I had the weirdest experience while making love to my partner the other night. I was literally transported out of my body and felt like I was flying and in some other universe entirely. I was connected through him but also barely there. I don’t know how or why it happened and even as I tried to explain it to him, it sounded ridiculous as the words came out of my mouth. Have you ever heard of something like this and what does it mean?
The experience you describe is referred to as both transcendent or sacred sex. A research study on the phenomenon by Jenny Wade PhD is recorded in her book Transcendent Sex: When Lovemaking Opens the Veil. Earlier studies suggest that as many as one in twenty individuals have a transcendent experience and that over 80 percent of them keep the experience a secret even from their partners. All of the people in Dr. Wade’s study had no previous experience or training in transcendent practices and most had no real language or framework to understand their experience.
Interestingly the variety of experience was as vast and unique as the survey sample itself. The range of experiences sited in the book cover everything from the shift of space and time as you described, to a sense of electric light filled bodies, or transformation of self and other and a sense of timelessness and vast emptiness. All of the experiences carried a transformative recognition of the intersecting paths of spirit and sexuality.
For many people this spiritual awakening is life changing. It reorganizes their beliefs about sexuality and god. In fact, of all life experiences that open the doorway to intensely spiritual experience, sex is the most common and ordinary, which is to say that it is available to ordinary people through the act of physical love.
Perhaps it is because sex provides the most intense and immediate experience of the divine that most if not all religions have distanced the practice from its followers. Even historical Tantric texts teaches to move beyond orgasmic sexuality as soon as possible. In the Garden of Eden, the forbidden fruit is the orgasmic experience that Eve shares with Adam, because this is how they come to an immediate face to face experience with god.
The French term for orgasm is “le petit mort” which means the little death. In many ways, this transcendental sex is a death of sorts. We lose touch with our smaller ego driven self as the truth of our connection to each other and the universe is known. This is probably the element of our sexual selves that drives the mystery and fear that is associated with our sexual selves.
Finding the doorways to meaning in our lives are a rare and precious opportunity. Wade’s book provides some instruction on the techniques and practices you can engage in to create more opening to these experiences as well.