Björk and Spiritual sex

How Björk’s ideas about sex challenge the current dogma

Björk’s arisen my senses is a song about a sudden sexual desire brought on by a kiss. The video for it features Björk inside of a cocoon that’s kissing another cocoon attached to a man. In the end Björk is released from her cocoon, having turned into a beautiful butterfly. She and her lover bow graciously to each other.

For some reason, it’s rare to see sexuality so stylised in popular art. The kissing cocoons might look weird and gross, but Björk’s thinking about sex is also refreshing.

We have an ideological blind spot when it comes to sex; we tend to think of sex as something natural, an unavoidable fact of life, and any alternative interpretation is waved away with some variation of “sometimes a cigar is really just a cigar”. But human sex is possessed by thought and spirit, just like anything else we do or see. So to overcome our blind spot it’s useful to understand where our current thinking about sex came from.

In the Bible, especially in Paul’s letters, there is a distinction made between the Spirit, that which God imbued us with, and the Flesh, our sinful animal-like nature. The Flesh is then the source of temptation that leads us into sin, sexual desire being chief among them. Obviously Christians also need to go out there and multiply, so some sex is required. But any desire for a sex that does not necessarily seek to reproduce the family is sinful and needs to be repressed.

After the Enlightenment, Spirit and Flesh becomes culture and nature, where culture is seen as just a shallow layer on top of nature. The truth is that we are animals, we just have culture to pretend we’re not to protect our egos. Sex then becomes the point where we drop the pretence and fully behave like animals, surrendering to a natural urge.

In post-modern art, sex, along with death, becomes the Real Thing that tethers human experience to the ground of the body, of nature, of reality.

In contrast, the sex of arisen my senses is unashamedly Spiritual, aesthetic. It has a higher purpose in that it’s an instrument for Björk’s self-realisation, symbolised by her turning into a butterfly. Completely gone is any trace of base reality, nature, corruption and sin.

Björk’s music can feel dated because it’s esoteric, a quality which we associate mostly with the late 90s and early 2000s. But maybe we rejected these ideas for the wrong reasons, and new age spirituality is actually the way forward.

Serious idealist.