Intro to vacama (that's me)

Submitted by vacama on
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Well I just would like to say that I am excited to be on the website, and I hope you enjoy the entries that I post on my blog. I'd also like to thank you for reading, and I am eager to read you comments or questions and respond.

I am a Christian and I am eager to explore this approach to sexuality; based on what I've read thus far, it comes very close to the ideal Christian sexuality, far closer than society's current approach.

What I'm really interested at this time is possibly developing Karezza concepts and ideals into a Christian ministry for those who have sexuality as a stumbling block in their spiritual journey. Karezza holds great promise, I believe, in formulating ways for Christians to escape sexual sin. The Lord has been showing me different things, leading me to this point, to where He wants me to be in my ministry. I am eager to get started!

God bless,
vacama

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Comments

I am glad to see this topic

I am glad to see this topic come up, as I too am a devout Christian. When I was reading the book, I continually thought that this is exactly what I imagine God intended for sex.

“Go forth and multiply” is certainly in the Bible but it is not really in the context of teaching about sexuality or even human relationships. It is more an after-note to the creation story. God said he created the earth and created man and woman. He saw that is was all good and said… go fill it up. There is really not much more to read into it.

The Bible does talk extensively about sexuality and relationships. My belief is that God created man and woman in his image, and created sex to reflect the perfect union and love he has for us. Our bodies and souls are designed to “become one” with another person and I think that this is reflected in the teachings of the Bible. That is what sex is supposed to be.

Sin is such a poor word in our modern society. It has a very negative and judgmental connotation. However, in the most basic sense, sin is simply something that is not in line with the teaching of God. Porn is outside of the way God designed sex and taught us to have sexual relationships. It is not the way we were designed to function and God knows that it is not the best thing for us. Are we judged and condemned for this “sin”, no. Are we living the best life possible when we indulge in this “sin”, no (as confirmed by many stories on this site!) It is also very telling that karezza has helped many people break the porn cycle.

As far as karezza, a quick reading of the Song of Songs will ooze with these ideas of gentle, meditative intercourse. I really don’t think there is anything in conflict with Christian teaching. Karezza is a much better representation of the union between two people in a way that is reflective of the love of God. Christians are in the same boat as everyone else, living in a culture that has completely defined sex as something much different that it should be.

I would love to do a history study on where our cultural views of sex were formed. I can say that the view most Christians take on sex is built on the human institution of the church, not the teachings of the Bible. While the language used would probably be different that that of Tantra, a Christian workshop on these sexual ideas is right on target.

Christian sex (Christians have sex?!?)

Hi Marnia, I believe that the biblical approach to sexuality is far more nuanced than the mainstream culture has painted it to be. When I first read about Karezza, I thought to myself "wow, how close this is to what a Christian's sexuality should be". Some aspects of Karezza might be unique to it, but I really believe its true spirit comes very close to how a Christian should view sexuality. My first impressions were Song of Songs and 1 Corinthians 7. Yes, there is the commandment from God to be fruitful and multiply, but without getting ahead of myself, theology states that everything on Earth is a representation of something in Heaven. Briefly, the Christian teaching of Song of Songs is that we believers in Christ should have the same kind of deep, meaningful, intimate relationship with God as we do with our spouses, and that God loves His bride (the body of believers) the same way that a man loves his wife.

As for sexual sin, porn is one aspect of it. But as I was researching Karezza I found something on Maithuna, which is ritual sexual intercourse, where the male becomes Shiva for the duration of the sex and the female becomes Shakti, and unless that mental, spiritual transformation takes place, the sex is sinful. That's how I saw sex without that beautiful, mindful connection between spouses, as sinful, as selfish. Of course Christians don't believe in Shiva or Shakti but it is representative of the deep, amazing union husbands and wives should share.

Hi. Well coming from an

Hi. Well coming from an amateur Buddhist angle maybe "sexual sin" would be considered sexual activity that seems to harm yourself or others. Which may be difficult to even know what that is at first.. but the results of suffering that show up later enlighten us in a way.

Often times I think I know what is "right action" when it comes to sex and I have known all along but the addictive spiral put me into rationalization mode.

For me anymore it isn't the fear of "sin" and the reprocussions in a perceived nirvana. For me it is a compassion for myself and others
People using each other for pleasure only doesn't on its face appear to do harm. But as extreme obcession with pleasure becomes the pattern the damage and suffering become obvious... hopefully.

Labeling harmful behaviours as "sin" is a good way for some people I suppose to avoid falling into the harmful patterns. If their faith or fear is strong enough. For me I often have to learn myself first hand. In fact calling it sinfull sex even gives it a bit of an edge that in my less experience years might make it more appealing.. make my primitive monkey brain more curious.

One time when I was very young my mother put me out to play by myself in the front yard and said.. now dont run off or you will get lost and I will whip your ass even if I ever find you. . It had really never occured to me to run off anyway.
But now that I was given the idea.. and it is forbidden.. well that made it even more appealing.

The fear of sin might work for some. But not for Adam or Eve or me. I always seem to first bite the apple.. even or maybe especially when someone tells me not to. How stupid am I ? Always learning the hard way through experience.

This in no way is meant to be critical of any faith or religion. Just my observations about myself and my patterns.. and something to think about when it comes to Karezza. Especially for orgasm pleasure.. what a golden apple that is.

Anti-rationalization

Lately, I've been regarding orgasm as a drug. It's helpful for me to look at it that way, because when I am pursuing orgasm, what I'm really doing is acting like a self-centered drug addict looking for my next fix. It seems like a really bad idea when I put it that way; it's harder to rationalize. If rationalization is the mental process of creating an internal dialog that makes a wrong action seem ok, or even like a good idea, then anti-rationalization would be the reverse, to take the wrong action and make sound really bad, amplifying its unwholesome qualities so that my rational mind can take the cue and reject the idea. Maybe that's what the terminology of sin is about. I suppose it could be effective if used in that way. I always associated it with a moralizing judgment, but I suppose if used in this way, it could be a good tool to help people anti-rationalize behaviors they wish to avoid.

The Mind

Hi Sender,

I too often view sex as a kind of drug. I've heard that Tantrics use sex in the same way that Shamans use herbs and psychoactive compounds. You can use a drug to harm or heal. It all depends on the awareness and attitude of the user.

I can get pretty stressed out about concepts like "good" and "bad" or "sin" and "right action". If I consider my life purpose to be "to Love this earth and all her offspring" (as I found in The Book of Mirdad) or "Love each other as I have loved you." (attributed to Jesus), then it seems to me that the question is "What is Love"? That to me is the key to sex. My favorite spiritual source once said "My sexual ethic is Love" (Osho). Figuring out how to Love seems to me to be a good thing for the mind to do.

Thanks for your thoughts. I'm enjoying this conversation.

Sincerely,

"Arnold"

Substance of Love

Arnold: I'd say that the question of what love is has occupied philosophers for millennia. It's occupied this armchair philospher as well. All I can give you is my Christian thoughtpath. Jesus said that the 2 greatest commandments were 1) You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind and 2) You shall love your neighbor as yourself (Matthew 22:37, 39). So what does that mean? Jesus is our example: we are to strive to be like Jesus in everything we do, so we must love the way Jesus loved. How did He love? Through sacrifice. This is the principle tenet of Christianity: that mankind was separated from God by sin, and what is due us for those sins is death (Romans 6:23) because God is holy; yet God through Jesus gave us a way back to a relationship with Him because Jesus willingly gave up His life, became sin (2 Corinthians 5:21) and took our punishment in our stead. This is sacrifice. Christ cried tears of blood in the Garden of Gethsemane, hours before His trial and death sentence, and He asked Father God to take "this cup" away if at all possible (but nevertheless, the Father's will be done and no one else's). What was "this cup"? His impending torture and/or death? No, it was true separation from His Father God, with Whom He had enjoyed the deepest, most loving fellowship. This is sacrifice. This is love, because He went through with it. So I give up something important to me because loved ones may benefit. In Christianity we say that we die to ourselves.

I've been thinking quite a bit about Karezza and I can see how this sacrificial love can translate into the marriage bed as well. I understand that the Karezza approach eschews orgasm, but I would contend that it's good for a man to give up his orgasm indefinitely, and this is a blog topic I'd like to touch upon at some point. But I think that while it's good for a woman to also delay her orgasm, I think that in a lovemaking session, a woman should allow orgasm to come to her naturally, not trying, and maybe even allow multiple ones to come. Men, yes, stop that orgasm, take it slow, take it sensuous, but stay back from the edge. Women, take it slow too, but don't be afraid to come. That's just how I see it. Anyway, this to me is like an example of sacrificial love, that the man gives up his orgasm so that the woman can have one and maybe multiple ones. That's just my take and I think I will incorporate that mentality to how my wife and I make love. I will avoid orgasm as much as possible, and I want her to have her moment, so to speak.

Anyway, I'm sorry for the length, I hope I don't offend you too badly with my comment. But I wanted to share how we view things, as often Christian perspectives are misconstrued. I just wanted to give my 2 cents.

I find that I should not orgasm at all

Some of us women have found that we have long-cycle repercussions from orgasm.  I know I do, and my usual cheerful attitude can vanish in a flash in it's wake - usually 5 days to two weeks later.  A few months of tracking this proved it to me.  The whole feeling is of 'two minds' - one which lashes out at tiny slights, while the other watches in horror as one says or does some awful thing!  There's also a sort of emotional 'hollowness' compared to not having orgasms. 

So for me, I've given them up entirely.  My partner still has one occasionally, but he is the most even keeled person I know.  He just gets less spontainously affectionate if he's had one recently, and tends to watch a little more TV. 

Our situation is night-and-day from yours, however.  We sleep together every night, commute together everyday, and work in the same office, everyday, and prepare and eat all our meals together. We are in an open cube plan office, and I am just two cubes away from him.   We are rarely apart from one another. 

Quizure

For some reason

it makes me sad to see someone promoting these ideas as a "sacrifice." For me, the sacrifice is my loving feeling of connectedness and good will in all direction during (some of) the days after orgasm. That would have major spiritual implications.By doing karezza I make no such "sacrifice."

I wish you would be able to experience karezza on a regular basis before selling the "sacrifice" idea to Christians. Forbidden sexual activities can become very eroticized. There are even people who get their jollies by denying themselves (or having a partner deny them) orgasm. They make orgasm-denial into a fetish. That's not at all what karezza is about. It's not about racy, edgy feelings. It's about a different blend of pleasure neurochemicals, heavy on the oxytocin.

why does it make you sad?

For me, I rejoice in that love. And I love to love someone sacrificially. If I could have a huge meal but my family go hungry, or if we all get to eat much smaller meals, I am thrilled and eager to provide for them. Perhaps a sacrificed orgasm wasn't right to say; it was a comment made off the cuff with less thought put into it.

The mother who chooses to give life to her infant despite the pain and danger of childbirth; the soldier who gives up his life so that his friends are safe from a landmine explosion; the little boy who dies saving his family from a fire. What love this is! How can there be any greater? That's the love of Christ to sacrifice His life for His flock's. That's all I meant.

Hmmm...I agree that

selfless behavior is beautiful. However, the idea that God's love would ever call for sacrifice is repugnant to me. I regard this concept as a purely human invention that served humans in charge by "making sense" of a world that is often abjectly miserable. However, I believe much of that misery is self-inflicted because humans simply haven't learned to balance their brains yet (in part because they don't understand how sex- and supernormal stimuli like junk food and internet porn - potentially affect the brain). Glorifying "sacrifice" slows the whole learning curve down, by distracting people from the healthy choices they could be making.

I don't think Gods love ever

I don't think Gods love ever call for sacrifice just for the sake of sacrifice. In the same way karezza calls for a denial of orgasm that may feel sacrificial in the short term, it is in fact more life giving in the long term. It is not a sacrifice at all. Christianity I believe has those same type ideas. It also would compel a person to love others above themselves, which in turn may result in sacrificial behavior. I just don't believe God desires us to sacrifice though he guides towards a way of life that may lead to sacrifices both real and perceived. The same is true for most any parent towards their children.

My First Post!

In Hosea 6:6, God says "For I delight in loving-kindness, and not sacrifice..."

I agree that the idea of sacrifice could be unhelpful. I don't think God asks us for sacrifice, except in some funny sense like, "On your way to meet me at the French restaurant, please sacrifice by not stopping at McDonalds."

Sacrifice doesn't mean what people think it means

Sacrifice is be definition giving up something you value/desire for something that you consider has more value. The problem is when people don't believe something has more value, when they see someone else "sacrifice" for that, they assume that sacrifice means giving up something they value/desire for something they DON"T value higher.

Karezza by definition is giving up something that most people (up to that point) consider to have high value, but they see something else that they begin to feel has more value. Over time, with practice, you change so that it is no longer a sacrifice, because you have replaced the previous desire with the one that you now prefer, value highly and prize above other sexual activities.

Sacrifice isn't about denying yourself because the person doing the sacrificing feels something else has higher value. If you don't agree, that is fine, but it doesn't change the nature of someone seeking something better based on their beliefs....you may not be able to understand why they are doing it, but it is no reason to feel they are overly foolish.

I am sure that there are many people out here that would say we are denying ourselves something and that we are foolish.

tortoise interesting take

I get what you're saying about the "sin" description making less-than-ideal sex that much more enticing. But it's my hope that this blog's potential ministry will describe sin as an undesirable and unfortunate mistake we would just as soon not become involved with. The bible says that sin is pleasurable for a season, but anyone who has become entangled in the shortcomings of sin tends to have a desire to abandon the lifestyle, even though they may still derive pleasure from it. My hope is that we can see sin thusly: you can be tempted by a pretty tasty Big Mac, but why ruin your appetite when you're going to the finest restaurant in town? Maybe then we'll see sin in a more appropriate, less desirable light.

Interesting thread

It reminds me of how Catholics in France and Belgium had extolled the practice of amplexus reservatus (karezza) as a legitimate means of avoiding conception, and also as a means of achieving a more perfect, more spiritual kind of conjugal love.

The Pope voted "no":

Stockham died in 1912. One repercussion of works like hers was that
the Vatican condemned the entire concept of karezza. In 1952, the Sacred
Congregation of the Holy Office issued a Monitum, or “solemn warning,”
published in the
Acta Apostolicae Sedis, which noted that several contem-
porary writers, in discussing married life, had described, praised, and even
ventured to recommend something they termed “a reserved embrace.”
Citing an express mandate of Pope Pius XII, the Sacred Congregation
seriously admonished all such writers to refrain from these suggestions and
forbade priests and spiritual directors ever to suggest that there was, in the
light of Christ’s law, nothing objectionable about “a reserved embrace.”
 

You might find the posts under this article of interest too:

http://www.reuniting.info/orgasm_vs_intercourse

1 Corinthians 7

Marnia, let me state that I am a Christian who derives his faith based on the principles put forth in the Bible. In order for me to follow what anyone says (regardless of position, whether layman, neighborhood pastor or the Pope) it must agree with what is stated in the Bible. That is where my faith is, because I believe it is the inerrant Word of God.

I believe that the excerpt you quote contradicts what 1 Cornithians 7 says.

Don't get me wrong, I don't think there is nothing "sinful" about orgasm, but I also believe that there is nothing sinful about sex without orgasm, and I interpret the Pope's postulation to find sex without orgasm to be a sin.

I plan on touching on the following topics in my blog later on, but I also believe masturbation is NOT a sin based on what the Bible says. The Catholic Church says that it is.

But let's look at the text of 1 Corinthians 7:

"Now concerning the things of which you wrote to me: It is good for a man not to touch a woman. Nevertheless, because of sexual immorality, let each man have his own wife, and let each woman have her own husband. Let the husband render to his wife the affection due her, and likewise also the wife to her husband. The wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. And likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does. Do not deprive one another except with consent for a time, that you may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again so that Satan does not tempt you because of your lack of self-control." - 1 Corinthians 7:1-5 (NKJV)

Notice the emphasis added to "the affection due her"; some commentators have interpreted to mean that even if a relationship has lost the ability to be sexual, whether through illness or injury or what have you, the man still owes affection to his wife.

Incidentally, this is a critical excerpt of sexuality within the Christian marriage, talking about concessions for sexual release to prevent driving people to sin (i.e., adultery, sex outside marriage, etc.) and other topics I'd like to explore later on...

A young Christian friend of mine

sent me that Corinthians quotation after I linked this thread for him, so I'm especially appreciative of your remarks just now. He plays around with karezza ideas with his girlfriend, so you two might enjoy connecting.

This was his take on it:

Hmm... interesting indeed. 
 
I read your comment, and you are right in "that most Christians think the primary purpose of sex is to "go forth and multiply.""
 
However they do not understand what the bible teaches "fully" on the subject. Sex was also created for pleasure as Song of Solomon 5:1 suggests to "eat and drink your fill you lovers". I mean that whole book was so graphic that back in the day they wouldn't let kids read it haha... 
 
Anywho, occasional fasting, and occasional abstinence is encouraged in the bible, especially to build up desire. In 1 Corinthians 7:5 it says "Stop depriving one another (from sex), except by agreement for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer, and come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control. "
 
Isn't that cool that it clearly suggests that abstinence will increase desire so much that you might lack self-control? I also like that it says "except by agreement for a time". It is important that a couple is in this together. Recovering from addiction will not work if a women is forcing her man to go without sex. The guy has to at least want to change. 
 

Great Thread Vacama!

Thanks for your enthusiasm about introducing a healthy approach to a loving sexuality amongst Christians. I hope your project takes flight and engages the support of many Christians.

I live in a town that is in what is called "The Bible Belt of Canada". There are more churches per capita here than anywhere else in Canada. Yet what I repeatedly see and hear is husbands who think of their wives as bottomless pits of neediness (Why get married? Just find a woman you don't like and buy her a house), and wives who experience their husbands as just one more kid. This is really tragic (and very stressful for me).

It's very difficult for me to create a healthy connection with these people, because I don't think of myself as a Christian and can't quote scripture. I would however, love to find more people who share my interest for a loving, healing approach to intimacy regardless of the source of their spiritual inspiration. Being able to direct local Christians to a forum for the kind of conversation that might inspire them would be a way that I could create a healthier connection with them. This thread is certainly a good start.

I'd like to see where this project of yours goes and support it if I can. Thanks for your initiative. Smile

Sincerely,

"Arnold"

What an interesting thread

The past couple of years, the world has seemed strange to me in that all of a sudden, opposing or otherwise differing spiritual viewpoints -- ACIM, Christianity, Ho'oponopono, Ishayas Ascenders, and so many more, have started to all sound like they're saying the same wonderful thing, just using very different words. Though I speak to Jesus in meditation I wouldn't be considered a traditional Christian, but I'm so happy those who are Christian are here and seeing the value in Karezza.

I have a friend who turned away from Christianity years ago and one of his complaints was that the Bible says that sex is the ultimate expression of union between a husband and a wife and he said he absolutely doesn't believe that to be true. Heavily into status-quo fertilization sex, he says that (no surprise) sex doesn't bring on any special state of union between a couple.

Whether or not the Bible does say that in various ways I don't know, I just know he thinks it says that. I can't help thinking if he understood karezza, he may realize what he thinks the Bible said about sexual union was kind of on to something after all. And so is he when he describes the lack of union found in fertilization sex! Maybe status-quo sex might not be the "sex" that was being spoken of when it came to describing it as a portal for a great union between husband and wife.