One of the main difficulties when having this kind of conversations is that we always have to make some sort of generalizations. When we speak of sex and health, each term can imply countless acts and meanings.Sam Vara wrote:Indeed, it's all relative, isn't it? If one is averse to the idea of sex for some reason, then it is easy to portray it as both unintelligent, and harmful. But by the same token, the majority of people I know would consider that getting sex with desirable people takes intelligence and hard work - even if others culturally despise the manifestations of that intelligence. They would also point to the huge decline in deaths related to childbirth, and give thanks for the medical technology that made this happen. In my country, women live on average well into their ninth decade, and obstetric and contraception-related terms appear on only a tiny proportion of death certificates. They might well consider that a life of voluntary celibacy and childlessness is a life of pointless self-denial. Often, when we don't much care for what people do, we tend to call it unintelligent, or harmful in ways that they don't understand. But who gets to decide what intelligence is in this case, or what is harmful?Bundokji wrote: I think the terms "stupidity" and "intelligence" can be used in many different ways
One way to decide what intelligence is or what is harmful is to look at the underlying intentions of the act. It is not necessarily the act itself, but why we do it and how we do it determine to a large extent the consequences of the action.
Generally speaking, the main motive behind seeking sex is sensual pleasure. If the well being of man depends on achieving sensual pleasure, then the likelihood of it becoming a cause of future pain is considerable.
There is also the question of opportunity cost. As you mentioned, "getting sex with desirable people takes intelligence and hard work" and every choice we make in our short life span comes at the expense of something else, so voluntary celibacy and childlessness are not necessarily pointless self-denial, but can be the wisdom of dedicating time and energy to a more worthy cause. Kamma is not only what we do, but what we don't do.
Also different stages in life imply different types of appropriate behavior as we mature and continue to learn. It can be argued that it is more natural and healthy for young people to explore sexual relationships that older ones. If my memory serves me correctly, in the hindu tradition, to seek sex and family life till the end of your twenties is considered appropriate. The Buddha himself lived this type of life until he was twenty nine years old.
When it comes to health, longevity can be misleading. What constitutes a healthy life is a very complicated topic, and yet, we are definitely not here to survive. Why do we want to live longer? having more sex does not seem to answer the question.
So, the question is not whether sex is healthy or harmful, but how to take its right place in the human life. As sex has the potential to be misused and harmful, also celibacy can be harmful if it becomes a form of suppression or done for the wrong reasons.