Coming up soon on November 21st is a community debate at the Royal Vauxhall Tavern in London on the subject of ‘Chemsex: Danger in our bedrooms, our lives, our communities’ where panel and audience will share their thoughts on the ‘epidemic’ of drug use on the gay men’s sex scene. It’s likely we will hear tales of woe, of disease and dependency but will we dare to share the mystical revelations that can happen en route, will we go to the core of what drives us guys to seek these ecstatic heights and uninhibited connections?
If we do, we may hear about the psychological and emotional wounds we carry from growing up as sensitive gay men in a brutal hetero culture, and how we chase extreme pleasures to fill the gaping void within – a void that can really only be filled by love.
But that is the dark side of the story – sex is great and we chase it when we are totally happy with life too. Its one of the best and most exciting ways we get to express the intense feelings we have inside us. Sex can open our hearts and minds, can bring us into blissful states, ‘religious’ states of union. Something we gays don’t like to talk about much. We have sex for pleasure, but sex also opens the gates to profound spiritual inner states of being. Gay life is big on hedonism and glamour but, turned off from spirituality because of the attitudes to us proclaimed by some religions, we tend to give little attention to our souls.
At least that is how it looks from the perspective of the commercial scene. Away from the glare of the cameras flashing in our pubs and clubs large numbers of queer folk are gathering at gay yoga classes, meditation groups, tantra workshops, five rhythms dances, queer pagan and radical faerie rituals and retreats etc. In these spaces we explore what it is to be human, and what it means to be a gay soul in the human family. At LoveSpirit Festival in London recently many activists and facilitators who are offering spiritual spaces to the lgbt+ community assembled under one roof, sharing their activities with 140 queers. A day rich in loving vibrations and sparkling energy resulted as connections to each other, to ourselves and to the source of all life were explored.
The scene is not totally devoid of spirit either. Many gay men that I talk to have had powerful spiritual experiences while high. What is missing in our culture is an appreciation that sex connects souls as well as bodies and the BLISS we seek is a state of soul consciousness, of UNION with the spirit. Most of us grew up influenced by religious paths that reject the body, reject sexual activity. We were taught to consider sex to be dirty, and our efforts to claim sexuality as a beautiful, healthy thing have really not gone far enough. Ancient pagan and tantric spiritualities honoured sex as sacred, honoured its power to lift us into higher, more whole, connected, states of being. These are the states of being we are naturally inclined to chase. Its not just that the sexual itch in us wants to be indulged, these higher states of being are calling us to raise our energy, open our chakras and unite with them. We do not have to stomp our way around this planet like dumb monkeys (or mindless bankers). We have in us a powerful consciousness that can expand until we are aware of our oneness with the divine source itself. Sex is the fastest and most direct route to this enlightened state of being – which is why religions, designed as control mechanisms for society, keep its mysteries taboo. An empowered, enlightened humanity is difficult to order about and send to war, for example.
But while we are all hooked on recreational drugs, ignoring their ability to open our internal spiritual channels (just as we ignore the power of sex to do that), and keeping our eyes firmly fixed on the material aspect of our being, refusing to talk about our souls, we are not likely to be waking up as warriors of the new age just yet.
The forays into spirituality that are happening on the fringes of gay life are far removed from the old religious story of sin and punishment. They go to the core of spirituality in the form of love, healing and celebration. Gay spiritual spaces are sex-positive, they celebrate the body and what we can achieve in it – they are about embodiment of spiritual qualities and not about salvation in another realm of existence; they are about being present, open hearted and compassionate – about being gentle, honest and real. The walls that exist in gay life shutting out spiritual awareness need to fall, and fall fast. Our scenes can evolve into holistic places of celebration, the 21st century gay can come on line –open in body, heart, mind and spirit. Being gay is about being open to life, to love, in all its wonderful forms. We are born with an urge to celebrate life itself, and when we realise what a vast and beautiful miracle that is we will raise the vibration of our own lives, of our shared community space and of the whole world. We have to get over our taboos around the sacred – discover it as something seductive, sexy, playful and loving and not as a cold and distant phenomenon locked up in cathedrals – for this state of being to emerge. In places where the freedom of gay spirit is allowed to flow many of us are finding this out.
Around the world we are still persecuted because of the hetero majority’s fear or judgement of how we express our love. We are considered by some to be the most unholy people on the planet. These blind heteros are not going to budge until we stand up for ourselves, more proud than ever of how wonderful, exciting and SACRED it is to be queer. We bring love to the world. We bring joy. We challenge the heteros to live up to their ideals of love and equality. We show that all beings deserve happiness and need authentic self expression.
Chemsex is a symptom of the longing we feel inside to unite, become One – with ourselves, with others, and ultimately with the Whole. We got work to do as a community to bring this about. This work is happening: the day before the Chemsex debate there will be a LOVESPIRIT REUNION, also in the parish of Vauxhall, where several dozen queers will gather to tell our stories of personal growth and awakening, plus explore activities that bring alignment with self and so open the way to greater union.
Chemsex debate: https://www.facebook.com/events/629540903734306/
LoveSpirit Re-Union: https://www.facebook.com/events/214569488724735/