Sex & Paganism
By Kellen, July 2000
Disclaimer: The views expressed in this document are totally those of the author. The author does not imply or pretend to speak on behalf of all Pagans
It is true that an individual cannot speak for the members of an entire tradition. Nor can an individual speak for the Pagan community as a whole. However, when it comes to the subject of sex and Paganism, I believe this article reflects the view of the majority of the Pagan community.
I am also aware that I have purposely walked right into the fray on this extremely controversial and delicate matter. However, taking into consideration 'Advertisements' for initiation on the internet and the behavior of certain so called Pagans, I find it part of my responsibility as a dedicated member of the Pagan community to publicly state the view of the majority of Pagans on the subject of sex.
Firstly, I believe that the truth about the sexual component of the Craft should be discussed openly in books, web sites and mailing lists. Why? Because there is so much misinformation out there that it enables sleazebags to take advantage of, and manipulate the naive. There are a number of books currently on the shelves that discuss this matter openly and truthfully, there are also books out there which either gloss over or totally misrepresent the matter. So I don't believe I am breaking any codes of secrecy by bringing up points in this article which are already in print.
Before I go any further on this matter, I know how easy it is to misinterpret or misconstrue the written word. Therefore, I wish to be make the following points totally clear -
Over the last 1800 odd years, Paganism has been deemed evil and ungodly. Lies and mistruths about Paganism have run unchecked for generation upon generation upon generation. Such deep seated stigma is going to take a long time to undo. We as Pagans can profess to this and that, but it is by our conduct that we will be judged. It is a sad fact of life, but you could stand on a mountain top and preach to the world about your beliefs and practices, but people in general will fall back on what they have been conditioned to believe. So, it doesn't help when some sexually inadequate screwball, looking for an outlet for their perverted sexual needs says - 'Hey, come to me'. Then taking advantage of all the stigma and misinformation about Pagan practices, takes sexual advantage of those who know no better, who believe that in giving sexual favor to this person they will receive something in return. Or maybe in the case of younger teens, that through rebelling they may ultimately be harming themselves.
Why the need for this article?
Simply this, there are those professing to be Pagan who are doing nothing more than trying to fulfill sexual need. A recent advertisement in the US made this painfully clear, where the author was literally living his fantasy through his quest for female initiates aged between 13 and 20 years of age. Yes from age 13!!! And they were told implicitly that they 'had to go all the way' and that it was 'all part of Paganism'. And virgins all the better, his having sex with virgins would yield them more power! What a crock. Crock it may be, but the potential for emotional damage -- extreme.
There are also those about the place whose profile is not so public, but enforce on those who seek guidance and tutorage from them sex in return. Usually a very profound reason is given, and unfortunately a trust has been established between student and teacher - then - regret as the student realizes that they have been duped, cheated, that the sex was nothing more than the teacher getting his/her rocks off.
As Paganism booms, there is an ever increasing number of teens seeking an alternative. This article is in no way intended to promote teen sex, quite the opposite in fact. This article more then ever is intended to serve as honest information about sex and Paganism, to warn the young and new to the Craft about those who would take advantage of trust. Yes, the Pagan community draws a large spectrum of people, the majority of them, very good people, but as with the rest of society, Paganism also suffers from its sleazebags.
The good news is that the Pagan community will send out alerts about those whose practices are questionable, and in the case of the sicko advertising for 13 to 20 year old females for initiation involving sex, it was the Pagans that reported this to the police and FBI.
So, why the need for this article? Forewarned is forearmed. I know sex is a delicate subject, but after reading this article, I hope that all new seekers, regardless of age, are very much aware of it's place within Paganism and can clearly see where it could be misused.
Sex & Sexuality
A persons sexuality is as individual as a persons spiritual beliefs. There is a large misconception out there that to be Pagan one must also be polygamous, that pagans do nothing more then run around and have sex with everything in sight. This 'polygamous to be pagan' excuse is often pushed on the young and new to the Craft who then feel they must comply because they wish to be Pagan.
Sex comes down to individual choice as does sexual preference. Choice of sexual partner, be it one or many, is also an individual choice, and the partnership should be based on mutual grounds - this meaning, consenting adults exercising free will.
I am in a monogamous relationship, that is my choice and the choice of my wife. We have no need to seek fulfillment outside of our relationship, and I can assure you that being monogamous makes us no less Pagan.
If a person prefers multiple partners, it is that individual's choice, not Paganism. Many cultures still allow multiple wives etc, and I do not judge nor care about whether a person is polygamous, or if a couple swings etc., as long as they realize they are exercising their individual will and there has been no manipulation in the name of Paganism etc. People from all walks of life, religions, spiritual paths, including Paganism, should choose to have sex, not based on religious belief, but on individual preference and choice.
If a Christian has sex with a minor, this act has nothing to do with the fact the person was Christian, it has everything to do with the individual's perverted sexual needs.
Likewise, if a Pagan has sex with a minor, this act has nothing to do with the fact the person was Pagan, it has everything to do with the individual's perverted sexual needs.
Sex should always come down to personal choice, Pagan, Christian or whatever.
Sex Magic & The Great Rite
Both Sex Magic and The Great Rite are advanced techniques and rituals employed by some, but not all Pagan paths. It is not the purpose of this article to give detailed descriptions on how these techniques and rituals are performed, these may be found in any number of books. But suffice to say that sexual intercourse is involved. (The Great Rite may be performed 'symbolically', meaning that the actual sexual union does not occur).
The main purpose of this article is to alert young teens and new comers to Paganism, that misinformation about sex magic and The Great Rite is the main 'excuse' given by sleazebags for purposes of sex.
Firstly, neither sex magic nor The Great Rite are mandatory.
Secondly, sex magic and The Great Rite, when performed by responsible Pagans are powerful and sacred acts, not simply getting ones rocks off. Sex Magic and the actual Great Rite are performed by working partners, these partners usually have a sexual relationship outside of the Craft ie, Husband/Wife, Boyfriend/Girlfriend, close trusted friends etc.
Protecting Newcomers to Paganism
No matter how much information is available to new seekers, some will always fall victim to the sleazebags posing as Pagans. Even with all information, some will be conned.
I have had experience with these types of scumbags in the past, and could tell you, almost word for word what they would say in order to manipulate someone into submission.
There will be statements like -
'Of course Pagans have to say that about sex, but it isn't true. It's just that Pagans don't want the public to know what they really get up to'.
'You have to have sex with me in order to learn and practice sex magic'.
'If you want to be a Pagan, you must be polygamous'.
'The power of the God/dess will enter you through having sex with me, it's the only way'.
And the list goes on....
Unfortunately, these sleazebags can be very convincing and some will be coerced. This is why responsible Pagans will alert others about sleazy behavior through Pagan related mail lists and dependant on the threat, to law enforcement agencies as well.
All I can say to anyone entering the Craft is always listen to your inner voice. If it doesn't feel right there is a good chance it isn't. Always remember, whatever you do in life is your choice. Think before you act and be prepared to take responsibility for you actions.