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Society for Sacred Sexuality
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NOTE: The following no longer reflects the current position of the Society for Sacred Sexuality; it is posted for archival reference only.

Our current position can be found here.

Note also that the letter has been edited to reflect representation of the Society for Sacred Sexuality, founded one month after the letter was written. The essential content remains the same.

Letter to the
Washington, D.C. branch office

1400 20th St., NW, Ste. 119
Washington, D.C. 20036-5920
Attn: Legal Committee

[contact info removed for privacy]

June 5, 2004

Dear ACLU Legal Committee:

I am writing to request ACLU legal assistance in defending the First Amendment rights of citizens my organization represents.

The Society for Sacred Sexuality promotes a spiritual practice that cultivates sexual energy and transforms it into higher states of consciousness. Sacred sex, as it is commonly known, uses various methods to achieve this, including conscious breathwork, creative visualization, meditation, muscle techniques, and semen retention for men, among others. Sacred sex produces distinct biochemical changes in the body, that can be scientifically verified and measured. These physiological signs in turn correlate to equally distinct mental states, as measured by EEG brain wave activity. Such subjective states are similar to spiritual experiences described in documented studies of other meditative disciplines. I point all this out to indicate that sacred sex practice is distinct from conventional sex both in method and, more significantly, in its positive physiological and psycho-spiritual effects.

Sacred sex teachings date back thousands of years, with spiritual traditions and branches in the ancient cultures of Egypt, India, and the Orient. Recently it has become popular in America and the west among the growing number who believe their sexuality to be part of their spiritual heritage, not opposed to it.

Traditionally, sacred sex is taught by a male or female adept, who may use sexual practices, including intercourse, together with methods indicated above, to evoke an experience in a male or female practitioner. Experienced teachers who devoted their lives to this often lived in spiritual communities that were financially supported by those they served.

My complaint is that current sex laws in various states, including your jurisdiction, do not consider sacred sex, and therefore do not distinguish it from common sexual practice, under which financial arrangements like the one above constitute prostitution.

Sacred sex practice as described above however, and its impact on individuals and society, sharply contrasts with the debasing influence these laws seek to prohibit. In my experience teaching sacred sex I have found that clients show positive changes in meaningful life areas including:
  • improved gender & marital relations, and attitudes toward the opposite sex;
  • reduced domestic violence and abuse;
  • reduced tendency toward sexual harassment and violence, including assault/rape;
  • reduced sexual addiction, interest in pornography, and other deviance;
  • healing of sexual abuse;
  • treatment of sexual dysfunction;
  • elevated self-esteem and overall personal well-being.
These values concretely benefit individuals, families, and society as a whole. Clearly, the contribution of sacred sex to spiritual, personal and social welfare distinguish it from common sexual relations. Therefore sacred sex merits distinct legislation allowing appropriate means by which individuals may teach and learn.

Specifically, state law should permit sacred sex educators to pursue their profession as described above, and to financially support themselves doing so. (To my knowledge there is no federal law barring this practice.)

I emphasize this is NOT an effort to legalize common sex for hire under the guise of spirituality, religion, or any related premise. Rather, my intent is to distinguish sacred sex from conventional sex, and thereby establish grounds for lawful means for certified teachers to pursue their practice. I would point out that there are other professionals, called sexual surrogates, who treat clients for sexual dysfunction, abuse, and other medically diagnosed conditions, who likely share this position (though on medical grounds, not spiritual). Such practitioners, while not legally recognized, work with the approval and under the professional guidance of licensed medical doctors and psychologists (for reference, see Thus many educated and trained professionals acknowledge the positive value of sexual interaction in prescribed ways. These practitioners must necessarily be, and have lawful right to be, supported by financial exchange. Sacred sex practitioners share this right.

Moreover, I believe First Amendment freedom of expression is currently denied here. Sacred sex is by all evidence a practice with demonstrably positive human impact. Its teachers deserve the same right to financial remuneration as educators of any other discipline.

America’s constitutional freedoms rest on the premise that people of a free and open society themselves best choose what is of personal and social value, not government. Laws that limit or impinge on this constitutional right deny society new opportunities for betterment and growth. In cases where full social impact cannot be foreseen, our constitution demands that law leans toward individual rights and freedoms. As social impact becomes known in time, amendments curtailing or expanding those rights can be made. The bias toward free choice must be especially clear in the case of consenting adults, where freely exercised rights do not impinge on the rights of others, nor victimize them.

In short, the American people should decide the spiritual and social value of sacred sex, not legislative bodies that may have no experience of practices their laws impact.

I therefore strongly urge the ACLU to assist me in defending my constitutional right, and in setting legal precedent for those in other jurisdictions to whom this right is also denied.



Gary Joseph

Read the
ACLU Response to this letter

Press Release
announcing the legal action

Interview w/SSS founder
explaining the issue

Discuss legal sacred sex instruction
in our Forum

Comment on this letter

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