By Antero Alli

It seems odd to me how astrology in general and astrologers alike shy away from addressing sexually related issues. Why is this? I think that it stems in part from culturally conditioned misrepresentations about the human sexual experience.

This confusion is understandable when you study the way our language attempts to articulate sexual realities. For example, our so-called sexual labels--heterosexual, bisexual, homosexual, pansexual, asexual, transsexual--do not refer to sexual realities as much as political ones. They are political insofar as they help to categorize our personal needs for security, status, sociopolitical identity, and a sense of tribal belonging.

More essentially, these terms act as political names for various sexual tribes, each claiming their own distinct customs, rituals, fetishes, icons, codes, and overall force of culture--or subculture--as the case may be. A tribe's indigenous sexual rituals make up but one, albeit important, portion of the larger fabric of that tribe's cultural survival and political identity. As most people in America are actively heterosexual, the "hetero tribe" obviously forms the dominator culture around which all other sexual tribes struggle to maintain sovereignty (by demanding partner rights taken for granted by heterosexuals, i.e. marriage, welfare, child rearing, etc.).

I think it foolish to assume that astrologers can ascertain gender or sexual preference by chart interpretation alone. However, I do believe that astrology can be used to articulate sexual realities regardless of gender, sexual tribe, or orientation, especially if astrologers can bypass the old-world assignment of heavenly bodies to gender, i.e. Mars = masculine or Venus = feminine.

With a little common sense, I think astrologers can crack the sexual code of a chart with straight talk and specific information. Towards this end, I suggest that all the planets, including the Sun and the Moon, represent various degrees of sexual complexity reflecting the larger mystery and diversity of human sexual response. Part one of this essay will address the more psychological implications symbolized by the Sun, Moon, Mercury, Venus and Mars; part two will address the more social and transpersonal sexual realities symbolized by Jupiter, Saturn, Chiron, Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto.



Solar sex ignites the being. What is "the being"? It is not your understanding of being but its very existence. For the being, to exist is enough; to be is enough. How can one know this being? By the radiance of life-force emanating from you, when you are affirmed for who you are.

When very being is confirmed then, astrologically speaking, your Sun sign has been turned on. Solar sex rarely leaves you feeling insignificant, diminished, or small; solar sex increases your sense of selfhood. Like the Sun itself, when your being is turned on, you transmit warmth and light to those confirming your reality.

Astrologically, this can happen when certain forces (like the Moon, Venus, Jupiter, or Neptune) in your lover's chart conjunct your natal Sun or when your Sun is under the influence of a self-affirming transit during a given relationship. Sun sex--no matter what tribe or orientation--leaves you feeling in your element, feeling more of yourself. Brought to its extremes, Sun sex can excite sexual generosity and performance for others. Taken to the hilt, you have the uninhibited thrills of outright sexual exhibitionism.

In more conservative relationship structures--regardless of gender or orientation--one person often plays out the Sun to the other's Moon; the lunar person's life tends to revolve more around the more predominantly solar partner. Some lovers prefer the lunar function, just as others need to be the only star in the house. Yet, everybody is a star--at least, in potential. And to become a star is to self-realize. Solar sex nurtures the process of self-realization by affirming your most stellar qualities. The courtship of two self-realizing individuals, or stars--whose romance revolves around a third mutual point of gravity (like joint employment or a shared creative project)--initiates a kind of "stellar polarity"; two stars dancing out a dynamic rapport from the level of their being.

These interstellar relationships demand more consciousness (more light and heat) from both parties to rise above the socially-approved, traditional solar/lunar ideals and moralities of romantic love, marriage and domestication.

Any "marriage" of stellar polarities is rare and difficult to maintain, especially amid the mores of our dominator-culture. Yet, more and more self-realizing stars are finding each other and refusing to settle for old-world, conventionally defined marriages. Stellar polarities have their problems, too. The multiple and tempestuous marriages between Richard Burton (a Scorpio Sun) and Elizabeth Taylor (a Pisces Sun) show how two dancing stars generated torrents of heat, light, and grand passion alongside equally splendorous explosions of chaos and destruction.

The dark side of Sun love is called selfish sex: the "me first" ego-based sexuality of self-centered hedonism. In groups, this manifests as the unbridled personality worship behind cult figures. Whether it's self-worship or worship from another or from a mass of others, this kind of ego inflation (or over-emphasis of the individual Sun sign) inevitably collapses under the weight of its own hubris, arrogance, delusions, and paranoia. Hundreds of cult leaders, from Jim Jones to David Koresh, have built empires on their egos in part, I believe, as an attempt to contain the powerful devotional force evoked from their followers. Many of these cult leaders also demand from their followers multiple sex partners to maintain cult cohesion and to support the leader's immortality, or genetic survival, through procreation. For centuries, traditional religious gurus have attached themselves to colonies of sunyassins, or disciples, to circulate the dense accumulations of love, attention, and power accrued through their exalted positions.


In those sexual encounters where you are left feeling attached, most likely the Moon has been turned on. Not all sex is emotional but when the Moon is involved, consider yourself attached. Emotions don't always wait for your approval or comprehension to make their move. Emotional sex comes with emotional attachment, whether you want it or not. Emotional sex seems to fulfill an important and often times unknown and unmet infantile need for security and/or trust. Emotions have lives of their own and represent a powerful animistic force not always subject to the rules of intellect or moral judgment. Emotions dwell within your body until excited by another body showing profound receptivity to yours. Once excited, emotions can move to make a home in someone else and become part of their astral make up, if you will. Emotions love making a home wherever they are most comfortably accepted on their own terms.

If this sounds like voodoo love, that's because emotional sex is sometimes like that. It puts you on pins and needles. If you're physically absent from somebody that your emotions have made a home in, you may find yourself irrationally longing for them when what you may actually be missing are your own displaced emotions. Emotional sex can act out a subconscious attempt to establish an emotional bond with someone, regardless of one's romantic ideals or images regarding the "perfect partner" or "dream lover."

Emotional sex can be the animal body's desperate attempt to establish meaningful connection with someone else to cope with the pressures of an otherwise meaningless life; you may not want the attachment but you may need it. With emotional sex, you may notice an instant yet unexplainable familiarity with the other; strange and familiar. "How can I know this person so well after only one night?" If certain familial feelings accompany a small internal voice that tells you "This person could be my wife" or "my husband" or, for that matter, "my brother" or "my mother" perhaps deeper karmic implications are at work. Sometimes emotional, or lunar sex, engages types of taboo-ridden incestual lust and sadomasochistic bondage rituals. Being tied up and physically immobilized can produce a profound sense of internal security to those whose early infantile security needs were never met, if these rituals are performed in a climate of complete mutual trust.

Lunar sex can also create a kind of familial romance with someone who acts on you like an emotional mother or father or big brother or little sister figure. Incestual love, not to be confused with literal incest, can trigger feelings of annoyance, animosity, sibling rivalry, and tug-of-war power struggles. Incestual relations can make lunatics of us if they damage our sense of dignity and self-respect and when important personal boundaries are traded down for loss of self in the other. Note those married couples who actually begin looking like each other over the years; some of these couples love that kind of thing. Others struggle and fight to regain personal territory and self-control in an emotionally oppressive need structure. Power struggles are fairly common to emotional sex. Once exposed for the infantile territorial surges they are, perhaps some sexual maturity can emerge. This however depends on the open admittance of everybody involved. As long as anybody is blaming anybody else, nothing really changes.

The need for emotional sex can be symbolized by how your natal lunar placements are influenced by the lover's natal nadir and Moon; add to this the conglomeration of other forces, natally and by transit, that come into play. An Eighth House Moon, for example, may need emotional sex to accelerate personal growth. A Cancer Moon may indicate an emotional sex drive based on a deep need for emotional security and bonding.

Emotions surface in our most vulnerable states. To stay vulnerable with another, a shared sense of trust becomes essential. Real emotional bonds also emerge without any attempt to create them. Sometimes without warning lovers undergo waking nightmares together--abortion, loss of child, extramarital affairs, domestic violence, divorce, etc.--and grow closer for it. Emotional bonds between soldiers at war show another example of bonding amidst adversity and dangerous circumstances; note the emotional bonds between police officers.


Mercurial sex is symbolic of those encounters that leave you chatty, either by talking to yourself or chewing the ears off lovers who'll listen. Watch for a lot of phone. The tendency towards mental sex is telling you that you may need more communication before you are sexually turned on. For Mercury, communication and intelligence act as aphrodisiacs. To whatever degree Mercury is involved, you're probably talking before sex, during sex, and after sex. Of all the astrological forces, this archetype mythologizes the ambisexual Hermes, who can travel between realms--underworld and overworld--without becoming residential to either.

The human Hermes, or puer eternal, can travel between bedrooms without becoming residential to any of them. Some astrologers and mythologists have naively associated Mercury with the bisexuality that "swings both ways." I prefer the term "ambisexual" or "given to sexual ambivalences," if only to respect the real life tribe of bisexuals. Ambivalence is not a bisexual condition but a universal condition common to all people regardless of sexual orientation. Ambivalence is a signal of wavering intent amidst a questionable excitement and suggests a gray zone of a complexity beyond simplistic black-and-white responses or answers.

This may be why Mercury and Hermes also symbolize the arts, intelligence, and fickleness. Astrological Mercury can represent ambivalence towards the sexual experience itself, leading to periods of celibacy or allegiance to the tribe of asexuals. Sometimes when Mercury is over-emphasized--as in the Third House or in Gemini or conjuncting the South node or Jupiter or Uranus--it can produce an all talk and no action attitude towards sex. Or more thinking and fantasizing about sex than surrendering to the actual experience. Sometimes excessive talking dissipates sexual heat and chemistry.

Too much talking about, or "processing", of interpersonal problems might also be a legitimate symptom of relevant ambivalence; maybe these lovers really don't want sex right now but only think they do. Sometimes the sexual forces between lovers need to go underground to nurture their subconscious processes, to stagnate, die, or resurrect. Sexual energies transform themselves constantly. In these instances, talking can act as a protective measure to inhibit the lovers from having more "dead sex" than is necessary. When there's no sexual heat, it may be a better time to read in bed together or take in a movie. Perhaps, it may be time to cultivate deeper social values of a lasting friendship if only to buy more time for these subconscious sexual transformations to occur. If lovers cannot become friends, maybe it's best they parted ways to avoid more damaging dead sex.

Astrological Mercury also symbolizes the ability to monitor our actions and the actions of others. From a sexual perspective, Mercury symbolizes sexual voyeurism: the thrill that depends on physical distance and strong visual stimulus. When you are turned on by watching your partner enjoying sex with himself, herself, or with another, you are entertaining serious voyeuristic passions. Hence, heavy Mercury connections between lovers may indicate latent voyeuristic fantasies. Talking about sexual fantasies, writing erotic stories, and engaging in phone sex are three obvious outlets for the voyeuristic forces of ambisexual Mercury. Ambiguous sex requires no commitment beyond the moment to stay turned on and as such, permits greater uncertainty and the ability to follow wherever the excitement goes. In this way, Mercury can symbolize a kind of amoral sexuality unconcerned with right or wrong just so long as the sexual energy keeps moving, changing, and remaining within the field of one's attention or the attention of those watching.



Venus symbolizes what I'll call acts of miraculous sex. When a sexual experience leaves you feeling that you may actually like or love this person on their own merits, it is miraculous. It is miraculous when you think about how many people fall in love with people they don't actually like. Simple as it sounds, miraculous love is rare in a world all charged up with instant gratification and the hype of projected ideals (the anima and the animus tango). Falling in love may have little to do with actually loving the other person. The natal placement of Venus, along with its sign and how it aspects other planets, can indicate something about how we have grown accustomed to being loved and consequently, how we have learned to define love itself.

The way of love, or Venus, probably originates in the way we were loved as children and what we had to do and how we had to behave, to be loved. What were you loved for? Look to the natal placement of Venus. My natal 2nd House Venus in Sagittarius was loved for being consistently bighearted about family problems and difficulties; I was loved for my constant understanding. Today I am also loved for the constant understanding I bring to others.

As sex blossoms from a ground of shared affinity, certain kinds of Venusian sex can feel like sex between friends. Genuinely friendly sex also feels friendly after the act. When sex lacks love it may prove impossible to become friends with your lover. Lovers can show great passion for each other (the Mars function) yet, without Venus, making love easily turns to the more Martial heat of "fucking or fighting." According to the Venus archetype within us, love is everything. In the face of cruelty, disillusionment, loss, bitterness, cynicism, egotism, arrogance, hatred, fear, greed, envy, jealousy, and the countless other demons of human frustration, only love itself can love how cruel, disillusioned, lost, cynical, egocentric, arrogant, hateful, afraid, greedy, and jealous we have become. Only love can dissolve away all negative emotion with the heartfelt embrace of self-acceptance and compassion.

On the earth plane, Venus makes an eloquent symbol for the powers of the vegetable kingdom, which include all species of flower, flora, fungus, fruit, vegetable, and vine. As with love, the spirit of vegetation enters the heart of the world as a seed in fertile soil. Weather permitting, this seed sprouts and breaks ground to absorb the Sun's rays. Also like love, these vulnerable seedlings require care and protection to survive. Many more seedlings die long before they blossom and bear fruit. If the seedling receives enough support, it climbs up to the sky. If it is a flower, it blossoms. If it is a tree, perhaps it bears fruit. No matter what form it takes, the spirit of vegetation pervades the land and, like love, offers itself freely to anyone with ears to hear, eyes to see, and the heart to be loved. Venusian sex is sex in the garden, metaphorically and literally.


Mars symbolizes the most visceral forms of sexuality. Martial sex leaves you feeling vitalized in such a way as you feel you have to do something with the energy (differing from the Sun's revitalization of being). The Mars force responds well to physical heat and reacts with excitement. As the Mars force grows stronger within us, it turns combustive and explosive, seeking expression through impulsive and spontaneous sex, hot sex, power sex, angry sex, aggressive sex, combative and rough sex and on into sexual violence and outright rape, which is not sex but the cruelest of tyrannies (which sometimes happen during Pluto or Saturn aspects and transits to natal Mars).

The stronger the Mars force grows, the more blind we become to the sexual reality of another unless their Mars force also escalates with ours. In the sexual acceleration of the Mars force, some male homosexuals know more about sexual violence than their heterosexual counterparts. A horrid example can be found in any country's prison system. In researching his book, You Are Going To Prison (Loompanics Press, 1994), Jim Hogshire discovered that twice as many men are raped inside American prison walls each year than women are raped on the outside. The over-accumulation of sheer martial force with nowhere to go often sparks off violent, chaotic sex--sex riots, out of control and imminently dangerous.

Sexual heat is a very big criteria for those whose predatory sexuality is defined primarily by the Martial force of aggression. For others, with perhaps a weaker natal Mars, may feel excited to have someone who expresses a stronger Mars force act on them. In this way, the weaker Mars person can (through sexual osmosis with the stronger Mars person), jumpstart their own weaker Mars. A weaker natal Mars may also signify a greater need to be motivated by external sources, just as a stronger natal Mars can show a greater self-motivation. These tendencies are subject to change with the passage of transits over natal Mars by conjunction, square or opposition especially from Saturn, Uranus, Neptune or Pluto.

The growth hormone testosterone exists in both men and women, yet the biological truth is that testosterone exists in twice the amount in most men than in women. Researcher June Reinisch of Rutgers University discovered that increased testosterone levels in the body produce immediate aggression. Physiologist Julian Davidson performed a study on males with low sex drives. When given more testosterone, all showed an increase in sexual fantasy and desire leading Davidson to conclude that testosterone is "the biological substrate of desire, at least in men." It may not be scientifically sound but it makes astrological sense that men and women with strong natal Mars placements are subject to greater-than-average testosterone production and tend towards higher physical energy states and aggressive, competitive, and confrontive behavior, as well as stronger sex drives in general.

When the natal Mars force enters a state of shock through any combination of transpersonal transits (from Uranus, Neptune, or Pluto) testosterone levels may fluctuate wildly and influence the sex drive accordingly. Periods of larger-than-life sexual heat and arousal can often unexpectedly dissipate into utter absence of libido as the martial force undergoes shock and suspension. This, of course, depends on many factors like aspects, placements, and whom you are sleeping with at the time. As the Mars force within you fluctuates, so does the overall drive and passion connected with it.

Perhaps more than any other force, the sexuality of Mars acts as the seat of our spirituality insofar as the will to survive depends on a realization of what we are living for. The motivation to stay alive pulsates at the very root of our earthbound existence. Without an active knowledge of what we are living for, we often undergo apathetic phases as living suicides who--whether consciously or not--live in order to die. By periodically reassessing our will to live--by questioning our motives and challenging our current assumptions--we stand a far greater chance of resurrecting the Mars force within us and enflaming our reasons for being here.




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