Sex and Spirituality

I often counsel young friends. Inevitably the elephant in the room can be the struggle youth have around their sexuality. With the internet and smart phones at their disposal, the allurement of sex has never been so powerful. The bombardment, temptation and accessibility are relentless. The care of guardians has never been so weak due to our lack of capability with IT technology. It is an area of life which clearly requires open conversation and management.
Resolving our sexuality must be one of the largest contributing factors to what has shaped the morals and social frameworks of our society. Watching any David Attenborough documentary, we see that much of natural world revolves ruthlessly around it. For humans moral conduct seeks to save us from that ruthlessness.
At a young age life's simplicity is invaded by sexual distinction, impulse, and interest continuing to reach a virulent height in late teens. From then on it remains a sustained influence whether indulged in or denounced.
The compulsion to fulfil ourselves sexually is often something beyond containment. The species' necessity to perpetuate itself cares little for our social peace and personal decorum. We are quite simply vulnerable to sex and therefore it is consumerisms meatiest bait.
As an act sex can be the most powerful expression of love joining two persons. Then again it can be non-caring, selfish and incomparably damaging and exploitative. Like the razor, it can beautify or cut us very deeply. Each of our lives came of the act, and where new life is morally produced Krishna says 'I am that sex' (BG 7.11).
For the renunciate stripped of the generalities of material life, when all else is gone sex remains their nemesis. Its influence as inherent need is something like the preoccupation of a hungry person with food. Living with that tension and without sexual preoccupation is the fine line in the renunciant's life. Many have failed. Krishna warns of repression and denial (BG 3.33).
Somewhat akin to Freud's assumptions of the dangers of indulgence and repression, Krishna encourages us toward regulation (BG 6.17). The trick in overcoming something powerful is to first contain it through regulation and then only to rule it. To deny it is to strengthen it.
For the vast majority the question has never been whether to renounce or indulge in our sexuality - it has been how to manage it. For devotees aspiring to be Krishna conscious, devotion must go on free of the preoccupation caused by the aforementioned opposites of indulgence or denial - and that requires management.
I am wary of preaching absolute ideals about sex to youth. To often it can leave them unguarded and never quite expecting or prepared for a moment of vulnerability or shear stupidity. Therefore in a general and hierarchical sense, sex must not be harmful, hurtful or damaging to the self or others. It must be safe and responsible. Better still it should be as an expression of love between two committed persons. Even better than that, it should be for the purpose of procreation between such committed (wedded) and loving persons. This stage of sex is not viewed as a compromise or obstacle in the life of a yogi or devotee.
Sex is not an evil. It is a completely natural and undeniable impulse that requires management so that it is neither hurtful to us, irresponsible, degrading, nor damaging to others. Sex is not our life's purpose and neither should it stand in the way of it. Our sexuality makes us vulnerable to hurt, regret and unhappiness. It is never fulfilled entirely and it can embarrass the very best among us. It can compromise us in ways we might not have imagined. So, manage it and avoid at all cost being a slave to it through indulgence or denial.

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