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Spirituality in the FleshBodily Sources of Religious Experiences$
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Robert C. Fuller

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780195369175

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2008

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195369175.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 19 April 2021

 Sexuality and Religious Passion

 Sexuality and Religious Passion

The Somatics of Spiritual Transformation

(p.99) 5 Sexuality and Religious Passion
Spirituality in the Flesh

Robert C. Fuller (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

Sexuality represents a powerful life force within us, constituting our body's grand biological imperative. It should not surprise us, then, that our erotic energies often flow naturally into religious creativity. Recent research on the genetic basis of human sexuality identifies three separate programs responsible for lust, romantic love, and long‐term attachment. Religion, it seems, piggy‐backs on our threefold erotic desires. Eroticism thus plays an important role in luring individuals toward seeking union with attractive deities, forging devotional ties to a chosen lord, and forming long‐lasting commitments to the cultural codes thought to emanate from this beloved god. It is for this reason that sexuality is a uniquely powerful site for religious innovation, as can be seen in the sexually charged histories of several nineteenth‐century sectarian movements such as the Latter‐day Saints and the hundred‐year heritage of American Tantrism.

Keywords:   devotional love, eroticism, Esalen, Heather Fisher, Jeffrey Kripal, romantic love, sexuality, tantrism

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