Exploring Sexuality and Spirituality

An Introduction to an Interdisciplinary Field


Volume Editors: and
The wide spectrum of links and interrelations found amongst the diversity of human sexual expressions and spiritual practices around the world constitutes one of the most fruitful grounds of scholarly research today. Exploring Sexuality and Spirituality introduces an emerging academic field of studies focused on the multiplicity of problematizations intersecting spirituality and sexuality, from eroticism and ecstasy embodiments to inner spiritual cultivation, intimate relationships, sex education, and gender empowerment. This collection of essays addresses subjects such as prehistoric art, Queer Theology, BDSM, Tantra, the Song of Songs, ‘la petite mort’, asceticism, feminist performative protests, and sexually charged landscapes, among others. Through varied methodologies and state-of-the-art interdisciplinary approaches, this volume becomes highly useful for readers engaged in the integration of scholarly and practical knowledge.

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Phil Shining, founder and director of the Sexuality and Spirituality Research Network (S&SRN), is an interdisciplinary academic researcher, international speaker, writer, and physical trainer focused on sex life cultivation, arts of living, and practice-oriented spirituality. www.sexualityandspirituality.org / www.philshining.net

Nicol Michelle Epple is an English faculty member who teaches writing, literature, speech, and spirituality studies for a number of universities in western Pennsylvania. She is also a Doctoral Candidate in the Graduate Studies in Literature & Criticism Program at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. Her research is focused on developing Holistic Embodied Theory which incorporates physicality, emotion, cognition, experience, and pedagogy. She is also a Naturopathic Doctor and Certified Health Practitioner. To serve women across the globe who have experienced sexual trauma, Nicol founded the ngo, The LOV Foundation, Inc.

Contributors: Huai Bao, Ana Álvarez Borrero, Assumpta Sabuco Cantó, Rita Dirks, John R. Dupuche, Nicol Michelle Epple, Pavel Hlavinka, Richard Alan Northover, Catherine Papadopoullos, Phil Shining and Dennis Alan Winters.
Jon Braddy
Nicol Michelle Epple
List of Illustrations

Introduction to the Sexuality and Spirituality Field of Research
Phil Shining

Natural Instincts

1 Spirituality of the Sexually Charged Landscape
Dennis Alan Winters

2 Spirituality and Sexuality in Prehistoric Art
Richard Alan Northover

Religious Rapture

3 A Spirituality of Pleasure: the ‘Thousand- Year’ Intercourse of Siva and Sakti
John R. Dupuche

4 Experiencing yada: Holistic Encounters of Spiritual Bliss between Christian Believer and God
Nicol Michelle Epple

Alternative Ecstasy

5 Oscar Wilde’s Spirituality: the Erotics of Queer Theology
Rita Dirks

6 The Holy Rebellious Pussy: New Feminist Demands and Religious Confrontations
Assumpta Sabuco Cantó and Ana Álvarez Borrero

Taboo Challenges

7 The (In)compatibility between Spirituality and Sexuality: Contemporary Chinese Case Studies
Huai Bao

8 Sex Education and Tantra
Pavel Hlavinka

Limit-Experience Embodiments

9 The Abandoned Self: Excess and Inner Experience in Sadomasochism
Catherine Papadopoullos

10 Embodying ‘The Little Death’ of Orgasm: an Interdisciplinary Research on Sexual Trance
Phil Shining


All persons interested in historical and current discussions of sex and spirituality will be interested in Exploring Spirituality and Sexuality: An Introduction to the Field.
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