Eradicating sex drive

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

Eradicating sex drive

Postby NotQuiteSure » Tue Oct 22, 2013 8:02 am

Hi all,

sorry for not making an introduction first in the other part of the forum, but I decided it would be much clearer if I put all the relevant information - including my background - in the question I've come here to ask.

Is it attainable for anyone to get rid of their sex drive?

I'm a 24 years old male living in Poland. I've been meditating (almost exclusively anapana) on and off since I was 12. I haven't done that in a while, though. Except for downloading copyrighted content, I've been quite strict on following the 5 precepts. I've also done two 10-day Goenka's courses and I'm about to do another one the next month. There were even times when I was thinking about ordaining eventually some day. What held me back was that ever since I can remember, I've always had a very high sex drive.

That in itself is nothing bad, of course, but I happen to be what they call an incel - abbreviation for 'involuntary celibacy'. The reasons of me not being able to find a sex partner are not relevant to this question and, more importantly, beyond my understanding ;)

Anyway, after several years of putting ridiculous amounts of time and energy into trying to find a partner, I decided to loose my virginity with a prostitute over a month ago. What followed was a wonderful, blissfull month of peace with myself. I had not realized how much the accumulated frustration had been poisoning my mind. I had also not realized how little one might care about one's sex life or lack of it. Sadly, those peaceful days came to an end when two changes occured almost simultaneously in my environment.

Firstly, my flatmate managed without significant effort to instantly find exactly the kind of relationship I had been so desperately looking for - it might be called 'f***friends'. Secondly, a friend of mine expressed some interest in me which led to me building my hopes up. The volume of pain it has caused yet again made me realize that if there is any way to get rid of my sex drive, it's worth anything it might take. And if possible I would rather not resort to pharmacotherapy.

Here is the plan I've coined three days ago: Till the end of the year, I will not masturbate or have sexual intercourse with anyone. The latter should be quite easy to follow ;) but making that decision required quite a lot of strong will - because there is always some hope in the back of my mind. And it preveents me from chatting someone up and making my hope even bigger. After that I will decide what to do next. Maybe I will consult a psychiatrist. Maybe I will become anagarika. Maybe I will just prolong that 'vow'.

It's quite possible that if I managed to have sex with few partners, my desire for sex would diminish significantly or maybe even disappear. That's what happened with my desire for e.g. kissing or cuddling. What I'm afraid of is regreat - that after longer time in celibacy I will still have doubts whether I should fight my sex drive or try to find a partner. And that I will consider my current efforts wasted which will lead to even more pain.

So my questions are: Is it possible for me to completely eradicate my sex drive? Do you have any suggestions how to do that? Do you have any experience doing that? Do you think it's also possible to be absolutely confident in this choice and not feel any remorse? I am confident right now, but that's because the memory of all the suffering my desire has caused to me is still fresh.

Sorry for elaborating so much on my situation. And thank you for reading all of it. Any suggestions, opinions and advice will be of great value to me.
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Re: Eradicating sex drive

Postby Ben » Tue Oct 22, 2013 8:31 am

As someone who has done two ten-day courses of Vipassana meditation under the guidance of SN Goenka, I find your request a little curious. You would have learned an excellent strategy to deal with lust. Observe your sensations with equanimity.
A few other points: you won't diminish sexual desire by indulging in it. In fact, you will just make it stronger.
Developing an aversion to sexual desire is a recipe for the multiplication of suffering.
Just observe.
Kind regards,
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Re: Eradicating sex drive

Postby NotQuiteSure » Tue Oct 22, 2013 10:43 am

Thank you, Ben, for your response.

The choice I'm facing is this: Either pursue my sexual desire or give it up.

As to pursuing it: I know already how much pain it can cause when I fail. I don't know how much temporary joy it can cause when I succeed. So my decision to give it up is based on the assumption that pleasure resulting from sex cannot possibly outgrow the pain. Yet, since I have (virtually) no personal experience, this is only an assumption I'm making based on my imagination and how sex is pictured in the pop culture. I suspect that if I had some experience I would find out I had been overrating it. So the root of the problem seems to be the uncertainty of what I'm missing.

My commitment to celibacy is strong right now. If a sexual desire arises, I will observe it and not act to indulge in it. However, I suspect that over time I will forget about the pain and if I don't eradicate the desire by then, doubts will arise. And then I will not only return to the same position I have been to, I will also feel remorse about 'wasting' the time on celibacy instead of trying to fulfill my desire.

Before that happens, I would like to purify my mind from sexual desire as fully as possible, while I have the 'momentum'.
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Re: Eradicating sex drive

Postby Sanjay PS » Tue Oct 22, 2013 12:33 pm

NotQuiteSure wrote:Thank you, Ben, for your response.

The choice I'm facing is this: Either pursue my sexual desire or give it up.

As to pursuing it: I know already how much pain it can cause when I fail. I don't know how much temporary joy it can cause when I succeed. So my decision to give it up is based on the assumption that pleasure resulting from sex cannot possibly outgrow the pain. Yet, since I have (virtually) no personal experience, this is only an assumption I'm making based on my imagination and how sex is pictured in the pop culture. I suspect that if I had some experience I would find out I had been overrating it. So the root of the problem seems to be the uncertainty of what I'm missing.

My commitment to celibacy is strong right now. If a sexual desire arises, I will observe it and not act to indulge in it. However, I suspect that over time I will forget about the pain and if I don't eradicate the desire by then, doubts will arise. And then I will not only return to the same position I have been to, I will also feel remorse about 'wasting' the time on celibacy instead of trying to fulfill my desire.

Before that happens, I would like to purify my mind from sexual desire as fully as possible, while I have the 'momentum'.


Hello NQS,

Its very remarkable that at such a young age you have this wonderful will of celibacy .

i think you will not feel any remorse about having lead a celibate life , rather, if you keep feeling the sensations and understand their nature of change, with as much little reaction as possible , i am sure you yourself will come to realize that indulging in sensual desire is not a supportive condition in developing a mind of calm and poise , capable of penetrative insight . Daily sittings helps in realizing this truth , and slowly we can turn away from all that is unskillful .

i grappled a lot with this problem . in my case it was more of a "taxing" hindrance , the hindrance being the capital , and the taxing being the interest (which had become more than the capital itself :broke: ) of unrest that i was creating myself in this unskilled behavior . Now the taxing, unskilled part has evaporated with the help of metta from members of this forum and many others, and its now the hindrance that remains . Gradually this hindrance can also be abandoned and eradicated , since it is clear to feel and see, that bodily contact does not give rise to true happiness and on the contrary sets us back when feeling the deep mind within. However , if we stop meditating , this truth will become distorted .

Eradicating bodily desire finally and completely is not easy a task as it may sound . Its only Anagmis and Arhants who are devoid of these latent tendencies . But as long as we are clear that this is not a helpful condition ( as Ben said without developing any aversion ) , we have every hope in eradicating this condition sometime or the other . When it does finally get eradicated , it will be very clear that such and such hindrance , no longer has a support to arise.

Once again, in great appreciation to your will. i am thankful to the members who have lent their kind support in extending their understanding and in being patient to the sufferings that i inflicted upon myself .

sanjay
Last edited by Sanjay PS on Tue Oct 22, 2013 1:58 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Eradicating sex drive

Postby seeker242 » Tue Oct 22, 2013 12:56 pm

There is some really good talk on it here. http://www.forestdhamma.org/ebooks/engl ... aphala.pdf

This is an excerpt from page 44. This section starts on page 40. But the whole entire e-book is quite good!

Sexual attraction is rooted in perceptions of the human body.
When the real basis of these perceptions is exposed, it completely
undermines their validity; and the external, as we know it, collapses and our attachment to it ceases of its own accord. The
defiling influence of sexual attraction—which has ridden rough shod over the mind since time immemorial, luring the mind to
grasp at birth and so experience death continuously for eons—
this insidious craving is now powerless. The mind has now passed
beyond its influence: It is now free.
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Re: Eradicating sex drive

Postby Sanjay PS » Tue Oct 22, 2013 1:57 pm

seeker242 wrote:There is some really good talk on it here. http://www.forestdhamma.org/ebooks/engl ... aphala.pdf

This is an excerpt from page 44. This section starts on page 40. But the whole entire e-book is quite good!

Sexual attraction is rooted in perceptions of the human body.
When the real basis of these perceptions is exposed, it completely
undermines their validity; and the external, as we know it, collapses and our attachment to it ceases of its own accord. The
defiling influence of sexual attraction—which has ridden rough shod over the mind since time immemorial, luring the mind to
grasp at birth and so experience death continuously for eons—
this insidious craving is now powerless. The mind has now passed
beyond its influence: It is now free.


What powerful words . May we all be successful .

:anjali:
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Re: Eradicating sex drive

Postby reflection » Tue Oct 22, 2013 2:46 pm

Instead of planning it out and projecting months or so into the future, just take it one day at a time. You can't really predict how these things will develop, anyway. It's also part of the training not to be too worrisome about future events.
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Re: Eradicating sex drive

Postby Dan74 » Tue Oct 22, 2013 3:39 pm

I think Ben (and other members) give excellent advice - observe. Build some space and clarity around all the feelings that arise in relation to sexual desire. Whichever way it turns out, it will be a worthwhile exercise.

Being so young and highly sexed, I'd say the only way to overcome it is to pour energy into something even more important to you. Ajahn Chah said that he had extremely strong sexual desire as a young monk. But his commitment to Dhamma practice was even stronger!

This is a big ask and most of us have to strike a reasonable compromise which is not necessarily bad. Finding a suitable partner can be a great blessing and a great opportunity to practice the paramis. Of course sex is not half of what it's cracked up to be but between the hormones raging and the pop culture brainwashing, you are not going to really believe me. I know it's a cliche but there are many things that help manage sex drive, from sport to proper diet to contemplation of the impermanence of the body, of aging and death. So good luck and remember to apply the Dhamma that you've learned!
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Re: Eradicating sex drive

Postby kmath » Tue Oct 22, 2013 10:21 pm

Ben wrote:Developing an aversion to sexual desire is a recipe for the multiplication of suffering.
Just observe.



I agree. Just take it one day at a time. Relax. Don't be so extreme. You're setting yourself up to fail by projecting so far into the future. Buddhism isn't about killing desires, anyway. It's about letting them go with mindfulness.
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Re: Eradicating sex drive

Postby NotQuiteSure » Wed Oct 23, 2013 11:33 am

Thank you, everyone. I'm just writing to let you know that I really, really appreciate all your advice. Before I reply, though, I feel I need to give some more time and thought to what you wrote.
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Re: Eradicating sex drive

Postby Sekha » Wed Oct 23, 2013 4:24 pm

Hi NQS,

I have a little bit of experience in this field. I managed to completely stop any sexual activity for extended periods of time. The key was to go step by step. I didn't try to abstain totally right from the start. I diminished, tried to stop completely as long as it would not drive me crazy, and I found the way to indulge to the lowest extent possible (I don't think I should give details publicly), with removing the temporary fever as my only goal, setting totally aside the pursuit of pleasure. Having passed that stage, I enjoyed a life without sexual desire. It's so much more peaceful, and you are full of energy all the time.

I also sometimes practiced asubha perception with pictures of dead bodies etc. but you may not necessarily want to go too far with removing completely your attraction for the human body because people will soon unconsciously notice in you something they abhor in themselves and think you are a very weird person, and that can create a strange atmosphere around you. Well, I leave it to you to experience with that.
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Re: Eradicating sex drive

Postby manas » Wed Oct 23, 2013 8:14 pm

Greetings notquitesure

looking at your title 'eradicating sex desire' I sense the kind of fanaticism that I was prey to for most of my adult life. I'm sorry to be so blunt, but it's a bit like saying 'I want to eradicate the desire for food'. Sex desire is a natural aspect of having this human body, with it's cocktail of neurochemicals that are going to get released every time you look at an attractive member of the opposite sex, so get used to it. I'm not saying 'go ahead and indulge', no; on the contrary, I encourage you to practice as much restraint as possible. Without restraint, we just end up behaving like animals. I just mean, this wish you have sounds like it is born of impatience, and unwillingness to bear with something that is going to be an irritating problem for (probably) quite some time. It sounds like you just want to get it out of the way quickly, so you won't have to bear it. But if you have strong sexual feelings, well welcome to the human race. Laypeople have sexual feelings, monks have sexual feelings...we all have them. It's how you deal with them when they arise, that is important, not that you will just be able to 'eradicate' them, as though they were some pests like cockroaches in your kitchen, that you could just spray with insecticide and be done with (I'm not advocating killing, that was just a figure of speech - I don't intentionally kill insects). You will need to just bear with it like the rest of us, there's no quick fix. I recommend going on with meditation, practicing virtue (five precepts), eight when you can, and studying the Buddha's wise words, practicing the entire Noble Eightfold Path, and over a long period of time too. Doing that, sex desire will eventually be overcome, as you reach higher levels of realization. But it won't happen with an act of will alone. I know because I have tried to do this heaps of time, and have failed to 'eradicate' the desire on a deeper level. Darn it, no matter how many bouts of 'pure celibacy' I do, the desire still lurks deep down, it's not gone yet... Be willing to bear with the sexual feelings, but learn skills and strategies for dealing with them. Feelings are just feelings, they can be witnessed, you can feel them without fanning their flames, you can skillfully direct your mind elsewhere when they do, there are lots of ways to deal with them that don't involve simply acting them out. But to just somehow eradicate them, so you can just get them out of the way for good - you will need to reach the second level of enlightenment even just to reduce them, and really I would first work on reaching the first level. One step at time, friend!

On another note, you might consider that, sex in the context of a committed, respectful and loving relationship, might be another way to 'deal' with it. I have only little experience with this, but I can tell you, it's completely different to sex just for the sake of physical pleasure alone. It's not nearly as unwholesome. If engaged in with loving-kindness, it can actually be a beautiful thing...and the feelings of warmth and love can actually become 'the main thing', they actually 'calm down' the more fiery, impulsive aspect of desire. In my limited experience, anyway.

kind regards
manas
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Re: Eradicating sex drive

Postby BubbaBuddhist » Thu Oct 24, 2013 11:35 am

On another note, you might consider that, sex in the context of a committed, respectful and loving relationship, might be another way to 'deal' with it. I have only little experience with this, but I can tell you, it's completely different to sex just for the sake of physical pleasure alone. It's not nearly as unwholesome. If engaged in with loving-kindness, it can actually be a beautiful thing...and the feelings of warmth and love can actually become 'the main thing', they actually 'calm down' the more fiery, impulsive aspect of desire. In my limited experience, anyway.

kind regards
manas


Yes, thank you. I was beginning to wonder if anyone was going to interject that sometimes people can enjoy the sexual act, within a committed relationship with a loving partner, without it destroying them or becoming the foundation of neurosis. I'm in such a relationship with a wonderful woman, my best friend as well as my love, and sexual expression is just another of the many ways we enjoy our life together. Reading these threads I thought I was doing it wrong because I don't suffer a spiritual crises afterward. Although come to think of it, I do often crave a bowl of Wheaties. :lol:

As for casual sex, f-buddies, "scratching the itch," etc: it's not worth the trouble. The sexual act without love has neither context nor depth. It's demeaning. Even dogs can do that. I'd rather read a good book; at least you'll expand your vocabulary.

:namaste:

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Re: Eradicating sex drive

Postby daverupa » Thu Oct 24, 2013 3:31 pm

BubbaBuddhist wrote:sometimes people can enjoy the sexual act, within a committed relationship with a loving partner, without it destroying them or becoming the foundation of neurosis.


The emphasis seems to be a matter of preference; while it's true that sexual activity is with the grain of human proclivities it is nevertheless simply one sort of sensual pleasure, one sort of sensual cord, one more expression of sensuality, and to this extent will impact one's attempts at renunciation and meditation, which is against the grain:

AN 9.41 wrote:Then Tapussa the householder went to Ven. Ananda and, on arrival, having bowed down to him, sat to one side. As he was sitting there he said to Ven. Ananda: "Venerable Ananda, sir, we are householders who indulge in sensuality, delight in sensuality, enjoy sensuality, rejoice in sensuality. For us — indulging in sensuality, delighting in sensuality, enjoying sensuality, rejoicing in sensuality — renunciation seems like a sheer drop-off. Yet I've heard that in this doctrine & discipline the hearts of the very young monks leap up at renunciation, grow confident, steadfast, & firm, seeing it as peace. So right here is where this doctrine & discipline is contrary to the great mass of people: i.e., [this issue of] renunciation."

"This calls for a talk, householder. Let's go see the Blessed One. Let's approach him and, on arrival, tell him this matter. However he explains it to us, we will bear it in mind."
    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]
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Re: Eradicating sex drive

Postby BubbaBuddhist » Fri Oct 25, 2013 12:58 pm

I wonder what ever became of Tapussa? the Buddha described how his contemplations on the pitfalls of sensuality led to his rise to Buddhahood. Of Tapussa's reaction to the Buddha's discourse we apparently have no record. Did he ordain? Did he give the Enlightenment speech ("Excellent dear sir, Excellent! As, one might set upright what had been upset, or disclose what had been covered...etc). Did he decide renunciation was too hard, go home and continue the sensual life of a layman, eat Cheetos, drink wine, love up his wife, go to shadow-shows?

I wish I knew.

Sometimes I think I'm a terrible Buddhist because I know the world is a crappy place, that everything is subject to decay, impermanent, dukkha. Yet in spite of this I enjoy myself and experience inner content. I must be doing it wrong. :lol:
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Re: Eradicating sex drive

Postby daverupa » Fri Oct 25, 2013 2:42 pm

BubbaBuddhist wrote:I must be doing it wrong. :lol:


Not at all, friend, you simply have not yet attended to the appropriate theme for a useful length of time in terms of sensuality.

Consider the simile of the bait, hook, and escape in terms of sensual pleasures; the bait is already easy to see, when you are pursuing such things, so you've already begun! Just consider, next, the hook...
    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]
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Re: Eradicating sex drive

Postby Sanjay PS » Fri Oct 25, 2013 4:40 pm

BubbaBuddhist wrote:I wonder what ever became of Tapussa? the Buddha described how his contemplations on the pitfalls of sensuality led to his rise to Buddhahood. Of Tapussa's reaction to the Buddha's discourse we apparently have no record. Did he ordain? Did he give the Enlightenment speech ("Excellent dear sir, Excellent! As, one might set upright what had been upset, or disclose what had been covered...etc). Did he decide renunciation was too hard, go home and continue the sensual life of a layman, eat Cheetos, drink wine, love up his wife, go to shadow-shows?

I wish I knew.

Sometimes I think I'm a terrible Buddhist because I know the world is a crappy place, that everything is subject to decay, impermanent, dukkha. Yet in spite of this I enjoy myself and experience inner content. I must be doing it wrong. :lol:


Hi Bubba ,

It really nice to have read about the tender loving care and intimacy that you share with your partner . Unfortunately i have never been able to stir tender loving care and intimacy together , but most happily have stopped looking outside in every way ,and thus have become that much happier a man :smile:

There are beings in the higher realms who share such intimacy ,though devoid of bodily contact , and experience relative inner content and lead a happy life . However , as we go deeper and deeper within our own mind , what is perceived as inner content will keep redefining itself in every thing that we do and realize .Hence , even beings of the pure abode become greatly delighted when they get the tool of insight from the Enlightened One and start examining their own purity of mind. Its a very steady learning curve which can withstand all kinds of investigation , provided we are ruthlessly honest in our approach to ourselves , and yes as Dave remarked , affection however lightly sensual and tender it may be , does have a proclivity to eventually fire up :embarassed: . Hence , sooner or later we come to naturally abandon the heat of sensuality, just as we abandon the killing of beings however tiny it may be.

i enjoy the journey so much , there are no words to describe our good fortune to discover such a universal tool of liberation that breaks the very shackles of our minds and our habits.

sanjay
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Re: Eradicating sex drive

Postby BubbaBuddhist » Fri Oct 25, 2013 4:50 pm

I may be too old a dog to change. :tongue: I'm 55 years old, have been practicing Buddhism for 30+ years. Kinda set in my ways. I was going to take the robe 15 years ago or so and studied toward that end, even to the point of learning a whole lot of Pali, but realized it wasn't for me. I'm content where I am, a lusty layman. I salute you guys who sound to me to be anagamis, but I love my life with my operas and my sweet woman, and my Oreos and my morning coffee (not necessarily in that order). Funny how people try to convince me that I'm not really happy,I'm just deluded into thinking I'm happy.

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Re: Eradicating sex drive

Postby kmath » Fri Oct 25, 2013 8:50 pm

BubbaBuddhist wrote:I may be too old a dog to change. :tongue: I'm 55 years old, have been practicing Buddhism for 30+ years. Kinda set in my ways. I was going to take the robe 15 years ago or so and studied toward that end, even to the point of learning a whole lot of Pali, but realized it wasn't for me. I'm content where I am, a lusty layman. I salute you guys who sound to me to be anagamis, but I love my life with my operas and my sweet woman, and my Oreos and my morning coffee (not necessarily in that order). Funny how people try to convince me that I'm not really happy,I'm just deluded into thinking I'm happy.

BB


Thanks for posting :thumbsup:
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Re: Eradicating sex drive

Postby Sanjay PS » Sun Oct 27, 2013 4:48 am

BubbaBuddhist wrote:I may be too old a dog to change. :tongue: I'm 55 years old, have been practicing Buddhism for 30+ years. Kinda set in my ways. I was going to take the robe 15 years ago or so and studied toward that end, even to the point of learning a whole lot of Pali, but realized it wasn't for me. I'm content where I am, a lusty layman. I salute you guys who sound to me to be anagamis, but I love my life with my operas and my sweet woman, and my Oreos and my morning coffee (not necessarily in that order). Funny how people try to convince me that I'm not really happy,I'm just deluded into thinking I'm happy.

BB


Hi Bubba,

i am not even a basic noble person by any yard stick , and did not seek to convince you about happiness or no happiness in life . My appreciation to your post earlier was sincere . There are people just as you , who experience the subtleness of life , the opera , the fine living , the content of companionship , the adrenalin rush of sports or the bliss of engaging in their passionate hobbies . These eras can go on for extended time periods together . i know it is difficult to comprehend dukkha in these states , just as it is difficult to come to terms with dukkha in the divine states of living .

But then , just your mental volition of wanting to take to the robes , and studying such in that direction , naturally accumulates a very vast dam of goodwill and well being for times to come . Nice knowing you.

sanjay
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