship between sex, religion, and spirituality.

  • Can sex be a path to spiritual attainment? Tantric experts, scholars, and gurus speak out on sex as a path to enlightenment.
  • Sacred act or primitive urge? What is the true essence of sexuality?
  • Celibate life or tantric sex? What is the right relationship to sexuality?
  • Articles, interviews, and audios with:
    Andrew Cohen, Father Thomas Keating, Swami Chidananda, Barry Long, Rabbi Zalman Schachter- Shalomi, Margot Anand, Sam Keen, and more.

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Sex and Spirituality
A provocative and challenging periodical that really makes you think ... a model for what "spiritual" journalism should be. José Cabezón
Chair in Tibetan Buddhism,
University of California,
Santa Barbara

Tantra: Sex as a Spiritual Path

Is it possible to promote real spiritual evolution through harnessing, including, and consciously directing our sexual energy? We spoke with a teacher of tantric sex, a rabbi, a Tibetan scholar, and the author of The Art of Sexual Ecstasy to find out.

You Have to Do It All

Margot Anand

Is sex really a shortcut to enlightenment? A no-holds-barred discussion with the mother of modern tantra.

A Tantric Master

Barry Long

“Not every man can take on five women and talk about love, life, God, truth and death and keep everything in order. Only a tantric master can do that.”


Sally and Jade

Barry Long

“Once made, this love is made forever.” Two of Barry Long's former consorts tell us what it's like to be in relationship with a tantric master.

Don't Leave God Out of It

Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi

“While the Puritans wouldn't think of making love on the Sabbath, for Jews it's the opposite way around.” A forward-looking traditionalist describes the sanctified sexuality of orthodox Judaism.

Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Tantra ... but Were Afraid to Ask

Miranda Shaw

The fascinating and informative discoveries of a pioneering scholar and author who journeyed to the Himalayas in search of the truth about Buddhist sexual tantra.

Celibacy: The Path of Renunciation

What is the role of celibacy on the spiritual path? To shed light on this often misunderstood subject, we spoke with some extraordinary individuals, all lifelong celibates, from Christian, Hindu, and Buddhist traditions. Plus, an autobiographical account of one woman’s walk on the renunciate side…

The Heart of the Matter

Father Thomas Keating

A venerated Trappist monk and leader of the Christian contemplative prayer movement explains why “celibacy is not just about chastity. It's about manifesting, in everything we do, the unconditional love of God.”

The Divine Life

Swami Chidananda

“Celibacy is neither repressing sexuality nor avoiding it. It is bypassing sexuality for something a hundred times greater.” A conversation with the revered Vedantic teacher and spiritual heir to the great Swami Sivananda.

What the Buddha Taught

Bhante Henepola Gunaratana

We asked a renowned Buddhist abbot, ordained a celibate monk at the age of twelve, what the Buddha himself would have to say about the relevance of celibacy in these sexually “liberated” times.

Here's Looking At You

Carin Jungmann

“Bogey is a little surprised when Ingrid steps on the plane without blinking an eye.” A contemporary celibate describes her decision to renounce sexuality and her discovery of a liberating new perspective on the potential for real intimacy between men and women.

Transcendence: The Path Beyond All Differences

Is sex fundamentally good and natural or is it evil and profane? Does sex aid on the spiritual path or is it an impediment? Perhaps there’s a third way—the path of transcendence, beyond all differences, that avoids nothing in the quest for enlightenment.

Sex Is Neutral

Andrew Cohen

Is it possible for a human being to sustain a relationship with the powerful force of sexuality that consistently reveals its impersonal nature?

Could Christ Have Been a Woman?

Father Basil Pennington

The late Trappist monk and teacher of centering prayer spoke passionately about realizing our innate divinity, which simultaneously transcends and celebrates gender.

Liberation Without a Face

Andrew Cohen

A feminist activist and author interviews her male spiritual teacher about why women's liberation and spiritual liberation have nothing to do with each other.

Get Over It!

Sam Keen

The author of Fire in the Belly: On Being a Man takes no prisoners in his critique of the men's movement, the women's movement, the gay movement and enlightenment.

Gay/Straight, Man/Woman, Self/Other

Jose Cabezon

Do gay people have a special path to enlightenment? A Buddhist scholar and gay rights activist disputes many common convictions about gay spirituality.

What Is the Relationship Between Emptiness and Beautiful Nails?

Jetsunma Ahkön Lhamo

The first Western woman to be recognized as a reincarnated Tibetan tulku discusses gender, enlightenment, and being a female teacher in a male-dominated tradition.