The following is adapted from a short essay written for a course on Gender & Sexuality at Fuller’s School of Psychology, responding to the prompt, “Some say that spirituality and sexuality are ‘two sides of the same coin.’ Discuss.”
Sexuality and spirituality have long been thought opposites—the “higher” spiritual realm pitted against the “lower” physical realm throughout much of Christian history. This historic asceticism, not too far from the Gnostic heresies of the early Church, has left many Christians alienated from their sexual selves in pursuit of the divine. Tides have shifted, however, and today Christians seem particularly eager to acknowledge the significance of our existence as embodied, sexual beings. Unfortunately, however, this new stream of Christian thought is not without confusion of its own, often leading to statements like “Sexuality and spirituality are different sides of the same coin.” While this idea seems to have widespread appeal, it ultimately continues to discount the sexual as a legitimate realm in and of itself, apart from whatever “higher meanings” we try to apply as a topcoat.