If people ask Kristen Korvette how she landed her first book deal, she responds with a predictable platitude: She achieved her dream by means of a mix of hard work and luck. In private, however, she attributes her victory to masturbating under the full moon.
Korvette, the editrix of Slutist and also a professor of the New School's class "The Legacy of the Witch," is a practitioner of sexual magic, using sexual power (often orgasm) for manifestation. "It happened to be a full moon on the evening I submitted my proposal, so I engaged in my usual practice"-- which is composed of "listening to my favorite erotically-charged music (which is always glam metal: Motley Crue mostly), lighting a candle that has been carved to symbolize my goal, and unsheathing my crystal dildo to consummate the spell"--"and exactly one month later, on the full moon, I received word that I was in," she says.
Given the preponderance of love spells and evil-yet-seductive witches in pop culture, it is clear that sex magic is so frequently misunderstood. However, according to people who exercise the erotic craft, it is just another kind of magical expression. "You have an intention, and you're using orgasms or sex as a tool to achieve that particular intention," clarifies Cat Cabral, a Wiccan priestess who managed the East Village occult store Enchantments for more than a decade. The Hood Witch, agrees with this characterization. " We're getting down to manifesting, talking about harnessing sexual energy to make very real results," she states.
Neutral, possibly, but exceptionally powerful nonetheless. "With sex magick, all you need is to reach orgasm and you can change your world," writes Damon Brand in Adventures in Sex Magick.
With sexual magick, all you need is to achieve orgasm and you'll be able to change your entire world.
The history of sex magic as a whole is as expansive as it is elusive, and it is often tough to get records relating to it. In accordance with Sex and the Supernatural by Benjamin Walker, sex magic and erotic mysticism were practiced earliest in Central Asia. The citizens of one area in particular, called Urgyan, a "semi-mythical kingdom that fought for the rights of the Tibetan people," and therefore are believed to have used rites between tantra, the build-up (and avoidance to increase power) of sexual energy and orgasm. "
Sex magic through tantra dates back to the middle of the first millennium. Although the diversity of tantric practices has made it hard to pinpoint the exact origin, the first listing of tantra is probably the Śaiva Mantramārga tradition during the fifth century. Now tantra has regularly taken on institutions with new age sex workshops and Sting, but it is also about harnessing power--and even attaining enlightenment--based on Essence of Vajrayana: The Highest Yoga Tantra Practice of Heruka Body Mandala By Geshe Kelsang Gyatso. Alas, lots of early tantric texts were ruined by crusaders. The Gnostics, a collection of ancient religions and sects, found in a range of areas from the Middle East to China, also performed sex magical rituals, including blood rituals and mantras to invoke sexual energy.
The most infamous sex magical practitioner lately is Aleister Crowley, a famous 19th century British occultist who viewed sex as "the supreme magical power." A high-ranking member of the secret society Ordo Templi Orientis, which utilizes sex rituals heavily in its own initiation ceremonies, he moved onto write several books on the usage of erotic magic. His views were extreme, as was his desire to experiment with new kinds of sex magic. In Sex and the Supernatural, Walker writes: "In seeking to enlarge his tantrik-oriented experiences, Crowley advertised for females of all kinds, deformed women, dwarfs, hunchbacks, and as he put it in his characteristically unfeeling way, 'freaks of all sorts.'"
Contemporary witches dismiss much of his work.
Contemporary sex magic users have an assortment of historic, cultural techniques to draw inspiration from, and many highlight the importance of discovering what works best for you personally. In a sense, sex magic resembles any other kind of energy work, which utilizes energy, with the practitioner frequently tapping into their own religious energy to heal. The sole distinction is the energy being exploited in this case is the release of orgasm.
"I came into sex magic fairly intuitively," recalls Korvett. "As a young woman, my mom taught me the power of manifestation, but in a G-rated manner, needless to say. I made the connection between that and the self-pleasure I had been engaging in, and recognized it may be utilised in a more powerful and productive manner."
Another, perhaps less intuitive, component of sex magic involves the use of bodily fluids. An early example of this is Abbe Guibourg, a French Roman Catholic occultist known as a "renegade priest," who in 1683 performed a Black Mass, a corruption of the traditional Catholic ceremony. Such ceremonies involve the nun figure urinating into a chalice, often as a demonstration of opposition to strict Catholic beliefs. Period blood is another useful liquid in sex magic, and according to Luna, there is a long folkloric history of women putting period blood into coffee or tea or red pasta sauce (because it is easy to hide!) often for binding spells, to cause sexual attraction, as in the Hoodoo tradition. Some practitioners also do spells with a concoction of semen mixed with period blood, which is considered very powerful. The mixture typically obtained and placed in a chalice, or swapped through kissing after oral sex, in a ritual believed to "seal" the magic performed, or create whatever manifestation the practitioner desires (again, sex magic goals don't have to be about sex), according to Brand.
"Blood is life, especially menstrual blood; it nourishes life, you grow humans," says Luna, adding that you can use bodily fluids to dress candles and talismans, meaning coating a candle, often carved with a sigil, with a substance whose properties are believed to help one achieve their goal. If you are going to work with bodily fluids, please be aware of the health risks. Feeding and eating bodily fluids carries the same danger as oral sex, so get tested, discuss it with partners beforehand, and become educated on dangers. "You are playing with somebody's will and health. It is possible to transmit diseases and all sorts of icky things," cautions Luna.
In general, when practicing with a partner, communication is very important. Luna says that you should either work together completely or keep your partner entirely in the dark about the fact that you're manifesting magic during intercourse. "Either they know what it is that you're doing, or they shouldn't know at all. Because any person who kind of knows and isn't into it they can fuck up the whole flow of energy," she explains. "So either keep them ignorant altogether, or they know and they are going to focus on that energy as well, so it makes it that much more powerful if you are going to come together."