Bennett on the Relationship between Sex and Spiritual Development (Part Three)

The second chapter of Bennett’s short book Sex: The Relationship between Sex and Spiritual Development, titled “The Sexual Act”. It begins out by denying that the “primary function” of the sexual act is “continuing the species by reproduction” and that other uses of sex are “illegitimate or merely seeking pleasure” (15, see also the first question and answer on 20-21). This is because the sex act regulates the working of the creative energy in man. Which sex act? Bennett specifically says “the normal sex act between a man and a woman, and no other sexual activity with or without orgasm” effects this regulation (15).

Since “the energy behind sexual activity is the creative energy”, and as we saw in the previous chapter, this is a cosmic energy coming from beyond the earth, beyond life and even consciousness, then it follows that the working of sex is “beyond the mind”, and that explains why it can dominate both the mind and the body – it uses a higher force (15). He adds that “a lower energy cannot direct the workings of a higher energy” (16). To take only the quantitative, and not the more important but subtle qualitative side, I wonder if this is not analogous to how a ripple will not move a boat very far, but a massive wave crashing onto it will sweep it away. Bennett states that in our psyche, sexual urges can sweep aside other objects of attention (and hence, I would add, our reason), and in our blood, sexual hormones dominate the chemistry (15).

This explains, with simplicity and conviction, why it is that “general instructions” about sex seem to serve so little purpose, and attempting to regulate sexual behaviour by an external code is “misguided” (15). I suspect that Bennett refers here to relying on codes alone, for as he later indicates, the more understanding one has of sexual energy and the more being one has at the moment of challenge, the better the regulation (after all, if someone feels an impulse to sexually abuse someone else, they should regulate that behaviour by reference to a code which says that such abuse is wrong. We shall come to the proper regulation of sexual energy as we continue this series).

Bennett then states that the sexual energy shares the unpredictable and spontaneous nature of the creative energy (15). But although this is so, we can consciously establish the conditions in which the creative energy will act, and in this respect, our “non-doing” is more effective than our “doing” (16).

Sexual energy has natural functions in us: it both harmonises “different elements of the mind”, and eliminates certain waste matters in the organism (16). He then quotes Gurdjieff from the meeting of 8 April 1943 on this topic (16-17). It is not an area where I have any expertise or any clear experiences which would allow me to evaluate Gurdjieff’s comments. But it was clearly something of which Bennett had some inside knowledge, for he stressed that the sexual relationship between man and woman could produce a “cleaning, normalizing effect, provided it does not introduce fresh troubles (17, my italics).

He then goes on to make the claim that “states of depression, states of anxiety, states of very great heaviness and states of anger which we do not see the cause of”, can result from the involution of unused higher substances in us (17). Again, this sounds very plausible, but I do not have the means to assess it. In particular, it would be wrong to think that all apparently unaccounted for anger, anxiety and depression is caused by the accumulation of these “poisons” which arise from degraded sexual energy. In other words, sexual problems may, I am sure cause these psychic and emotional disturbances, but I suspect that they can have other causes or co-agents.

In what I consider to be a most important paragraph, Bennett states that: “The sexual contact between a man and a woman is no trivial affair”, and our “sexual powers” and the “force of our sexuality” are part of essence (17, and also 18). This has the significant corollary that:

Our personalities, that is, our repertoire of thoughts, moods and physical mannerisms, can never have a dominant role in sex, but must always be secondary, otherwise they are entering into a sphere where they do not belong. Any emotional excitement, for example, about the other person – whether pleasant or unpleasant – has an egoistic quality which interferes with the free flow of creativity in the sex act. … Similarly, any attempt through thought to analyse or manipulate the sexual encounter, only prevents the sexual energy from flowing freely … (17-18).

I have only quoted some of this paragraph, but it directly explains what is wrong with the modern theories of sex, and especially the dangerous nonsense about gender fluidity which is current. It also includes a good thumbnail definition of “personality”.

The “real delight” of the sexual act is found, says Bennett, in the increase of life experienced in the whole man (what he calls “enhanced clarity, power and strength of experience on all levels). He then makes the very deep observation that: “true feelings, such as joy, wonder, hope and love are not disturbing … because they reach deeper than the egoistic self” (18). Again, this brilliantly points to the difference between feeling and emotion.

He continues to explore the difference roles of essence and personality in the sexual act, over onto p. 19, and comes to the telling point that: “If one’s essence is … to remain … immature … then multiple relationships do not matter (but) If one’s essence is to evolve, then sooner or later, many sexual relationships will have to be paid for” (19).

Bennett is not recommending celibacy, but rather that we should have sexual relationships which correspond to our essences. For this, we must learn to know what in us comes from essence as opposed to personality, and the different phases of our sexual lives as appropriate at each part of our lives (19-20). What is not clear to me is whether he is saying that celibacy is better than what I might term “non-essential” sex.

Now follows what may the heart of this chapter: when imagination and suggestion enter into sex (our sexual behaviour and our thoughts and emotions about it), then this causes problems for our ordinary lives (including, I think, our relationships), our organism, our psyches, and our potential for inner development. But if we were more in essence, then we would naturally find the right partner, and the appropriate sexual relationship (20). This of course, relates to the question of marriage, and of how essence types can and even should enter into it (see his footnote about Gurdjieff’s view that human “type” is a question of triads in the essence, and some combinations will be compatible, but others will not – I am not sure what these are triads of, but I suspect that they bear influences from both the earth and planetary spheres, if not also some from the higher). Bennett’s conclusion strikes a wonderful note, even if (or perhaps especially because) we are so far from being able to realise it:

It is then that it is possible to talk about marriage in the true sense of the word. Marriage becomes possible when there is complementarity between the man and the woman. This cannot be through the personality. It is a major step towards release from egoism and has tremendous implications for the human soul (20).

The second question and answer is worth noting, for he reiterates a point made at 13-14, which we dealt with in the last posting on this book: Love, Bennett says, should not be confused with sex, for “the energy of love, the unitive energy, stands above that of sex, the creative energy” (21). We confuse powerful feelings with love when sex energy enters our feelings: but this produces “sentimentality or egoistic desire” (21). In this respect, see my posting on sentimentality (, Bennett’s disquisition upon the role of sex adds an important insight to what I wrote there).

Bennett’s conclusion to this chapter is priceless: “For there to be an indwelling of love we must be opened and emptied of self. A special action is involved, that is little understood, because it is so far beyond the reach of our ordinary selves. So long as we remained attached to our own worth, love cannot enter” (21).

Joseph Azize, 16 January 2018


  1. I would like just to add in another thought to the already mentioned. It is the idea Rodney Collin wrote about in theory of Celestrial influence and that is the idea of pure sex. What could that mean?

    Rodney speaks along the same lines of Bennett, search SEX in pdf. Its very interesting because Rodney talks alot about sex in the way Gurdjieff speaks of it from only a planetary body stand point, that of polàrity and type but Gurdjieff would say something further and Beelzebub speaks of it as man having three different sexes, three different sex energies and eàch one of them conducting one of the forces of the law of three. There is active sex, that of male sperm, mans head brain, passive sex that of female sperm, mans spinal brain and when they mix form the neutralizing princible, mans solar plexus brain. ( look at the idea of okidanokh)

    We could also say there is sexual energy of the planetary body, sexual enegy of the kesdjan body and sexual energy of the soul body, remembering each body is a dublicate of another which also each body conducts one of the forces of the law of three.

    So what does it mean pure sex?

    For this i think its best to look at Orages 6 center diagram in the OV by Mr. King. If we look at this diagram we have something like this,sorry for the crudeness.

    Lower intellectual——higher intellectual
    Lower emotional——–higher emotional
    Lower instinctive——–higher instictive, aka the sexual aspect of man.

    This is man fully formed, abnormal man looks like….

    Lower intellectual——
    Lower emotional——–
    Lower instinctive——–higher instictive, aka the sexual aspect of man.

    In abnormal man all 4 of the lower centers are one, G. Speaks of this in the Paris meetings.

    Rodney Collin speaks how each center is colored by sex as it is being the highest energy of abnormal man. Us being one like this we can see how sex is connected to thoughts and emotions.

    Its interesting to note one of the disciplines Gurdjieff taught is how to separate mans functions, mans centers, he speaks of this again in the Paris meetings. Pure sex is the sexual function acting on its own without coloring other centers. Separated.

    We must also reason because each body is a duplicate of each other, the higher emotional and higher intellectual act as the sexual function of their storys hence three diffrent types of sexes.

    If we could separate thought and emotion from the sexual act i think we would sense what pure sex is. If we are looking to help others with abnormal sexual tendencies i think it would be important to separate everything from the sexual energy or at least start there.

    Its interesting Bennett speaks of sex influencing mans thinking center but he doesnt say which thinking center because mans higher thinking center would dominate the sexual function of the first story for it being even finer energy. I think he means lower thinking but he doesnt aproach it with regard to higher thinking.

    What is the most important aspect of this is the separating of centers. If this is not done then there is no other step we can take. We must separate.

    We could also aproach this from another angle, that is of Okidanokh where a force enters and Djartklom happens, separates the one force into three forces then again at a later point thoses forces merge and form Okidanokh with a new vivifying force but i think thats would be another post.

    As we strive for consciousness and the acquisition of a crystalized I, we are also striving to be objectively impartial. In the realm of sex I think it is important also be impartial, to be indifferent. If we reason this out it would mean we see the bodys digestion of substances end with the fine energy of the higher instincts, aka sexual energy, this octave completes itself, then we must not have emotional connection with it, the thoughts need to be removed from it but then what? We then can use it either for forming a second body if we have other substances it needs to mix with but if we dont we need to find a way to get rid of it in a healthy matter, via the sexual act, but maybe it can also be used for creating something outside of ourselves in a material form. Looking at it like this we become impartial to sex, the energys there, we sparate emotions form it, any thoughts from it and then we use it in some kind of way, making babys, coating the second body or maybe creating some material result like that of art. .

    This all just leaves more questions


  2. One quote of Bennett’s in this very insightful article which resonated in me is that “we should have sexual relationships which correspond to our essences”.

    With this in mind, from the point of view of esoteric self-development in the ancient Nile Valley teachings, there were/are 3 options available to the initiate so as to avoid misuse of sexual energy & to use this energy for ‘higher being food’. These 3 options also exist in the teachings of other ancient spiritual high cultures such as in China, India, S. America, etc…

    Generally these options are:

    (1) abstinence
    (2) monogamy
    (3) polygamy

    The latter also explains kings, noblemen, officials & even queens having multiple sexual partners. This is commonly thought to be one having the luxury to engage in excessive debauchery & although not all such people who practice option 3 are spiritually working on themselves, there is overwhelming evidence throughout history that many notaries were/are actively involved in this endeavor.

    I’m also reminded of an important exercise in the aforementioned teachings which involves ‘being Present at the moment of orgasm’, or as it is called in the ancient Nile Valley teachings ‘the moment of impact’.

    When working with this exercise many years ago, I had to actually re-learn how to be intimate with a woman/women, especially those women not involved with any religious/spiritual path. Before coming upon this exercise, at that crucial moment I would just flow with the feeling, completely ‘asleep at the wheel’. It’s interesting too that I had to go through the same re-learning process in reference to performing onstage as an entertainer.

    Now in some paths, it is quite valid to be ‘asleep’ at that moment. According to these paths, there is still much spiritually gained by both/all parties involved as long as there is a sharing. For me personally however, this did not seem to work with the idea of not only making efforts to sustain the sense of Presence, but to strive to be Present as G. says “always & everywhere”.

    I believe this idea also goes in tandem with the 4th Way idea of not letting the sex energy overtake our other centers.

    From a spiritual, sexual & financial point of view, today polygamy is done quite successfully all over the planet. In the USA, it is more ‘underground’ because of the common aversion to this practice by the majority conservative views of marriage (unless one is a Mormon) & the misconception most women in this country have towards this idea.

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