Search & Read
The Craving for Sex
Carol: I met a very nice man and am spending time with him. In any case, there is lots of sex and a beautiful love flow. I’m regarding all with a lot of mirth, upside-downside and moment-by-moment karma and FYF yoga. One of my lady friends has already tried to move in on the new guy. After I got done fuming about it, I accepted the well-placed jolt of recognition. So dumb. The whole thing is really retarded. But I love love and sex, so there you go. Time to read your relationship book again and get some sane pointers.
Sundari: We found your recent communications with us vis-à-vis your sexploits (which I have left out of this satsang) interesting, not in the visuals of the act they produced (ouch!), as there is little less interesting to hear about (or watch) for us than other people’s sex lives. We always fast-forward the sex parts in movies, as we find them so yawn-worthy. We have both had pretty interesting sex lives historically, and sex is an act of love for us. There is no way it can be beautiful and sattvic if it is not, because sex purely to relieve craving is a rajasic and mentally agitating act.
What interested us is why you thought we would be interested in hearing about your sexual antics. You obviously needed to talk about it, as clearly sex is a big samskara for you. We have noticed that the energy of that powerful desire hangs around like you like perfume. As a result, you tend to attract guys with the same samskara, which of course means they are not the faithful type, because their main interest is satiating the craving for sex too. Hence the inevitable fear of loss or betrayal.
I know you know how stupid the whole thing is and have worked hard to put discrimination into play. But that has obviously not worked to make the voracious craving go away. It’s a tough one, and we feel for you. It is so human to crave love, which you know all too well is totally futile.
You need to analyze the situation. This action is obviously not working for you, because the downside, the attachment, is painful. So you get the pleasure – thank God. And you get the pain – thank God. Why thank God for the pain? Because this action, which is a violation of a seeker’s dharma, is calling attention to the deeper problem, one that is standing in the way of your happiness. It is holding you back.
When we have a problem, the problem is never the object, in this case the action of sex itself. Attachment to sex, not sex, is the problem. So the question is, “What do I really want?” If you were clear about that then you would be committed to actions that produce peace. As I said above, unless sex is an expression of love it is a rajasic action. Rajas produces agitation and dullness, tamas. It is the craving that is the issue, and you know all too well what the actual source of that craving is the craving for wholeness. For your Self.
We know you know you are the Self and recognize yourself as God many times a day. But what good does it do if it does not have an impact on your vasanas? If you knew that you were the Self and knew what it means to be the Self, it would give you the strength to stand up to his vasana and break your attachment to it because the bliss you seek in the sex act is actually the bliss of the Self, which is with you all the time. Liberation is freedom from dependence on objects for happiness.
It may well be that your attachment to the sex/love vasana is stronger than your attachment to Self-knowledge. Attachment to the Self means a firm conviction that you are whole and complete as you are. It means that you know that you do not need any special feeling to make you complete. It means discrimination and karma yoga are applied correctly and effectively. There must be some part of you that believes that sex can complete you, which is obviously not the case. It makes you feel more incomplete, and less loved or lovable in fact, because the men you attract are feckless.
If Self-knowledge is not enough to break the hold of this vasana, the next line of defence may be to seek help for your addiction. The 12-step programs are very effective for this kind of problem. There are also other programs that put your relationship to this vasana in proper perspective. The other solution is to “woman up” and use a bit of will power. We don’t suggest trying to stop it all at once, but to “sin intelligently” as James’ guru used to say.
No one is saying you should give up sex. Successful sex is anxiety- and attachment-free sex. It may lead to love. When you are totally present with your partner, not living in your fantasies or lost in the all-consuming craving for orgasm, love can flower. Loving sex in the karma yoga spirit is giving and receiving pleasure in a sacred and supremely satisfying way, regardless of the outcome.
You say you are applying karma yoga and “fuck your feelings yoga.” But denying your real feelings or trying to use karma yoga for sex when sex is driven by base rajasic desire alone does not work. Discriminating your thoughts does not entail denial of your feelings but sublimating them to a higher thought – such as “I am whole and complete, and need nothing to be whole or to experience the bliss of my Self.” Trying to convince yourself that you are just going with the flow of what Isvara sends your way won’t work either. There are definitely many times that it is in our best interests to say no to Isvara.
When love and gratitude is added to secular karma yoga in the context of a desire for liberation, you have sacred karma yoga. You consecrate the sexual encounter to God at the outset, which removes anxiety, and you gladly accept the results. Over time it removes sexual cravings, which disturb the mind. But please remember that sacred karma yoga is a formal discipline that prescribes certain rituals for those engaged in Self-inquiry, of which sex is not one.
Don’t imagine that sex is a valid spiritual path, because the purpose is of sex is pleasure, not liberation. Pleasure never lasts but liberation does because it is your eternal nature. Yes, sex may be an important part of your life, but it should be no more important than any other basic need; food, for instance. You don’t eat to get enlightened. The best attitude to sex is total dispassion, a “take it or leave it, all the same to me” attitude.
We wish for you the true and constant peace and bliss of the Self, free of the turmoil of the jiva and its many attachments. We understand all too well how hard it is for that jiva to be happy in this world, which can be so brutal. Love is the nature of the Self and the refuge we all seek, but alas, seeking it dooms us to never find it. What to do? You do know.
~ With much love from both of us, Sundari