(Again) Dealing with sexual desire

Balancing family life and the Dhamma, in pursuit of a happy lay life.
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Garrib
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(Again) Dealing with sexual desire

Post by Garrib »

I have been "successfully" celibate for some months now - meaning not succumbing to the temptation to self-abuse. Prior to that I was successfully celibate for more than 6 months. Essentially, I am determined to persevere in this practice for the rest of my life (I am in my early thirties now). At least, that is my deep down wish! However, I am still plagued at times by bouts of intense desire, and this gives rise to a lot of suffering, shame etc...
The body just seems to react so quickly, it feels impossible at times to regain control of the mind-body process which is spinning out of control.

I have done asubha bhavana, "crushed mind with mind", and I hate to say it, I have at times given into (very light) forms of self-mortification in an effort to subdue the wandering mind (I have to admit this is folly as it veers away from the middle path). I have reflected on the advantages of celibacy, the prospect of lower rebirth, the pit of burning coals and other similes, the qualities of the buddha, breath meditation, moderation in eating, etc...

Don't get me wrong, all of these strategies HAVE WORKED FOR ME. The problem is that I am still subject to these intense bouts of desire for sexual gratification and fantasy - these bouts are impermanent, but very concerning for me. What is more, I do not feel even remotely comfortable discussing these issues with anyone in my family or circle of acquaintances. I believe I am sincere in my wish to follow this path for life, but I am hoping to hear from others who are perhaps farther along the path, what am I to do in these, quite honestly agonizing, moments?

Thank you for any support and guidance you can offer.
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rightviewftw
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Re: (Again) Dealing with sexual desire

Post by rightviewftw »

What i think will help;
1) contentment - When we don't find contentment we are tempted by sensuality because we are suffering and want some relief due to the conditioning even if temporary and even at high cost. This can be split in two parts;

a) doing things that make you happy - meditative pleasure, faith, pleasant abidings (thinking about Buddha, Dhamma and the Sangha), recollect your virtue, thinking about Gods, developing appreciation, developing gladness, being happy for others etc

b)avoiding things that make you unhappy - self mortification :tongue: , avoiding conflict, avoiding seeing foolish people, avoiding quarrelsome people, avoiding gossip, avoiding frivolous talk, avoiding listening to other people's problems, avoiding excessive pride, not having expectations, avoiding overeating, oversleeping and laziness

2) include metta meditation - and wish highest happiness for others, wish for others to develop the 8FNP. This will also help with not wanting to do sex to them.

3) Avoid association with householders and renunciates in general.

4) Study Sutta

5) Keep doing satipatthana, asubha and follow the guidelines for removal of distracting thoughts

6) become a monk?

7) you should also train perceptions of danger, perception of death and perception of inconstancy +

If you are successful in that you will advance quickly and without pain
'Bhikkhus, possessing three qualities, a bhikkhu is practicing the unmistaken way and has laid the groundwork for the destruction of the taints. What three? Here, a bhikkhu guards the doors of the sense faculties, observes moderation in eating, and is intent on wakefulness. He should develop perception of unattractiveness so as to abandon lust... good will so as to abandon ill will... mindfulness of in-&-out breathing so as to cut off distractive thinking... the perception of inconstancy so as to uproot the conceit, 'I am.
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DooDoot
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Re: (Again) Dealing with sexual desire

Post by DooDoot »

Two alternative suggestions:

(1) if it becomes intense & uncontrollable, reflect upon or acknowledge the element (dhatu) of sexual desire. The whole world is created from sexual desire. Thus reflect it is ordinary & normal for the physical organism to have sexual desire. Don't take it personally. Its only an impermanent natural element. This path of non-resistance can help develop patience until the energy of the sexual desire subsides.
There are these six elements:
Chayimā, ānanda, dhātuyo—

the elements of sensuality and renunciation, malice and good will, and cruelty and harmlessness.
kāmadhātu, nekkhammadhātu, byāpādadhātu, abyāpādadhātu, vihiṃsādhātu, avihiṃsādhātu.

When a mendicant knows and sees these six elements,
Imā kho, ānanda, cha dhātuyo yato jānāti passati—

they’re qualified to be called ‘skilled in the elements’.”
ettāvatāpi kho, ānanda, ‘dhātukusalo bhikkhū’ti alaṃvacanāyā”ti

https://suttacentral.net/mn115/en/sujato
(2) This is the difficult one; particularly if you are an ordinary Westerner with Corporate Hollywood Mass Media Sexual Liberalism conditioning; where all sex is viewed as fun and harmless. Adopt a very strict view about sexual morality towards others. Its one thing to reflect upon how sex can harm our self. However, we must particularly reflect how inappropriate sex harms others. At least if you are a heterosexual man, you can adopt a very politically incorrect strict morality that sexual objectification harms women. What are sexual fantasies apart from 'sexual objectification" that thinks no harm will occur to the other person in the fantasy? I started general celibacy when I was 22 years old, motivated only by metta or non-harming towards women. At that time, I had many numerous attractive female employees and customers. If you are brainwashed by Feminism and believe women are invulnerable sex machines then this will be difficult. But the Buddha taught women aspire for fidelity, for one husband, for children, for control of marriage (AN 6.72). The Buddha did not teach sexual liberalism. The Buddha taught children should be married when they reach sexual maturity (DN 31). These "old fashioned" values make celibacy much easier because instead of looking at sexual desire as an "enemy", one can look upon women with "metta" & "compassion". Non-harming, compassion & metta properly motivate the Path (where as demonizing sex is a type of hatred). Personally, I always reflect upon women when I see them. I see lots of women each day, because I go to the beach every day, and see women of all sorts in bikinis, with children, backpackers loaded with lust, vanity, exhibitionism, etc. It doesn't matter how lusty or sexed up a girl is, each should be viewed the same, as the Buddha viewed them. That lusty girl who looks like a magazine model will, most of the time, still have children, still want a man, still demand things from a man, still get broken hearted, etc. It doesn't matter how sexual they look, they still have children. If your sexuality is homosexual, I am not sure what advice to give.

Best wishes. Celibacy (or otherwise strict sexual morality) is freedom, when the weight falls off your back, by knowing you are doing the right thing for both yourself & for others. :smile:
There is always an official executioner. If you try to take his place, It is like trying to be a master carpenter and cutting wood. If you try to cut wood like a master carpenter, you will only hurt your hand.

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https://soundcloud.com/doodoot/anapanasati
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Dhammanando
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Re: (Again) Dealing with sexual desire

Post by Dhammanando »

Garrib wrote: Sun Feb 03, 2019 10:57 pm what am I to do in these, quite honestly agonizing, moments?
Sensual thoughts tend to be less frequent and less intense when walking than when in any of the stationary postures. That being so, I suggest that any time you're at risk of breaking your brahmacariyā sīla, the simplest stopgap measure would be to go out for a walk.

Ideally the walk should be taken in the countryside, since contact with nature and the elements tends to reduce excessive thinking of every sort. But if you're a city-dweller and this isn't an option then at least avoid the commercial districts and stick to city parks, leafy suburbs and quiet back streets.
“Above all, do not lose your desire to walk: every day I walk myself into a state of well-being and walk away from every illness; I have walked myself into my best thoughts, and I know of no thought so burdensome that one cannot walk away from it. Even if one were to walk for one’s health and it were constantly one station ahead—I would still say: Walk! Besides, it is also apparent that in walking one constantly gets as close to well-being as possible, even if one does not quite reach it—but by sitting still, and the more one sits still, the closer one comes to feeling ill. Health and salvation can he found only in motion. If anyone denies that motion exists, I do as Diogenes did, I walk.”
— Søren Kierkegaard, Letters to Henriette Kierkegaard
“Keep to your own pastures, bhikkhus, walk in the haunts where your fathers roamed.
If ye thus walk in them, Māra will find no lodgement, Māra will find no foothold.”
— Cakkavattisīhanāda Sutta
Garrib
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Re: (Again) Dealing with sexual desire

Post by Garrib »

rightviewftw wrote: Mon Feb 04, 2019 12:22 am What i think will help;
1) contentment - When we don't find contentment we are tempted by sensuality because we are suffering and want some relief due to the conditioning even if temporary and even at high cost. This can be split in two parts;

a) doing things that make you happy - meditative pleasure, faith, pleasant abidings (thinking about Buddha, Dhamma and the Sangha), recollect your virtue, thinking about Gods, developing appreciation, developing gladness, being happy for others etc

b)avoiding things that make you unhappy - self mortification :tongue: , avoiding conflict, avoiding seeing foolish people, avoiding quarrelsome people, avoiding gossip, avoiding frivolous talk, avoiding listening to other people's problems, avoiding excessive pride, not having expectations, avoiding overeating, oversleeping and laziness

2) include metta meditation - and wish highest happiness for others, wish for others to develop the 8FNP. This will also help with not wanting to do sex to them.

3) Avoid association with householders and renunciates in general.

4) Study Sutta

5) Keep doing satipatthana, asubha and follow the guidelines for removal of distracting thoughts

6) become a monk?

7) you should also train perceptions of danger, perception of death and perception of inconstancy +

If you are successful in that you will advance quickly and without pain
Thank you for the suggestions - I think this is excellent advice.
Garrib
Posts: 589
Joined: Mon May 30, 2016 8:35 pm

Re: (Again) Dealing with sexual desire

Post by Garrib »

DooDoot wrote: Mon Feb 04, 2019 12:55 am Two alternative suggestions:

(1) if it becomes intense & uncontrollable, reflect upon or acknowledge the element (dhatu) of sexual desire. The whole world is created from sexual desire. Thus reflect it is ordinary & normal for the physical organism to have sexual desire. Don't take it personally. Its only an impermanent natural element. This path of non-resistance can help develop patience until the energy of the sexual desire subsides.
There are these six elements:
Chayimā, ānanda, dhātuyo—

the elements of sensuality and renunciation, malice and good will, and cruelty and harmlessness.
kāmadhātu, nekkhammadhātu, byāpādadhātu, abyāpādadhātu, vihiṃsādhātu, avihiṃsādhātu.

When a mendicant knows and sees these six elements,
Imā kho, ānanda, cha dhātuyo yato jānāti passati—

they’re qualified to be called ‘skilled in the elements’.”
ettāvatāpi kho, ānanda, ‘dhātukusalo bhikkhū’ti alaṃvacanāyā”ti

https://suttacentral.net/mn115/en/sujato
(2) This is the difficult one; particularly if you are an ordinary Westerner with Corporate Hollywood Mass Media Sexual Liberalism conditioning; where all sex is viewed as fun and harmless. Adopt a very strict view about sexual morality towards others. Its one thing to reflect upon how sex can harm our self. However, we must particularly reflect how inappropriate sex harms others. At least if you are a heterosexual man, you can adopt a very politically incorrect strict morality that sexual objectification harms women. What are sexual fantasies apart from 'sexual objectification" that thinks no harm will occur to the other person in the fantasy? I started general celibacy when I was 22 years old, motivated only by metta or non-harming towards women. At that time, I had many numerous attractive female employees and customers. If you are brainwashed by Feminism and believe women are invulnerable sex machines then this will be difficult. But the Buddha taught women aspire for fidelity, for one husband, for children, for control of marriage (AN 6.72). The Buddha did not teach sexual liberalism. The Buddha taught children should be married when they reach sexual maturity (DN 31). These "old fashioned" values make celibacy much easier because instead of looking at sexual desire as an "enemy", one can look upon women with "metta" & "compassion". Non-harming, compassion & metta properly motivate the Path (where as demonizing sex is a type of hatred). Personally, I always reflect upon women when I see them. I see lots of women each day, because I go to the beach every day, and see women of all sorts in bikinis, with children, backpackers loaded with lust, vanity, exhibitionism, etc. It doesn't matter how lusty or sexed up a girl is, each should be viewed the same, as the Buddha viewed them. That lusty girl who looks like a magazine model will, most of the time, still have children, still want a man, still demand things from a man, still get broken hearted, etc. It doesn't matter how sexual they look, they still have children. If your sexuality is homosexual, I am not sure what advice to give.

Best wishes. Celibacy (or otherwise strict sexual morality) is freedom, when the weight falls off your back, by knowing you are doing the right thing for both yourself & for others. :smile:
Your response is much appreciated!
Garrib
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Joined: Mon May 30, 2016 8:35 pm

Re: (Again) Dealing with sexual desire

Post by Garrib »

Dhammanando wrote: Mon Feb 04, 2019 1:23 am
Garrib wrote: Sun Feb 03, 2019 10:57 pm what am I to do in these, quite honestly agonizing, moments?
Sensual thoughts tend to be less frequent and less intense when walking than when in any of the stationary postures. That being so, I suggest that any time you're at risk of breaking your brahmacariyā sīla, the simplest stopgap measure would be to go out for a walk.

Ideally the walk should be taken in the countryside, since contact with nature and the elements tends to reduce excessive thinking of every sort. But if you're a city-dweller and this isn't an option then at least avoid the commercial districts and stick to city parks, leafy suburbs and quiet back streets.
“Above all, do not lose your desire to walk: every day I walk myself into a state of well-being and walk away from every illness; I have walked myself into my best thoughts, and I know of no thought so burdensome that one cannot walk away from it. Even if one were to walk for one’s health and it were constantly one station ahead—I would still say: Walk! Besides, it is also apparent that in walking one constantly gets as close to well-being as possible, even if one does not quite reach it—but by sitting still, and the more one sits still, the closer one comes to feeling ill. Health and salvation can he found only in motion. If anyone denies that motion exists, I do as Diogenes did, I walk.”
— Søren Kierkegaard, Letters to Henriette Kierkegaard
Thank you, Bhante. This advice is so simple that I think it just might work!
Srilankaputra
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Re: (Again) Dealing with sexual desire

Post by Srilankaputra »

I think confessing to kalyana mittas like this helps. Any way you inspired me to challenge myself with brahmachariya. Thank you!
O seeing one,we for refuge go to thee!
O mighty sage do thou our teacher be!

Paccuppannañca yo dhammaṃ,
Tattha tattha vipassati

“Yato yato mano nivāraye,
Na dukkhameti naṃ tato tato;
Sa sabbato mano nivāraye,
Sa sabbato dukkhā pamuccatī”ti.
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salayatananirodha
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Re: (Again) Dealing with sexual desire

Post by salayatananirodha »

As a partly anonymous being on this forum, I would like to admit that I feel quite addicted to sexual sensuality, and that it appears radically different from my practice, because I will go and say wholesome things but then I will shut my door and look at or even say ridiculous things. So, I don't have the answer for you by my direct knowledge, but look at how you are attending. Is it radically? We have the tendency to ignore the cessation of (for example) eye-contact, our craving having sewn together eye-contact and the arising of eye-contact (https://www.dhammatalks.org/suttas/AN/AN6_61.html)
If you can't bring yourself to look away from a thing that produces sensual longing, fever, then look through it. Notice that there is looking, not attributing anything more than there is
16. 'In what has the world originated?' — so said the Yakkha Hemavata, — 'with what is the world intimate? by what is the world afflicted, after having grasped at what?' (167)

17. 'In six the world has originated, O Hemavata,' — so said Bhagavat, — 'with six it is intimate, by six the world is afflicted, after having grasped at six.' (168)

- Hemavatasutta


links:
https://www.ancient-buddhist-texts.net/index.htm
http://thaiforestwisdom.org/canonical-texts/
http://seeingthroughthenet.net/wp-conte ... _Heart.pdf
https://www.dhammatalks.org/index.html
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cappuccino
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Re: (Again) Dealing with sexual desire

Post by cappuccino »

Monks, there are these four perversions of perception, perversions of mind, perversions of view. Which four? 'Constant' with regard to the inconstant is a perversion of perception, a perversion of mind, a perversion of view. 'Pleasant' with regard to the stressful... 'Self' with regard to not-self... 'Attractive' with regard to the unattractive is a perversion of perception, a perversion of mind, a perversion of view. These are the four perversions of perception, perversions of mind, perversions of view.
Vipallasa Sutta
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dylanj
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Re: (Again) Dealing with sexual desire

Post by dylanj »

"Once, on my begging round, I happened to look up to see a dancing woman, beautifully dressed and bedecked, dancing to the rhythm of an orchestra just on the middle of the highway."

"Just then, radical attention
Arose from within me,
The perils were manifest,
And dejection took place,
Then my mind got released,
Behold the goodness of the Norm."
Nāgasamāla Theragāthā
Born, become, arisen – made, prepared, short-lived
Bonded by decay and death – a nest for sickness, perishable
Produced by seeking nutriment – not fit to take delight in


Departure from this is peaceful – beyond reasoning and enduring
Unborn, unarisen – free from sorrow and stain
Ceasing of all factors of suffering – stilling of all preparations is bliss
auto
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Re: (Again) Dealing with sexual desire

Post by auto »

the intense craving is the escape, it goes so intense and the moment you think you can't do it then that is the point you need return and cultivate that.

when fail, there will be shame(or feeling you have done something very evil), that is the third change to make amends since the craving shouldn't be rise at all so intense but be dealt with at different stage that is a first failure.
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