L. G. (L) reviewed Sex and Spirit (Living Wisdom Series) on
Review: The book follows a roughly chronological pattern, from pre-history and primate sexuality to the esoteric teachings of the "Kama Sutra," Karl Jung, and Wilhelm Reich. With its pictures, off-set boxes of text, and prose passages, "Sex and the Spirit" isn't really a book you read cover to cover. It's better appreciated as a smorgasbord, a not-so-heavy coffee table book of sexuality and its often intimate, often fraught relationship with religion.
Intentionally or not, Bishop supports our image of a sensuous Orient versus a puritanical West. He opposes a libidinous, largely guilt-free indigenous tribal sexuality of sub-Saharan Africa, the South Pacific, and Latin America versus the uptight, sublimated, and agonizing sexuality of the Catholic Church and it Protestant offshoots. (Beliefnet, June 2000)
This lavishly visual book traces sexuality throughout history. Drawing on a range of traditions and cultures, it explores the many ways human sexuality is entwined with the personal search for meaning. Sex and Spirit begins with an account of ancient beliefs and sexual practices, and goes on to examine the attitudes of the world's main religions toward sex. It looks at the dominant influence of Christianity on sex and spirituality in the West and delves into erotic symbols and taboos. One chapter focuses on sexual techniques for spiritual transcendence, while other sections discuss fertility, virginity, initiation, pornography, and love. Richly illustrated with contemporary and historical art, Sex and Spirit features erotic carvings, bedchamber books, and photos of sexual practices from around the world.