Frequently Asked Questions


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What is transcendent sex?


Three factors distinguish transcendent sex from the most intense "regular" sex:

  • Transcendent sex involves altered states that seem to come out of nowhere and overcome one or both lovers. The term “transcendent sex” comes from the sense of transcending (going beyond or breaking through) the usual sense of space, time or self that constitute normal, waking consciousness. For instance, a person might suddenly be out of body, hovering over the bed, or traveling back in time to a past life, or expanding to include the consciousness of all living creatures.
  • In transcendent sex, there is a pervasive sense that these events participate in, or come from, a supernatural force, which people usually associate with Spirit, however understood. Whether it’s stepping into another reality, seeing visions, being possessed by a power animal or imploding into the utter emptiness of the Void, most people attribute a numinous quality to the events, even if they consider themselves atheists or agnostics. They feel they have been given a glimpse of the Greater Reality, the Absolute, Truth, God.
  • Transcendent sex involves relationship, even if it occurs when a person seems to be alone. It is rooted in the ground created by the lovers, even when one person is taken so far beyond reality that the partner and the lovemaking recede into infinity. Or, in some cases, even when the partner is not human or appears not to be "real" in the ordinary sense.


Are transcendent episodes brought about by sexual mechanics or technique?


Transcendent episodes have little or nothing to do with sexual mechanics or technique. They can occur within the general context of lovemaking no matter what the couple is doing. Some people are swept away even before they touch. Since mechanics are not a factor, people engaging in a wide variety of behaviors have transcendent experiences—whether or not those behaviors conform to religious or social norms. Transcendent sex happens in heterosexual, gay, and lesbian relations in ways that might be considered mainstream, as well as ways that might be considered specialized (such as bondage, cross-dressing, and the like). It can happen to any adult engaging in consensual sex. You don't have to be a great lover or to be engaging in "correct" or "socially approved" sex to have a transcendent experience.



Are transcendent episodes more common for women than for men?


Transcendent sex is not related to physiological differences associated with male and female arousal. The arousal curve spiking at the single orgasm typical for most men and the ability of some women to be multi-orgasmic or to “chain” orgasms almost indefinitely make no difference in either the ability to have a transcendent experience during sex, nor in the kind of experience produced. Men and women can and do have the same kinds of transcendent episodes.



Aren't transcendent episodes just a more intense orgasm?


Orgasm actually does not cause transcendent sex or even have much to do with it. Orgasm can occur before, during or after the transcendent episode as a discrete event often unconnected with the state. For most people, climaxing is completely overshadowed by the pleasures of the transcendent events. It becomes irrelevant, or even a nuisance that detracts from more compelling delights. Often, the transcendent episodes areso powerful that some lovers have no idea whether they climax. Some try to avoid it entirely because it shatters or diminishes the ecstasy.



Are transcendent episodes more likely in a committed relationship with a loving partner?


Transcendent sex isn’t limited to certain relationships. It can happen under any circumstances, even after years with the same person or during a one-night stand. People have reported it in relationships of high trust, like long-term monogamous commitments, but that isn’t a prerequisite. Transcendent sex is not limited to “true love,” nor is it a sign of it. It’s also not a function of high-intensity infatuations, such as falling in love or a sudden hot connection. It has occurred, against every expectation of the participants themselves, when they felt they doing something morally wrong (such as having sex with a partner they didn’t love, engaging in a same-sex liaison or adulterous affair). It is definitely not a sign that you are "with the right person."



Are transcendent episodes a result of religious beliefs, meditation or spiritual practice?


Transcendent states have no discernable relationship to a person’s spiritual beliefs or practices. Atheists and agnostics may see God. Zen meditators may have shamanic journeys. Jews and Presbyterians who have never meditated a day in their lives may glimpse satori. Roman Catholics may activate kundalini energy. Long-term meditators may have not have very unusual sexual altered states, while someone who has never followed a practice designed to bring about altered states may have a full-blown, nondualistic experience of the Void. Most contemplative traditions suggest a fairly fixed progression of altered states along the path to the ultimate goal, but the spontaneous transcendent states that occur during sex have no relationship to a contemplative practice.



Transcendent sex sounds great. Are all the experiences positive?


No, many transcendent episodes can be extremely disturbing. People can experience things that are overwhelmingly frightening, creepy, or sad. Altered states of any kind have the power to be destabilizing, especially for people who are not expecting them (this is especially true during sex) and for people who have had little experience with waking altered states when they were not using alcohol or drugs. For example, near-death experiences, which are considered to be mostly positive, have profoundly disturbed survivors who may have trouble reconciling what happened to them with “normal” reality, going back to their lives in light of their new understanding, or coming to terms with their new insights and capacities. The same is true of people who have had a spontaneous transcendent episode during sex. The more you know about what may happen during the state and afterward, the better you will be able to cope with whatever occurs and integrate it in a healthy way into your life. The more you know about what to avoid, the more likely you are to stay out of danger.



How can I increase the likelihood that I will have transcendent sex?


There are many ways you can facilitate transcendent sex. One way is to take up one of the ancient practices of sacred sex, such as Tantra or Taoism. Both paths have been Westernized, but can still involve techniques that will help you achieve altered states during sex. You will want to be extremely careful, though, in choosing a teacher and a tradition that are principled, ethical, and safe. Too many “teachers” have watered down the teachings to a “more-and-better-orgasms/relationship” approach, or have abused and exploited those who are seeking learning. Another way is to experiment with the methods that have facilitated transcendent sex for others, and that facilitate falling into altered states generally, such as focused but relaxed attention, certain breathing methods, certain positions and motions, etc. Everyone has the capacity for transcendent sex; different avenues work for different people.



What are the benefits of transcendent sex?


Transcendent sex is not a panacea, and there are no guarantees that any experience will have the same effect on one person as on another. But people who have had spontaneous transcendent episodes during sex report:

  • Healing from incest and other sexual abuse
  • Increased self-acceptance, especially of sexuality, gender, and preference for partners
  • Self-actualization from a previously neurotic, constricted life
  • Taking up an altruistic or spiritual vocation as a life of service
  • Living in a more loving, connected way not only with a partner but with all beings
  • Acquiring miraculous gifts, such as psychic or subtle energy powers used to heal others