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Sexuality is a subset of spirituality

By Belinda Tobin

What is Spirituality?

Spirituality is about finding meaning, connecting with our sense of purpose. It is
understanding our internal sources of wisdom, power and truth.

What is Religion?

Religion is a set of designated beliefs, behaviours, and practices. They include the concept of an
omniscient higher power whose functions include creation and justice.

Spirituality ≠ Religion.

Religion may or may not be a part of your spiritual circle.

People choose (consciously or otherwise) how much of their spiritual circle is taken up by
religion, and how much independent, individual purpose, power and beliefs reside above and
beyond an external dogma. Some people may not subscribe to any religion and find their
own way in the world, meaning that they have one singular spiritual circle. For others, all
they know or have contemplated has been dictated to them by religious authorities. In this
case, their religious circle takes up the whole spiritual space.

There is no right or wrong in this relationship. Each individual has their own level of
awareness, motivation, intelligence and curiosity to bring to this element of their lives.

Where I get concerned is when people are not aware that there is a bigger picture, and that
they do have the ability to find their own way – to create the contents of their own spiritual

Sexuality is how we both explore/understand and manifest/express our spirituality in the
physical world. It is how we communicate with and connect intimately with others and use
these connections to evolve our beliefs, tap into our internal source of power and develop our
sense of meaning/purpose.

What is Sex?

Sex is the act of stimulating the sexual organs for pleasure and/or procreation. Doing this for
yourself is known as masturbation. Doing this without consent of the other person, and solely
for your own pleasure is known as rape.

Sexuality ≠ Sex

Again, people choose (consciously or otherwise) how much of their sexuality circle is taken
up by sex. They may seek out intimate connections with others, solely for the purpose of
sex, in which case, the sex element would overlap with the sexuality circle. The two would
be almost synonymous. Others may have a strong sense of intimacy and connection that
lives outside of the act of sex, and in this case the sex part may only take up a small portion
of their sexuality circle.

Sexuality also does not equal the biological definition of sex, meaning the physical and
physiological features including reproductive anatomy. While your natal sex may influence
your sexuality including with whom and how you express your sexuality, it is only one piece
of the sexuality circle.

Sex ≠ Porn

Pornography is the creation of visual images (photos and film) for the sole purpose of sexual
arousal. It does involve sex but in staged scenes and usually with professional actors. It is
made by men [check], mainly watched by men [check]. It uses the participants sexual
organs and sexual acts to denote power of one over the other.

Sexuality ≠ Sexualisation

Sexualisation is using elements of your sexuality to arouse desire in others. Others can
sexualise you – looking at pieces of your sexuality (usually the very superficial ones) to
arouse their own desire, or you can sexualise yourself – enhancing attributes or undertaking
actions that you hope will arouse desire in others. Sexualising others is all about seeking
power over them – gaining access, ownership or control over the specific attributes.
Sexualisation yourself is all about seeking power over others – securing their attraction.

On my walk yesterday a man sexualised himself in one swift sentence – “I saw you looking at
my physique” – was an attempt at humour I actually found very sad – so self-conscious! Then
on departing he said “don’t be so flirty next time.” My gosh – had he just sexualised me as

How We Lost Our Way

  • Spirituality is viewed as religion – we are beholden to forces and doctrines outside
    ourselves for happiness.
  • The modern religion is materialism – buying more, having more is the dogma we
    subscribe to. Our religion is all about appearance and possession.
  • Our sexuality then becomes something that must be on show and becomes part of
    how we fit in – it too becomes about possession and gaining power over others rather
    than to find the power within or with others. It becomes about having the right
    appearance and being accepted by the doctrine of ‘influencers’.
  • We rely on our sexuality – our ability to make intimate physical connections – to gain
    validation from others.

Using sexuality as a tool of validation has us relying on sex asa signal of being wanted, and accepted. This tangible part of sexuality then becomes all important as an indicator of success. The sex bubble becomes bigger, meaning that rejection of sexual advances becomes rejection of your whole sexual identity.

Our sexuality has then become a tool we use to gain power over someone else – rather than
to understand our intrinsic power, or the power that can be found with another person.

We forget that sex is just one part of your sexuality and that your sexuality is just one part of
your whole, spiritual being.


I hide it from most
Express it with some
And share it with no-one.
What is it?
My sexuality.

Physical artefacts of spirituality…..
Physical artefacts of sexuality….

Why focus on religion?
Why focus on sex?

They can be seen, and they can be legislated.

By Belinda Tobin

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Sexuality is a subset of spirituality

Belinda writes about her experiences with addiction in her book The Addiction Healing Pathway. She has researched ancient wisdom and modern neuroscience to find the cause and solution to addiction. There is a pathway to heal from addiction and a light to guide your way – you can find both in The Addiction Healing Pathway.