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The Heart and Soul of Sex: Making the ISIS Connection

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 12, 2006

    Finally someone asked the women!

    Dr. Gina Ogden moves the discussion of sex from a quantitative ordeal (how big, how many, since when?) to a qualitative discourse (how deeply felt, how connected, how passionate?) Or let¿s say that she uses quantity ¿ 3,800 people, mostly women, answered her survey ¿ to get to the quality of their experience as sexual creatures. There have been very few American sex surveys this large and few that concentrate on what Ogden coins the ISIS: the integration of sexuality and spirituality. In fact, the scope and focus of this in-depth enquiry into what women feel about sex challenges the very nature of classic American sex research, which prefers information it can simply count. Ogden demonstrates that girls want to talk about sex not in terms of how many pulses there are in an orgasm or the length of our clit hoods, but in terms of where sex takes us and what that journey feels like. Ogden¿s survey has given thousands (33% more than the Hite Report) of women that opportunity. ¿The Heart & Soul of Sex¿ addresses the need of women to take control of their own sexuality through the sex-positive message that all of us have the right to intimacy and pleasure. The book then provides tools and self-help material to use in connecting spiritual and sexual sensibilities. WHAT DOES THE SURVEY COVER AND WHAT ARE THE RESULTS? Ogden explores the connection between spirituality and sexuality and finds that 69% always or sometimes feel that really satisfying sex needs to have a spiritual element. The vast majority connect that spiritual sense to being in love or feeling committed. This would come as no surprise to lesbians, perhaps, who as two women often have a double-dose of the love-huggies. The survey shows a good deal of overlap between the respondents who felt sexuality involves ¿excitement¿ (97%) and ¿oneness with partner¿ (94%) and the 91% and 85% respectively who felt the same thing about spirituality. I was surprised that a full 15% (the largest number) said drinking or drugs contributed least to spiritual sex. So much for the 1960s! Dr. Ogden points out that this has been a self-selecting survey: women who identify as spiritual are likely to have been receptive. Still, it is interesting that 84% of those surveyed said they had ¿experienced sexual ecstasy¿ and a bit surprising to my cynical mind that a full 70% felt the same about ¿spiritual ecstasy.¿ But the final (44th) question of the survey is revealing indeed. How important are these three things to your present life, it asks: Sexuality (84%), Spirituality (91%) and Religion (34%). Clearly Ogden is on to something: women want it, but they want it heart and soul.

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