Sex

How to control sex desire

Question: 
How is it possible to control sex desire?


Our Answer:
Krishna explains in the Bhagavad-gita that lust arises from contemplating the objects of the senses. Therefore try to avoid thinking about or seeing the opposite sex as far as possible. And the secret—according to Krishna—is to get a higher taste from spiritual activities.

Practice makes improvement. Try to engage the mind in practical service, as well as hearing and chanting about Krishna. The more we do that, our mind will have less time to contemplate the objects of the senses.

Don't purposely go places or do things that you know will agitate your mind sexually. And don't despair or become depressed; it takes time to train up the lusty mind.

Meditating on the beautiful form of Krishna, beginning with His lotus feet, helps free the mind from lust. It may seem hard to believe, but if you try it, you will see it works.

We also should eat prasadam, vegetarian food that is offered to Krishna. In these ways we can spiritualize our mind by engaging it in Krishna's service.

We shouldn't be impatient. Sex desire is something we've been involved with for many lifetimes. It's not like it will disappear suddenly. But it becomes easier to tolerate as we absorb our mind in a positive spiritual way.

We can read sections from the scripture that describe how entangling sex desire is. These include the Forest of Enjoyment chapter of the Fifth Canto, Lord Kapila's teachings about adverse fruitive activities in the Third Canto, the Aila Gita from the Eleventh Canto, etc. These convince us intellectually of the value of controlling sex desire.

There are also foods that can be avoided: Don't eat too many grains or yogurt at night. Don't eat lots of rich foods like cashew nuts. This causes nocturnal emissions. Don't talk about mundane male/female relationships or associate with people who do.

Bhakti Vikas Swami has a book on Brahmacarya, celibacy. You can find it on his web site.

Sex

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Not only is sex the number one search term on the Internet, it's what everyone is searching for in this material world. Sex is the prototype of all material enjoyment. Along with eating, sleeping, and defense, sex is counted as one of the four basic drives of every soul in every material body. Krishna conscious teachings have much to say on the topic—what its purpose is, how it relates to the original consciousness of the self, and how to avoid being ruled by it.

The very first teaching of Krishna consciousness is that we are not our bodies; we are spiritual beings temporarily within material bodies. No amount of material pleasure can give us true happiness because we're not material—we're spiritual. We can only really be fulfilled when our goal is spiritual happiness.

Ironically, while sex is the highest material pleasure, it can diminish our capacity to experience the highest enjoyment there is—ananda, the uninterrupted bliss that comes as a result of reawakening our spiritual consciousness and entering into a relationship with Krishna, the source of all joy.

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Our natural, original, spiritual condition is prema, love for God. In the material world, we most often direct our love elsewhere. Our prema has transformed into kama, lust. Our desire to please the source of all pleasure is now the desire to please our own senses. The principal expression of kama is sex.

Marriage is the traditional way of socializing and regulating sex within human society to help ensure social stability and the welfare of women and children. This is so in Krishna consciousness as well. Marriage is a samskara, one of the principles recommended for the social life of human beings. Krishna says that He Himself is sex according to principles of dharma, proper behavior. The natural, biological result of sex is children, and the highest expression of sex is to beget and raise children in a spiritual atmosphere.

How to manage our sex desire—while trying to become free from it—is a major issue faced by all everyone looking for transcendental happiness. Kama can be converted back into prema by the practice of Krishna consciousness. When we redirect our desires toward the center of all enjoyment—the source of all desire—we can experience a sense of perfect, permanent fulfillment and peace higher than even the best of sex.

Blog: Is there sex after death?

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No, this isn’t a racy title to increase readership of my blogs. This is the name of a movie from 1972. While on an errand, Srila Prabhupada happened to see the ad for this movie on a billboard, and mentioned it in a Srimad-Bhagavatam. He spoke about it with a mixture of wry humor and seriousness. As an ideal acharya (exemplary teacher), he took note of whatever he encountered, and by giving a Krishna conscious perspective, taught us to do the same in our lives. Prabhupada observed that since the mass of people are preoccupied with sex, they wonder if sex will continue in any afterlife. The implications are that if sex isn’t available there, then any existence after death mustn’t be a very desirable destination.

When I was growing up and attending grade school and college, it would seem that although learning was the supposed purpose of education, the mingling of the sexes seemed to mainly be what was on everyone’s mind. In my own life I can see practically that what we are absorbed in during youth becomes very ingrained, and if we build on this in adulthood, it is practically impossible to conceive of living without it. As the saying goes, “Old habits die hard.” The more, and longer, we think of or focus on something, the stronger its influence upon us. Thus the title of the movie is actually very telling.
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What we're addicted to, we consider real life, and to imagine not having what we feel dependent on is inconceivable. Even though professional sports, television, cinema, popular music, games of all descriptions, and our use of technological gadgets aren’t usually considered addictions in the traditional sense, like drugs or alcohol, many people would find it difficult to live without them. In fact, the whole material world and our sensory desires can be thought of like an addiction, which preoccupies or distracts us from the true purpose of life, or self-realization. When we come to really understand our identity as spiritual beings, this changes our relationship with everything.

Without transcendental knowledge, the eternal soul stays in the material world, having its desires for worldly enjoyment facilitated by sense objects, which are like strong ropes, or anchors, for our soul. We might think of the soul like a hot air balloon designed to soar to God, but due our anchor-like worldly desires, we're kept earthbound, and unable to realize our true potential. Conversely, we're also given the method of obtaining the unlimited sky of the spiritual world: the holy name, called upon with intense desire, or spiritual greed, for obtaining Krishna and His divine service.

The soul is called marginal energy, which means it is a product of its environment, or becomes like its surroundings. The soul is never independent and is either forced to serve God indirectly through the material energy, or voluntarily serves through taking shelter of Krishna in loving devotion. Human life means we have the facility to choose in what way we want to serve, but serve we must. This is called sanatana-dharma, or the constitutional nature of the soul.

Prabhupada considered the question posed by the movie title in ways never thought of by its producers. First, he explained that since most people are attached to sex life, they will have to come back to the material plane where sex is the binding force. In every species of life sex exists in some form. Whether a human being, animal or plant, sex goes on to give facility for other souls to take birth in that species.

Material bodies, although apparently existing for themselves, only have meaning in relation to souls, who require bodies as vehicles to facilitate carnal urges and domination of matter. Our abilities depend on the construction of the particular body and mind, and are actually a huge limitation on the capacity of the soul. Human life allows us 1) the best facility to try to control and exploit nature, and more important, 2) the greatest facility for higher spiritual awareness.
Freedom from bondage
From the highest, deepest perspective, to answer the question whether sex exists beyond this life, we can discover in many Vedic texts (such as the first verse of the Srimad Bhagavatam and Shri Brahma-samhita) that whatever exists in the material world has its origin in the spiritual world. The material world is like the shadow or perverted reflection of the spiritual dimension, so if sex exists here, it must have its pure spiritual origin. Material enjoyment is always temporary and is dependent on ideal, difficult-to-achieve conditions, whereas spiritual enjoyment is ever fresh and ever increasing.

The soul, like God, is pleasure-seeking, and it's only because we've forgotten our pure source of enjoyment that we're focused on material enjoyment. This is also why the principle outlined in the Bhagavad-gita's second chapter (Bg 2.59) is so important: “param drishtva nivartate” - we can only remain fixed in our spiritual life for the long haul when we're experiencing the higher taste of spiritual enjoyment. Duty alone will carry us for some time, but spiritual taste will enliven and enable us to flourish on the road of bhakti.

We learn from one of our great acharyas, Srila Visvanatha Chakravarti Thakura, about the original and pure sex psychology (adi-rasa), which is devoid of all mundane inebriety. Material absorption in sex attraction means thinking life revolves around our desires by trying to enjoy our personal senses, while spiritual sex means trying to please the Supreme Enjoyer, Shri Krishna, and seeing ourselves as surrendered to the supreme will. Therefore, there is sex after death, either mechanically for biology and our material desires (which eventually becomes distasteful), or we can experience eternal bliss in the ever increasingly joyful dance of Divine love, with Krishna and his eternal associates. Krishna consciousness is the process of changing from the former to the later, or from so-called material enjoyment in the world of death (martya-loka), to the true enjoyment of the soul with God in the spiritual plane.
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