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Monday, February 02, 2009

Diminish sexual anxiety in the healing arts

Today, Thomas Moore posts "Sexual Anxiety" on his Psychology Today blog, Care of the Soul. He talks about responses to his lecture last week for "pastoral counselors, hospital chaplains, and theology professors, and their students" and focuses on the reaction of two students who apparently were offended when he mentioned in passing, "the Gospel of Philip, where it is said that Jesus kissed Mary Magdalen (according to the Leloup translation)." Moore writes,
"During my thirty years of practicing psychotherapy, I heard person after person telling the story of how their sexuality was repressed, depressed, and suppressed by their religion. I saw the harm this repression did to their marriages and their outlook on life. Cumulatively, I see its negative impact on American life.

The repression of one's sexuality leads to a certain kind of depression and that in turn leads to meanness of spirit. You see it at PTA meetings, local government meetings, and in comments of the public after news items online. You see it in a widespread absence of civility in our society, in a compulsive interest in sex online and in the media, and in sexist and abusive treatment of women."
Moore shares an exercise he presents when speaking with church groups, "I ask them what it would take from their spirituality to be comfortable with their sexuality, and what it would take from their sexuality to be fully engaged spiritually. If either our sexuality or our spirituality are anxious and troubled, then both are going to be weakened. We need to work out a way to be anxiety-free both in sexuality and spirituality."

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