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The Essence of Ritual in Sexual Relationship


It is always interesting and amusing to listen to conversations and discussions alluding to the way of life of the older generations. There is a phrase that is constantly used to express this era: “The good old days.” Older people talk about the good old days and how life and the society was better off than what is experienced today. They strongly do believe that if we relive those good old days, the society and life in general will work out easily and beautifully for us.

One area of life that always does prompt the resurrection of the good old days’ discussion is the issue of sexual relationship. It is said that this generation have lost all the essential elements that accompany this area of life. Our attitude and disposition to sex and the present frenzy that accompany sexuality is quite unimpressive. Sex has become a roller coaster ride, a journey of fun. Since sex has become a funfair, the thrill and sensation vanishes after the ride, and after a couple of fun time the desire diminishes. The search for a new sex partner begins.

Sexual Relationships

The camouflage for express access to sex is relationship. Here the boy and the girl express their love to each other: basically it is an expression of romantic and sexual feelings for each other. After the mutual consent, the initial meeting and exchange of words and feelings, the next agenda is bonding. Sadly, bonding here is expressed only in one way, through sex.

Sex is a form of bonding, but is not the only form of bonding; it should be the last bond that binds the love birds. Initial bonding in love relationships centres on friendship, compatibility, mutual understanding and love. When sex comes before all this, it becomes a case of placing the cart before the horse. Every relationship that is built solely on sex remains static and will later collapse, because it lacks the essentials for navigating it.

A host of young people have had multiple sexual relationships that have lead them to no meaningful destination. When carefully examined it reveals that the primal bonding was sex. There was a neglect of the foundational essential bonds that sustains relationships. Thus, because of the failure of sexual relationships, sex and sexuality have received negative reactions and condemnations. Sex and love is battered as if they are evil in themselves.

I do believe love and sex are not evil in themselves, neither is the expressive nature of sex and sexuality of the present time completely wrong or disoriented. If any single element is lost in the present frenzy of sexuality, it would probably be a sense of ritual; ritual as a particular form of action.


The Essence Of Ritual In Relationships

Generally, ritual can be understood as a social, symbolic process which has the potential for communicating, creating and transforming meaning. To say that ritual is a social process is to indicate that it is the product or creation of a society which is itself in process. Ritual emerges gradually from within the dynamics of the social process, the interplay between two different needs, the need for structure and the need to experience the more basic human bonding that is prior to any order.

A ritual is a dynamic system of symbols, a process constituted by symbols and their significance. The processual nature of ritual appears in the fact that every ritual has a rhythm. This can be seen in the both in the various stages through which a ritual progresses and in the dynamic interaction that takes place between the people in the particular ritual action.

Ritual deliberately hide its goal in order to get an advantage and captures the individual before expressing what it tends to convey. Ritual captivates the person in its action and continuously point to a reality that the individual seek to grasp. Thus, interest is sustained and the desired to be immersed and sustained in the reality becomes goal.

In relationships, ritual is an action that is moving and impressive in its actions, but which has an ulterior goal it wishes to celebrate or achieve. Relationships established in the course of ritual interaction play a significant role in mediating meaning, it strengthens the bonds around values and beliefs, and contributes to the creation and transformation of identity.

Ritual is an active sustainer of interest. Ritual through the years have helped to strengthen relationships and friendships and most importantly sexual relationships. Before the advent of the internet and the social media, ritual in relationships was almost impossible to avoid, it played a decisive role in bonding. Although the world has moved on to embrace digital life, it is important that we still incorporate ritual into life and relationship.

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When a man meets a woman and they develop a feeling for each other they seek to further the relationship. The first interest is to understand each other, learn how to make the other person special and see each other as unique and separate from other individuals. They therefore proceed to develop a ritual whereby they could become tamed or unique for each other.

This ritual of frequently meeting enhance the relationship. Each day they meet they become closer. At first, the distance between them will be significant. They will look at each other from a safe distance. On succeeding days they will move ever so closer as they come to gaze upon and develop a sense of the other as special persons. This ritual meeting is an essential element of bonding.

However, there is more to ritual than that simple ceremony, it has to include time and precision. Such regularity would offer the thrill of anticipation. They both could savour the excitement of the impending visit. This build up in them a sense of belonging and they both become special to each other through the gentle and gradual rite of meeting.

The gentleness, sensitivity, and subtlety of their meetings are essential parts of achieving the delicate beauty of their relationship. They will succeed in time to appreciate each other and create a special bond outside the bond of intimacy. This would not happen if they had thrown away their chances of becoming special for each other or even becoming unique for each other. There would be no special bond if they had lacked the patience in personal ritual before they bond together in sexual intimacy.


Ritual in relationship is odd and difficult to appreciate for the boy and girl who roll in the covers after the first, or second, or third meeting. It is hard for them to understand the need to build up a bond outside that of sex. Often the impatience of our society makes it impossible to appreciate how subtle and fragile human relations truly are. The fast nature of life, the availability of options, and the thrill of satisfaction makes it harder. We are so eager to explore it all at once, to attain satisfaction immediately.

In relationships, the taming, and the intimacy comes only with developing common rhythms in life. It is important to develop this rhythm with time and cultivate it to maturity. Intimacy and bonding cannot be forced and gotten prematurely. Trying to force personal closeness through intimate sexual acts often can cause distrust either in oneself or in the sexual partner.

Sex can inspire expressions of love that are not truly deep. During sexual copulation, we say things not really out of love but out of the satisfaction derived from the act. If a person blurts out expressions of deepest love and realizes that truly the deepest bond is not present, there is a loss. The expressions of the thrill of sex and the expressions of genuine love and bond differs. Sex can enhance love and bonding, but it cannot create it. There must be a foundation based on true bonding on which sexual intimacy is built on. This foundation must be strong or else the whole structure will collapse.

If a person expresses deep intimacy and believes it is there after a brief relationship only to find the relationship quickly ending, it is difficult to proclaim love in the next relationship. A jilted lover begins to question the meaning of love. This is the prevalent experience among young people today.

Relationships that are built on sex have a higher tendency to crumble. Those who have failed in one sexual relationship and find themselves in another make the mistake of thinking that the previous one ended due to sex, so they raise their game and become more sexually expressive. Even with the upgrade, the result remains the same, the relationship ends as disappointing as the previous ones.

Ritual is essential in premarital situations. When ritual is at the centre of the relationship, there is the gradual development of the individuals and the development of love, bond and intimacy. There is the recognition of the wanted and the unwanted, the delay in gratification and the journey to reach out to the essential.

Ritual does not apply simply to premarital situations. It is also needed in marital relationships too. It challenges all to appreciate the reality that sex is truly a ritual in which two people are reaching for something deeper while at the same time being fully involved in the drama of the ritual.

Sexual expression whatever else it may involve, must be an externalization of love; it must be love-in-action. Explicit physical sexual relationships are meant to be embodiments of love, but they neither exhaust the possible ways of loving, nor are they always appropriate. We must be loving always, and we cannot avoid being sexual in our relationships, but we simply are not always engaged in, or desirous of explicit genital or physical sexual unions. There is something special about the physical love expression of human sexuality, and its distinctiveness must be discovered and preserved.

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