The symbolic meaning of sex changes over time. Our models of sexuality are in flux. For example, the sexual revolution is now viewed critically in retrospect, having failed to produce the freedom, happiness, and ecstasy it once promised. Instead it made other issues more conscious, including new forms of inhibition, sexual abuse and violence, gender differences, and disease potential. Conflicts are associated with power and control, subordination, desire, arousal, and love.
Such issues, including inequality and aggression, have become a greater concern than sex as a metaphor for happiness. The key dynamics are dissociation and association. New cultural forms are emerging. Even “life” and “death” are subject to recoding and metamorphosis, with cloning, in vitro, and surrogacy. As ever, sex and pluralization of relationship forms and lifestyles remain political and emotional issues. Fear of transgression is widespread.
Jung said that the splitting into opposites makes consciousness possible, but the ‘gender binary’ cannot hold everyone. We share our minds as well as our bodies. Psychic ‘gender’ or identification is beyond physical gender, and such dynamics play out in relationships in couples of all descriptions. Both real and symbolic effects are consequential in the “neosexual revolution” that dismantles and reassembles old patterns of sexuality and diversifies intimate relationships.
The power of Magic is rooted in Eros. When the connection between the erotic and the occult is unconscious, repressed or hidden, the mystery of uniting the esoteric and the erotic becomes the ultimate arcane secret. It penetrates into the depths where all life is one, all boundaries broken down, body and mind fused in one. A deep and abiding awareness of the intimate interrelationship unites the opposites through the realization of imaginal workings. We embody the myth.
As in Tantra, occult ritual involves the transgression of social mores, locating and enacting cultural taboos in order to transcend constrictive boundaries. The erotic and the sexual then become a tool to experience the breaking of mundane bonds and something 'other.'
As a therapist, I would suggest that the interaction is much clearer in practice if a person has done their own personal work on the related issues, rather than playing them out unconsciously in relationships. Naturally, to a greater or lesser extent we continue to project and let others ‘carry’ parts of our own potential. Desire is programmed, and the ‘object’ is merely a (changing) means to an end, and sometimes self-deception. Sex has a shadow that goes by many names, but sex and relationship addictions are among them.