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Neuroscience and spirituality agree that casual sex is anything but casual

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Sexuality has always danced with issues of morality as far back as history takes us. Today, however, with the rise in the pursuit of spirituality (as opposed to religious dogma), the union of spirituality and sexuality is viewed through the lens of two primary filters.

One perspective holds that as a person learns to spiritually love oneself and others, it is appropriate to express that love sexually with whomever one wishes no matter what the emotional tie or degree of attachment is between them. After all, it’s all love, right? No harm done.

The other outlook, according to Brad Swanson of Male Room TV, holds that as one becomes more connected to one’s true authentic self, the more one honors oneself physically, spiritually, and emotionally, and that sex becomes a very present activity. It is not a game or a way to boost one’s tottering ego and should be approached with integrity, intelligence, authenticity, and honesty to avoid hurting others.

Modern neuroscience research and spiritual principles seem to support Swanson’s stance, although the paths to a similar outcome differ.

Helen Fisher, PhD, contends that sex is only casual when the individual is so drunk that they cannot remember the experience afterward. Otherwise, critical biochemical reactions occur which takes “casual” out of the equation. For instance, Fisher reports that any kind of sexual stimulation of the genitals triggers the release of dopamine (the reward system in the brain) which can push people over the threshold of falling in love even if they do not know each other. Furthermore, when an individual has an orgasm, it releases a flood of oxytocin (the bonding hormone) and other chemicals associated with the feeling of deep attachment even in the presence of two people with very little shared history.

Thomas Moore, a well-known spiritual teacher and psychotherapist, as well as a former monk and university professor, suggests in his newest book “A Religion of One’s Own: A Guide to Creating a Personal Spirituality in a Secular World” that individuals may be misconstruing the generic awakening of passion and longing in one’s life as sexual desire. The healthiest response may be to open one’s life up to new experiences and pursuits that provide general long-term spiritual satisfaction rather than indulging in sexual conquests that provide only immediate gratification. Cynthia Occelli, in the video accompanying this article, presents a spiritual view with a foundation in quantum physics – that a person’s outlook on life is governed by the dominant tone of the energy of one’s physical body. During the sexual experience, a person shares energy with their partner as their energy fields (auras) mingle. If this sexual union is shared with someone whose energy is rooted in their lower energy centers, it can negatively affect one’s outlook for a period of time. Further, that negativity can be shared with yet another person if one is sexually active with multiple partners. This is an entirely new level of “sleeping with those your sexual partner has slept with” – a phrase coined during the height of the HIV epidemic.

Ultimately, sexual behavior is the choice of each individual. But it may be wise to consider that our physical response to sex goes beyond a simple orgasm and can bond us emotionally to someone we may not even like if we knew them better. Paradoxical? Definitely, but also a critical reason to consider carefully who we share ourselves with on an intimate basis.

For residents of Columbus, Georgia, who seek a spiritual community that actively supports the development of healthy relationships spiritually, emotionally, and physically, the following five Unity churches are within driving distance:

  1. Unity of Albany (GA) – approximately 75 miles from Columbus, GA. Address for services at 11 a.m. on Sundays is 178 Hugh Road, Leesburg, GA. Phone: (229) 435-1001(229) 435-1001.
  2. Unity of Montgomery (AL) Spiritual Center – approximately 77 miles from Columbus, GA. Address for services at 11 a.m. on Sundays is 1922 Walnut Street, Montgomery, AL 36106. Phone: (334) 263-1225(334) 263-1225.
  3. Unity Spiritual Life Center of Central Georgia - formerly Unity in the Heart of Georgia (Byron, GA) – approximately 78 miles from Columbus, GA. Address for services at 11 a.m. on Sundays is 127 Peachtree Parkway #701, Byron, GA. Phone: (478) 737-7537(478) 737-7537.
  4. Unity South Atlanta Church (Jonesboro, GA) – approximately 84 miles from Columbus, GA. Address for services at 10 a.m. on Sundays is 7541 Mt. Zion Boulevard, Jonesboro, GA. Phone: (404) 578-3033(404) 578-3033.
  5. Unity of Dothan (AL) – approximately 90 miles from Columbus, GA. Address for services at 11 a.m. on Sundays is 942 South Oates, Dothan, AL 36301. Phone: (334) 794-2840(334) 794-2840.

Home Study Resources for Residents of Columbus, Georgia

Available related texts on Amazon include: (1) “Why We Love: The Nature and Chemistry of Romantic Love” by Helen Fisher, PhD ($14.28 in paperback, $8.89 for Kindle); (2) “A Religion of One’s Own: A Guide to Creating a Personal Spirituality in a Secular World” by Thomas Moore ($20.65 in hardcover, $10.99 for Kindle); and, (3) “The Chemistry Between Us: Love, Sex, and the Science of Attraction” by Larry Young, PhD, and Brian Alexander ($12.58 in paperback, $9.99 for Kindle).


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