As I was recently redecorating my home, someone with the best intentions told me not to get a red couch or red curtains because it looks like a whore house. So of course I start thinking about the relationship between women, the colour red, and the history of prostitution.
Every culture throughout history has associated deep red with sex, and the marital bed. In India and China (less common these days), the bride dresses in a deep red dress, and the groom in white. It is only in North America that the bride wears white to signify purity.
In Kabbalah, ancient Jewish mysticism, deep red is the colour of the Sephirot of Binah, known as the Supernal Mother, or Divine Feminine. The deep red is the colour of menstrual blood, and the white the colour of male ejaculate (sperm). Each colour is the colour of that gender’s sexual energy.
The red and white of the marriage is the merging of the sexual energies of female and male. This is the sacred creation of life.
In the ancient world, women were not celebrated for their virginity and purity, although they may have been virgins. Sex was very different than today’s “it’s just sex” attitude. It was understood as the Sacred Union that creates & celebrates life. Sex was an art that a young women would learn for her wedding night: not merely positions, but purity of heart, mind and body, the use of incense, essential oils, massage, touch, texture, foods; in essence, the use of every sense to enhance the experience.
The sex act is sensual – meaning that it makes use of the senses, rather than the logical brain. The logical brain is only one of our two sides of the brain, related to logic, math, rationality. Sex turns off that part of the brain, and instead activates the other hemisphere, which is non-logical & non-temporal. It is associated with meditative and higher states of consciousness.
This is this side of the brain that ‘allows’ for spiritual experiences and a feeling of oneness with the universe. Indian mystics say proper use of sex is a quick path to spiritual enlightenment. It becomes a meditation of sorts; a means to higher consciousness, since all meditation is aimed towards activating that same non-logical part of the brain. It is the state of “just being,” and with it comes knowledge and intuition.
It follows that if sex is sacred as an act of Creation, bringing enlightenment and a oneness with the universe, those who are skilled in these arts, and able to bring others to these states of consciousness will be recognized and revered. A prostitute, or women who specializes in sex, was respected.
The marital bed; the wedding night, or first time together, only took place after some form of wedding ceremony. It is only after the hearts, minds and souls are joined as one that bodies can be.
Some spiritual/religious paths say a man must be married in order to reach higher levels. If so, it makes sense in light of the changes that take place being in that state of being brought on by sex.
Its not about ‘getting it on’ or a ‘release’ or feeling good. Its truly making love – creating love in the world by accessing the highest spiritual states.