The spiritual dimension is the arena where clients can explore what sex, love, and intimacy mean in the context of their sexual identity and their whole lives…
how these may connect them to themselves, their partners, and a power beyond themselves: nature, or a universal energy, by whatever name. For some clients, the spiritual dimension is intimately connected with religious experience; for others it is not.
Issues in the spiritual dimension may include:
- Inner visions
- Extraordinary communication—with a partner, with nature, with divine beings
- Experiences that are “beyond words”
- Oneness, a sense of being part of “all that is”
- More/other ____________________
? Hot Tip—When clients interpret the concept of “spiritual” as “religious” it can be helpful to validate this, then to differentiate between these terms. Short form: “spiritual” refers to personal connection with a power greater than you; “religious” refers to cultural traditions that connect you to that power. To elaborate, you can ask clients to bring their attention to the line between the spiritual and mental dimensions. This is often the most accurate place from which clients can explore the difference between their spiritual teachings and beliefs and their religious teachings and beliefs.
Positive aspects of the spiritual dimension are characterized by:
- Expanded meaning
- Increased energy
Shadow aspects of the spiritual dimension are characterized by:
? Another Hot Tip—When you ask direct questions about sex and spirit, the answers may surprise you. In my survey “Integrating Sexuality and Spirituality,” I received thousands of responses about how women and men all over the US define spiritual sex. One of my favorites is from a 32-year-old journalist: “Sacred sex is not just found in intercourse. It’s all around, in everything we see, hear, smell, touch, taste. Honey is sex. A fresh warm strawberry is sex. Living is a sacred sexual experience.”