I have spent the past few days doing some research on the place of sexuality in various Buddhist traditions. There is a very wide range of thought, in most Mahayana schools there is an inclusivity around sexuality in practice which brings a sense of being able to practice properly while being a lay person with a family with a job etc. In Vajrayana there is a step further into a Tantric tradition which one might call sacred sexuality, with various Buddha sexual carvings/metaphors and a varied range of practice, the Gelugpa school visualises these things in Tantric and deity meditation, the Nyingma school goes further and actually has, historically, many enlightened Yogi who take consorts, Yoginis/Dakinis and practice sexually together (Yogi/Yogini/Dakini are not ordained Sangha, they are lay Sangha). The Nyingma school of Vajrayana Buddhism really brings the lay community into the practice, and as a result, the lay community are fully integrated into the Dhamma of the Buddha, and have had a very large part to play in the development of Buddhism outside the institutionalised monastic system. Japanese Mahayana Buddhism seems to be unique in that, it has historically had problems with a huge monastic tradition of the... meditation of the repulsiveness of the female body and, as a result, the emergence of full scale institutionalised monastic homosexuality.
The reason why im posting here is because... I have encountered problems when looking into Theravada thoughts around sexuality, I have heard many contradicting statements and, in much of Theravada, there seems to be this great, almost unbridgeable chasm, between the monastic community and the lay community because much of Theravada seems to totally reject sexuality and say it has no place in the practice of the Dhamma, which basically means that there will only ever be a religious elite who can fully practice the Dhamma, excluding the lay community from true spiritual insight, and in some cases, reducing the lay community to unquestioning subservience to a religious authoritarian elite who dictate societal norms and customs. This total exclusion of sexuality seems to be a major source of alienation and disunity and confusion amongst the Theravadan Sangha.
Can anyone provide any information on Theravada thought on sexuality, on why sexuality should be excluded or included in Dhamma practice, if the lay community can practice Dhamma while being fully in the world etc? or just addressing any point I have brought up in this post.
Thank you all