What is the "ISIS wheel," and how does it help couples?
The ISIS wheel is an acronym for my survey, which was "Integrating Sexuality and Spirituality." When I looked at all of the responses, including the 1,500 letters that people wrote, I had to find a way that I could put them all together. They fell together in a kind of medicine wheel pattern. [A medicine wheel, which originated in Native American communities, is a round stone marked with spiritually-symbolic symbols.] One of the practical ways that couples can walk the ISIS wheel, or work the ISIS wheel, is literally through that awareness of placing themselves in its four quadrants—body, mind, heart or emotions, and spirit. But another way that they can look at it is that most of us spend most of our time somewhere on the perimeter of that wheel. "Sex is meaningful, but it's not that meaningful. It's emotional and fun, but it doesn't open our hearts totally, or it's physically pleasant, but after a few hours we can do it again." I talk about how couples can move into the wheel toward the center, where maybe all of those emotions and physical yearnings and spiritual yearnings and ideas meet in the center. Where sometimes sex is transformative, it feels magical; it is a place of divinity.
It's no surprise that at those moments we say, "Oh, God, oh, God" in bedrooms all over the country, people are crying out, "Oh, God!" They're not crying out, "Oh, Devil!" So I remind people that our sexuality is sacred. It's part of our birthright, part of our commitment. It's part of our breathing. ... We need to broaden our definitions of sex beyond those few things scientists know how to count and measure, and understand that there's a mystical element to it that we need to honor. That is what draws us to one another and helps us stay together in the long term, even though we may think, "It would be nice to have a younger lover," or, "That rock star is so cute." There is that emotional, spiritual element that draws us as partners to be together through thick and thin, in sickness and in health, for better or for worse—and that's the marriage commitment. That is the sacred marriage.
The Sexy Spirit continues...