One of Dr. Wade's subjects (Blake) describes part of his unio mystica in this way:
My awareness of her [becomes] intermittent. . . . It's as though I'm moving through her to something beyond her, beyond me. That's the religious part. She's a conduit, but then in that state, bodies become irrelevant, and in a way, she does, too, I'm embarrassed to say.
I'm actually opening myself to God and surrendering to God and feeling God entering into me. The energies are so strong . . . . It's something which is only articulated for me in the language of feeling. . . . This takes me beyond the edges of language. It's a combination of yearning, giving way to surrender, a tremendous joy, and it explodes into God in a way that doesn't even have any content. Feeling God's rays streaming into you, being lit up by that. (p. 183)
The remarkable insight which some mystics, both Christian and otherwise, have understood was that the face of God was in reality . . . their own face, their self-hood. Wade writes, "The same staggering realization reverberates throughout the reports of lovers during transcedent sex. . .
. The moment of recognition for one man was ". . . the purest ecstasy and awakening." . . . "It's real he insisted ". . . I can embody all my spirit, and it is divine. . . . " "Was there a face to God? No. Or a presence? The presence was us. We were just there. It just was."
Like all mystical experiences, transcendent sex is not all thrills and fun. It has its darker side. The medieval mystics had their dark nights of the soul and the transcendent lovers have what Dr. Wade calls dangerous liaisons and overwhelming intimacies. The sexual relationships can be between types of person who normally would not choose to be together.
Attempting to recapture the high of the altered state becomes like an addiction. The feelings often turn out not to have been triggered by the lover. Yet, some seek out spiritual gurus; some initiates in this field seeking out those who produce this effect in them. As one woman described her problem, "It's like nectar, you know. You just drip with nectar, and people want to suckle. Doesn't matter if they're men or women, they want to." (p. 208) And some men just go around and seduce as many beautiful women as possible.
Sometimes the intimacy can just be overwhelming. This can happen to those who have not examined their personal history or psychology. It is interesting that the pathways to the divine can also be the pathway to uncovering our very early traumatic histories. Often a therapist who specializes in transpersonal psychology is needed to help those who get stuck in the cracks of their psyche - to help them resolve the material which has becomes uncovered for the first time.
A spiritual "sensitive" can find their abilities "both a blessing and a curse." Those blessed as sensitives can become so porous that they intuit other's repressed traumas even when they don't want to know about them. This ability is second nature to them. One described his situation as a choice of either being more "alive" or more comfortable . Some choose comfort! Others continue their sexual quests seeking that ultimate mystical union. One participant named Mike described his situation, "I can live without sex . . . but I cannot live without intimacy. . . (However,) sex in the right situation with a person is not just about sex, not about that moment, but about what's going on in their lives." (p. 228)
You're not a superior person just because you can have transcendent sex. "It's not about your holiness," (P. 232) opines Dr. Wade. Some who have this ability suffered severely from childhood trauma. An altered state experience may be just around the corner. But it's not an experience which you can force yourself to have. Is the experience the result of the repressed trauma seeking resolution? Is that why those with early repressed traumas have a higher probability of having these nonordinary states of consciousness? The author does not discuss this important question.
In the appendix to her book, Wade categorizes these transpersonal experiences which some lovers have under "The Varieties of Transcendent Sexual Experience." In a previous book, Wade had used the division made by Dr. Stanislav Grof (see Grof's listing of various types of transpersonal experiences in my article, The Varieties of Primal Experiences. ), but here Dr. Wade classifies the experience quality somewhat differently and also applies statistical analysis to her study. Her compilation lists experiences according to their frequency of occurrence in her study subjects.
These transendental experiences around sex resulted in the group reporting (in the order from higher to lower incidents of reports) spiritual awakenings, personal growth, enhanced relationships, understanding that there exists a greater reality than heretofore suspected, feeling that sex is sacred and surprisingly, at the very bottom of the list, healings.
An interesting observation by the author was that there was no relationship between having an orgasm (male or female) and altered states. Out-of-body experiences were one exception and occurred mostly after sex. Surprisingly, religious beliefs had no relationship to the production of altered states. Dr. Wade concluded that most participants believe that their altered state feelings were derived from spirit and that they led to "increase an individual's inclination to spirituality but outside the confines of most formal religious ideologies." (p. 285) As mentioned earlier, one may become more spiritual but not necessarily more religious.
Transcendent Sex is well written and scholarly. It makes for interesting reading, especially if you are, in any way, interested in spirituality or mysticism. It will hold no interest for the prurient.
- Merging with the partner is mentioned more frequently than any other (47% females; 50% males). This is a great reduction of or an actual dissolving of each partner's bodies into the other but not with other physical objects in the locale.
- Kundalani referred to in many mystical experiencers as the serpent power consists primarily of feeling particularly powerful energy fields (heat, light, being turned into liquid) based in and arising from the base of the spine. (38% F; 29% M)
- The third presence is an invisible intelligent force field which develops between the partners seemingly arises "from their mutuality." It seems like the Holy Ghost or a state of grace and produces beatific feelings. (32% F; 26% M)
- Past lives is a phenomena which I had not expected to read about in Dr. Wade's interesting book. Some believed that they had relived the lives of their ancestors. The earlier lives they experienced were often unhappy and they later were to feel that their present lives had similarities to the past lives. The visions and biographical elements were detailed. (21% F; 24% M)
- Out-of-body experiences is characterized by surprise as one learns that they feel outside of their body. The view is usually from above one's body or it may be a change from the indoors to outdoors. Going through walls becomes a possibility. Most often this was felt after sex; not during or before. (25% F; 25% M)
- One with nature The experiencer feels a sense of being united with all of creation, including all life forms and inaminate objects, such as planets, mountains and animals (22% F; 13% M).
- Visions Other beings, other entities appear. Often they just felt a strong presence but 14% of the experiencers went beyond this and had actual visions. They were thought to be angels, demons or greater or lesser gods. (25% F; only 3% M).
- Clairsentience is a feeling of suddenly becoming aware of an important truth, such as, having a profound insight or a spiritual or religious revelation. That is the origin of many new and old religions! It is clearly descending understanding of the reason of existence; the purpose of one's life, etc, but don't ask the experiencer to explain, as many of the truths cannot be put into words. Yet some can and do write down their detailed revelations; they feel compelled to do so. (6% F; 11% M).
- Trepasso: Seeing another head or succession of heads (perhaps, inhuman) on the lover's body. (8% F; 5% M)
- Deity possession: A feeling of being possessed by various deities ; some evil, some good such as Jungian archetypals. (6% F; 5% M).
Jenny Wade, Ph.D. is a graduate of the Fielding Institute and has written much about consciousness studies and how varied levels of consciousness help transform and heal. She is a faculty member of the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology. Based in California, she also works with Fortune 500 companies with a goal towards optimizing employee and organizational performance.
Dr. Wade has also written, Changes of Mind, A Holonomic Theory of the Evolution of Consciousness, a book review of which appears on this website.
The author's website may be accessed at: