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Sex and Spirituality

Wish someone could solve this one. A very common conflict and confusion is the question of sex and spirituality. It is natural as every human being who wishes to follow the path of spirituality see or is told to see sex as obstacle to the extent that one can choose only one – either spiritual growth or sex. Obviously choice is not easy. Both options in exclusivity are likely to lead to a state of incompleteness and hollowness.

  • So what is the solution, what is the truth?
  • Are they really exclusive to each other?
  • Is sex detrimental to spiritual growth?
  • Can one choose both?

Sexual energy is the natural creative energy. It can create a good physical body, positive mindset healthy emotions and spiritual enlightenment. And the same is the creation of spiritual growth. So where is the conflict?

Both are extremely powerful pathways. Both need a great deal of management to progress. The spiritual path has many gurus and guides who can tell you how to progress stepwise but the sex has guides in limited sense like therapist who can help you to be good in sexuality but can not tell you how to sublime and create harmony between sex and spirituality. Although one can say that Tantric Sex is such attempt, unfortunately this too has fallen short due to poor understanding of concept.

Freud said that one can sublime sexual energy into higher purpose like art and spirituality. According to psychologist Erich Fromm, anxiety of being separate and alone can be overcome by awareness of union during sex.

The main problem is the conflict that arise due to –

  • A natural and intense desire for sex which if suppressed or expressed in unharmonious way can lead to a state of destructiveness.
  • A natural and intense as well as ideal state of spiritual realization.
  • Sex termed as something which is addictive and can ‘spoil’ purity of soul
  • ‘Purity’ is must for spiritual realization

The result is conflict and negative emotions like guilt or shame. People are driven towards both and end lacking in both.

This gives us three common paths followed by people.

  1. Those who prefer spiritual path. They believe in purity, sets ‘high goals’ and recommend celibacy or brahmcharya and absence from sex in mind speech and deeds to attain these goals.
  2. Those who get ‘tempted’ towards sex. They are driven to sex but generate incompleteness or negative self esteem and other negative emotions. Even those who advocate ‘free sex’ admit that this is not complete.
  3. Third group which try to balance. They follow religious or spiritual path and keep sex within moral standards like marriage. Unfortunately most such people feel that they are inadequate in both. They too face conflict if their partner shift focus to one or the other path. Then there is Tantric Sex and gurus like Osho who gives different versions of this middle path.

The debate is going on and is never ending. And the human beings are caught in between.  There are contradictions and no one is sure what is the real and must be followed. For example the ancient Indian wisdom teaches about spirituality and celibacy on one hand and KamaShastra on the other hand. If one path is real good than other then why it is not accepted by all. Is it true that you have to go to extremes of complete celibacy or indulgence as in Tantra to achieve Nirvana? What does God want us to do ?

Few things can be realized:

  • It is individual choice to follow any path, be it abstinence or indulgence or the middle path. But one must follow it without any prejudice or feeling of superiority or inferiority over other. There is no better or higher path.
  • One should follow the system carefully and systematically to attain consistent growth as well as live a happy life.
  • One should feel free to change the path if needed so but not in impulsive or abrupt manner.
  • One should be free from superiority complex of spiritual path as well as free from negative emotions like shame, guilt etc if following the path of indulgence. On any path, one should be free from impulsiveness and compulsiveness.
  • One should understand that the two – spirituality and sexuality are not contradictory but are forms of expression of cosmic energy. There can be complete harmony and complementary relationship between the two.
  • The basic truth of both sexuality and spirituality is freedom and union. Both are the ways of evolution and freedom from narrow minded selfishness of body, mind and soul to grow higher love, higher consciousness and union.
  • Since most humans wish to follow a middle path, they can have their individual proportion of two to remain free from negative emotions of shame and guilt, enjoy life, let the cosmic energy evolve to shape a better physical, emotional, intellectual and spiritual being.