The Biblical creation story says that “God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them (Genesis 1:27, NIV, emphasis mine).” This statement seems to imply that the qualities of God are in some way divided between—or can only be found in communion between—the sexes: between men and women.
The importance of communion between the sexes is most obvious in the sexual act itself. Sex is primarily seen historically—and biologically—as the highest form of reproduction. Each parent contributes its own unique DNA to a new member of the species, which is more readily adaptable to environmental conditions and changes because of the variety of genetic material that sexual reproduction provides.
Sex as a biological mechanism for reproduction is an animal quality that does indeed serve its purpose of life and variety. Animals function largely in accordance with instinct—the biological “programming” that ensures their survival without culture and governs their sexual behavior. (Mammals, in particular, also have other “higher” functions that we sometimes consider to be uniquely “human,” such as emotions.) For animals, sex appears to be an instinctive means of pleasure that happens to ensure the continuity of life.
The biological aspects of sexual relation are not the primary function or benefit of sex in humans, though. Humans are not simply animals. C.S. Lewis said that humans are amphibians: half animal and half spirit. Although we possess animal qualities like the biological needs for food, shelter, and society, we are also uniquely capable of higher mental functions such as reason, logic, intellect, abstraction, free will, art, and spirituality.
Having said that, sex obviously does serve the purposes of pleasure and reproduction for humans as it does in animals. With our more developed capacity for understanding, though, in humans sex becomes (for the first time in the history of the known universe!) a means by which the male and female aspects of Spirit—the “God” at the center of our being—can approach wholeness again by reuniting with their other “half” in the flesh.
The unitive nature of human sexuality gives sex a powerful healing quality when a couple recognizes and uses its potential for intimacy. On the other hand, the energies that come into play on an intimate level are so strong and central to the cohesion of the self (perhaps especially for women) that there is great potential for damage when sexuality is used in an inconsiderate, violent, or harmful way.
Women and men have unique roles (and responsibilities, if you will) toward each other during sex and intimacy. Each of these roles provides a unique healing quality for the partner, in accordance with gender. When we examine this healing dynamic, it becomes apparent that men and women are indeed “made for each other,” despite the apparent problems that the Great Misunderstanding has created between the sexes.
What is the healing dynamic of intimacy and sex between a man and a woman? Through sex and intimacy, the male can “go into and touch” the physical and emotional center of the female. Likewise, the female is able to “bring a man out of himself” so that he connects with her in these ways. The male dynamic includes going out and giving; the female dynamic includes welcoming in and receiving. Together, they form a circuit of powerful healing—or destructive—energy.
The ways in which these effects are beneficial to each partner become more apparent when we understand the male and female principles, and their individual qualities.
To be continued…
(Written in 2008)