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The Dance of Giving and Receiving

The contemplation below is the entry for Day 46 in my Sex With God devotional.


The Dance of Giving and Receiving

Western notions of femininity tend to align with the idea of self-donation. Women are understood to be giving, caring, nurturing, and selfless by nature. The feminine sex is biologically constructed to open up, despite the vulnerability of the gift. So femininity is associated with being self-giving yet receptive. Masculinity, on the other hand, is associated with assertiveness and outward motion.

Mystical experiences are moments of profound receptivity; an openness to penetration by the divine. But both male and female mystics throughout the centuries have described encounters with God using feminine sexual imagery, for example, they might compare it to being penetrated by a fiery spear.

In order to experience God, we must be receptive. We can’t attack and expect God to reveal themselves. We must open ourselves, and ask.

The self-offering needed to experience the divine translates to our sexual experiences with other humans. In order to truly receive them, we must be receptive. We can’t simply thrust our wills or our bodies and assume intimacy will result.

Sacred sexuality is a dance of offering rather than demanding. A dance of giving and receiving, one with the other, and back again.

Offering ourselves, to and with God.

In one creative thought a thousand forgotten nights of love revive,

filling it with sublimity and exaltation

And those who come together in the night

and are entwined in rocking delight

do an earnest work and gather sweetnesses,

gather depth and strength for the song of some coming poet,

who will arise to speak of ecstasies beyond telling.

Rainer Maria Rilke


Suzanne DeWitt Hall is the author of the Where True Love Is devotional series, the Living in Hope series of books supporting the loved ones of transgender people, The Language of Bodies (Woodhall Press, 2022), and the Rumplepimpleadventures.


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