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This title in other editions

The Soul of Sex: Cultivating Life as an Act of Love

by

The Soul of Sex: Cultivating Life as an Act of Love Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Chapter OneThe Nymph of SexDivine Eros and Human Sexuality

We have a habit of talking about sex as merely physical, and yet nothing has more soul. Sex takes us into a world of intense passions, sensual touch, exciting fantasies, many levels of meaning, and subtle emotions. It makes the imagination come alive with fantasy, reverie, and memory Even if the sex is loveless, empty, or manipulative, still it has strong repercussions in the soul, and even bad sexual experiences leave lasting, haunting impressions.

In general, we treat the body as though it were a skeleton wrapped in muscles and stuffed with organs. When illness comes along, we go to a doctor and expect X rays, pills, or surgery. We don't talk about the way were living, strong feelings that may be related to the illness, or whether life has meaning. We separate the body, mind, and emotions as though they were properly contained in individual and unrelated compartments.

The philosophy characteristic of our culture, in which the body is treated as unrelated to our emotions, our sense of meaning, and our experiences, has deep implications for sexualiry. Not only do we deal with sexual problems mechanically, we may well approach our lovers mechanically -without the deep engagement of the soul and spirit that would give sex its depth and humanity.

Against this point of view, the eighteenth-century poet William Blake, who used his power of words to fight against the rationalistic and mechanistic thinking of his own time, made a statement that could fittingly be printed at the bottom of every page of this book:

Man has no Body distinct from his Soul for that calld
Body is a portion of Soul discernd by the five Senses,the
chief inlets of Soul in this age.
Unless we have lost imagination completely, when we look at the body we are seeing the soul, and when we have sex, we experience the body as a way to the most penetrating mysteries of the soul.

It may be tempting at times to imagine sex as purely physical. Then we might not have to deal with feelings, personalities, and repercussions. We may try to avoid the complexities that always appear in relationships and look for liberated sex in "free love." How pleasant it would be, we may think, to have sex without strings attached, without all the painful emotions and partings and reunions. But the soul has its own life and its own will. It won't submit to our manipulations. The attempt to have sex without implications may backfire, and through a meaningless sexual fling we may find ourselves in the biggest emotional mess of our lives.

This human body that we have been conditioned to see as a system of chemicals, pulleys, pumps, and plumbing is an expressive entity of great subtlety and nuance. This subtle body is alive, diaphanous, full of meanings, poetic, expressive in every organ and part, intimately connected to emotion and feeling, and, by no means least, beautiful. This is the body that engages in sex, a body with so much soul that any attempt to deny its layers of meaning will likely come back to haunt us.

Obviously, the body can be appropriately studied, measured, and treated at a merely chemical and physiological level. But at the same time the body is infinitely more, and to grasp its sexuality we have to go far beyond the scientific imagination. We can appeal to artists, poets, and mystical writers, and to the rites and images ofreligion to get a fuller picture of its sexuality and to glimpse the myriad of ways the body can be sexually expressive.

The key to going any further in this book is to set aside our habit of looking at the body and its sexuality materialistically and to realize, as fundamentally as we can, that there is no such thing as a human body without emotion and imagination. The larger part of human sexuality is inaccessible to the materialist's viewpoint. Beyond it lies a whole world of sexual meaning. By looking at the sexual myths we live out, and at our spiritual attitudes, however developed and conscious they may be, we will find the roots of our desires and the sources of our satisfactions, Here lie secrets critical to our problems and unfulfilled hopes, here a way to educate the young in their sexuality, and here the means of reconciliation between sex and morality and between the body and the spirit.

Evoking Venus

The Homeric Hymn to Aphrodite, an ancient story about sex, describes what I believe is the key to keeping the "human" in human sexuality. Zeus, to the Greeks the divine governor of life, wants to make certain that immortals and humans interpenetrate. This great mystery, related in Christianity to the incarnation, addresses the human condition, in which spirituality and ordinary life go together to complete our humanity We are made up of spirit and body, with an animating soul in between, and any embodiment of spirit is an incarnation. The story begins with Zeus instilling in Aphrodite, goddess of sex, a desire for a mortal man.

As the story opens, Aphrodite goes to her temple at Cyprus, takes a bath, oils her body, and clothes herself in beautiful garments and goldenjewelry, Then she finds Anchises, a young shepherd, and disguises herself as a youthful virgin. Taken aback by her beauty, Anchises suspects that she may be a goddess, but she says no, she is the daughter of the ruler of Phrygia. Hermes snatched her from her home, she says, to be the wife of Anchises and the mother of their children...

Synopsis:

A highly original approach from best selling author Thomas Moore, restoring sex to its rightful place in the human psyche as an experience of the soul.

In The Soul of Sex, Thomas Moore at last restores sex to its rightful place in the human psyche. Describing sex as an experience of the soul, Thomas Moore here brings out the fully human side of sex - the roles of fantasy, desire, meaning, and morality - and draws on religion, mythology art, literature, and film to show how sex is one of the most profound mysteries of life.

While finding spirituality inherent in sex, Moore also explores how spiritual values can sometimes wound our sexuality.

Blending rather than opposing spirituality and sexuality, The Soul of Sex offers a fresh, livable way of becoming more deeply sexual and loving in all areas of life.

Synopsis:

A highly original approach from best selling author Thomas Moore, restoring sex to its rightful place in the human psyche as an experience of the soul.

In The Soul of Sex, Thomas Moore at last restores sex to its rightful place in the human psyche. Describing sex as an experience of the soul, Thomas Moore here brings out the fully human side of sex – the roles of fantasy, desire, meaning, and morality – and draws on religion, mythology art, literature, and film to show how sex is one of the most profound mysteries of life.

While finding spirituality inherent in sex, Moore also explores how spiritual values can sometimes wound our sexuality.

Blending rather than opposing spirituality and sexuality, The Soul of Sex offers a fresh, livable way of becoming more deeply sexual and loving in all areas of life.

Description:

Includes bibliographical references (p. [301]-307).

About the Author

Thomas Moore was a monk in a Catholic religious order for twelve years and has degrees in theology, musicology, and philosophy. A former professor of psychology, he is the author of Care of the Soul, Soul Mates, The Re-Enchantment of Everyday Life, The Education of the Heart, The Soul of Sex, and Original Self. He lives in New Hampshire with his wife and two children.

Product Details

ISBN:
9780060930950
Author:
Moore, Thomas
Publisher:
Harper Perennial
Author:
by Thomas Moore
Location:
New York :
Subject:
Sexuality
Subject:
Human Sexuality
Subject:
Sex
Subject:
Mythology
Subject:
Sex (psychology)
Subject:
Spiritual
Subject:
Sex -- Mythology.
Subject:
Health and Medicine-General
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade PB
Series Volume:
v. 11 (1988)
Publication Date:
19990831
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
Yes
Pages:
336
Dimensions:
8.04x5.39x.83 in. .57 lbs.

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Related Subjects

Health and Self-Help » Health and Medicine » General
Health and Self-Help » Health and Medicine » Sex
Health and Self-Help » Psychology » General
Health and Self-Help » Psychology » Sexuality
Health and Self-Help » Self-Help » Spiritual
Health and Self-Help » Sexuality » General
Metaphysics » General

The Soul of Sex: Cultivating Life as an Act of Love New Trade Paper
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$14.99 In Stock
Product details 336 pages Harper Perennial - English 9780060930950 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , A highly original approach from best selling author Thomas Moore, restoring sex to its rightful place in the human psyche as an experience of the soul.

In The Soul of Sex, Thomas Moore at last restores sex to its rightful place in the human psyche. Describing sex as an experience of the soul, Thomas Moore here brings out the fully human side of sex - the roles of fantasy, desire, meaning, and morality - and draws on religion, mythology art, literature, and film to show how sex is one of the most profound mysteries of life.

While finding spirituality inherent in sex, Moore also explores how spiritual values can sometimes wound our sexuality.

Blending rather than opposing spirituality and sexuality, The Soul of Sex offers a fresh, livable way of becoming more deeply sexual and loving in all areas of life.

"Synopsis" by , A highly original approach from best selling author Thomas Moore, restoring sex to its rightful place in the human psyche as an experience of the soul.

In The Soul of Sex, Thomas Moore at last restores sex to its rightful place in the human psyche. Describing sex as an experience of the soul, Thomas Moore here brings out the fully human side of sex – the roles of fantasy, desire, meaning, and morality – and draws on religion, mythology art, literature, and film to show how sex is one of the most profound mysteries of life.

While finding spirituality inherent in sex, Moore also explores how spiritual values can sometimes wound our sexuality.

Blending rather than opposing spirituality and sexuality, The Soul of Sex offers a fresh, livable way of becoming more deeply sexual and loving in all areas of life.

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