The Joy of Living Non-Sexually
So one, always mindful, should avoid sexual desires. Letting them go, he will cross over the flood like one who, having bailed out the boat, has reached the far shore. — Gotama
When it comes to walking the spiritual path, there are certain prerequisites that make the experience much easier and enjoyable as time goes by. One of the five precepts of morality is to abstain from sexual misconduct. For some this can be difficult.
I love sex and I’ll admit that I have been addicted to sex throughout a large percentage of my life. I love kissing, touching, everything that it entails. But, I have come to love the abstinence of sex as well. They are two separate loves and both are beautiful in their own way. In my current mindset, however, I’m in the “no sex” category and the pleasures that come from it I believe ultimately outweigh the pleasures that come with a consistently sexual life. I thought maybe I could expound this out a bit for those who have not lived both ways.
It seems to me that once people become sexually active in their lives, they feel a need or desire to stay sexually active as they get older and actually it becomes a major “goal” for their life or what they do. They from that point forward judge their own success in life based upon how much sex they have with their own partner or random partners over the course of time. Hopefully, with my life as an example, I can show that this “trap” can be overcome. Perhaps life is more enjoyable now that I know what the taste is and yet still choose to give it up.
They say men think about sex once every 7 seconds and a woman once an hour. What happens when a man or woman thinks about sex not at all or very rarely? It frees up not only a tremendous amount of mental energy but also creates a higher level of social quality. I feel that whatever sex we may be, if sex is constantly on our minds, it hampers our ability to truly connect with half the population and this brings with it a significant disadvantage to the overall quality of life.
There comes a time in my spiritual practice when I no longer crave sex and I no longer think the absence of sex as a bad thing. I enjoy the absence of sex, the absence of thinking about sex, and all that it entails. The Buddha talked about the happiness of the householder life, but also the happiness of one who lives austere, who abstains from sex. I have experienced both happinesses, and at the moment prefer the latter.
Abstaining from sex without a way to purify oneself can be a very perilous journey indeed. Especially if ones whole life has revolved around sex in one way or another, which it tends to be if one is from the U.S. or from many Western countries. Everything we do is to make ourselves more capable of having sex with a higher amount or higher quality of people. We eat healthy, workout, etc. to increase the quality of our sex lives. Our jobs, our cars, our apartments, our cloths, our friends. Everything is considered to be either an addition or a negative to ones own attractive capability for sexual purposes.
What happens when we give it up all together? What happens when we redirect our focus? What happens when we choose to no longer play by the game that society wants us to play? It opens up a whole new realm of possibilities. A whole new chapter in ones life can come about. We can learn to connect with the other half rather that consider them to be our conquests. They can become our friends. Our companions. Our family, in a completely non-sexual way.
It takes a lot of courage and stength to give up sex. The majority of the population do not want to risk social rejection from friends when the choice to become celibate is made. To me celibacy means complete celibacy. Of course many people believe some things are alright and not others. But I am talking about no sex, no touching, no kissing, no masturbation.
I am talking about taking your mind to another place and leaving it there. If we keep dabbling in the realm of sex, the mind can’t reach the other shore. We can’t take control. There is still a chance that we can be overcome if lesser sexual activities exist. The small tastes will be enough to sustain the deeper roots until the full course can be enjoyed. To take full control of the mind, at least for me, I must fully abstain from all actions that “lead me to wanting sex.”
Something changes within and without when a strong determined effort is made to be celibate combined with a spiritual practice to remove the root of sexual urge and craving. When I used to meet someone, many times the natural tendency of my mine was to first think if we were sexually compatible or not, then to start to consider how I could “swing it” or “bed them.” This “sexual” mindset changes my whole attitude and my focus of whatever our conversation or relationship is about. I can’t be the “real me”. I have to put on an act or a role that would give me a higher chance of succeeding in my conquests.
I can’t help it that this is the way that I was, I can only look at myself in the present moment and try to “be a better person” in the future. So far, it is working out. My connection to members of the opposite sex is much stronger and I no longer feel a need to “compete” with other males for sexual supremacy. It changes my whole attitude of life and my focus.
The Buddha considered sex to be the deepest root and craving and what brings us through the cycle of suffering the most. Nearly all desires can be extinguished, but sex is perhaps the deepest one. Perhaps it is more difficult for a person who has never had sex to turn it down from someone extremely attractive then someone who has and has chosen to give it up? I feel 100% certain that at least for the next year, nothing can phase my determination of celibacy. It is a step-by-step process.
I do not feel I am strong enough, not do I want to give up sex for the rest of my life, but I am confident that I can for the next year. This is what it is about, going through periods of celibacy to reach higher qualities of happiness or spiritual realization. Furthermore, it is my belief that there are ultimate goals that can only be reached if celibacy is practiced and maintained but I won’t go much into this topic until a later date.
Can a relationship exist without sex? Can mutual companionship? I believe so, but it must be based on mutual understanding. Both parties have to be on the same page with the same goals. Only then can it happen. True respect then occurs. True love then occurs! Wanting to be with someone for who they are and not for how they make you feel is the basis of true love. Not for the way they look physically. Not for how good or fast they can bring you temporary satisfaction. Loving with zero expectation is true love.
What greater expectation is there than expecting sex, good or bad? It is a much deeper relationship. On top of that, there are no more worries of infidelity which is one of the biggest issues in relationships. Full trust can be reached because the partners know that the other is not thinking about sex, which is propagated by a sexual relationship in the first place.
Except for a small percentage of the population, it is nigh impossible to “always have amazing sex,” with the same person or even different people for the rest of our lives. If we judge the quality of our relationships and life based upon this factor, which such a large percentage of people do, then it is easy to see why people are unhappy and our divorce rates in the West are over 50%. The grass will always be greener on the other side if sex is the basis for our judgement.
The joy of living non-sexually or celibacy can only be realized if it is practiced. And like I mentioned earlier it is very hard to stay celibate especially when confronted with opportunities unless one has a spiritual practice to remove the roots of sexual desire. Once this occurs however, in my opinion, it is a much happier and simpler existence. I know that if I wanted to I could find a way to satisfy this “want”, because it surely is not a “need” which most consider it to be, but I choose not to for my own longer term happiness and the greater good of everyone I come into contact with.
This ability to to control ourselves, leading ultimately to a higher quality of life, is one of many factors that separate humanity from its animal ancestors. Animals can’t control themselves and are “forced” to fulfill these urges to propagate their species. We can still spread humanity, without sex being the most important things in our lives.
I am not saying that sex is bad. I am not saying I will never do it again. I’m just saying I know that a higher happiness can be reached once I give it up. I’ve experienced it over many courses of time and will continue to do so many times in the future. Hopefully this post will encourage those that are currently celibate, whether by choice or not, that their actuality is greater than the potentiality that sex offers.
Hopefully those that feel “alone” may realize that being “alone” is not such a bad thing and can offer equal and perhaps a greater happiness than being with someone, especially with someone that could bring unnecessary misery into one’s life. I believe we must learn to live independently happy before we can learn to truly live happily with a partner or companion. Otherwise, as is often the case, the relationship may be doomed to fail.
I have made it to Vrindaven! After a long train ride, a bus trip, an auto-rickshaw and a Tuk-Tuk I’m finally here. I am staying with a friend of a friend at his ashram near the ISKCON center. So far it has been an enjoyable experience and I’m learning their beliefs. I have studied the “Hare Krishnas” (as many people call them) for many years and this is the first time to have an “in-depth” look. Hopefully I’ll be able to relay what I learn and will try my best to truthfully convey my feelings about their religion and spiritual beliefs. I am going to some sort of spiritual meeting of of the high level gurus tomorrow evening followed by a feast of some sorts. Should be interesting. Supplies to Sindhupalchok
I promise I will get to the report on Sindhupalchok soon. I have not had access to Internet so I haven’t been able to collect the reports from Anjali or the others. I am getting a 1GB internet SIM card to use though and should be able to get it up shortly.
I hope everyone has a wonderful day and I am sorry I haven’t been more active the past few days! Missing all of your support and love!!!
List of daily expenses and donations for May 5th and 6th, 2015:
Total spent on food: $6.83 Room: $1.59 Random: $2.78 Travel: $1.74 Total: $12.95 + 111.91 = $124.86 divided by 15 days = $8.32 per day
Donations given to random strangers = 106 Indian rupees or $1.68 Donations given to sadhus or holy men = 200 INR or $3.18 Total = $4.87 + $843.88 divided by 15 days = $56.58 each day
Expense account = $513.05–12.95 = $500.10 (Avg. $8.32 per day will last 60 more days) Donations account = $281.25–4.87 = $277.18 (Avg $56.58 per day will last 5 more days)
Originally published at thisamericansadhu.com on May 7, 2015.