Just because a partner is “imagined” (as opposed to “imaginary”) doesn’t mean the relationship or encounter is ideal. It also doesn’t mean that sensations are imaginary either. The people who took this survey had a lot to say regarding both topics.
For the purposes of discussion, I am using the word “imagine” to describe a way of sensing something that transcends visual, auditory, and tactile sense, yet which “feels real” even so. Newer readers might like to refer to my blogs on preliminary thoughts and mysticism and sexology before continuing.
This post discusses the final two questions in the spectrosexuality and god/spirit spouse survey.
Secrecy: Some (perhaps many or most) people need to keep spectrosexual relationships and encounters hidden.
“I’m not actually sure how to broach the subject with my human partner. He knows I’m oathed to Loki, but he’s unaware of the nature of that oath. So far, Loki seems okay with that, as the god marriage is new still (since December).”
“I struggled with secrecy and possibly facing a negative reaction from others if they found out, which made trying to explain my lack of human dating awkward.”
“I don’t share this with anyone.”
Discernment: There were several responses on this topic.
One person felt that group experiences with witchery helped with discernment:
“I work alongside other witches so we often have a giggle about it. I’ve never had any problems defining this world from the unseen.”
But others said:
“Communication discernment. It’s often hard to tell if it’s him or me, or something else.”
“Discernment can be an issue, however, if something is working for me and meeting my needs, it isn’t anyone else’s problem. And if it ends up being in my head, well then I have a great imagination that isn’t hurting anyone.”
“Dreams can sometimes be misleading.”
One person was concerned that lack of discernment, especially as reported by some human godspouses, could lead to damaging or abusive human/spirit relationships. There is also a concern about how lack of discernment can reflect poorly on others:
“One concern I have had that I have mixed feelings about is that other people with similar experiences to my own often show behaviors or ideas about said experiences that I don’t find wise. I’ve heard many other godspouses report that they are concerned their deity may be acting in nonconsensual or abusive ways toward them (not the reporter’s own works, but clearly what they were describing), and I’ve also seen godspouses who clearly didn’t have a great grasp of consent and healthy relationships themselves and who may have actively been seeking out unhealthy dynamics. I tend to chalk those experiences up to projecting human behaviors onto gods, but these types of statements make it easy for me to understand why some people look with suspicion upon godspouses, since some godspouses do seem to have unhealthy or unbalanced ideas about their Divine partners.”
Managing multiple spirit/human relationships:
“I tend to feel bad I don’t spread my love or attention equitably. I gravitate from one to another, then realize I’ve been neglecting several.”
“Being in a relationship with someone who does not have a physical form and who long term contact with requires focused mediation and otherworldly travel.”
“Our relationship morphed into an even deeper one where sex is not needed and/or would actually hinder our work together. It’s only very rarely that we become intimate.”
Finally, one person added this important reminder:
“I have the ultimate magickal power of choice.”
I am a hypnotist and hypnosis instructor, as well as a sexologist and sexuality counselor. Because I am so familiar with hypnosis, as well as offshoots like guided imagery and autogenic training, I know that very real physical effects can be created simply through imagination and suggestion. So I could be tempted to stop here and simply say, “well, this spirit sex stuff is all in the mind,” but I won’t.
Sure, there could be a bit of malarkey, mendacity, and/or mental dishevelment among some of the responses to this survey, but I am used to generally accepting people’s accounts of their lived experiences, especially with regard to sexuality, intimacy, and gender. Who am I to say what’s “real” and what’s not?
Here are a selection of responses from the comments section.
Physical Sensations Not Caused by Self
“I’ve felt a physical sensation that I did not cause once, but it was not in a sexual context.”
“It was like this constant pressure/energy that almost became a part of me. I could feel a presence hugging me, like a blanket of energy. I’ve also felt him physically touch my back—but that was only once. Because of self doubt and trouble discerning what’s actually him or not, I tended to dismiss what I thought I felt a lot.”
“Most of my intimate encounters happen when I trance and journey to the Otherworld but I can still feel the sensations within my physical body. On very rare occasions, usually with the deity I am spoused to, I do not need to journey and can feel their presence in the room.”
“Chakral stimulation, seeing with physical eye, smells, taste, touch, etc.”
“One time in particular during intimacy I went out of body so far that I felt a connection with every thing in the universe. It was glorious, and I forgot to breathe for a short time. My spirit spouse let me stay that way for a moment, then gently called me back to my body, but I didn’t want to come back. The experience was rich with sensations, and it was very profound. I felt like I was in very deep space, yet I felt every planet, every organism, every human and nonhuman thing all at once. And it all felt very natural. Peaceful would be a word to describe it, but it doesn’t do the feeling justice. I will never forget that feeling.”
Sense of Presence and/Or Communication
“Sometimes I am more in tune with Loki than other times, especially depending on my stress level and if I’m distracted by something I have to do the next day. He doesn’t seem to mind if I’m not all there and am unable to enter a full meditative state. I’m very busy with university at the moment and my area of study leaves me with almost no time for social activities, so I feel like our time together is Loki’s way of taking care of my mental health.”
“he once demanded i say his name instead of the name of the mortal man i love then proceeded to tell me to call him by one of his older names (Loptr) & laughed in a pleased & pleasing way when i followed instruction.”
Adding Physical Touch, Solo or Partnered
“Sometimes I add physical touch, but not always, and pretty sparingly.”
“Certain encounters took place solely within mental spaces, in which I might have been physically turned on but didn’t always feel a physical need to masturbate. I didn’t always worry about what my body was doing because I still felt emotionally satisfied. Other times, I’d be masturbating and feel Someone’s presence, which might turn into an impromptu offering, but sometimes, I’d check in divination wise to make sure I was clear on particulars of the mental story/vid to masturbate with and would feel Their presence once I started physically (intentional offering).”
“Sometimes I feel my spirit lovers join in while I’m with a physical partner or partners. Some people know and some don’t-depends on how I think they would react.”
Seeing or Hearing Things That Others Might Not See or Hear
“I have never had full-blown audio/visual hallucinations, but neuroscience research (that’s my area of study) suggests that “mental images” may actually be on the same spectrum as hallucinations and that the intensity of sensory experience may simply be determined by the strength of the neural connections involved. It’s been experimentally demonstrated, for example, that synesthesia – a condition in which people experience one sense, such as seeing a shape or color, when they encounter another sense, such as a certain sound – may actually be something that all humans have at a subconscious/subsensory level. Almost all people will say, for example, that certain sounds “feel” round vs. spiky, even if they don’t experience sensory hallucinations to that effect. I always feel the need to explain this related to my spiritual experiences, because I do “sense” things in the form of mental images, but these are not of sensory-hallucinatory quality like some people report. Most people seem to assume it’s one or the other, that sensations I experience are either “made up,” consciously fabricated by me, or are full-blown sensory hallucinations. Neither is the case. I’ve never had a full sensory hallucination, but neither do I control, decide, or “make up” the actions of the spiritual entities I encounter. I perceive them at a level below that of full sensory hallucination.”
“Most common is intense pleasure during meditation.”
“Idk about “spiritual emotions.” I can feel strong emotions i’d normally feel in sex, but shared with the spirit. Ya know? Also sex is one of those shamanic paths (ecstacy?) that works to change my state of conciousness, so I can see things in my head, like a eureka moment, but no hallucinations.”
“It took years for the connection to get strong. The relationship had to evolve just as any human to human relationship, with trust, communication, and clear intentions in place. The encounters have grown stronger and more “real” and undeniable from the beginning 7 years ago. He has even manifested randomly during sleep and literally gotten into my bed 3 confirmed times.”
My motivation for doing this confidential, non-scientific survey was to (1) include spectrosexuality and god/spirit spousery in the broader and legitimate context of human sexual and erotic behavior and, (2) more personally, to discover where my own “unverified personal gnosis” (UPG) may match up with other people’s experiences. Does this survey indicate that we may actually have more peer corroboration (PCPG – Peer-Corroborated Personal Gnosis) than we know? I think it might.