How can sex desire be controlled?

by Chaitanya Charan dasJanuary 30, 2012

From Tushar:

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How can sex desire be controlled? Why is it so difficult to control?

I will answer the first question first, sex desire is so difficult to control, because all of us are pleasure seeking, and sex promises the greatest pleasure to us and that’s why we are pleasure hungry and if someone offers to give us pleasure , it is very difficult to resist that. So, we need to find a higher source of happiness if we want to become free from sex desire, simply by saying no no no to that desire, we will simply be torturing ourself.in fact y the processes of bhakti is not so much about saying no as must it is about saying yes, saying yes to a higher happiness and thereby saying automatic no to the lower happiness. BG 2:61(verse needs to be checked ) Krishna says the same thing, that our ability to say no to the lower temptations will become steady and stable only when we connect with the higher happiness, param dirhtva nivartate, so to be able to control the sex desire the first thing we need to understand is that , sex pleasure is not what it promises to be, although it promises that we will get a lot of pleasure from sexual enjoyment, the actual enjoyment is very fleeting, you can refer to the article ” what is wrong with sex” for a detail understanding, but briefly, the bodies capacity to enjoy is limited, inescapably, no matter how health or how sexually hyperactive a person is, the hyperactive part is only the imagination, the bodily capacity for sex cannot be expanded, no matter how much our imagination is expanded. So a person may fantasize about enjoyment of sexual pleasure of days and months and years together, but the actual experience of sex ends within a few minutes. because the once the body’s capacity to enjoy to exhausted, there is nothing more that a person can do. So the body’s capacity to enjoy actually depends on the secretion of certain hormones and excretion of certain fluids and once that is exhausted, then no matter how tempting the sex object , how alluring the sexual pleasure, one cannot enjoy. So the over glamorization of sex, as a source of constant or unending pleasure, as it is done in the movies and the media today, is a colossal hoax, it is not just some religious dogma to call all this a colossal hoax , it is a practical reality. Even the people who are portrayed sometime in movies as enjoying for hours, cannot enjoy to hours like continuously. The body’s capacity gets exhausted and it has to be rested and renewed, So even when we renew the capacity of the body to enjoy, every renewal offers only a few moments, a few minutes of enjoyment, and that can never satisfy us. Our desire for happiness, our longing for happiness is permanent, we want to be constantly happy, but sex can never offer us constant happiness, it can offer us happiness only for a few moments, and nothing in the world can change this reality, so if we can calmly deliberate on this and convince ourselves that this is the truth, this is what is the scriptures say, Shrila Prahalad maharaj in the seventh canto of Srimad Bhagavatam, when he is offering prayers to Lord Narasimha deva, talks about the nature of worldly pleasures , centered around sex. Srimad Bhagavatam 7:9:25 kutrāśiṣaḥ śruti-sukhā mṛgatṛṣṇi-rūpāḥ,  kvedaṁ kalevaram aśeṣa-rujāṁ virohaḥ, nirvidyate na tu jano yad apīti vidvān,  kāmānalaṁ madhu-lavaiḥ śamayan durāpaiḥ. Prahalad maharaj is saying ” O Lord what pleasure can I ask in this world, ashis is benediction, benediction for happiness, what can I ask from you? why? because all this pleasure in this world is shruti sukh, shruti here does not refer to scriptures, it refers to the worldly gossip that we hear, so every body is talking about sexual pleasure, and people keep hearing about it, sruti sukha, and we also see it , and while seeing it is like mrgatrisni rupah, it is like mirage. a pleasure that is visible but never experienceable. never experienceable in terms of the glamour and the size and the magnitude that is associated with it. The promise is gigantic and the actual pleasure is pathetically meager , it is heartbreakingly brief. So he says “my dear Lord , when everything in this world is like this then what benediction may I ask form you “? somebody may say “Ok I still have a body , even if the pleasure is for few moments, i can keeping enjoying those few moments again and again through out my life. He says kvedaṁ kalevaram aśeṣa-rujāṁ virohaḥ this body is breading ground for unlimited of diseases and these bodily diseases sap and drain and terminate the body’s capacity to enjoy, and then he also sympathizes with our situation by saying ” nirvidyate na tu jano yad apīti vidvān instead to knowing how to get rid of these sensual desires, although we know that the pleasure is temporary, it is very difficult to give it up . why ? because kāmānalaṁ madhu-lavaiḥ śamayan durāpaiḥ. the lust burns like the fire in the heart, but there is madhu lavaih , there is drop of honey that is intoxicating, and that is very difficult to obtain on one side, but on the other side it is very difficult to abandon. that fantasy and that pursuit. so we have to philosophically and logically and intelligently have to contemplate on the true nature of sexual pleasure, whenever the mind starts fantasying, we have to ask ourselves , rather we have to ask our mind, how much and how long. even if I satisfy your desire O foolish mind, how much can I enjoy? , the quantity is pathetically meager, and how long can I enjoy, it’s just for a few moments, So if we look at it logically we spend hours and hours and months and even years hankering for a pleasure that lasts for a few moments. where is the intelligence in that ? we long for something , for years and years and years together at times, and what we get is for a few moments. It’s like somebody working to become engineer for four years , and at the end of it , he is given the degree of engineering for four minutes, here the engineer for four minutes and after that the degree is taken away, So it is the worst of all bargains, so its just not bad bargain, but ludicrously bad bargain, similarly, if you objectively think about it, the time we spend in hankering for sexual pleasure, and the time that actually a person enjoys is hugely disproportionate, we hanker for hours and years and the pleasure ends in minutes and sometimes in moments. So therefore if we thus contemplate and convince ourselves that actually the happiness that is there in this , is not worth it, so in this particular answer I am not analysing that this is sexual pleasure from the point of view of its sinfulness or its causing us diseases and it causing us karmic suffering, that is also ultimate way to answering it, but here we are focusing purely on logical perspective, even if somebody does not believe that there is low of karma and there is suffering and there is punishment for sinful activity, even from the worldly logical perspective, the pleasure of sex actually does not make sense, it saps so much of our mental energy and at the end it delivers so little, now of course the power of the illusion of the mind is so great, that , that hankering and that craving which is actually a form of torture, is also glorified , as if it is exiting and thrilling and it is something which is joyful. It is not joyful , it is torture. Krishna calls the hankering for lust as fire, ‘Prahalad Maharaj uses in this verse the fire of lust, and similarly lord Krishna says that it is fire that can never get extinguished. So even the materialistic people understand that eh hankering for the sex is like fire, there are movie songs which says savan jo aag lagay, that he fire that is burnt in our heart , triggered in our heart, that the seasons, stimulate our hormones, they also understand that it is fire, but they feel that by indulgence, the fire will be quenched. but indulgence does not quench the fire, it aggravates the fire, because our desire is so great and the enjoyment is so little that we are compulsively pushed towards future enjoyment in the home that one time the enjoyment will live up to its promise, but the enjoyment can never live up to its promise because the body’s capacity to enjoy is permanent limites, no matter how much our mind fantasizes no matter how much a person tries to search for external more and more attractive sense objects for enjoyment, still , nobody can change the body’s capacity to enjoy .so once we soberly contemplate on this point that sense gratification through sex is not going to make me happy, then we can begin to look for something else, look for something higher, that’s why Lord Krishna says in 3:43 evaṁ buddheḥ paraṁ buddhvā, saṁstabhyātmānam ātmanā, jahi śatruṁ mahā-bāho, kāma-rūpaṁ durāsadam. with your intelligence understand you are worthy for something higher don’t search for something lower bodily pleasure, and of course we need to keep reminding ourselves again and again because our mind has got already got so many fantasizes from the past, from either from our past indulgences or at least from our past imaginations. so at times we may be able to convince our selves by rational logical analysis of the futility of sexual enjoyment, but again the mind will overpower and it will drag us towards the same enjoyment. So we have to keep refreshing our memory, keep reinstalling our intelligence as our decision maker , and not our mind as decision maker, Shrila Prabhupada explains the functions of the intelligence very beautifully, he says there is thought, there is thinking, then there is feeling, then thee is willing and then there is acting. So the purpose of intelligence is to stop the thinking from becoming the acting. Because of our past conditioning , it is difficult for us to no think of sex at all, but when the thoughts come in, rather than acting on those thoughts, by letting thoughts grow into feeling, then into willings and then into actions, at that time, we have to use our intelligence, ” yes the thought may come, but it is worth less thought, it is not going to make me happy, Shrila Prabhupada says that intelligence means to kill the thoughts before they become actions. So the will to kill will come by our intellectual conviction. and this intellectual conviction can come not only by our analysis bulo also by our purification, if we are living a life in the mode of passion, where we are letting ourselves surrounded and bombarded by sexual temptations and pleasures, then we can’t sustain this intellectual conviction for long. That’s why along with this intellectual conviction m we also have to try to minimise the external temptations that we have. so lust attacks us externally and internally, so internally we fight it firstly by intellectual conviction, and externally we fight it by minimizing the provocating situations and temptations that may come to us, we cannot eliminate them but we can surely minimize them by not putting ourselves into tempting situations by creating obstacles between us and those temptations. So if we have a weakness for surfing to sites that tempt and aggravate our desires , then we need to have some internet filters or we need to have some guard, parental control , something like that, which will prevent us from acting on our desires.so the whole modus aparandy of illussion of maya , is that it attacks by ambush, the thought comes and before we know , the thought has gone into feeling, it has gone into willing, and it has becoem action, so at internal level, we try to use our intelligence for not let the thought not go to the level of willing, but at a external level, even if we will to do something wrong, if we have created external obsticals for converting the willing into acting, then we are protected, atleast for some time, and that protection for some time gradually enables us to for us to regain and restore our intelligence, Soin western society and unfortunately now in India also, as it is westernizing, when the sexual morality is not considered not at all important and promosquity is allowed to become rampent, then, the time difference between willing and acting is not enough for a person to get his intelligence be trigerred and activated once again, but if a person is in a protected invriornment, either in a married situation, or the association of those who are spiritually minded and are also tryig to follow similar priniciples, then even if our desires abduct our consciousness and they move us towards willing, we can’t act because there is not much option, and in the intervening period, that comes because there is no easy facility for willing to become acting, or intelligence can get restored, so basically this is all from the point of view of avoiding the temptations of sexual desires, but just saying no is not enough, because we are essentially plesure seaking, and that is why we need into say yes to Krishna. so if we learn to chant our rounds every day attentively, we may not find chanting pleasurable on a daily basis , but chanting is actually connecting us with Krishna who is supremely pleasurable, so the more we connect ourselves with Krishna , the more we become cured spiritually, so the nectar of instructions use the example of jaundice, in the jaundice condition, a person may not taste a sweet as sweet, but as he keeps taking the sugar cane juice, his gets cured and he starts relishing the taste of the sweetness, similarly if we keep chanting the holy names regularly, we are getting cured and gradually we will start experiencing higher pleasure more and more. and then the desire for lower pleasure will become subsided. but essentially we have to be convinced intellectually so that we can take shelter of Krishna, because , to give up sex desire is not difficult, but to get the desire to give up sex desire is difficult. why ? because the promise is so alluring that we don’t feel like giving it up. but if we convince ourselves intellectually and then connect ourselves with Krishna so that we can experience the higher happiness, then, we can get the desire to give up that desire for sex. So we have to find out within our Krishna consciousness, what can be our emergency source of spiritual shelter and pleasure, emergency source of spiritual shelter and pleasure means, that when material pleasures starts tempting us, at that time we need to be able to experience spiritual pleasure immediately, so for some of us it may be through kirtans, for some of us it may be through reciting some verses, for some of us it may be through just praying or taking darshan of our favourite deities, for some of us it may be by reading some scriptural passages, and for some of us it may be listening some of the class, what ever it may be, it is a war and we have to see which weapon works for us, every one of us have an individual personal conditioning , so the principle of remembering of Krishna is constant, but which manifestation of remembrance of Krishna whether it may be deity or scripture or holy name or verse which will strengthen us, we will have to find out individually, and we take shelter of that so whenever we feel tempted, we immediately take shelter of that higher happiness and by the gradually the mind will get subsided, the mind will subside, so it may not happen over night, but it will happen. So we need to keep ourselves spiritually connected. and when we keep ourselves spiritually connected, we will be able to overcome the material desires and move onwards towards spiritual happiness. and of course the whole processes is not mechanical, it is devotional, it is not just our intellectual conviction and determination that will transform us, it is our prayerful beseechment, begging into Krishna and his bestowal of mercy , that will help us to become free from the jail of sexual desires. Sex is not bad, sex is a way by which we can bring a new life into the world, but over obsession with sex can become mental prison for us, a mental jail, by which we don’t have the facility to think of anything else in a focused way. So we need Krishna’s mercy and we get Krishna’s mercy when we ask for it, and we ask for it by seriously contemplating on the message that He has given in the scriptures and by seriously taking the shelter of the sources of spiritual happiness that He has offered us , by these two things we will be able to gradually overcome it, and we will be able to come to a stage where the desire will not be so troublesome. Basically in our battle for sext=ual desires we will go through four states, one is helpless defeat, one person will feel it is impossible, how can one live without sex, one does not even think of fighting, but beyond that, once we start understanding that there is a higher happiness and there is something seriously farcical, false about this hype around this sexual happiness then one starts fighting against it, Second stage is struggle and defeat, we try to fight and we are not able to fight, we do not succeed, and then if we keep persisting, and if we keep pursuing, we come next stage of struggle and success, so at this stage also we have to fight against the mind and it will take us all that we have, we will have to use elure intelligence, all our conscious, all our devotion, but we will be able to fight it off, and over period of time, we will come to the level of effortless success. and so at that stage the temptation won’t trouble us, that is of course is a long way and all of us have a long way to get to that stage, but atleast we can hope to go from struggle and defeat to struggle and success, and what will help us to achieve that is that when we strengthen our intelligence and weaken our mind, we weaken our mind by not letting it fantasize further either by internally dwelling on the sexual thoughts or by externally provoking it by temptations, and we strengthen our intelligence by serious contemplation on scripture and on the logical futility of sexual enjoyment and we strengthen our intelligence further by connecting it with Krishna, by giving ourselves the experience of spiritual happiness, then , it is like weighing balance, so the mind is so strong that we get pulled in that direction, but gradually as we increase the weight to the side of the intelligence, by both study of scripture and by prayerful remembrance of Krishna, then gradually the two sides become level, and gradually as we keep strengthening intelligence more and more , both by contemplation of scripture, and by remembrance of Krishna and spiritual happiness thereof, then the scales will change and gradually the intelligence side will become heavier, and then we will be able to fight off the mind, So we may feel it is impossible right now to combat sexual desire, but there is no need to be discourages, because everyday that we are chanting and everyday we are studying scriptures, we are strengthening our intelligence, so as we strengthen our intelligence, we have all reasons to be hopeful that we will be able to fight it. and now of course we al strengthen our mind by fantasizing and by contemplating on sexual images and sexual objects then we will make our own fight more difficult. so if we starve our mind and feel our intelligence then the struggle will be lesser and the success will be faster. We can of course pray to Krishna and He will can diametrically and dramatically and rapidly changes the course in one moment. so we have to ask for His mercy and have faith and patience, and gradually the desire can be controlled.

About The Author
Chaitanya Charan das
1 Comments
  • Santanu Saikia
    February 2, 2012 at 8:52 pm

    An idle mind is a devil’s workshop.Chanting the Hare Krishna Mahamantra is the best way to keep the mind busy on the highest ‘Object’ which will keep the devil (lust)away.
    Eyes are the gateway to sensuality.Through them our senses are externalised.So we should be constantly watchful on what we focus our eyes and what passes through it to our mind.Focusing them on objects with higher taste can uplift our mind.
    Desires are like a flame.Unless we extinguish it at the beginning ,it is much difficult to control when it grows bigger.Any thought that can provoke sexual desire should be stopped at the beginning within seconds.
    Without the soul , the body is nothing but a lump of lifless flesh , bones , chemicals. Isn’t it madness to crave for it ? It is our mind that act as a colored glass and makes things atractive but with the help of our ‘buddhi’ , we can discern reality.

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