In your ongoing quest to stave off lockdown ennui, you’ve likely attempted a dystopian screenplay draft, a soufflé, a mastery of the trombone — but have you considered a guided masturbation ceremony under the full moon?
Before you call bullshit on the moon-day-orgasm-agenda, hear us out: “Sex Magick” (yes, with a K) is not some capital W-Wellness scheme, nor is it merely a woo-woo product of occult history. There are elements of both embedded, yes — but in large part, it’s something else entirely: A form of pleasure-driven mindfulness, and a nuanced approach to the art of manifesting. And it could be just the novel approach to lockdown 2.0 you’ve been looking for.
“Simply put, sex magick is just taking your desires or hopes, and using the energy of the erotic to to will them into reality,” says Tampa-based sex coach and “energy healer,” Rebekah Beneteau. “You’re manifesting something into existence by directing the energy of orgasm towards it.”
Like with most pagan tradition, sex magick is not a new concept to the mythic realm of sorcery (the added “K” is part of the neo-pagan community’s preferred spelling). Practitioners have been using the genre of spell-casting for millennia, according to self-proclaimed “modern witch, writer, and tarot reader,” Cara Cabral. “Once you start studying the occult, you see sexual rituals in all different cultures and systems of magic spanning across the last several hundred years,” she explains. “There’s a lot of variation throughout, but in the end, it all comes back to the same idea: you harness power through sex, then you utilize it to get some kind of desired reaction from the universe.”
If “casting spells” conjures visuals of green warts and Roald Dahl illustrations, you might consider leaning into “manifesting” as a verb phrase, instead: Let’s say you want more money. Maybe you pray, maybe you meditate, maybe you make a silent wish each time you blow out your birthday candles. These are all the sorts of prosaic manifestation rituals most of us undertake with frequency when we’re faced with a particularly potent desire.
In a similar vein, though, you could also enjoy pagan-endorsed sexual intercourse on a bed of money with the intention to usher your fiscal desires into reality by way of tantric energy. Manifesting is manifesting — and for most of us, it’s a familiar concept. Sex magick, then, is merely an alternative route of appraoch.
“The energy of eroticism, or the energy of orgasm is a really joyful, life-giving energy,” says Benetrau. “An orgasm is a moment of connection to the divine. Using that powerful, positive energy and pouring that into our goals can really make things happen.”
“There’s no science behind any of this. There’s just not,” adds Sophie Saint Thomas, author of Sex Witch: Magickal Spells for Love, Lust, and Self-Protection. “But the best way to explain ‘sex magick’ to non-believers is as a kind of a meditation tool. All the spells I gravitate towards, personally, combine occult knowledge — ancient stuff people have been doing for decades — and PhD-approved sex and relationship advice.”
So, how do you actually do sex magick?
“There are different ways that people go about creating sex magick rituals,” says Beneteau, “but what I like to do is lean into my specific desire — draw about it, write about it, talk about it, at the very least mentally visualize it. Then I bring up all this powerful erotic energy either through self-pleasure or with a partner — and I visualize that energy flowing into my goal as I orgasm.”
When it comes to the regimented processes that surround the employment of sex magick, the model, itself, is steadfast: You focus in on your central objective, then you work to direct your sensual energy during climax — be it with a partner, or while masturbating — towards that very thing. The particulars, on the other hand, can vary enormously.
“Sometimes ‘spell’ can feel like a really inaccessible term,” says Saint Thomas. “I own a ton of spell books with instructions like: Find one gram of this very obscure herb, then wait until Tuesday during the waning moon in pisces. Then, maybe, $200 and a month later, you’ll have completed the thing. But when we’re talking standardized sex magick, we’re operating on the basis of: I can do this now, I need money now, I’m horny now.”
As she sees it, the rituals that are most likely to work are bespoke to the “witch” or, well, patron at hand. “There are a lot of different ways to manifest,” she explains. “When people think of spells, they almost want a recipe from a cookbook: do this, step one, step two. Manifestation is more vague than that. It’s about focusing yourself entirely on something you want in a way that feels closely aligned with your soul, specifically.” For musicians, manifestation might require writing a piece of thematic music. For visual artists, maybe a painting. For folks more involved in pagan tradition, an incantation. And for couples, tandem breathing and eye contact.
“Some people find the clarity [needed for manifestation] by finding a really beautiful piece of paper and elegantly writing out their intentions,” says Cabral. “Some will burn that piece of paper —or do something really symbolic like that. Others just imagine that visual in their minds. It’s really about adopting what feels most organic to you. There’s no right or wrong way to do it — like there’s no right or wrong way to have sex.”
Beneteau recalls a particularly nuanced ceremony: While partaking in a sex magick ritual with guidance from a spiritual teacher, she and her partner ejaculated together on a picture they’d crafted depicting their manifestation, before proceeding to bury “the seed” in the earth. Which is to say, we’re all entitled to our varying symbolic approaches here — but what really matters is presence and clarity.
Are there ideal circumstances under which to practice sex magick?
There are, in fact, some cues well worth taking from the universe at large when it comes to tantric sorcery. For starters: the moon. Likely you’ve heard any number of superstitious comments about the auspicious power of the moon in different stages. And according to Saint Thomas, it can be as simple as determining whether the lunar phase is waxing or waning.
If the moon is waxing (in the phase where it’s getting larger) you ought to cast spells or manifest desires that have to do with growth (think: more money, larger house, greater romantic success). “This is called sympathetic magic,” she says. “You align your desires to emulate what something powerful in the universe — like the moon — is doing.”
On the contrary, when the moon is waning, or getting smaller, you’d be well advised to angle your inclinations towards ridding yourself of things. “The waning moon is a great time to work towards getting over someone — either an ex or a toxic friendship or even the loss of a loved one,” she explains.
In between, of course, there’s the new moon, when the sky is completely dark. This is what Saint Thomas calls a “reset button” — a time to work towards fresh starts, new beginnings, re-kindlings. And on the other side of things, the full moon, which is usually considered the most powerful, is oft-cited as the lunar stage in which you should make your most powerful, urgent, demands.
Lunar-stition aside, though, while there are various pagan holidays worth consulting, sex magick is not meant to be tailored to any specific occassion or circumstance — nor does the type of sex seem to be a deciding factor. “This practice can be equally powerful whether you’re employing masturbation or penetrative sex,” says Beneteau. “Yes, it’s amazing to look into your partner’s eyes at a moment of climax and collectively push your energy towards something. It’s also powerful to take full agency over your sexuality and your pleasure through the act of masturbation.” As she sees it, the practice can even take place via zoom, for partners who are quarantined separately. She advises that folks participating in remote sex magick mirror one another's breath, speak their desires aloud together, and maintain sustained eye contact. “It’s just about bringing up this energy together — so it doesn’t really matter how far apart you are, physically,” she says.
Like with any pseudoscience or belief system, you’ll find ample evidence supporting the success of sex magick if you look for it, anecdotally. Plenty of folks can testify to the positive impact their bed-of-money sex has had within the shapes of their lives — but, of course, the testimonials offer no tangible proof. Choosing whether or not you’d like to believe is your prerogative. That said, the results may feel more profound, according to Cabral, if you think of the practice not as witchcraft, but as an alternative form of therapy.
“Before you gear up to practice any form of sex magick, you have no choice but to sit down and really get clear about your desires,” she says. “That’s just a really good wellness practice in general — spending some time in your head and really dwelling on what it is that you want — or what it is that you want to get rid of.”
Her point is simple: The motive behind all sex magick is, at its center, locating clarity. And in truth, a great deal of self-work operates in a similar fashion. So, post-ritual, whether or not the spinning molecules of your orgasmic energy immediately metamorph into a million-dollar check, a deep-cut understanding of why and how much money you want might help outline, for you, how best to move towards acquiring it. Both results are inarguably valuable.
“It’s true that manifesting during sex is powerful because of that very specific form of erotic energy,” says Beneteau. “But at the same time, it’s also powerful because it’s joyful and pleasure giving. And often, the things that are dark and heavy in our lives are more surmountable, or their solutions become more accessible to us, when we’re in a happier, clearer frame of mind.”
Sitting with yourself — addressing any number of emotions, inclinations, deep-set desires — is inevitably a valuable form of introspection, if not always easy. Call it therapeutic, or just call it a simple act of mindfulness — one that comes tinted in a uniquely witchy hue. Semantics aside, it’s centering.
And, what’s more, Cabral cites sex magick as a valuable way of reconnecting with a partner. “If you’re making love to your partner, and the two of you can look in each other’s eyes and say, ‘let’s wish something really beautiful for the both of us,’ that’s incredibly powerful,” she says. “It’s hard for people to feel that comfortable, or that connected with one another and when they do, it’s beautiful and uniting, regardless of the results of the spell or manifestation.”
Are there ways we can use sex magick to manifest a better 2021?
When you think about it, a tantric spell is not so different from your standardized new years resolution — if “cut down on thrice nightly martinis!” were the sort of thing you were likely to scream out during climax.
But, more earnestly, the ethos behind utilizing the do-over switch that is a fresh, unmarred year is aligned with that of erotic manifestation. It’s an exercise in distilling, and thus recentering your truest desires, in pursuit of a better self, world, career, et al.
“Right now, we’re witnessing so many things in upheaval, and the world is changing so drastically, so it’s a potent time to be mindful about what sorts of energy we’re putting out into the ether,” says Beneteau. “Out of this chaos, we’re going to be birthing a new world. So this is a really valuable time for us all to sit and contemplate what, exactly, that better world looks like, and what our role is therein.”
Naturally, wishing for something as vague or all-encompassing as, say, a healthier, more tolerant, more egalitarian world — a world devoid of racism or cleansed of classism — is far from specific enough to lend itself well to “sex magick.” In fact, according to Beneteau, in order to direct your beams of orgasmic power towards any desire, you’ll need to know what it looks like, exactly. You’ll need an image, stenciled into your mind’s eye. You’ll need an acute idea of your role, therein. And that sort of practiced contemplation and mindfulness is very much the sort of approach that will likely serve us well in the new year writ large.
On the flipside, Beneteau also says we can utilize this time not only to manifest things into existence, but to rinse ourselves clean of things we’d like to leave behind (in 2020, of course, the “airing of grievances” list is heroically long). “Before engaging in sexual activity, you can walk counter-clockwise in a circle. And while you walk, you can say the things you’re letting go of, the things you’re leaving behind,” she says. “Then, you can stop and walk clockwise and speak into existence what you do want to create — and that’s the vision or manifestation you carry with you into your sexual practice.”
In any case, whether or not you’re planning on willing some shiny new version of your reality into existence via intercourse, this is also a good time to employ sex magick as a means of healing — an avenue for self-care, even. “Everyone has been wounded in some way shape or form this year. And those wounds have triggered our previous traumas and grievances,” says Cabral. “On top of that, we’re all stuck inside having to process these things over and over again. But orgasm is about release. It can lead to a good cry. It can feel like an enormous reprieve or a way of letting go of emotional weight, and we should all take advantage of that when we can. As people heal individually, we can begin to heal collectively and move forward.”
For most of us, the present tense is marked by an ever-present malaise —one that requires that we stare at our own bedroom walls for far greater stretches of time than is likely healthy. But sex — or more minutely, orgasm — is a vehicle of presence. It brings you into your body, and out of the dreary indoor monotony that lockdown perpetuates. “The whole world feels beyond our control right now,” says Cabral. “But we can control our pleasure. We can find space to enjoy things and to access good, healthy energy, and direct it towards the spaces in our lives where we need it most.”
Moreover, Saint Thomas notes that there is some small, astrological silver lining here: “There’s a comet called Chiron which is known as the wounded healer. It’s very important in astrology. And it’s in retrograde right now — but it goes direct on December 15. And that transition, when it happens, is supposed to represent a time for confronting unresolved trauma. It’s about doing your work, emotionally speaking,” she says. “For better or worse a lot of us have more free time right now than we’re used to, so if there were ever a time to deal with your shit, whether by way of sex magick, or personal exploration, or even some form of tele-health therapy, astrologically, the time is right now.”
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