Sex and the Course Student

Appetites are "getting" mechanisms, representing the ego's need to confirm itself. This is as true of body appetites as it is of the so-called "higher ego needs." Body appetites are not physical in origin. The ego regards the body as its home, and tries to satisfy itself through the body. But the idea that this is possible is a decision of the mind, which has become completely confused about what is really possible. (T-4.II.7)

Inevitably students of A Course in Miracles come around to the question of sex and its role in their lives now that they are on a path to become teachers of God. They learn that pain and pleasure are the same, that whatever the body experiences is in the mind, that God did not make bodies, etc.

Sex plays several different roles in our lives: Pleasure, bonding/connection, power and reproduction. So let’s look at each of these individually.


Pain compels attention, drawing it away from Him and focusing upon itself. Its purpose is the same as pleasure, for they both are means to make the body real. What shares a common purpose is the same. (T-27.VI.1)

As the quote says, pain and pleasure are the same because they are both meant to make the body real to you. The body is an illusion of you and any time you want to make it real to you, you are doing so to run from the awareness you are Part of God. So any time you identify with the body you feel the pain of separation from your own Truth and guilt for making this choice. Because this is obvious with sex, which is so focused on the body, the world’s religions teach that sex in particular is sinful and they try to restrict it (only in marriage between a man and woman) in the hopes that this compromise will allow them to maintain the separation and ease guilt. Actually, seeking pleasure from anything other than God is not a sin but an error. You simply will not find real, lasting pleasure from sex.


Revelation induces complete but temporary suspension of doubt and fear. It reflects the original form of communication between God and His creations, involving the extremely personal sense of creation sometimes sought in physical relationships. Physical closeness cannot achieve it. (T-1.II.1)

Sometimes we use sex to feel close to others or to ease loneliness. What we are really seeking is Oneness (creation). If sex could really supply this need then we’d only have to have it once! Of course, seeking connection through sex is just a mistake. You are Spirit and can only connect with Spirit. Only by recognizing this One Spirit in everyone and everywhere will your need for connection – for Oneness -- be fulfilled.


Some people use sex as a means of acquiring power from others. The extreme expression of this is rape, but some engage in this with all partners consenting (b&d; s&m). The one needing power feels weak and is using sex to get power from others. Obviously, this will not work. Weakness is an illusion. Your Power is within you, always.

Those who consent to giving up power during sex are seeking degradation or humiliation, sometimes trying to take back power they feel they lost during sexual abuse or rape (their consenting is their means of re-acquiring power), sometimes simply acting out guilty feelings about sex. Again, your True Power is always within you and cannot be lost or given away. Anytime you punish yourself you are expressing your fear of God. You punish yourself in the hopes that it will lessen God’s punishment. But God does not punish and the belief that God does is an error.


Remember that the Holy Spirit interprets the body only as a means of communication. (T-8.VII.2)

Some religions teach that there are souls up in heaven waiting to come down to earth. The Course teaches there is One Spirit, Which we all share. God does not need you to have children. Does this mean you should not have children? Of course not! To the Holy Spirit all relationships are useful as means to remember Oneness. If you want to have children, have them. But you do not have to feel compelled to have children, either.

When the body ceases to attract you, and when you place no value on it as a means of getting anything, then there will be no interference in communication and your thoughts will be as free as God's. (T-15.IX.7)

As always, you do not have to repress your desires. This only leads to feelings of deprivation and sacrifice and anger. Turn your sexual relationships over to the Holy Spirit. As with anything else you still value, the Holy Spirit will use it to teach you until you let it go. God is the only source of lasting love, peace, happiness, pleasure and fulfillment. As you let God in and experience God directly and as you see your Oneness with others, sex will naturally fall away from you as a mistaken means of attaining these things. You do not have to force this. Sexual desire is not a sin, simply a mistaken “getting mechanism”.

A word about responsibly expressing your sexuality: Guilt is the source of unwanted pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases. When someone does not want to admit they are going to have sex they don’t use birth control or carry protection (condoms, dental dams, gloves) for safer sex. It’s a head-in-the-sand approach meant to avoid guilt. Or a person could use an unwanted pregnancy or STD as a means of punishing themselves for being sexual. To responsibly express your sexuality you must deal with your guilt. Understand that you will always feel guilt when you identify with the body/ego, but you do not have to add to this guilt. It’s a mistake to think the body can get you anything, but guilt is also a mistake. Separation from God is never real

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kollington said…
I am single man and i have been for a long time. i beleive its bcos i don't need one yet. :-))! i want to have sex sometime what should i do?
ACIM Mentor said…
Kollington, if you don't want a relationship, you can do the usual things one does when they want to meet someone just for sex - hire them, pick them up in a bar or club, hook-up online, etc. If you want something more than just sex, then get involved in your natural interests and you will meet people with like interests with which to connect.
In any case, practice safer sex!
kollington said…
Thank u so much. from my heart, thank u
Anonymous said…
Your articles bring such clarity. I don't think it can be said often enough how important it is to turn all bodily needs, desires, wants over to the Holy Spirit. He has never failed to give me an answer that feels peaceful, connected and appropriate to the situation. As I go along I'm getting better at remembering to ask. My guilt was so great at first I even felt guilty for asking!! Thank you
Antonio said…
I agree and like the way to approach the just sex issue!!! But what about having sex outside a relationship, whether be marriage or courtship. I read a book called the red queen about sexual behavior. And the conclusion was human beings are monogamous but adulterers. So it seems this idea of faithfulness is kind of made up by society. What I mean of course there is faithfull people, I believe they must be only 10% of total population. So the crossroads in this matter is always the same; guilt for doing it, or sense of sacrifize for not doing it. Repress sexual instict is the hardest thing to do!!!
Anonymous said…
This article is wonderful. Your understanding of a Course is excellent. Thank you so much!
I love that you explain, well that you can translate what the course explains about sex and sexual desires.
The "getting" mechanism is the best term I have ever heard. It literally explains how it feels to have that hunger.
Thank you so much! I will re read this often. <3
Anonymous said…
Thanks again Liz. The ironic thing is though that my first experience with this aspect of "god" and spirituality was that it felt like an orgasm magnified 1,000,000,000,000,000 times with all the fear being removed and being replaced with Love throughout every fiber of my being. It was unlike anything I have ever felt before and it left me open mouthed and shaken.I did have lots of sex after that as an amend to myself because I didn't see any guilt in it. Sex to me is supposed to be fun and life affirming as long as it was legit and didn't hurt anybody else. And I don't get huffed up if I don't get any when I'm out and about because God is still with me wherever I go. I have a policy of "live and let live" but that alone has offered me up a lot of opportunities that I can either say yes or no to. Life is wonderful. MGP.
Anonymous said…
Wow....your description of union with God being simian the orgasm magnified a zillion times is awe inspiring.can you tell a little more about your experience of oneness with God. (
Rebecca said…
I really loved what anonymous had to say and I hate to take the chat in difficult direction :/

So, from a course perspective, when any issue is brought up in the outside world, it is a reflection of something we are trying to get rid of or deny. I'm just not sure how to approachor respond to a neightbour telling me of another neighbour raped her in the past, and other underage neighbours hanging out and possibly staying with them. All of this senerio has transpired over this past Spring and initially in the telling, I felt that as the whole thing is a projection of my own mind, it was simply something I needed to process, but now I feel compelled to tell the young lady in question the history behind her newfound friends... but I can't because it will just cement her relationship to this couple... but it's still my projection... any thoughts??
ACIM Mentor said…
Rebecca, you do not project the situation. You project the meaning (good/bad, right/wrong, etc.) that you see in the situation. You project the story that you tell yourself about the situation. For your own peace of mind you want to sort out the facts (this girl told you a story, these people have many underage girls hanging out with them, etc.) from any story you tell yourself about it. This means that you act on facts rather than on a story in your own mind. Perhaps this is something that you should bring to the police.
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