The Eternal Orgasm : Debbie Hirsch
Now there’s an image to relish.
We are hard-wired to pursue pleasure. Whether you find it through extreme sports, alcohol, sex, food or purchases, most of us long for those moments where we can escape the mundane and lose ourselves in unrestrained ecstasy. For Debbie Hirsch, missiologist* and co-author of Untamed, that feeling of liberation is embodied in an orgasm. Today, Debbie shares some of her experiences of sex, faith and sexuality with MAGNIFY.
‘Orgasms symbolise a state of euphoric liberation, a sense of being outside of yourself, being free. In our lives, we look for those moments where we feel the liberation that orgasms provide.’
Of course, there are a variety of ways to get that high. Some of us take the legal route via alcohol, while others dabble with narcotics. Debbie is very frank about her relationship with drugs. ‘Drugs were part of growing up. For me, I think drugs expanded my mind in a deeper way, making me challenge the temporal nature of this life’.
Her voice, still salted with an Australian twang, bubbles with humour and wisdom. Describing her mother as a ‘seriously nominal’ catholic, Debbie’s introduction to Christianity came not from a street preacher, but from her former drug dealer, who became a Christian while in prison. ‘George wasn’t the nicest guy, so I’d seen a noticeable difference [after he became a Christian], which gave his message way more credibility.’
Reminiscing about her own journey to faith, Debbie describes it not as a new awareness, but as an awakening. ‘I prayed, “Lord Jesus, if you’re real, come into my heart,” about a dozen times. I was coming off an LSD trip and so expected some major flashing lights and thunder, but I didn’t get any of that. I just knew that when I woke up, the world looked different.’
‘We fear what we do not know and we judge what we fear. We’ve failed to understand sexuality, so we fear it. That fear makes us judge anyone with explicit sexual issues.’
Debbie knows better than most the anxiety and oppression that can result from these fears. For years, she was in a lesbian relationship, and although the relationship didn’t last, she was still part of the gay community in Melbourne after becoming a Christian. Her sister, who had also become a Christian, was still in a lesbian relationship, and they continued to go to the local gay clubs together – only now with their Bibles to talk to their friends about Jesus.
After years of finding her identity in her sexuality, Debbie started to see her identity and desire for sexual fulfillment take root in something far deeper, and found her feelings surrounding her sexuality starting to change. She’s quick to add that it wasn’t as a result of fear or shame, but just a gradual transformation that she feels God brought about.
So what about sex? It’s arguable that for many of us today, our longing for intimacy is integral to our identity. But what is the relationship between sex and spirituality? Surely that’s not… appropriate? Mixing the erotic and the spiritual just isn’t… done. Is it?
For Debbie, there’s nothing bizarre about it – after all, ‘God made the orgasm.’
‘We’ve simplified sex to a genital connection,’ Debbie says. But perhaps sex and spirituality are just two halves of the same coin.
‘Spirituality is our need to know and be known by the unknown other, by God, whatever and whoever you think ‘He’ is. Sexuality is the same. It is our need to know and be known by the other, but on a human level. If you take it to its logical end, sexuality mirrors or acts as an echo of a greater relationship.’
According to Christianity, if we accept Jesus into our lives, we will spend eternity with Him.
In that case, while the ‘act of sex’ won’t take place in the afterlife, the euphoria, the liberation, that sense of existing outside of ourselves, of being part of something greater – all of that, will be experienced in heaven.
One long eternity of liberty, euphoria, joy and intimacy.
A deep, spiritual intimacy that far exceeds any temporal, physical unity we could hope to grasp in those three minutes of sex, or as Debbie puts it, ‘genital connection’.
Debbie is quick to emphasise that the sex we hunger for in this life is important – ‘it enables us to have babies and have important physical intimacy with loved ones.’ But she is adamant that to focus on this one aspect of sexuality – to the exclusion of all else – ‘is setting our generation up for loneliness.’
For Debbie, at its crux, sexual intimacy is a physical experience that points us towards a far greater sense of completion and intimacy. It directs us closer towards spiritual fulfillment with God – and an intimacy and liberty that won’t just last for a few minutes, but for eternity.
Interview by Justina Kehinde
Photography by Sarah Shreves
*missiology is the practical area of theology which investigates the mandate, message and mission of the Christian Church especially in regards to missionary work.