Of Lust, Love and Alchemy

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So, a few years ago I wrote a widely-published essay called Sex In Utopia, and more recently I wrote a follow-up called God is a Man. In both essays I examined the spirituality of sex, and concluded that our collective understanding of sex is needlessly violent, pornsick, self-serving and destructive — at the cost of what could be a healing, divine, Utopian experience.

How embarrassing, that I wasted 5 years and 6,000 words saying what could’ve been said much more simply: “Sex is best had between people who Love each other.”

~ Eww, Love! Gross! ~

I know, I know. Most of us have heard this “marriage is for 2 people who Love each other” sentiment in a religious context, delivered like nasty medicine wrapped in shame and guilt to make it easier to swallow. But now that we’ve internalized the shame and guilt along with the hidden medicine, it sits in our stomach making us feel sick. So, sadly, when “Love” enters discussions of sexuality, the word alone can feel like a nauseating trigger.

I get it.

The people who tried to teach us the value of Love were not Love-ing. They spoke of Love, and preached of Love, and made symbolic gestures of Love… but they had not True Love in their hearts. Despite their elaborate attempts to appear Loving, we felt the lack of Love in their abusive behavior and poisonous words. We were confused by the discrepancy between their outer appearance and their inner state.

Speaking for myself, I think this religious conditioning made me associate “sex only within a monogamous marriage” with shame and guilt, so understandably, along my spiritual path, I went through a long phase of casual and open sexuality, thinking that the way to “free myself” must be whatever the opposite of monogamous marriage was.

However, I have returned to this sensitive topic having learned a great deal from my experiences, and ready to share these in-sights with you. I speak as someone who’s been made to feel like my sex is something evil and wrong, something to be hidden, something to be controlled… and has only recently come to appreciate that being selective about my partners doesn’t have to be motivated by shame at all. I feel I have accepted the medicine and purged everything else. Thus, I write from empathy.

And because I have yet to experience an alchemical marriage myself, I can’t speak authoritatively to what works best, even for myself, let alone for anyone else. I can only speculate.

So let’s speculate!

To begin, let’s talk about Love.

What is Love?

baby don’t hurt me lol

To carry this essay, we need a working definition of Love between humans. So here’s my personal summary, for the sake of outlining the ideas to follow:

Love is the force that causes us to recognize oneness with another human, thus inspiring us to act in a way that benefits them as well as ourselves.

When you Love someone, you empathize with them; you want the best for them; you care about their needs; you appreciate and honor Who They Are; you behave towards them with patience, kindness, consideration, generosity, good will, good faith, protectiveness, and respect for their free will.

So…

What would the world be like, if sexuality were inspired by Love instead of Lust?

The first thing that comes to mind is, “There would be no rape.”

The next thing that comes to mind is, “There would be no unwanted babies.” And thus, no abortions based on regret or short-sightedness.

Then, “There would be no child molestation.”
“There would be no human trafficking.”
“There would be no street harassment.”
“There would be no cheating/affairs.”
“There would be no bestiality.”
“Advertising wouldn’t be able to manipulate people with sexualized imagery.”
“People wouldn’t destroy their bodies (by way of eating disorders, cosmetic surgery, etc.) to be considered attractive.”
“People wouldn’t deceive others with scams and false promises just to ‘get in bed’ with them.”
etc.
etc.
etc.

I have come to the mind-blowing conclusion that Lust truly is the source of, and reason for, all sexual maladies, mistakes and messes we see in our world today. And because sex is fundamental to the human experience (we wouldn’t be here without it!), the consequences of Lust extend far beyond the sexual realm and into every aspect of social life.

But perhaps I’m getting ahead of myself here. Let’s take a deeper look at some of these hypothetical differences between Love World and Lust World, to support my thesis.

“There would be no rape.”

Consider what rape is. Rape is the act of forcing someone into a sexual act when they don’t want it or aren’t even able to decide if they want it, all because the rapist wants it. It’s an act so selfish that it can destroy the victim’s entire life — leaving them traumatized and socially ostracized — all so that the rapist can feel a few minutes of pleasure.

If you Loved a person, you wouldn’t be capable of doing this to them. You wouldn’t even be able to conceive of it!

Returning to our original definition of Love, you could not rape a person whose well-being you care for, because hurting them would also hurt you.
Or here’s a better angle: You wouldn’t even care if raping them would hurt you or not — you would simply want the best for them in the first place! And “the best” for anyone certainly does not include being sexually violated. I can’t imagine a single circumstance where it could.

But if you only Lust for that person, then they become an object in your mind. No feelings, no inner world. Just a “thing” that you want to satisfy yourself with. Therefore, from the Lustful state of being, using them like a tool seems reasonable.

Now, now, before anyone accuses me of implying that anyone who feels Lust for someone else is akin to a rapist, let me say that I believe Lust and Love occur on a spectrum. Of course there are grey areas between the two. But we’ll get to that later in the post.

For now, let’s move on to the next example:

“There would be no unwanted children.”

Pause and reflect for a moment, on how many people alive were conceived unconsciously — and by “unconsciously” I mean “without intention.”

Think of how many people were conceived as “accidents” and aborted as a result. In most cases, unwanted pregnancies are due to two people acting impulsively on Lust, and with little regard for each other’s futures (particularly in the case of the woman, who by default has a much higher social burden to bear, having to endure the pregnancy and all).

Think of how many people were conceived on purpose, but only because their parents were obeying societal pressure to reproduce — never once considering why they want children, whether that desire is truly their desire, or whether they’re able to Love whatever child they are now responsible for.

Think of how many parents “wanted” children, but only to abuse them or flaunt them like status symbols. So they didn’t want their child, they wanted an object they could use towards their own benefit — going back to our definition of Love, there’s no empathy in this conception.

Think of how many children are conceived by parents who genuinely don’t have the means to provide for that child’s basic needs, but their strong biological urge to reproduce influences their judgment, and so they conceive with no regard for the child’s health or well-being. Again: no empathy for the child in this equation.

That’s a lot of people conceived unconsciously!
The vast majority of people, probably.

And all because people like to have sex without considering the consequences. In all of these cases, it could be argued that Lust rules the decision-making process. If not Lust for sexual gratification, then Lust for power (as in the case of narcissistic parents).

Imagine how different our world would be, if everyone was conceived in Love?

The word “Lovechild” sometimes gets thrown around, which is unfortunate, because it’s such a nice word! Think about it: a Love-Child is a child conceived by two people coming together in mutual Love for each other, and with Love for the child they are about to have.

Imagine if we were all Love-Children? Imagine if all of our parents truly Loved us — if they did the work of Loving us, if they took the time to learn how to Love us in the best way possible, if they were not motivated by impulsive, Lustful short-term pleasure… but by a sense of responsibility and honor that can only be inspired by genuine Love?

I don’t have to tell you just how different the world would be. The world is full of broken people playing out ancestral traumas, dysfunctional family dynamics and inherited behavioral patterns. Cycles upon cycles upon cycles; never-ending pain. All because there was no Love in their conception, or their parents’ conception, or their grandparents’….

A Love-inspired Utopian parent would have deep appreciation for who each individual Child is and what they incarnated to do in this world, rather than primarily focusing on what they could get from their child.

AND I JUST FIND IT FUNNY HOW (here comes a personal rant) as a childfree woman, I am sometimes harassed and interrogated by total strangers about my decision not to have children.
“You’ll change your mind! You should have kids! You’d be a great mom!”
For all they know, I could turn out to be the kind of mother who snaps and drowns her babies in a bathtub. But does that stop them from insisting that I, a total stranger whose mental health status is unknown to them, must reproduce? Nope! Because people think having children is “just something you do.” They don’t care who does it, or why, as long as it gets done. They have no Love for this hypothetical future child (or me, for that matter!)

I am called “selfish” for my choice… but frankly, I think it’s the people who treat baby-making as a cultural mandate, automatic and devoid of Love, who are the selfish ones.

Moving right along!

“There would be no child molestation.”

This one seems obvious, but apparently in this day and age we need to spell out why pedophilia is not, in fact, the “Love” of children!

One of the most striking things about child molesters, is how they attempt to convince their enablers that their depraved sexual abuse is actually good for, or wanted by, the child.
There’s one stand-out example of this in an article I read, where a reporter went undercover on a pedophile forum and saw a couple bragging about how they drug their baby before abusing her, “and she loves it!”

Their lack of empathy was so severe that it became a delusion, wherein despite the fact that they literally had to drug their daughter in order to make her comply with an act she clearly didn’t want done to her, they still convinced themselves & other pedophiles that “she loved it.”

Back to our definition of Love: Love inspires empathy.

This monstrous couple (and all pedophilic groomers, who deludedly insist that their victims can “consent” and “be autonomous”) clearly have no empathy for their victims. Instead, what they have is Lust to get their depraved sexual desires satisfied, even if it means creating conditions where a child is trained to say yes or go along with the abuse, so that they can call it “consent.”

This is serious manipulation, which is deceptive, which is not Loving.

Love should be our standard of human interaction in all things. And if only one party controls & gains from the experience, it’s not Love. (In fact, I suspect that most human laws are an attempt to enforce and incentivize Loving behavior, but as mentioned in the opening of this post, Love is not merely an empty set of behaviors or words — it is an embodied feeling and state of being.)

Only a predator “falls in love with” (read: Lusts for) beings who cannot match them in strength, intelligence, experience or awareness, and are thus vulnerable to their schemes. But True Love seeks to mutually enjoy pleasure with someone who can freely, and totally, and enthusiastically, meet them where they’re at ⁠— and, just as importantly, freely say “no” when they want to say “no.”

This, ultimately, is the issue with the Consent Model. It reduces a deeply embodied, emotional, psychological and spiritual experience to mere technical terms, safe words and verbal cues. But to quote Laci Green: “Consent doesn’t mean there was no ‘no.’ Consent means THERE WAS A YES.”

I’ll take it a step further by adding this: a full-bodied, full-grown, fully-conscious, fully-present, ecstatic, blissful, freely-chosen YES.

The kind of yes that a child cannot, under any circumstances, provide to an adult in whose favor all power is skewed.

Alchemizing Lust into Love: On Unconscious Sexuality, Trauma Patterns and Sexual Shadows

I talked a little bit about “unconscious sexuality” in God is a Man, but didn’t elaborate enough.

So, at the expense of my dignity, here’s an example from my personal life to illustrate “unconscious sexuality.”

I’ve been consciously (intentionally) single ever since my last serious relationship a few years ago. I had some major epiphanies about relationships, and decided to go inward to reflect on how I was actually the source of all my relationship problems (yes, ALL of them — radical self-responsibility means not letting yourself off the hook for anything).
I also meditated on tantric concepts until I felt I truly understood them. “Spiritual sex” seemed especially intriguing — sex not based in Lust, but in a desire to mutually connect with the Divine through deep embodied presence and the compassionately facilitated release of traumas.

So when a handsome spiritual man synchronistically entered my life, I thought this was definitely a sign that I had learned everything I needed to and was ready for a new relationship — and most of all, for that incredible spiritual sex I’d been reading so much about.

Well, I was wrong.

Our first and only weekend together was a living nightmare. I would describe it as him aggressively trying to make-me let-him stick his dick in me, while I politely resisted and avoided him the entire time. He would only reluctantly stop when I said no, and make his resentment towards me very obvious.
Meanwhile, I resented him for being so selfish and ignoring my obvious discomfort. I had told him up-front that I didn’t want to have sex before I came to his house, so why was he pushing me so much?!

But once I had returned home and cooled off from our battle (because that’s what it was, really), I had this thought:

Did I really not-want it?

I had been so excited to finally be alone with him, and told him as much. We had both briefly talked about our interest in spiritual sex. Before going, I vividly imagined how amazing our intimacy would be, feeling uncertain and guilty as I did so. I even wore cute underwear “just in case something happened.”

I wasn’t clear on what I wanted — but I expected him to figure that out, and resented him when he didn’t do my inner work.
Truthfully, there was also a part of me, deep in my shadowy subconscious, that enjoyed the game of teasing this poor man like I was a prize he couldn’t have. I was treating him like a pawn in my own subconscious game, so that I could win it, and feel good… at his expense.

All because I didn’t Love him. I didn’t hate him either, and I didn’t mean to hurt him, which is why I said earlier that Lust and Love occur on a spectrum. Where we are on that spectrum only becomes clear as we illuminate our inner world. Here I was thinking I’d evolved towards some new “spiritual sexuality” just because I thought my intentions were pure, but in reality I’d completely and utterly failed to develop True Love in my heart. How can two people touch the face of God, if God is Love and they don’t even Love each other?

If you were only looking at the outer appearance of this situation, you might’ve assumed he was the one exploiting his power as a man, by being so brutal and forceful, and pretending to respect my boundaries before I came to his house. But I admit it: I hurt him, too, with my deceptive behavior.

Once I realized my role in this, I apologized to him and vowed to never have casual sex again. And I’ve been faithful to that promise. In fact, now that I’ve uncovered that nasty seductress shadow and integrated it, I no longer feel the need to casually date at all! I’m quite happy with my singleness, and don’t think I’d be satisfied with a casual relationship should that option ever present itself again.

To be clear: I am not implying that my personal experience applies to every woman, or that all women are “secretly asking for it.” I offer my experience to highlight a phenomenon of going through the motions as it pertains to sexual behavior, without first deeply reflecting on why we’re doing what we’re doing, or what’s motivating us.

Is it Lust or is it Love? We’ve all suffered through significant media programming that blurs the lines between the two. So many mainstream songs, and movies, and TV shows, and books, have us conflating Lust with Love, to the point where being aroused by a person might make you think you Love them. But you don’t. Love is so much more than that.

I’ll give you another personal example:

I used to be way more flirtatious and sexual on Instagram, posting “thirst traps” like me in sexual poses or making lustful faces. Expectedly, men would respond with sexual remarks. And it disgusted me. I didn’t want random guys taking my photos as an invitation!

Until one day I realized, wait: if I don’t want these “random men” to be aroused at the sight of me, why am I performing arousal for random men?

I recognized this unconscious behavior as a form of deception. Not only was I deceiving these internet strangers into thinking I was aroused when I wasn’t, but I was also deceiving myself! I was so disconnected from my body that I didn’t notice the discrepancy between my sexual poses and my actual internal state (which was not aroused at all!) It was a “monkey see monkey do” thing where I saw other women posing that way on Instagram, so, I did too… with nary a thought in my brain!

Once I realized this, I stopped posing in self-objectifying ways. Yes, the occasional creep still hits on me, totally unprovoked. And yes, it still feels objectifying and gross. But now I can sincerely say I’m not inviting it anymore. I have disavowed that unconscious deceptive behavior, in an attempt to be more Loving to the strangers who happen upon my social media. If I Loved them, how could I knowingly deceive them?


We all have work to do, in alchemizing Lust into Love. Whether you struggle with deviant sexual urges or you’re a run-of-the-mill serial monogamist, I am confident that you’d benefit (on all levels: physically, emotionally, spiritually…) from re-evaluating your sexual behaviors and the motivations behind them.

This goes for men and women. No adult person is exempt from taking responsibility for their subconscious drives and desires. We’ve all endured damaging cultural programming about sex, and we all deal with its consequences everyday. We’re all together in the same boat — or the same alchemical cauldron, I should say 😉

If anything I’ve shared here makes you feel judged, please remember that you don’t answer to me. I do not intend to reinforce any guilt or shame you may feel around the topic of sex. Rather, I hope to inspire you to think of your sexuality in a new light: the Light of Love.

In addition to my own essays on Relationships, I recommend these works to inspire you:

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Thank you so much! ~ Alicen

2 comments

  1. Thank you for so LOVE-ingly connecting so many universal dots. I trust your readers (and listeners) will embrace mindfulness to truly hear and feel what you’re sharing and why. I trust they will make it to your closing paragraph with a curious, self-LOVE-ing mind — ready to be inspired.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve been mulling over my parents’ and my relationship the past couple of days and this timely essay has helped me in ways I don’t know how to explain. I can’t hold back my tears. 😂 Thank you so much!

    Liked by 2 people

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