By Monique Hassan
Those moments of intimacy and sexuality with your spouse, those special moments when no matter how much noise might be outside of the window, you are only aware of each other. That deep connection which is connected to your trust, vulnerability, emotions and your faith.
Edited blog, original posted on PsychCentral here,
Sex , when done in an ethical and halal manner, can not only be connected to your spirituality it can be a spiritual boost. For far too long, people have associated religion and spirituality with caged sexuality and something shameful. As if religious followers are not allowed to enjoy intimacy and they are limited only to missionary with the lights off. Sexuality does not diminish one’s modesty nor is it inappropriate for a woman to be highly sexual. One can still maintain modesty while being completely the opposite in the bedroom.
Some take the stance sex is meant for creating children and nothing more, but I do not know of any religion that truly condemns sexuality as some shameful act. Sure, many religions have conditions surrounding sexuality such as they state it cannot occur till after marriage or restrictions are put on engaging in sex during a woman’s menses, but this does not mean sexuality is shameful or discouraged. It simply means it has a correct place and time, it is not a free for all.
“…in man’s sexual Intercourse (with his wife, ) there is a Sadaqa. They (the Companions) said: Messenger of Allah, is there reward for him who satisfies his sexual passion among us? He said: Tell me, if he were to devote it to something forbidden, would it not be a sin on his part? Similarly, if he were to devote it to something lawful, he should have a reward.”
Sex as a Spiritual Boost
When we frame sexuality as a blessing and we are grateful for it, we are more likely to treat it with care. If you abide by the rules of your faith and see sexuality as a pleasurable blessing meant to be shared between you and your loved one, you will benefit more spiritually from that connection .
Think of it like this, within religion and spirituality, striving to do acts which are permitted and finding joy and gratitude in those acts is showing gratitude and enjoying the blessings bestowed upon us. When someone with faith appreciates their blessings and enjoys them, it is an act of worship.
Sexuality is also a way to give to your spouse and be generous. Sexuality should not be approached with a selfish attitude of “get what I want and leave.” Taking the time to make it pleasurable for your spouse and keeping their needs in mind is serving your spouse, which is a form of worship when you are enjoining good with them.
Mental Health Benefits of Sexuality
When you orgasm, you release prolactin. This hormone is associated with feelings of relaxation and can help you sleep better. Additionally, studies show women that get more sleep often have higher libidos. Healthy sleep impacts our ability to focus, our mood and even our appetite.
A healthy sex life can help you reduce anxiety and depression. Oxytocin is released during foreplay and sex, this lovely hormone helps reduce anxiety and is linked to empathy and generosity. That natural high people achieve when they do an intense workout at the gym is the same natural high you can get from making love to your spouse.
Sex can boost your self-esteem if your partner makes you feel desired and seductive. Beautifully, your self-esteem is also lifted when you realize you are providing intense pleasure for them. Imagine making your wife or husband scream, it makes you feel good about yourself doesn’t it?
Marital Benefits of Sexuality
During foreplay, oxytocin is released which impacts bonding. That closeness you feel with your partner during sex can extend beyond the bedroom and improve your overall bond. It is not a surprise that many people joke about “make up sex” as it is a way to reconnect and heal, even if you were yelling 30 minutes prior.
Unhealthy and unfulfilling sex lives are linked to a higher chance of divorce. A healthy sex life that is full of exploration, depth and openness can provide a happier marriage. That is not to say that sex can cure all marriage issues, but it certainly can help.
Communication is often improved by couples that are more willing to explore their sexuality together. Trust is a component of any healthy relationship. Often, intimacy requires feeling vulnerable and open. When we are that exposed to someone else and we invite them into it, we are building trust.
You know those transcendental moments of love, ecstasy and bliss. What a blessing from Allah (the most revered, most glorified) sexuality is. In those special moments, you are connecting to the love of your life in an emotional, spiritual and loving way. It is a blessing we should be gratefulfor. Sexuality is not against religion and spirituality; it aligns with a deeper spiritual connection, gratitude for this special act and a way to serve your spouse