Love Making as a Spiritual Experience

Among natural ecstasies wherein we experience the divine can be love making. Highly acclaimed author Ocean Vuong, in his recent and powerful first novel, On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous, has his principle character say: “The closest I’ve ever come to god is the calm that filled me after orgasm.”   (p. 185)

Poet Bill Everson puts it this way in his poem “River Root” which is meant to be a contemporary take of the “Song of Songs” poem from the Wisdom Literature of the Hebrew Bible.

“In that union
Wholeness, the core of Godhead, dawns.
For God grows in them.  In the sacramental oneness
Presence flows and possesses; in the unsearchable
Deeps of that contemplation
Spirit abides; they know the wholeness of spirit.
Its  mystical knowledge moves into union,
Makes a rapture within, and they worship.
They gaze in worship on the deep God-presence each wakes in the other,
And night contains them.

“Untitled” Photo by Edward Eyer from Pexels 

          For over the bed
Spirit hovers, and in their flesh
Spirit exults, and at the tips of their fingers
An angelic rejoicing, and where the phallos
Dips in the woman, in the flow of the woman on the phallos-shaft,
The dark God listens.”

Everson’s poem celebrates human love making as a theophany, not unlike the Song of Songs or the temples of India that honor the mystical dimension to sexuality.  A “sacramental oneness” is at stake, Spirit abides, contemplation occurs, worship is elicited, and the God-presence is awakened.  “The dark God listens,” angels rejoice, and “Spirit hovers and exults” during intercourse.  Most lovemaking takes place in the dark, in the world of the apophatic, or dark, Divinity.  But the withinness of a woman receiving a man’s love is another space where Divinity dwells in the dark.

Everson continues:

“For the phallus is holy
And holy is the womb: the holy phallus
In the sacred womb.  And they melt.
And flowing they merge the incarnational join
Oned with the Christ.  The oneness of each
Ones them with God.”

Do you believe that the phallus and the womb are “holy”?  Do you know anyone who’s taught that?  Is that something you have learned on your own?  Are you still learning it? 

In our culture, this understanding of sexuality is not easy to find.  Yet in theological language, according to Everson, this is the very meaning of “incarnational” and being “oned with the Christ.”  Incarnation means “to be made flesh,” and we rediscover the holiness of flesh and the holiness of lovemaking in this poem.  The lovers are “oned with the Christ” and oned with God because that is what love and lovemaking do.

From Matthew Fox, Christian Mystics: 365 Readings and Meditations, pp. 188-189. 
See also David F. Granville, The Song of Songs: A Choral Production, Forward by Matthew Fox, (Oakland, Ca: Friends of Creation Spirituality, 1987).
Banner Image: “Couple in Love” Photo by Lightfield Studios, Adobe Stock

For Deeper Contemplation

Meditate on the holiness of the womb and of the phallus.  Do you regard them as holy?

Have you experienced a oneing with God or the Cosmic Christ in the natural ecstasy of love making?

Recommended Reading

The 365 writings in Christian Mystics represent a wide-ranging sampling of these readings for modern-day seekers of all faiths — or no faith. The visionaries quoted range from Julian of Norwich to Martin Luther King, Jr., from Thomas Merton to Dorothee Soelle and Thomas Berry.


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11 thoughts on “Love Making as a Spiritual Experience”

  1. Avatar
    Rita Sommers-Flanagan

    This is a lovely set of images but very male-centric. The pleasure comes from the clitoris, not the womb. To be fair, the testes and the womb should be our images for reproduction…the “phallos” and the clitoris for connection, orgasm, and pleasure. The woman’s enclosure of the penis should be spoken of and respected as an active choice. Enclosure and penetration on equal footing. Thanks.

      1. Gail Ransom

        Oh yes, surely ecstatic pleasure was created for all of us to experience. It is intricately wired in each of our bodies, male and female.
        Gail Sofia Ransom
        For the DM Team

    1. Avatar

      I understand where you are coming from in this, but from my studies I believe that the sacred womb space that is being referred to here encompasses all that, the vagina and the clitoris, as the clitoris actually extends into the vaginal walls. This terminology is meant as a representation of all those areas. The entire sacred womb space. These meditations are very interesting and I love them so far. They are meeting my need to explore the divine feminine and masculine as a balanced union. Love it.

  2. Avatar

    I believe Ms. Sommers-Flanagan’s comments are about as explicit in vocal explanation as we can get for a holy experience of intercourse between men and women. Her comments are fair to women as well as to men. WOW!! (I grew up in the Old School of not discussing “such things” openly.) I could never understand why not, except for a lack of good, simple and clear vocabulary. This one is explicit, and I, for one, can appreciate it. I’m thinking of teenagers with hormones raging and not knowing where to go or what sex is all about in truth. I believe this might help put the subject into a good context for them to deal with without feelings of guilt or embarrassment as they mature. Thanks for your devotionals. I’ve been receiving them for several months now, and find them very interesting and with many good thoughts for meditation.

    1. Gail Ransom

      The blessing of sexuality can be experienced through all forms of loving. The variety of ways we experience it illuminates the diversity and universality of this holy gift.
      Gail Sofia Ransom
      For the DM Team

    2. Gail Ransom

      Yes, two phallus. Two vagina. And all the other combinations that God has created in our bodies. Some with both organs in one body. Some with the form of one, but the sense of another. Its the loving, the spiritual union that matters. We all bring who we are and how we were created to the experience.
      Gail Sofia Ransom
      For the DM Team

  3. Avatar

    A very rich discussion. The next chapter, which really might be the preceding chapter in this dialogue, would in my opinion be about self-pleasuring. For a long time I thought and taught that heterosexual love was the apex of ecstasy. My life has taught me that that is indeed true for some people but not for all. Libidinous energy is, in Alice Walker’s phrase, “some of the best feelings God ever made.” Tapping into one’s erotic energy is accessing the love that powers the entire universe. One can do it with a partner and one can do it alone. Any lovemaking is enhanced by letting the body speak for itself. Social and religious dogma rarely have improved the arts of making love.

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