First, let's be clear: Anyone who has been initiated in this religion has a moral imperative not to engage in sexual relations with someone who comes looking for spiritual guidance or help. Those who offer readings, spiritual cleansings, or religious ceremonies to people can't look at those people as potential sex partners. Whether you dress it up in romance and say it's "love," or call it a sexual urge that's too strong to ignore, it's wrong. The babalawo or olorisha (santero) addressing the person's problem needs to behave in a professional way, which means you do something to keep an objective distance, you focus on the person's problems, and you don't do anything that will make them feel vulnerable and exposed. People who are in despair and desperate for solutions will often act against their better judgment. If they feel trapped in a situation that's unbearable, they'll accept any solution to get out of it. The priest who claims that performing sexual acts will rid the woman of her problems is not only lying, he's abusing his power over the woman in that situation to put her under duress. She may feel she can't say "no" because he's made her believe that her future good luck and well being depend on doing what he says. Religious leaders in any religion can be unscrupulous and manipulative people, but Santería is enveloped in mystery in the popular imagination, giving Santeros and Babalawos even more power over people by confusing what they do with the supernatural. Will he do witchcraft against you if you don't obey? Will he put a spell on you? Spiritual advisors can make people feel fearful of the unknown and, thus, manipulate them into giving them money or doing sexual favors. This is just plain wrong in any religion, including ours.
Objectivity is Needed
It's forbidden in our religion for godparents and godchildren to have sexual relations. Period. Does it happen anyway? Absolutely. But, that doesn't make it right. There are several very good reasons for this taboo to be in place. First, there's a power imbalance between godparent and godchild. The godparent is the one who has authority, knowledge, aché, the ability to make things happen for the godchild. He should be completely focused on the godchild's well being and spiritual evolution. Sex complicates that process because the dynamic between people changes when they are lovers. Through consultas, the godparent gains tremendous insight into the person's character and situation. He becomes aware of weaknesses and vulnerabilities that he could use, if he so chooses, to manipulate the person into making decisions that could be counter-productive for the godchild's progress. Or, these insights can create problems in the personal relationship that, in turn, create conflict in the religious relationship. There are odu that speak about lying and cheating, for example. What if this information comes out in an odu during a reading taking place beween a godparent and godchild who also happen to be lovers? Common sense dictates that someone who is romantically and sexually involved with a person not do readings for that person. Objectivity is missing, and the insights that come from the reading can be used to manipulate the relationship in unhealthy ways.
Think Before You Act
What happens if there is sexual tension between people? We're human, and it will happen from time to time. Ethically, when a diviner feels a strong sexual attraction to the person he's divining for, he should excuse himself, withdraw, and find another diviner to help that person. If he removes himself from the equation early on, and no spiritual connection exists between him and the one seeking the consulta, he's free to act on his feelings as an ordinary person would. Flirt, make a date, go out, but do it as an ordinary man, not as a priest. Don't use your religious connection to impress or control the one you're dating. As soon as the diviner becomes aware of sexual tension, decide how to handle it. If you want to pursue it, withdraw as the person's spiritual advisor. If you want to continue as their spiritual advisor, get a handle on the situation and put a definite end to any flirtations, make it abundantly clear that nothing will happen, even if the one seeking advice makes sexual overtures toward you. Keep it professional.
That's one reason why I usually advise people to take time to get to know someone well before entering into the godparent relationship. If there's going to be a romance, it should happen before the godparent-godchild relationship develops, when there's still time to find a different godparent. If you're going to fall in love with your spiritual advisor, he can't be your spiritual advisor anymore. You need someone who can be more objective with you. Once you have entered into the godparent-godchild relationship, it's the moral imperative of both parties to keep the relationship free of sex. Look for sex outside that relationship, and do all you can to control urges to act on sexual feelings toward each other. People who see psychotherapists often develop powerful "crushes" on the one who is helping them, and the same thing is true in religion. For the same reason you shouldn't have sex with your therapist, you shouldn't have sex with your spiritual advisor or godparent.
The Lucumi religion has nothing against sex in general, and doesn't consider it a sin to have sex. People are free to express their sexuality in any way they like, just not with their ocha family members and especially not with the godparent. A healthy sex life is part of a person's general well-being. But, because sexual and romantic relationships are complex and fraught with potential conflict, they don't belong inside the ocha family.
If you go to someone for a consulta and he asks you to have sex as part of a religious ceremony, know that this is absolutely not ok. It's not a legitimate practice. Walk away. Report him to the authorities as a sexual predator. If you are shopping around for a godparent, steer away from anyone who's flirting with you, trying to seduce you, or who has a reputation for having sex with godchildren. It's not in your best interest to be around that person. If you have a godfather who is pressuring you in any way to have sex with him, speak to some of the elders in your community and ask for their advice. Don't give in to demands because you feel afraid or intimidated. Look for someone to support you, and confront the godparent to discuss the problem.