Eradicating sex drive

General discussion of issues related to Theravada Training of Sila, the Five Precepts (Pañcasikkhāpada), and Eightfold Ethical Conduct (Aṭṭhasīla).

Re: Eradicating sex drive

Postby tiltbillings » Wed Nov 13, 2013 9:47 am

reflection wrote:There is a tendency here that "eradicating sex drive" is a harsh formulation and may be the wrong way to go about it. Reading the OP also, I agree with that. But the Buddha also used quite strong words apparently:

"And which is even practice? There is the case where a monk doesn't acquiesce to an arisen thought of sensuality. He abandons it, destroys it, dispels it, knows it,[2] demolishes it, wipes it out of existence.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html



However I think we should remember that removing sensual thoughts totally is a very advanced stage in the practice and certainly not the thing to aim for if we are not in the right place for it.
And we should remember that the above words are directed at celibate monks.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

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Re: Eradicating sex drive

Postby Sekha » Wed Nov 13, 2013 5:36 pm

tiltbillings wrote:
"And which is even practice? There is the case where a monk doesn't acquiesce to an arisen thought of sensuality. He abandons it, destroys it, dispels it, knows it,[2] demolishes it, wipes it out of existence.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html


And we should remember that the above words are directed at celibate monks.

If you mean to say those words are meant only for monks, I have to disagree. At AN 8.21 the householder Ugga explains that he undertook complete celibacy as his 5th precept. So, celibacy can also be a valuable and efficient practice for non-monastics. We should not try to convince ourselves otherwise.
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Re: Eradicating sex drive

Postby Zom » Wed Nov 13, 2013 6:16 pm

However I think we should remember that removing sensual thoughts totally is a very advanced stage in the practice and certainly not the thing to aim for if we are not in the right place for it.


Exactly so. I tried it 7 years ago, but didn't succeed. Only when I practised other things well (including those three I mentioned) I finally managed to handle it -) And what is more, at the moment this is no longer a harsh struggle (like before), but it goes smoothly for quite some time. So yes, I do know that substantial decreasing of sexual urges is possible by means of buddhist practice. But total eradication of this is a very different thing and, as I see it from texts, requires jhana and deep vipassana based on it.

Is there some mention of this in Buddhism, of the connection between the urges for food and sex?


Not much. But there is. For example:

"In the same manner, I say, O monks, should edible food be considered. If, O monks, the nutriment edible food is comprehended, the lust for the five sense-objects is (thereby) comprehended. And if lust for the five sense-objects is comprehended, there is no fetter enchained by which a noble disciple might come to this world again.

from here: http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f=25&t=12444 :reading:
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Re: Eradicating sex drive

Postby reflection » Wed Nov 13, 2013 9:38 pm

tiltbillings wrote:
reflection wrote:There is a tendency here that "eradicating sex drive" is a harsh formulation and may be the wrong way to go about it. Reading the OP also, I agree with that. But the Buddha also used quite strong words apparently:

"And which is even practice? There is the case where a monk doesn't acquiesce to an arisen thought of sensuality. He abandons it, destroys it, dispels it, knows it,[2] demolishes it, wipes it out of existence.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html



However I think we should remember that removing sensual thoughts totally is a very advanced stage in the practice and certainly not the thing to aim for if we are not in the right place for it.
And we should remember that the above words are directed at celibate monks.

Technically that's true, but that doesn't mean that the practice of celibacy is only for monks/nuns. Most suttas are directed towards monks, but the practice is obviously also for lay people. Suttas like the anapanasati sutta, to quote: "There is the case where a monk.. Always mindful, he breathes in; mindful he breathes out.", but obviously the practice is also beneficial for lay people. It seems that it is simply the case that discourses were remembered by the monks and passed on and discourses to the lay people not as much. You will probably agree that being a lay person doesn't mean you should have sex or should have a desire for it. Or to be more exact: any sensual desire. Because those, like desire for food, are included in the sutta.

Some lay people wish to be more 'like monks/nuns', or have plans to ordain or for whatever other reason they may want to decrease their sensual desires. At a certain point in the practice I think it becomes a natural desire to want to decrease sensual craving, because one sees the drawback of it.

But as I previously said I think such discussions are not the point of the thread.
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Re: Eradicating sex drive

Postby reflection » Wed Nov 13, 2013 9:46 pm

greenjuice wrote:Is there some mention of this in Buddhism, of the connection between the urges for food and sex?

There is, but I don't know specifics in the suttas themselves. Other than that to totally remove sensual desire, all sensual desires (food/sex/music etc go together). I do however recall teachers pointing to practical aspects of the desires for food connecting with overall sense desire and thank you for bringing it up! :anjali:
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Re: Eradicating sex drive

Postby Disciple » Thu Nov 21, 2013 8:54 pm

How can we eliminate something that is simply a human biological need?
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Re: Eradicating sex drive

Postby dxm_dxm » Tue Dec 31, 2013 4:46 am

How can we eliminate something that is simply a human biological need?

Same way you elliminate all the others biological, mental etc. needs: by having the right mindset and been able to abstain from it long enaught.

After a while (surprisingly short while) you will feel no desire for sexual activity anymore, the same way you do not feel a desire for heroin.
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Re: Eradicating sex drive

Postby dxm_dxm » Tue Dec 31, 2013 5:48 am

I am not afraid of it, nor do I hold negative feelings towards it.

If you have a partner and she is not a wanna-be renunciate too there is no urgent reason to stop sexual activity. If you quit this one out of a billion pleasures that bring us dopamine you will still have the others to quit, like the mind wandering in search of pleasant sensations and avoiding negative ones. It would be bad to cut off this pleasure from the list depriving another human been of it too. Only thing you can do is get advanced in meditation and cut off more from the attachment to sensual pleasures overall.

However you seem to be a bit too aggressive on this subject, almost encoureging it but a particular kind of agression. The one that springs from seen too many people using the fact that they've quited sex for narcissistic supply and been way more radical against it than you are pro (pro in a particular context). Quiting sex is a huge source of narcissistic supply and as you can read in "The broken Buddha" it is kinda the one and only justification of those bad monks for been superior. Only 1% of the people are narcissist but 100% of people have more or less narcissistic traits been something needed for survival.

Been a narcissist who have quited sexual activity and not been a meditation master yet I can confirm you that this is a very big and special source of narcissistic supply for the next reasons:

1. Althow very easy to quit compared to any other medium/high pleasures, probably the easiest, it makes you feel "special", a thing that every narcissist wants. It makes you feel special because the other people think it is so hard that they do not even think it is possible and you try to lie that to yourself too.

2. Narcissist are a lot more asexual than normal people from the begining. Narcissist despise sex because anybody can have it, not only the "special" ones. Even a mentally retarded can have sex. That is why sex is considered too mundane for a special person like the narcissist.

3. Narcissist are misogins and love to sexually frustrate woman by refusing sex. After I quited sexual activity I found how big this pleasure really is and try to avoid it. (I also have great tips) If I would not be a budhist and be the most convinced hedonist of all I would give up sex for this reason alone.

4. It makes the narcissist less dependent on the world, something that he want's a lot too.



So keep in mind that the overreactions from the people who have quited it may cause the same need to overreact in you. Why do you think that there are so many people that from all pleasures have quited sex on this forum if not because of the narcissistic traits in all of us?

PS: I have to add that quiting sexual activity has a lot of big practical advantages that few know of witch I am gona enumerate if anybody is interested. If I would be a convinced hedonist right now trying to get as much pleasure as posible in this life I would for sure quit sexual activity with other people and keep only masturbation on my list.
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Re: Eradicating sex drive

Postby robertk » Tue Dec 31, 2013 6:33 am

Actually I think that is rather insightful(the post on narcissism).
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Re: Eradicating sex drive

Postby Mkoll » Tue Dec 31, 2013 10:28 pm

dxm_dxm wrote:PS: I have to add that quiting sexual activity has a lot of big practical advantages that few know of witch I am gona enumerate if anybody is interested.

Dear dxm_dxm,

I'd be interested in your views. Just for curiousity's sake, you know. :tongue:

:anjali:
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Re: Eradicating sex drive

Postby manas » Wed Jan 01, 2014 3:40 am

Regarding the original post...as I understand it:

if we wish to eradicate sex desire, we need to attain the third level of awakening, anagami;

if we wish to suppress sex desire, in such a way that we simply won't be troubled by it for a while, we need to master one or more of the jhanas;

But in the meantime, even without either of these, there is still a lot we can do in dealing with it in a skillful way. I think, though, that the idea of 'eradicating' it in the early stages of practice, is going to cause more stress than ease, because it just doesn't disappear that easily. Although over time, we can learn various skills that make it much easier to not be a slave to it, etc. But I would suggest a healthy dose of patience for those who want to 'eradicate' it totally.

:anjali:
Last edited by manas on Wed Jan 01, 2014 3:56 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Eradicating sex drive

Postby Mkoll » Wed Jan 01, 2014 3:48 am

Dear friends,

As manas said, focusing on the "eradication" of sexual desire will probably cause more stress than it removes. The anāgāmi has not only eradicated sexual desire, but all desire for the five senses. This is no mean feat. And it tells me that sexual desire is to be eradicated along with sensual desire in all of its myriad manifestations. So it's probably not a good idea to focus exclusively on sexual desire.

:anjali:
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Re: Eradicating sex drive

Postby Strive4Karuna » Fri Mar 07, 2014 11:18 pm

From my experience,

Seeing, accepting, not judging, not acting on it based on right intention to overcome sex drive

when you have done this, you need to do something to counter the lust, even if you have stopped the lust from growing in you, it is still there so you have to scoop it out. Meditate on the 32 parts of the body, how dirty our bodies actually are and it is our ignorance which is the reason why we see attraction in the human body which is like an animals. Meditation on loving kindness, compassion, equanimity, altruistic joy will help you control your lust a lot better. When you genuinely love someone, the love and care you have for that person helps you to see that person as a human first, your brother or sister in the world and how you can be of benefit to them instead of only seeing that person as an object of your gain and desire.
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Re: Eradicating sex drive

Postby manas » Sat Apr 19, 2014 2:25 am

karuna wrote:how dirty our bodies actually are and it is our ignorance which is the reason why we see attraction in the human body which is like an animals.


I used to think like that, but lately I question whether seeing our body as 'dirty' is a very healthy way to live. Sure, I am not attracted to a sexual partner's internal organs, but only to how they appear on the outside. But so what? Anyway, to see it as filth is one perspective, but I prefer my current one: it is the most wonderful biological machine on Earth, worth taking good care of, and quite miraculous in how it functions, heals itself, etc. While the 'insides' are not conducive to sexual arousal, I still don't see them as 'dirty', but increasingly nowadays, as fascinating. If you look closely at the bones of the skeleton one by one, you can see that this 'inner structure' we have is actually beautiful, in it's own way.

manas

:anjali:
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Re: Eradicating sex drive

Postby fivebells » Sat Apr 19, 2014 2:48 am

They're both accurate perspectives, and useful in some contexts. If you're having trouble settling down due to desire, the disgust perspective is useful. If you're trying to brighten the mind, the wonder perspective is useful.
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Re: Eradicating sex drive

Postby manas » Sat Apr 19, 2014 3:00 am

fivebells wrote:They're both accurate perspectives, and useful in some contexts. If you're having trouble settling down due to desire, the disgust perspective is useful. If you're trying to brighten the mind, the wonder perspective is useful.


You make a good point there. And on that note, I think that an individual who finds it difficult to feel warm and glowing metta for themselves, should not do asubha bhavana, or they risk cultivating aversion rather than disenchantment. What do others think? I seem to recall that in the VM there was something written about this...?
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Re: Eradicating sex drive

Postby rgb1 » Sat May 24, 2014 1:24 am

Hey, how about instead of identifying with the desire and pushing it away or chasing after some "relief", you just observe it mindfully? When the desire arises, just allow it to come up and observe it, get to know the desire and see it for what is it. You can do this through vipassana/insight meditation. To learn the technique as practiced in the Mahasi Sayadaw tradition: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fpzurcpIDeY

Hope this is helpful,
Be well.
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Re: Eradicating sex drive

Postby Alex123 » Tue Jul 29, 2014 7:15 pm

Anagarika wrote:Isn't it fundamental to practice that we work to release ourselves from the sense fetters that tie us to samsara?


Yes, you are right. From the point of view of maggaphala, sex along with other indulgences in 5 sense world needs to be let go off.

Indulgence in kama is not noble eightfold path.


Buddhist Sexual Ethics - A Rejoinder

Buddhism means many things to many people. To some, it offers wise and compassionate advice on how to lessen the suffering of modern lay life. To others, it is the path to Enlightenment which ends all suffering. Mr Higgins' article in the November issue of Bodhi Leaf refers to the former kind of Buddhism only. The Buddhism which leads to Enlightenment is somewhat different, as we will now show.
The place of sexuality in Buddhism is made manifestly clear in the Buddha's First Sermon in which the Great Teacher proclaimed the famous Middle Way:

"One should not pursue sensual pleasure (KÂMA-SUKHA), which is low vulgar, coarse, ignoble and unbeneficial; and one should not pursue self-mortification, which is painful, ignoble and unbeneficial. So it was said. And with reference to what was this said? The pursuit of the enjoyment of one whose pleasure is linked to sensual desire - low, vulgar, coarse, ignoble and unbeneficial - is a state beset by suffering, vexation, despair and fever, and it is the wrong way. Disengage from the pursuit of the enjoyment of one whose pleasure is linked to sensual desire - low, vulgar, coarse, ignoble and unbeneficial - is a state without suffering, vexation despair and fever, and it is the right way. The pursuit of self-mortification… is the wrong way. Disengagement from the pursuit of self-mortification… is the right way… The Middle Way discovered by the Tathàgata avoids both these extremes… it leads… to Nibbàna."

(Ven Bhikkhu Bodhi's translation of the Buddha's words in The Middle Length Discourses of the Buddha, p.1080f)

The Buddha's declaration that the pursuit of sensual pleasures, which include sex, lies outside the Middle Way is reinforced many times in the Suttapitaka. For example, in the Simile of the Quail, Sutta No 66 of the Majjhima Nikàya, the Buddha declares:

"Now, Udàyin, the pleasure and joy that arises dependent on these five cords of sensual pleasure are called sensual pleasures - a filthy pleasure, a coarse pleasure, an ignoble pleasure. I say of this kind of pleasure that it should not be pursued, that it should not be developed, that it should not be cultivated, that it should be feared… (whereas the pleasure of the Four Jhànas). This is called the bliss of renunciation, the bliss of enlightenment. I say of this kind of pleasure that it should be pursued, that it should be developed, that it should be cultivated, that it should not be feared." (ibid p.557)

Even in the time of the Buddha, some misguided people went around saying that sexual practice was not an obstruction to Enlightenment. The Buddha rebuked them strongly with the well known simile of the snake, comparing their wrong grasp of the Teachings to a man who grasps a venomous snake by the tail, out of stupidity, and suffers accordingly:

"Misguided man, in many discourses have I not stated how obstructive things are obstructive, and how they are able to obstruct one who engages in them? I have stated how sensual pleasures provide little gratification, much suffering, and much despair, and how great is the danger in them. With the simile of skeleton… with the simile of the piece of meat… with the simile of the grasstorch… with the simile of the pit of coals… with the simile of the dream… with the simile of the borrowed goods… with the simile of the tree laden with fruit… with the simile of the slaughterhouse… with the simile of the sword stake… with the simile of the snake's head, I have stated how sensual pleasures provide little gratification, much suffering, and much despair, and how great is the danger in them. But you, misguided man, have misrepresented us by your wrong grasp and injured yourself and stored up much demerit; for this will lead to your harm and suffering for a long time." (The Buddha in the simile of the Snake; ibid p.225f)

Indeed, the Buddha taught that sexual practises not only lie outside the Middle Way, but also that they are part of craving (KÂMA-TANHA, the craving for sensual pleasure) described in the Second Noble Truth as the cause of suffering, they are attachments (KÂM' UPÂDÂNA, 'the attachment to sensual pleasure'), they are a hindrance to meditation (KÂMA-CCHANDA, the first of the 5 NIVARANA), they are defilement (KILESA) of the mind, they are a fetter obstructing liberation (the fourth fetter, SAMYOJANA, is KÂMARÂGA 'lust') and they have no part in the behaviour an Enlightened being is capable of).

The Buddha realised that such Teachings would hardly be received enthusiastically by most, for He said shortly after the Enlightenment:
"The world, however, is given to pleasure, delighted with pleasure, enchanted with pleasure. Truly, such beings will hardly understand the law of conditionality, the Dependent Origination. (PATICCA-SAMUPPÂDA) of everything; incomprehensible to them will be the end of all formations, the forsaking of every substratum of rebirth, the fading away of craving, detachment, extinction, Nibbàna." (Ven. Nànatiloka's translation in the Word of the Buddha, p.2)

But then, it is better to be true than to be popular.

Ven. Ajahn Chah, the teacher under whom we both trained for many years, similarly taught that sexual practises had to be given up if one aspired for Enlightenment. For example, I remember a Westerner coming to see Ajahn Chah once and saying that he was sexually active but without being attached to the sex. Ajahn Chah completely ridiculed the statement as an impossibility, saying something like "Bah! that's like saying there can be salt which isn't salty!" Ajahn Chah taught all who came to him, monastic and lay, that sexual desire is KILESA (defilement of the mind), it is a hindrance to success in meditation and an obstruction to Enlightenment. He taught that sexual activity should be abandoned if one wants to end suffering. He would never speak in praise of sex. He would only speak in praise of letting go.

by Ajahn Brahmavamso
and
Ajahn Nanadhammo
http://www.buddhanet.net/rejoiner.htm
I was not; I was; I am not; I do not care."
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