You've heard 'spiritual, but not religious' right?
How about Consensual Sadomasochism as a spiritual experience?
Consensual sadomasochism was long considered pathological, but psychologists studying people interested in BDSM (bondage, discipline, sadism and masochism) have failed to find evidence that these sexual practices are harmful. One study, published in May 2013, actually found that practitioners of BDSM were better off than the general population in some ways, including having secure relationships and lower anxiety. Currently, the psychiatrists' definitive handbook, the DSM-5, lists BDSM as a paraphilia, or unusual sexual fixation, but only classifies it as a disorder if it causes harm.
The findings hint that sadomasochism isn't entirely about sex. A second study, conducted by Ellen Lee, a graduate student in psychology at Northern Illinois University, with her advisor, Brad Sagarin, and their BDSM Research Team, focused on a nonsexual — but very painful — ritual performed by some in the community.
Called the "Dance of Souls," this ritual involves people getting temporary skin piercings, through which hooks attached to ropes are placed. The ropes of one person are connected to those on others in the group or to a fixed object and are pulled taut as music or drums are played. These events are also known as "energy pulls" and are seen as primarily spiritual, not sexual, Sagarin told Live Science.
The researchers surveyed 22 participants in one of these rituals at a kink community conference in California. Five participants who were hooked agreed to participate, as well as nine supporters (who make sure group members are OK during the ritual) and eight observers. The participants filled out surveys about their stress, emotions, flow and the extent to which they felt their own selves overlapped with others at the event. They also gave saliva samples to test their cortisol, a hormone that spikes during stress.
Unsurprisingly, given the pain, cortisol levels went up during the ritual. But something odd happened: Participants reported feeling less stressed.
"We see this interesting disconnect," Sagarin said. "We think this may be indicative of the types of altered states of consciousness people might be seeking." - Source
I once wrote a post related to this subject as it involved sexually active priests I had met. Over the years, several of the priests I've encountered had been into the leather scene, and I would surmise, sadomasochism.
These otherwise compassionate, gentle men, sometimes very spiritual, when tempted towards homosexual activity, appear to go in for rough, punishment-for-sexual-pleasure. The parody of exaggerated masculine stereotypes found in BDSM seems to attract the 'meek'.
In the case of those with homosexual inclination, it seems to me it must be an attempt at 'obtaining' or 'feeding' off an idealized masculine archetype in order to bolster one's emotional need to 'feel' masculine, or as a sort of affirmation of one's maleness. At the same time, I wonder if it could represent some type of search for masculine authority, dominance, and approval - I can't be sure however, it's not my experience, and I may be stretching here to find some understanding.
The only spiritual dimension I can imagine would originate from fallen spirits.
Decidedly, the degrading aspect of discipline and bondage suggests to me a perverted taste for punishment experienced as sexual pleasure. The painful effects heightening the sexual excitement. It seems to me to be particularly diabolic - hence the exaggerated attraction for consecrated persons. I'm just speculating here, but I think spiritual persons experience temptation in a manner more spiritual, albeit, fallen spirits. Whereas, carnal persons are more often tempted by their own concupiscence - hence, the devil doesn't have to work so hard - although, both work hand in hand. Naturally, the sexual degradation of a priest would also be the manner in which the devil could mock the Passion of Christ as well.
That said, wouldn't the devil love to tarnish the priest or religious, nay, destroy him with these perverted attractions and practices? The devil, in his machinations and temptations could easily play upon the consecrated person's weaknesses, the psychological need for male relationship, such as with a father or one in authority, or the man's own sense of male inferiority, by alluring the person towards exaggerated macho stereotypes. While at the same time causing shame and degradation in the person, compelling him to accept abuse as a means to sexual gratification. Remember the film "The Exorcist"? The exorcist told the younger priest the devil would use his weaknesses to his advantage. I suspect he does this with the sexually tormented priest or religious too.
One shouldn't overlook the tendency to masochism inherent in the homosexual inclination to self pity either, but that is another post.
I could be wrong. However, looking at the scenes of hell depicted in traditional iconography - it sure looks to me as if the spirituality involved with BDSM sex is nothing more than a foretaste of hell.
A friend sent me some links on this issue from the American Academy of Religion, offered by The Gay Men's Issues in Religion Group - ten years ago!
The Gay Men's Issues in Religion Group has come up with an interesting theme for one of their sessions at the American Academy of Religion's (AAR) 2004 Annual Meeting (Nov. 20-23, San Antonio, TX). (For the uninitiated, the American Academy of Religion is the U.S. national umbrella organization for professors of religion--church historians, theologians, ethicists, scholars in world religions. Biblical scholars have their own national organization: the Society of Biblical Literature.) The theme is: "Power and Submission, Pain and Pleasure: The Religious Dynamics of Sadomasochism." If you, bless your heart, do not know what sadomasochism is, here's a definition: "the combination of sadism and masochism, in particular the deriving of pleasure, especially sexual gratification, from inflicting or submitting to physical or emotional abuse" (The American Heritage Dictionary, 4th ed., 2000). Or, more succinctly, "the derivation or pleasure from the infliction of physical or mental pain either on others or on oneself" (Merriam-Webster Medical Dictionary, 2002). - Source