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Cobalt Blue: A Novel

A novel for courageous readers and seekers, COBALT BLUE is a turbulent, gorgeous ride into sacred sex..

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Promiscuity and Spirituality: A Different View

Had a small change of heart as I was driving to my office this morning (38 minutes, so I have time to think). In my previous post, I expressed skepticism about a search for God being a driver of promiscuity. What I realized today is that my novel Cobalt Blue is about that very thing: a woman who becomes compulsively sexual because she wants — desperately needs — to break out of the narrow container of herself.

So apparently I have been thinking (somewhat outside of consciousness) that spiritual hunger can fuel mad lust.

Woman hand grasp bed sheet

I feel silly to have been so startlingly unaware of what I was writing — however on and off — for 25 years. How did I miss that central idea?

Essentially, main character Andie, a 38 year-old newly-single woman artist, is saying “make me one with everything.” Perhaps it’s a strange thing to say about a fictional character, especially one of one’s own, but I’m convinced spiritual search is her motivator.

I have to say, it’s not entirely unreasonable (if reason plays any part in this area of life.) Orgasm does provide a feeling of the self/soul reaching beyond all familiar bounds.

I’m still convinced that promiscuity, rampant indiscriminate sex, is not a good way to get there. That stance shows in the novel; Andie is in a constant struggle to understand what’s happening with her and control her compulsion. What allows her to get a grip finally is spiritual.

Again, your thoughts on the promiscuity-spirituality question would be most welcome.

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  • March 11, 2016 at 5:22 pm Reply

    The picture is arresting! And I remember vividly having to put your book aside 3 days because the “mad lust” was so intensely, poignantly and disturbingly described. Thank all the gods you’ve never fallen prey to this tortured path toward spirituality.
    And as I’ve said many times, COBALT BLUE is not for the fainthearted. b

    • Peggy Payne
      March 11, 2016 at 7:17 pm Reply

      I’m thanking all the gods, Bob. And thanks for this comment.

  • Bob Braxton
    March 11, 2016 at 5:32 pm Reply

    believing – quite possibly.

  • March 11, 2016 at 5:35 pm Reply

    It seems a far reach from one to the other. I suspect a promiscuous person would have a hard time understanding that his/her quest was not physical, but spiritual.

    • Peggy Payne
      March 11, 2016 at 7:16 pm Reply

      I suspect it would be unconconscious, kenju. It was with Andie.

  • March 11, 2016 at 7:48 pm Reply

    Well, M. Scott Peck, M.D., seems to have been well aware of this. At any rate, in THE ROAD LESS TRAVELED, he did remark on the aptness of a person experiencing orgasm’s shouting, “Oh, God!” Definitely something “transcendent” about the feeling, however short in duration – except, in a way, for a woman who can experience orgasm after orgasm after orgasm in an extended session of sex.

    • Peggy Payne
      March 11, 2016 at 8:01 pm Reply

      The Oh, God does seem apt, Morris Dean.

  • Amey MIller
    March 11, 2016 at 8:52 pm Reply

    Well, this ties in with something I’ve been thinking about of late —- two important leaders of the civil rights movement, ML King, and Bayard Rustin strike me as being highly sexual, which in both cases got them into trouble. It is not unusual for politicians and religious leaders (and pop stars) to find themselves embroiled in scandal due to their sex lives. Some of it is certainly the raw lust for power, but I think this behavior can be unpacked further, in lines of what you are saying. In both Rustin and King there was a lot of sheer vitality and physicality which was all tangled up with the energy and intensity they devoted to their causes, and their leadership and charisma which we are all the beneficiaries of, in my view. To whatever extent the behavior was /is self-hating, and destructive, well let it go, but the part that is really truly devoted to this body and this life, in the sense of its largest potentialities (which I would call quite spiritual), well then I say Amen.

    • Peggy Payne
      March 11, 2016 at 9:00 pm Reply

      I’m with you in that Amen, Amey, as long as I’m not trying to have a monogamous relationship with one of them. It’s the deception and breaking trust that bother me.

      • Amey Miller
        March 12, 2016 at 11:39 pm Reply

        And I’m with you too. Perhaps I didn’t make that clear enough with my sort of vague qualifiers “self-hating and destructive.” But: as someone said to me recently “sex is messy,” when I brought up my interest in King & Rustin’s, let’s call it “drives.” In both their cases it was sure more than “scratching an itch” that was involved. I would say it was something central that was in many ways at odds with the rest of their lives, and yet I’m trying to suggest, also, possibly, a connection to the more open part of their lives. I’m not trying to excuse the destructiveness, but I am trying to understand more of “what made them tick.” Perhaps this is some of the good, some greater possibility, in how we live today, that people can be more encouraged to be more fully themselves ( = and therefore not lie and cheat and break trust)?

        • Peggy Payne
          March 13, 2016 at 6:08 pm Reply

          I think we’re thinking the same way, Amey. I’m also fascinated with what makes mold-breakers tick. And as you say, we could all be mold-breakers if we would.

  • March 12, 2016 at 7:17 am Reply

    I’ve had similar things happen around not realising themes in things I was writing, I think its fascinating how much creative work can be unconscious. There are of course traditions that embrace sex as something spiritual – Pagans do, there’s the Tantric stuff, Taoism is pro sex as well. I think it can be a very spiritual thing . However, it’s the depth of emotional experience that creates the spiritual aspect. Promiscuity tends to mean casual sex with strangers – and its the no strings attached casual exchange that I think is the issue. to be intensely sexual, and sexually active is very different if that’s being honoured and answered in the context of more stable relationships – I don’t think monogamy is required either, but soemthing open hearted, sincere, and passionate rather than just scratching an itch.

    • Peggy Payne
      March 12, 2016 at 6:11 pm Reply

      Nimue, I wonder if big surprises happen for all writers– specifically, the recognition of an ever-present theme, which sex and spirituality has turned out to be for me. It had to be pointed out to me, after my third novel was out

      My therapist did tell me years ago to put a sign in front of me while writing telling me what I was trying to get across, because the material can slip so easily out of consciousness again. It seems some of my material doesn’t become conscious to me at all.

  • Chris Forsyth
    March 12, 2016 at 12:34 pm Reply

    Well, yes, and the “self/soul” is not bound. The ego (mind) is bound. The self is already beyond what is familiar. It is orgasm and beyond orgasm.

  • March 13, 2016 at 6:15 pm Reply

    I’ve been saying the same thing for years…but with different words. Love Gerald May’s Addiction and Grace. Lust is not the same as love. Vibrant sexuality is the outgrowth of love—a sacramental outer and visible sign of an inner and spiritual grace. Sex addiction, promiscuity, is the counterfeit that leaves one empty and every more hungry—eventually ratcheting up kink when quantity tops out… but always leaving one more empty than before.

    • Peggy Payne
      March 14, 2016 at 9:53 pm Reply

      I’m glad to know about Gerald May’s book, Sara. Looks like it’s already a classic. Good point about the quantity to kink continuum. Doing anything for the wrong reason seems to lead to higher quantity and greater extremes.

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