What Is Sex Magic? (It's A Lot Less About Sex Than You Probably Think)

Photographed by Natalia Mantini.
Seeing the term "sex magic" tossed around on Twitter likely brings something super kinky to mind. Maybe you see those words and think about a woman standing over a cauldron, in the nude, calling to the universe to bring her the perfect lover. But that's precisely what sex magic isn't, says Skye Alexander, author of The Modern Guide To Witchcraft. "Sex magic isn't about having more fun in bed or enhancing your sex life or your love life," she says. So what is sex magic, if it's not really about sex?
What sex magic is.
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Magic is about intention, Donald Michael Kraig, author of Modern Sex Magick said to Tryangle Magazine. Often, magic simply requires someone to be mindful and think positively about what they want. So, in sex magic, you're using sex to practice that mindfulness. "Sex magic is a way of raising your creative, dynamic sexual energy and using that to fuel your intentions," Alexander says. Essentially, it's harnessing the feelings of your sexual experiences — all the tension, expectation, and pleasure that often comes with having sex — to focus on your desires. Think about it like making a wish when you blow out your birthday candle, except instead of using the excitement of your birthday to will your wish into being, you're using the pleasure of sex.
Much of the magic popularly used in Western culture today is intended to create some kind of outcome or attract something in the caster's life, and sex magic is no different. But while sex magic is popular among witches now, it also has ancient roots. "In the earliest days, it was clear that sexual practices and sex magick were far more widespread and accepted than they are today," Kraig says. There's evidence of sex magic in societies like ancient Greece and Rome, as well as India and China. Eventually, as both sex and magic became taboo, the practice moved underground. But, just like in ancient civilisations, the people who attempt sex magic today use it to stay positive and mindful about what they want and need in their lives.
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How to make sex magic happen.
Using orgasms as the "energy source" for magic requires a lot of focus. "First of all, don't rush to the finish line," Alexander says. "You want to elongate the process and see how much you can bring to the whole experience." Usually, she recommends that people slow down the sexual experience and bring themselves to the brink of orgasm three times, without allowing themselves to come. "Really get into it with all your senses and enjoy the experience and then move toward orgasm, but before you get there, stop and then back off and relax for a little bit and then do the same thing again," she says.
Before you start having sex, you set an intention or a goal, whether it's to attract success at work, to attract money, to heal from emotional heartbreak, or to ward off something you don't want to happen in your life. And it's important to keep your goal in mind during the whole process. "So let's say you've decided you want to attract money, you hold that intention in your mind as clearly as you can," Alexander says. Then, after you've brought yourself to the brink of orgasm and backed off three times, you hold your intention in mind as you "release the energy" and allow yourself to come. "What you're doing is you're sending that intention out into the universe with the energy that you were projecting and releasing," Alexander says. Once you've orgasmed, you let your intention go and you stop worrying or thinking about it.
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If you're thinking How the hell am I going to keep thinking about money while I'm about to orgasm, there are ways to enhance the experience and make it easier to focus. A lot of people find it helpful to print or draw images of whatever they've set their sights on and tape them to the wall or the ceiling. "So when they get ready to come, they can just look at the image rather than having to think about anything," Alexander says. Some also draw pictures on their partner's body during sex (try this with something like edible body paints). And some use aromatics to help them focus (essential oils like lavender, peppermint, frankincense, and lemon are supposed to help with concentration).
Who you can do sex magic with.
Don't have a partner? No problem. You don't need one to do sex magic. It's totally possible to harness the power of your sexuality without someone else involved.
It's also possible to do sex magic with someone who isn't a committed partner, or someone you don't love. But Alexander does recommend that you choose a partner you respect and that you make your intentions for the sexual experience clear. "There's trust involved and respect for your partner, too," she says. "Because through this experience, you're working to manifest something that's meaningful and that matters to you." The more focused and clear you are about your intentions throughout the whole process, the more likely it is that they'll manifest. So it's to your benefit to clue your partner (or partners, because many people do sex magic in a group setting) in on what you're doing.
"Set your intention together, discuss what it is that you're attempting to achieve through this union so you're all on the same page and you're all working towards the same goal," Alexander says. Otherwise, you might end up with a bunch of different things going through your mind and your partners' minds and the goal of the sex magic can easily get confused. "You have to enter into the magical experience in a respectful way, so that you bring about a positive result," Alexander says. So, if you want sex magic to work, you have to choose a partner you trust.
And if it doesn't work, that's okay, too. Because going through the steps to practice sex magic sets you up for some pretty amazing sex, whether or not your intention comes true. Choosing a partner you trust, communicating your needs, and making the experience long, slow and sensual all sounds pretty hot. So why not give it a shot?
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