A (Brief) Crisis of Conscience: Exploring the Sacred and the Profane

aquatic bloom blooming blossom

You never know when emotions might hit you…hard. And, sometimes, the happiest of events can make you sad. Even still, I was quite surprised when I started to have a minor anxiety attack at our friends’ recent wedding. But, as it’s the first/only freak-out since this all began, I think I am doing really well managing the emotions that are being stirred up.

Anyway, it was an absolutely beautiful afternoon as the bride and groom were joined together as husband and wife, framed by the stunning landscape of the Adirondack Mountains. The light rain of earlier in the day had been banished and a cool breeze floated by. And, then, so did a butterfly, just as the bride’s brother, who was officiating the ceremony, talked about… butterflies.

Theirs was clearly a union of two souls who love and are so in love with one another and are ready to move into this next, important chapter of their lives. I was so honored to be a part of it; to witness their love; and to share in their special day.

But, there was a bittersweet moment after the ceremony for me. As if hit by a ton of bricks, I was suddenly struck by the solemnity of the day; of the intensity of the sacred space; and by the purity of their bond. I was reminded of the sanctity and sacredness of marriage – even without the trappings of religion (their ceremony had been completely secular), but rather with the fullness of true love.

Surrounded by the imposing mountains and nature’s raw beauty, I wondered, was our marriage still sanct? Tears quietly rolled down my face as I turned to Viktor in my query. OK, so sanct isn’t a real word, but I did have a slight crisis on the lawn.

I worried, had we violated the sacredness of our own union by choosing to pursue non-monogamy?

Viktor assured me that what we had was, indeed, still sacred, but preferred not to get too entangled in a discussion on the topic at that moment. We returned our attention to the festivities and proceeded to have a fabulous time enjoying the celebration.

But, the feelings still lingered a bit and I brought the topic up again the next day. I shared my distress with Viktor, thinking about the way society treats sex as something profane. What did it mean for us? Had we devalued our bond? Had our marriage become profane?

To a certain extent, profane is the opposite of sacred; it stems from the Latin profanus, which meant “outside the temple, not sacred.” In this regard, the word is irrelevant to our marriage since, while we had a Jewish marriage ceremony, we no longer ascribe to those beliefs. Yet, had we inflicted damage in its verb form – to treat (something sacred) with irreverence or disrespect?

As we discussed our feelings openly, we reaffirmed our commitment to one another and to that bond – to our marriage and all that it means and has meant to us for over 20 years. I realized that I was allowing the narrowness of society and the potential judgements from others, to overshadow what we had and what we were doing and I was framing our relationship with someone else’s ideas and values.

No, we had not damaged or devalued anything. In fact, it was because of the sanctity and respect for our marriage, and, more importantly, for one another, that we were able to be honest with each other; to share in all of these emotions, desires and love, all of which are truly sacred.  We weren’t cheating on our spouse; we were talking openly, sharing everything and strengthening our intimacy.

Yes, society often depicts sex as profane and shameful, which is precisely how I got into this mess to begin with. But, as I proceed in this journey and sexual awakening, I am working hard to release shame, to take back my agency and to find the joy and pleasure in sex. I know that my sexplorations may momentarily pull me away from Viktor, but, in the end, nothing can ever break our bond. What we have built together, the lives we share, is too strong and powerful to be broken that easily. As sociologist, Émile Durkheim, suggests, the “Sacred” is transcendent, powerful and awe inspiring, and our marriage is nothing short of that!

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

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While happily married to my soulmate for 20+ years, after years of body shame and sexual shutdown, I am ready to step into my sexual power as we open up our relationship and explore the possibilities.

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