Hello, beautiful creatures… and here we are. We’ve talked about sex, and I shared the definition I use: “any generative erotic activity: solitary, coupled, or multi-partnered, involving any configuration of bodies who want to be in intimate contact with one another, generating pleasure, generating eros.” Likewise, we’ve discussed magic, and I defined it as “changing reality in a manner not constrained by causal proximity,” along with some unpacking of what I meant by “causal proximity1.” Now, at long last, we can talk about what sex magic is.
Rather than make you plow through a thousand words of my philosophizing and moralizing before getting to the definition, let’s just cut to the chase: I define sex magic as the use of power generated through sexual activity to change reality in a manner not constrained by causal proximity.
There are a lot of ways we could reword it, involving words like “empower” and “charge” and “fluid condenser,” but I think that actually does the job pretty well. Of course, it’d be pretty chintzy of me to just slap my previous two definitions together and call it a day, so we’re not stopping there. After all, if my definitions of “sex” or “magic” don’t work for you, then my definition of “sex magic” likely won’t, either… and that’s okay! We don’t all have to agree on things. It’s useful, though, to know where we disagree, and why. Counter to my previous approaches, in which I built the case for my definitions before finally getting to them, I wanted to make my usage explicit from the outset, so we can spend the rest of our time together talking about what that definition actually means… by which I mean, how do you actually do sex magic, and why?
Actually, let’s take that last question first. Why do sex magic at all?
Even in as ostensibly sex-positive an environment as the Pagan/polytheist/practitioner communities2, there are folks who wonder—sometimes, quite vocally—why anyone would sully their spiritual aspirations with something as tawdry, sleazy, and downright gross as sex magic3. I’d be tempted to simply write such folks off as repressed prudes, but honestly, some of the more vocal proponents of sex magic have been white, cisgender dudes who’ve done everything in their power to give sex magic a reputation for being tawdry, sleazy, and gross. (Here, let us pause to, once again, give Aleister Crowley some much-deserved side-eye.)
With that said, sex magic has an incredibly long and illustrious history, and it seems a shame to throw the magical baby out with the bathwater. After all, human beings have a marvelous facility for adapting anything we get our hands on (tee hee!) to fulfill any need or desire we might have, so it’s really not surprising that our ancestors all around the world came up with the idea of using sex as the bridge between the material and the spiritual, uniting the quotidian and the numinous. As I wrote before, sex is generative, whether what is being generated is intimacy, peace of mind, release of tension, an entirely new life, or “merely” pleasure and good feelings. Sex is literally an embodiment—a tangible manifestation—of the power of creation. It’s inherently magical on its own, without even the formality of casting a circle first, and it’s as close to us as our own skin.
Honestly, my question is, why aren’t we doing more sex magic?
Well, there are a few answers to that. One possible answer, and the one I’m going to offer as particularly relevant to our concerns today, is that Western culture is really, really messed up where sex and sexuality are concerned. I would haul out some citations to back up this claim, but honestly, that seems like trying to convince you that water is wet. Besides, this subject is a bottomless rabbit-hole of study, and one could literally get a degree in the field. [whistles innocently]
If you’d like some evidence that we’re screwed up about sex, though, I would first encourage you to visit a decent sex education website or three. Please note, most of those sites are targeting teenagers and young adults. Now, roll on over to Reddit’s r/sex and r/sexadvice forums and just scroll through the headers. (If you’re not feeling quite that masochistic, you can visit your local supermarket and leaf through an issue of Cosmopolitan, though the effect won’t be quite as pronounced.)
I’m not going to point fingers about why we’re so screwed up about sex, other than to suggest—as I have before—that ideologies which suggest that people are objects don’t lead to good outcomes, and those ideologies pervade the entirety of mainstream Western culture. Hell, they practically define it4.
What I’m interested in is figuring out what we can do about this. How do we get to a place where we can engage in powerful, joyful, and ecstatic sex magic, especially when we’re so screwed up about sex in the first place?
I’m glad you asked. I have some thoughts on the subject, which I’ll be outlining next time. Until then, dear ones, be safe. ♥
- Which, as my friend Tempest rightly pointed out, is totally different from “casual proximity.”
- This is actually a far more debatable point than many Pagans, polytheists, and magical practitioners would like to believe, and is almost certainly going to be the subject of a future post in this series. Stay tuned, True Believers!
- Nota bene: I am not, repeat, NOT talking about asexual people here. On the whole, they’re quite lovely, and not prudish in the slightest, though some of them find non-ace people’s obsession with sexuality baffling. The subject of asexuals and sex magic is actually the subject of yet another future post.
- Those of you prepping up an anti-Christian rant need to stand down. While I do indeed blame many of the problems in Western culture on Christianity, it is far from being the only culprit. There’s plenty of blame to go around.