Raffaello Manacorda is an international Tantra Yoga teacher and coach. He has been teaching for the last 15 years. In this podcast, we speak to Raffaello about what sacred sexuality actually is, things to look for when you want to find a tantra practitioner or workshop and disabilities & sexuality.
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How would you define sacred sexuality? What is sacred sexuality?
It’s a great question. Sometimes I play with words and instead of saying ‘sacred sexuality’ I say ‘sexual sacredness’ – it goes either way. For me, sacred sexuality is the union between two poles. One is the sexual pole, and the other is the sacred/spiritual pole. I think that every human being has both and that bringing them together is what creates sacred sexuality or conscious sexuality.
Do you think it takes an experience of sacred sexuality to understand what it is? And why do you think we have such aversion to these words if we haven’t heard them before?
When I heard these words for the first time in my life I didn’t really get what they meant. Does it take a real experience to understand it? Yes, for sure. I think like everything else, you can read it in books a million times but unless you experience it… it’s not a real understanding. However, books or written words can be a stimulus to get that experience at some point in your journey.
Why do people have such an aversion? I agree with you, it’s a big conversation. It connects to a collective trauma (this is the way I see it), wherein (pretty much the whole of humanity) has gone through a split in these two poles. There is a split between the sexual pole and the sacred/spiritual pole. For most of us nowadays, it seems really weird to put these two words together because we live in a collective trauma where it appears sexual and sacred are two opposites; anything sacred is by definition, non-sexual and that everything sexual is by definition, ‘gross’ and the opposite sacred.
Yes. I completely agree. Would you like to share one of your first experiences of sacred sexuality? And I’ll share one of mine as well.
For me, one of the first experiences of sacred sexuality was not at all ritualistic or chanting mantras as I might have expected it to be. It was simply making love with someone I was really connected to with certain specifics of the lovemaking that had changed. One of them would be that I was retaining my energy (my seed) rather than ejaculating. After a certain amount of time, I found myself in a meditative state with my beloved but also with the whole universe. For me, this is what it is all about; feeling at one with the cosmos.
What was it about that experience that made you think, “oh, this was sacred” as opposed to other experiences?
When I feel one with life I get into a devotional mode. Maybe I don’t want to say anything but if I speak, that would be a prayer. If I wanted to move, that would be bowing to the infinite. When I am in that space, everything feels sacred… the glass of water on the table… the plant. I can’t really define it too much, I think it’s a primal experience. I think everyone has the antenna to recognise it when they go through it.
For me, this sacred sexual experience (which I mention in my book) was going on an ISTA retreat (whom I know you work with, Rafaello), the International School of Temple Arts on their retreat in Guatemala. On the fourth or fifth day of the five-day workshop, we did sacred spot work for the men. I had a huge experience where I experienced being penetrated and as soon as it did my heart lit up like a baked potato and I started screaming “my heart, my heart!” and then I got this huge rush of energy to my hands, I couldn’t bring my hands together and then I was howling like a wolf. I couldn’t believe it afterwards. For me, the sacred aspect comes in when you start experiencing parts of yourself that perhaps you weren’t aware of and you are experiencing an expanded, larger version of yourself – beyond what you would know in your conscious mind.
“Used as rocket fuel, sex energy can lift our consciousness to the stars to experience a state of being where love exists in and for itself and has no opposite. On a soul level, this is our natural state.” John Maxwell Taylor
How much of the awareness of the energy body is critical for sacred sexuality?
Yes, this is one aspect of the sacred sexuality work; to provide the container for an experience like this, the one that happened to you. I come from a background in yoga, specifically hatha yoga and kundalini yoga. In yoga, there is an understanding of the bodies of man. We don’t just have a physical body, we have an energetic body, and an emotional body, and so on. Nowadays the average person is so focused and identified with the physical body. When we (through the physical body) start to have access to the subtle bodies – the etheric body, the energetic body that you were accessing in this experience then there is a feeling of expansion, this feeling of “I” is much bigger. This feeling of expansion is one of the key experiences of sacred sexuality. You can get to that experience through other means for sure.
Yes… I have experienced this in shamanic breathwork as well. This wolf energy and crazy energy in my hands. You don’t necessarily need the sex experience to go to these new worlds. I have never experienced it through yoga but you are saying that is possible as well?
Yes, absolutely… yoga is a big one. However, sacred sexual work is one of the fastest ways to experience this. It moves such a big amount of energy. It has the potential to bring you there fast (to a higher state of consciousness). This sacred spot work, as you were mentioning before, many people have these experiences for the first time in their life. They might have done tonnes of meditation (which is great), however, when they do hands-on sacred sexual work… BOOM… the rocket ignites.
Have you had sacred sex experiences?