What you need to know and consider about sex and the spiritual season we are entering this week:
1. Sex can break the stress cycle of Fight-or-Flight. Consider abandoning your to-do list for a little couple time. It could help return you to the meaning of the season.
2. Bed time burns calories -- and during the weeks when we consume the most. A half hour of making out uses up 238 calories per half-hour if you're an enthusiastic 150-pound woman, according to Sara Jio at Woman's Day. Intercourse is more variable, burning 144 or more: "Experts estimate that women who orgasm during sex burn more calories during lovemaking than those who don't."
3. Babies: Many a wee one gets his or her start in December. The most common birthday, according to NPR data reporter Matt Stiles, is September 16. Consider this comment on an earlier post: "My youngest child is the result of an extra glass of wine during Hanukkah. LOL."
4. (Warning: Sexually transmitted ailments are also reportedly higher after the holidays. And office Christmas parties are famous for producing post-holiday awkward moments. Just a word to the wise.)
5. House guests: In a house full of relatives, many will simply decide to wait until the New Year. But there's always the radio. Turn up the volume on what one of my young nephews used to call "ho-ho music." Plus there's the illicit delight of sneaking a little private time.
6. Reconsider that old caution to the newly-in-love: "Kissing Don't Last; Cookery Do." Cooking may take a lot more time at this season. And it may not be the heart of the matter.
7. Use the energy of the festivities. Let the sugar high and the wave of love (however fleeting) help to spark up a partnership bond that has worn thin. It's worth considering.
8. If you're celebrating alone and not liking that, keep in mind that a holiday is not a judgment day on anyone's lovability or prospects. The whole point of the season is universal love and acceptance --and (less-often-noted) miraculous change, courage, and resilience. So go to any holiday party alone: full of dignity and self-worth; you'll be interesting, mysterious, and fabulous.
9. Holiday within a holiday:Spiritual Peak Center suggests a behind-the-scenes private celebration of the season of love: Make this holiday season special for your partner: with little surprise gifts, mistletoe in unexpected places (in front of the washer/dryer), strings of Christmas lights in the bedroom.
10. Remember that, as beautifully said by author Gregory Popcak of Holy Sex!,
"Sex is holy in that it has the power to unite two souls... It is this unique power of sexuality to challenge shame and expand vulnerability at the deepest level that, in addition to its power to unite two people and create new life, makes lovemaking a spiritual exercise, first and foremost."
11. At the same time, don't expect perfect holiday harmony. My husband and I celebrate both our birthdays and our wedding anniversary as well as Christmas and New Year's in the stretch between Thanksgiving and Valentine's. Sometimes, it's necessary to take a break from the bliss of it all and read a good book.
(This blogger, Peggy Payne, is author of three novels set at the meeting place of sex and spirituality: Sister India, Cobalt Blue, and Revelation.