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Desire for sex is natural. It is neither right to fight your body and mind, nor should you feel depressed about the sex urge. Nature has created this body and its glandular systems. These glands start functioning around teenage and they release chemicals called hormones. In the brain, the hypothalamus and the pituitary control the functioning of these glands. The male hormone testosterone is produced by the testes and the female hormones progesterone and estrogen are produced by the ovaries.
The sex hormones help the body of a boy grow into a young man, and that of a girl grow into a young woman. This leads to an attraction for the opposite sex, and happens only after the release of these chemicals. Before this stage, boys and girls have no such feelings in their mind. As children approach the age of 12 or 13, the sex glands begin to get active. Nowadays, due to exposure to media and television, these glands have started functioning earlier – sometimes as early as the age of 9.
Even a highly sexual and pornographic mind, such as of those people who engage in mental visualisations and fantasies, or of a totally addicted person, loses the sexual urge if we inject a special type of hormone in the body. This happens because the body clock is taken back to the stage when there were no secretions of the sex hormones.
Whenever there is an excess secretion of these chemicals – for whatever reason, it leads to addiction. Any addiction, whether it is for tea, coffee or sex, is just an addiction. You cannot say that one addiction is better than the other – that an addiction to cigarettes is better than an addiction to liquor. Addiction means a stage of dependence in which one cannot survive without the fulfilment of the addiction. It is a stage when one thinks and dreams about the object of one’s addiction and when one lives with it and for it.
The first thing to understand is that our mind is connected to our body and to our brain. Changes in our body and mind affect us. For example, if you have not slept well during night, there will be a deficiency of melatonin and serotonin, the two chemicals released during sleep. These chemicals relax the body and the brain, and their deficiency will make you feel tense. Your mind will begin to oscillate, your circulatory system will get affected and blood pressure will rise. The restlessness will affect you to such an extent, that you will need to take some drug to balance the paucity of the chemicals.
This is how those people who drink more and more liquor, provide the chemicals the body needs, although alcohol does not supply melatonin and serotonin. The chemicals in the liquor have a drug like effect and they soothe the nerves and numb the brain; somehow this is experienced as relaxation by many people. Any form of drug, cigarette and liquor soothes the nerves. It is a different story that these are all poisons that destroy the body systems. This is the additional effect of these drugs which no company is ever going to advertise; they will just talk about how good you are going to feel. Thumbs up! How cheerful you will be when you consume the poison of this drug!
Similarly, during the sex act, chemicals are released by the brain and this gives you a high feeling – a good feeling. Some tests have been done on rats and mice, in which the areas of the brain which are activated at the time of sex were injected and made numb. Once those portions were numbed, the rats and mice lost interest in copulation; they were just not interested any more.
So basically, it’s the good feeling that our body looks forward to and seeks to experience it. Some feel good with food, but for other’s, sex remains the only medium which gives them a high; nothing else does.
But for sex, one is dependant on another person. As I had said earlier, just like any fast food, you can also get home delivery of sex! Even that is available.
The question is, what does sex give? It gives a feeling of elation and a feeling of being appreciated – although the person doing the appreciating may be doing it for your money, for the security you provide or for the gifts which you will shower on that person! So the process of give and take goes on. Dependency continues to exist.
Husbands and wives blackmail and exploit one another for their dependency on each other for sexual release. Actually, if sex is taken away, the husband and wife relationship left. Most couples are together because of the children or society; or because they don’t know how to live alone. They benefit greatly from the relationship, and so do not want to lose out on services like house maintenance, laundry, cooking and entertainment etc. All these things provided by the spouse make you further bind with the spouse.
The question is, if sex could give real enjoyment, a real high, then it should last for a few days at least. But it does not endure for even a few hours! It is an unending process. Again and again, a person is entrapped.
Now this is where we need to open up our horizon. First and foremost, never condemn yourself for having a sexual urge. Through all your physical and mental experiences, you gain something – or maybe you will gain something. Those who never get a chance to explore these things may still harbour the seeds of desire in their subconscious mind. They just dream, repress and suppress their feelings. At the same time, exploring this territory should be done with an understanding of what you will get out of it. Ask yourself: Am I getting the happiness which I hope for? How long will this happiness last? Will I get dependent on the other person? Will I lose my freedom? Is this the only way to feel a high? Is this the only door through which I will get physical and mental relaxation? Most husbands the world over have sex to release their tension and not for love.
I would like to point out that a man who is really in love with his wife, will need less sex, because his satisfaction will then come from a higher plane. Attention, appreciation and companionship are more important than carnal pleasure. I am not saying that there is something wrong with sex, that it is sinful or that it is something one should not indulge in.
If sex had been ugly, or even worse – if it were a sin or something to be guilty of, then our temples would not have sculptures of couples copulating. Have you ever seen the expression on their faces? Have you ever visited the Khajuraho or Konark temples? Outside the periphery of these temples, there are hundreds of such images on the domes; they are carved so meticulously and with so much time consuming labour. A huge amount of the kings’ money went into the making of these temples. Dharma, artha, kama, moksha – all four are a part of life. It cannot be said that artha is important and kama is not. If we deny these facts then we are just being hypocritical.
All that happens in society – all the money, the wealth, the businesses, the jobs, the education – just go to the core of it and see what everyone is striving for. You will end up with just one answer – sex. If you have wealth, you can have the most beautiful girl or the most handsome man. Your very being, your physical being is because of sex. Can you deny that?
But your parents are not guilty of sex. They might be guilty of sex in general but not of your birth. Are you guilty of your daughter? You are joyful for your daughters. You are joyful for your sons. You are full of joy for your children and even more joyful for your grand children. They are all offsprings of the sexual act. You cannot say that it is bad, ugly or sinful. This point has to be understood very clearly.
Society at large is under the sheets; behind the wall everyone is in it, and outside the wall everyone condemns it. They condemn it and yet they are in it! The more they are in it, the more vehemently they condemn it – this is a vicious cycle. Throw away the attitude that sex is bad, ugly and sinful. What is bad about it? It is your body and if you wish to explore it in any way, just go ahead and do so.
The only suggestion I would like to make is that you should know what you will gain, what will you lose and why you are indulging in it? It is true that the body chemicals – the hormones, are active and therefore there is attraction between the sexes. The stimulants are there right in your head – the sex organ is none other than the brain – that is the real sex organ!
So this means that you need to make some changes in the brain if you wish to make some changes in your lifestyle. How can that be done? There are many ways:
First, you have to balance your body and brain, so that you do the act when needed and you don’t think about it all the time. When you are hungry you eat food – you are never guilty of eating food, are you? If you have an itch in the throat, you cough – you never feel guilty about it. But if you have an urge for sex and you satisfy it, you feel guilty later on – whether you recognize the guilt or not is a different story.
When a husband and wife are in the sex act, all the scriptures, mahatmas and sadhus’ voices keep ringing at the back of their mind, telling them that what they are doing is bad. But the urge of the body is so strong that they cannot stop. It is somewhat like schizophrenia – based on all the discourses of mahatmas and books that you have read, the brain says don’t do it, but the body speaks a different language. Mind you, whenever there is a fight between the body and the brain, the body will win because animal instincts are more powerful than abstract thoughts and ideas.
Celibacy is just an idea which the mahatmas have given to people. That is not your experience; your experience is that when your body wants something, you have to get it. When a person is thirsty he will drink water from the most polluted pond – it has happened! In difficult times, as during a war, what else to do? When there is thirst and the body asks for water, people have been known to have drunk water from the ponds in which corpses were floating! The suffering from thirst, the pain was so great, that inspite of seeing the floating dead bodies, they just cupped their hands and drank the water!
The urges of the body are very strong. When hunger troubles you, when your body asks for food, no gyan will work – you need food by any means, anyhow. Normally you eat when you are hungry, you drink when you are thirsty, when you are exhausted you go to sleep and you are never guilty about it. But if you continuously think about food, then something is wrong. If you keep on eating and filling your stomach the whole day, then it is a disease. If a person washes his hands when they are dirty, it is ok for that is routine hygiene. But if he keeps on washing his hand a hundred or two hundred times, then it is an illness. It is a psychological disease if a person feels he is dirty, or the phobia of germs is prevalent in his mind; this needs to be treated. Similarly, healthy married couples do feel the real urge for sex.
Now this is something to be noted – distinguishing between the real and the unreal urge. The real urge comes from the body, and if you fulfil it, it is definitely as natural as a hungry man eating his food. But this urge can also be an unreal one. How does that happen? The society in which you live, your friends, associates, the woman you are seeing, the men whom you meet, the books which you read, the magazines which you flip through, every channel, every movie – all of them – titillate your senses and excite your mind. When the urge arises because of this titillation and excitement, I call it an unreal desire – it is not a natural desire.
You will have to see when it is a natural urge and when it is an unnatural one. When you have a natural urge, go ahead without the feeling of guilt or sin. Marriage is a licence which society has given you; have sex as many times as you want to, but the moment you stray from your licensed spouse, the whole of society looks down upon you. This is bad, this is wrong, this is immoral! In a polygamous society, it is not considered wrong to stray, but as per Hindu law, and in monogamous relationships which are popular and widely practised today, it is considered wrong. I believe that if a man or a woman has an extra marital affair, it is not because they don’t get sex, but because they don’t get true love.
Understand that sex can never fulfil and satisfy your mind – love certainly can. Love should be the foundation of marriage. The more deeply you are in love with your spouse, the lesser will be the need to stray. When a man and a woman do not appreciate one another, do not attend to each other’s needs, do not gel at the mental level, do not have similar choices, then there is sure to be trouble. Some people simply live with their situation; others move away. But this damages the institution of marriage.
There are many things to be considered. First: identify the real and natural urge. How to do that? Well, you need to discipline your brain and body, and to do that.
Yogic Asanas are the perfect solution. When you do sarvangasana – the shoulder stand, blood rushes to your brain as your feet are up and head is down. Due to gravity, the blood rushes to the brain. The most important gland which is the master computer of the body, the hypothalamus, is in the brain. With this Asana, fresh supply of blood and oxygen is carried to the brain nourishing the hypothalamus and the pituitary. The hypothalamus begins to work properly and it orders the right amount of chemicals to be released. Once this happens, you feel the sex urge only when needed and not otherwise.
Second: the way to balance the glandular system is to do Pranayama. When you practice Pranayama, your mind will be soothed, relaxed and cool. You won’t feel excited even on seeing an attractive woman; you won’t be titillated; titillation will have an effect only when you are ready for it.
The same rules apply to scantily clothed girls who show their bodies in such a way that it turns any man’s mind- just as a woman’s mind may be affected on seeing a half naked man who has a beautiful and muscular body. But this titillation can happen only when you are ready to be titillated. Let me say this very clearly: I do not condemn even titillation, but it has to have some objective.
In the sexual act, it is not that you lose just semen in ejaculation, but you also lose something more than that called ojas – energy. It is not the semen which creates the baby, but the ojas in the semen which creates the baby. This ojas can be used to make progress in your spiritual development.
Every food you eat carries a hidden energy in it. Our body has to digest the food and our intestines have to absorb the nutrients which go to the liver and from there to the blood and thence to the entire body. Our seers who understood this phenomenon, suggested that this energy should not be wasted for whimsical reasons, but should be conserved. The more you conserve it, the more energetic you grow and your capacity to do sadhana also increases. This energy also enhances your concentration and attention levels. The reason why the rishis suggested sexual abstinence was to conserve ojas, and not in order to suppress the sexual urge. The idea was not to suppress sexual energy but to sublimate it.
It is important to understand the sexual energy in order to manage it well. Deep down if the mind is insecure, then this insecurity can become a reason for excessive sexual behaviour. If you did not receive real love and comfort from your mother in childhood, then this can give rise to excessive sexual behaviour of the mind. If you have any kind of inferiority complex, it can also give rise to an overly sexual behaviour. If you were exploited or tortured during childhood, even this can lead to excessive sexual behaviour. There are multiple reasons and that is why we need to understand our mind; we need to go deep into our mind.
Every time the urge arises, do not condemn yourself, rather try to understand from where it is rising.
Our mind is a deep, dark and mysterious cave where millions of ghosts reside – the ghosts of our past memories. We are not very comfortable facing these ghosts, and that is why we watch television, we spend time with friends but do not like to invest any effort in studying the mind. We just do not want to face the complexities of our mind; this compounds the problem.
Now, coming back to the same question: how to manage the sex urge? Whether it is natural or unnatural, real or unreal?
One way is to indulge in sexual intercourse.
The second way is to masturbate.
The third way is to suppress the urge by chiding yourself, taking a cold shower or going to a temple and expressing regret for having fallen again.
Then there is a fourth way also – it is a particular technique given by Tantra to all aspirants who wish to work on transcending and controlling the sexual urge – the Ashwini mudra with kumbhak.
Ashwa means horse. Ashwini mudra is actually taken from a natural act performed by horses. Have you ever ridden on horseback? Have you seen a horse defecating? It moves its anus – actually it pushes out its rectum and you can see a layer of pinkish muscle. The horse pushes its rectum out of the body once it has defecated; when it has thrown the faeces out of the body, it pushes out the rectum, moves it and then pulls it in. This is called Ashwini mudra. So with the practice of Ashwini mudra, you can develop control over the muscles in the lower regions of the body around the anus.
The exercise is done as follows: you squeeze your anus, contract it, and then relax it in the first part of the mudra. In the second part you repeat the exercise with breath control – when you inhale you relax and when you exhale you contract – proficiency comes with practice.
Initially you should concentrate on the first part which is rather easy, and once you have mastered it then practice with the breath. Remember that you contract while exhaling and relax when inhaling. When you inhale, relax; contract with breathing out.
In the third part, you contract the anus while exhaling and hold your breath for a count of 3 and then relax. Inhale and exhale, contracting while exhaling. When you breathe out, hold your breath out – one, two, three. With time and practice, you can increase the retention period and can even take it to a count of 5 and then 10 – but it should be done very comfortably with no stress or strain.
This ability to retain your breath and contract your anus muscle will control the urge for sex – this is the golden mantra. Whenever the urge arises – whether real or unreal – at that time if you begin to focus and start doing the exercises in sequence, within 15 minutes, not only will your urge be gone but you will feel like meditating more – you will feel like sitting for some more time. Your mind gets relaxed and so does the body.
We should not ever fight with the body or the mind. If there is an urge for sex, it is no big issue, for every issue has a solution which can be learned and focussed on. So at the level of our mind we need to understand and respect it. Actually, the more you resist it, the more you get trapped in it, because anything that makes you feel guilty also gives you the joy of breaking the rules of society.
There is no fun in taking your wife out for dinner; it is more exciting to take your girlfriend out. Even the most lecherous person fears being seen, hence no one ever announces in the drawing room in the presence of friends and relatives that the last time he went to Singapore on a business trip, he had three prostitutes! No one ever announces this; no one ever boasts of this. Even the most lecherous and libidinous person will hide this.
We need to know and understand that sex is not the enemy; sex is not a sin; sex is not a shameful act that should lead to guilt. It needs to be appreciated that nature has given this to us and it is the reason for the entire procreation and recreation. Sex is not a means of releasing tension – for that you should do Yog-Nidra – it is indeed very relaxing! Sex should not be a means of releasing your frustrations either. It is and can be beautiful provided you know and understand what it is; provided you manage it with awareness; provided you are deeply in love with your spouse.
A loveless relationship is a sin. The problem is that in our society relationships are not based on love but on money, prestige and status , today these three have become more important – then comes the shakal [looks] and akal [intelligence] of the boy and girl. If the boy is a walking hippopotamus but has money, there are many girls who will not refuse him. Their attitude is that it is fine to marry someone like that, no problem at all; once married they plan to make the poor chap slim down. You too must have seen some weird matches – in fact they are no match at all, but the families get them married. Now after the marriage they are expected to love one another! How is that possible? I find it very weird!
But our ancestors had made a different system. They would get the boy and girl married at an early age but keep them apart. Immediately after the marriage ceremony the girl was taken to her parents home and then the entire society and family would pester and tease the boy reminding him that his spouse was at her parents’ home. “Don’t you want to meet her?” Their bodies would be growing and their hormones raging. That is how psychologically they were made to like one another and to want to be with one another. This distance created the attraction. After another ceremony, when the girl was finally brought to her husband’s home, the boy was lusting and waiting for her.
Again, this is a drama which has been planned by society and families. I have nothing against arranged marriages but I do have some issues with it. Loveless marriages can never satisfy; love has to be there. If there is love in an arranged marriage then it is fine. Some amount of effort is needed on the part of the husband and wife to understand one another in order to seek and create room for compatibility , and to be able to appreciate one another’s qualities, to ignore the errors and mistakes of the other person, to not condemn the spouse – appreciation will certainly change the partner. These are important things. To manage the urges of the body and to be in a position to distinguish the real urge from the unreal one, Yogasana and Pranayama especially Ashwini Mudra with Kumbhak, will pave the way for a very healthy married life.
Life with a dumb person can be hell – but marriage can be a great pleasure trip, an enjoyable experience once there is compatibility – for which one has to work. For, it won’t happen on its own. You have to work at it and the more you work with understanding and with an agenda, the more quickly will you see the results.