Historically, sex and spirituality have been two things that have not been received well in the same sentence. While some ancient religions did include sexuality in their own rites, others sought to control sexuality, either by suppressing it or by severely limiting its expression.
Most of the dominant religions in the world today are preaching the suppression of the sexual urge or the channeling of that urge into socially acceptable forms. For example, Roman Catholics used to be very sexually explicit and open people. After a man who, in his youth, was sexually explicit converted to Catholicism and pledged selibacy for himself; he became a priest by the name of St Augustus. St. Augustus arose the birth of moral laws in Christianity when the first law he brought into public light was that there would be no fornication unless it was for strictly procreational reasons. In any case, this moral law led to making adultary illegal, just as it is by today's standards.
Though many people today do not necessarily follow "moral laws" or, even their own religion's belief about sex, there is still a connection between sex and spirituality. There are ancient practices such as tantra, tao sexology, and (namely) Kama sutra, which tends to be the most practiced and well known of the three in western culture.
Which ancient traditions chose to include sexuality as a spiritual act? Some sects of early Christianity incorporated sexual rites into their religious practices; all of these sects were persecuted into extinction by the Roman Catholic Church once it was able to successfully inundate its political standing on Roma as the sole religious institution of Europe.
The Sumerians performed the Sacred Marriage, a union between a priestess of their goddess, Inanna, with a priest-king, as a means of obtaining the favor of this goddess for their cities. Greece referred to this type of ritual sex as the Hieros Gamos; and as evidence has shown, it was also practiced by the Egyptians in the cult of Isis up until the Roman era. Hints from various ancient sources indicate that a Hieros Gamos may have been part of the Eleusinian mysteries. "Because the mysteries were secret, little is known of them. Presumably fasting and ritual purification in the sea took place before the large procession from Athens to Eleusis. The rites, which fundamentally celebrated the abduction and return of Persephone, symbolized the annual cycle of death and rebirth in nature as well as the immortality of the soul"(CEE, 1).
In India, the Tantric tradition, overseen by the god Shiva and his partner Kali/Parvati, continued for hundreds (possibly thousands) of years before being incorporated into Buddhism. But, what is Tantra? "Tantra is a spiritual science, which means it is also mystical, in its interconnectedness, the holistic wisdom link between ourselves and the universe we inhabit"(Douglas, 3). Participants of Tantra...