What’s wrong with sex?
Answer: Sex is natural for the body, but not for the soul. Spiritual traditions, by helping us regulate that which is natural for the body: limited sexual pleasure, enable us to relish that which is natural for the soul: unlimited spiritual happiness.
Spiritual seers consider the pleasure of sex to be like the pleasure of playing with a toy. Most children need toys to play with, so parents provide them toys – but under regulation so as leave sufficient time for studies, which alone can lead to the higher happiness of a bright career.
Just as most children can’t live without toys, most people can’t live without sex. Therefore, spiritual traditions provide the institution of marriage for gratifying the sexual urge – but under regulation, so as to leave sufficient mental energy for spiritual advancement, which alone can lead to the higher happiness of lasting inner fulfillment.
Sex can be called natural, in the sense that it is nature’s way of bringing life into the world. But nowadays most people check the natural reproductive purpose of sex through unnatural contraceptives. Contraceptives are unnatural, for they don’t grow naturally on trees. The natural challenges in caring for children – the natural result of sex – are nature’s natural way of checking us from unnaturally overindulging in sex and consequently neglecting our spiritual nature. But when people artificially do away with this natural check in the name of “natural” sexual freedom, they end up physically debilitated, emotionally estranged and spiritually underdeveloped. This sad state is unnatural, like that of an adult still preoccupied with childhood toys.
Just as children can outgrow their childhood fascination for toys by biological and psychological growth, we too can outgrow our fascination for sex by spiritual growth. However, this spiritual growth doesn’t happen involuntarily like biological growth; it begins when we voluntarily and intelligently see through sex and see beyond sex. The body’s limited capacity for sex puts an inescapable seal on sexual enjoyment for everyone – from celebrated Bollywood stars to anonymous roadside Romeos. However, the incessant media glamorization of sex creates a gigantic bubble of sexual anticipation in our minds. When this bubble collides with the hard rock of actual sexual experience, it bursts – unceremoniously. Seeing through sex means recognizing that this bubble-bursting anti-climax can never be avoided, no matter what sexual fantasies we try out. Seeing beyond sex means gaining authentic divine experience through mantra meditation; these experiences raise our sights to the joy far greater than sex that awaits us if we choose to grow spiritually by practicing regular meditation.
To summarize, sexual regulation is not an exercise in self-denial, but is the indispensable launching pad for catapulting ourselves to self-fulfillment.