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Buddhism, vanity and sexual conduct?

Hello all, I hope everyone is doing well!

I have a situation with my husband that I would like a Buddhist perspective on, and I would be grateful if anyone can offer me advice or opinions.

It is an embarrassing and rather depressing situation to be in, hopefully not an inappropriate one to be sharing here.

To sum it up, my husband has just revealed - with much hesitation and after much prodding from me - that I am not dressing well enough to entice him or make him want to have sex with me. And he has suggested that if I just dressed better, just be more 'vain' in his words, this won't be happening. We have been together for almost 4 years now (if this added bit of information makes a difference).

To set the record straight, he is a good man, respectful, kind, loving and affectionate, great in so many ways. But the sexual intimacy that is missing between us upsets me, being a woman in my 30's with a healthy sex drive and a need to physically connect on a deeper level.

My biggest problem with this is that I try hard to practice Buddhis values and principles in my everyday life, but this entire situation seems to go against everything that I've been trying to cultivate - namely not placing importance on vanity, superficial appearances and sexual behaviour. On the other hand, sexual intimacy is important to me and I don't want to have to forego it either.

I feel lost right now, unsure of what to do, because of this dilemma. If anyone has any advice for me, I would greatly appreciate your help and input.

Much love and thanks for reading this.

Comments

  • lobsterlobster Veteran
    edited April 10

    One of our regular dakinis @DhammaDragon has a 'relationships' forum with https://insighttimer.com
    Good place for relationship advice :)

    Meanwhile ...

    One of the great women Sufi Bodhisattva/saints (sorry could not find who) would attend to her make up and allure. This was her outer form for the sake of her marriage. What became of this varied. When she was not sharing in her relationship, she choose to be very simple and plain. The point is outer form is irrelevant and that includes aspects that others prefer. Non-attachment is very subtle . . .

    As a Buddha dakini whore, I am insistent that it takes two to tango ...

    You are not a nun.
    Might you suggest that you be worshiped as part of role play . . . o:)

    Did I mention two to Tantra Tango? Good thing you are a practicing Buddhist ... otherwise we might have a line dance ... :3 Ay caramba!

    https://ericwedwards.wordpress.com/2013/07/02/goddess-worship-sacred-sexuality-and-the-divine-feminine/

    You sound like you are in a healthy lay relationship AND maybe need to appreciate that form is empty.

    Compromise.
    Wear the form. Make some fun of your own ... share the emptiness . . .

    spiderlilyDhammaDragon
  • KeromeKerome Did I fall in the forest? Europe Veteran
    edited April 10

    Relationships are give and take... I don't think it's breaching a precept to dress more sexily or use makeup, so if it were me I'd probably just go along with it. But these things are individual and you have to go with what feels right to you, if you're not comfortable with it its better to think again.

    My biggest problem with this is that I try hard to practice Buddhis values and principles in my everyday life, but this entire situation seems to go against everything that I've been trying to cultivate - namely not placing importance on vanity, superficial appearances and sexual behaviour.

    It sounds like perhaps you already had a problem around vanity? If you were cultivating 'against it' so to speak. It is just form, and as @lobster pointed out, ultimately empty of self nature. It's worth digging a little deeper into the nature of your resistance.

    spiderlilyVastmind
  • spiderlilyspiderlily Explorer

    @Kerome said:
    Relationships are give and take... I don't think it's breaching a precept to dress more sexily or use makeup, so if it were me I'd probably just go along with it. But these things are individual and you have to go with what feels right to you, if you're not comfortable with it its better to think again.

    My biggest problem with this is that I try hard to practice Buddhis values and principles in my everyday life, but this entire situation seems to go against everything that I've been trying to cultivate - namely not placing importance on vanity, superficial appearances and sexual behaviour.

    It sounds like perhaps you already had a problem around vanity? If you were cultivating 'against it' so to speak. It is just form, and as @lobster pointed out, ultimately empty of self nature. It's worth digging a little deeper into the nature of your resistance.

    In my 20's I was a pretty horrid person, and my life largely revolved around these things, so yes there is an aversion there. I have always felt like it's a slippery slope for me so I would rather err on the safe side. Thank you for giving me much to think about though, sometimes I feel that because I'm so new to Buddhism and my understanding of it is still so coarse, I'm not able to trust my own judgement and interpretation just yet.

  • spiderlilyspiderlily Explorer

    @lobster said:
    One of our regular dakinis @DhammaDragon has a 'relationships' forum with https://insighttimer.com
    Good place for relationship advice :)

    Meanwhile ...

    One of the great women Sufi Bodhisattva/saints (sorry could not find who) would attend to her make up and allure. This was her outer form for the sake of her marriage. What became of this varied. When she was not sharing in her relationship, she choose to be very simple and plain. The point is outer form is irrelevant and that includes aspects that others prefer. Non-attachment is very subtle . . .

    As a Buddha dakini whore, I am insistent that it takes two to tango ...

    You are not a nun.
    Might you suggest that you be worshiped as part of role play . . . o:)

    Did I mention two to Tantra Tango? Good thing you are a practicing Buddhist ... otherwise we might have a line dance ... :3 Ay caramba!

    https://ericwedwards.wordpress.com/2013/07/02/goddess-worship-sacred-sexuality-and-the-divine-feminine/

    You sound like you are in a healthy lay relationship AND maybe need to appreciate that form is empty.

    Compromise.
    Wear the form. Make some fun of your own ... share the emptiness . . .

    The Sufi Bodhisattva story is beautiful, thank you for sharing. I understand what you're trying to tell me, and it's actually a relief to hear that!

    Tosh
  • DakiniDakini Veteran
    edited April 10

    @grackle said:
    If he wants you to be "hot" to stoke his desires that is placing the responsibility on you. Manifestly unfair. It's a two way street. What is he willing to do. If after four years of marriage he wants you to get all tarted up to turn him on then what is the rest of you worth to him?

    This also raises the question: what were you like when you two were dating and engaged? Did you suddenly adopt a different style after marriage? We can only assume he found you attractive enough to marry you....

    That said, I would point out that attending to one's fashionability is not necessarily anti-Buddhist. A clear example would be dressing for the workplace. Those where the norm is more formal vs. casual might push some people beyond their preferred choices. We do what we need to do in order to be effective on the job; don "power suits" or whatever. That doesn't mean we're vain. As long as we're not attached to fashion, and are only using it as a tool, that wouldn't go against prohibitions re: feeding the ego. See what I mean?

    So, OP, maybe it would be a simple matter of changing into something a little more tailored, or whatever, when your husband comes home, or for dinners out, or for weekends. Maybe you could experiment while shopping, and find a couple of items a little outside your usual style, as a compromise. And I'd also add that dressing attractively doesn't have to mean wearing anything overly revealing. Well-tailored items can be both modest and attractive, if that's your concern. If you're wearing baggy sweatshirts or workshirts, consider something more close-fitting. As long as you don't suddenly become addicted to shopping sprees, or start checking yourself out in the mirror constantly, I don't see any conflict with Buddhist principles.

    Also--congratulations on practicing good communication, and airing your concerns with your husband. And continuing to the point of getting an honest response. Hopefully, he won't require a radical change, and you two can find a happy medium.

    spiderlilyDhammaDragon
  • TiggerTigger Toronto, Canada Veteran
    edited April 10

    @spiderlily, your story breaks my heart. I'm with @federica on this one and I'm so sorry that you have to go through this. I am almost certain it can't be easy. I can't offer much in this post but it does sound like you need to have a real heart to heart, no f'n around kind of conversation with him to determine if what @federica says is correct. The last thing you want to do is have yourself pulled around left, right and centre only to have him go anyway. In my opinion, if someone said that to me I would abandon ship. I don't know if I could ever recover from that and the affect it would have on my heart and soul.

    I hope you find peace in this situation and yourself <3

    spiderlily
  • BunksBunks Australia Veteran

    Marriage is hard. Both men and women will look (hopefully not touch!) elsewhere at different stages.

    From a male perspective, we're bombarded with images of sexy women wearing not much from morning to night. On television, the internet, advertising posters etc.

    Whether you like it or not, we're affected by it.

    I don't really have any advice. In my current situation (recently separated), I am cynical about marriage i.e it goes against our nature to be with just one person for ten, twenty, thirty, forty years. Why should we fight that?

    Anyway, I hope you guys can sort things out. Good luck!

    VastmindShoshinspiderlily
  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran

    Ah...The things we do (or won't do) for love

    Sexual misconduct is an interesting concept and we can all have our own personal interpretations...And at times as lay-practitioners we can take things to the extreme...

    If you are personally thinking of entering into a monastic way of life was your husband informed of this prior to you hooking up ? Or has this all come as a surprise to him ?

    Perhaps you should look for a middle way avoid the extremes by compromising (which in itself is an interesting word :) ) ...

    Whatever you decide I wish you and your husband well.... <3

    Bunksspiderlily
  • KaydeekayKaydeekay UK Explorer
    edited April 10

    @spiderlily said:

    @Kerome said:
    Relationships are give and take... I don't think it's breaching a precept to dress more sexily or use makeup, so if it were me I'd probably just go along with it. But these things are individual and you have to go with what feels right to you, if you're not comfortable with it its better to think again.

    My biggest problem with this is that I try hard to practice Buddhis values and principles in my everyday life, but this entire situation seems to go against everything that I've been trying to cultivate - namely not placing importance on vanity, superficial appearances and sexual behaviour.

    It sounds like perhaps you already had a problem around vanity? If you were cultivating 'against it' so to speak. It is just form, and as @lobster pointed out, ultimately empty of self nature. It's worth digging a little deeper into the nature of your resistance.

    In my 20's I was a pretty horrid person, and my life largely revolved around these things, so yes there is an aversion there. I have always felt like it's a slippery slope for me so I would rather err on the safe side. Thank you for giving me much to think about though, sometimes I feel that because I'm so new to Buddhism and my understanding of it is still so coarse, I'm not able to trust my own judgement and interpretation just yet.

    Have you thought about discussing this with your husband? So, you can both come to a place where you are comfortable :).

    Sorry that you are going through this - this sounds painful....

    To me, I find a happy medium lies in taking good care of my skin and haircare - so that it almost feels nourishing and like self-care. So - I get my eyebrows done, I exfoliate, I moisturise. So I feel like I am looking after myself and feel kind of naturally pretty too :). I think women also feel a lot of shame around wearing makeup and supposedly being vain, as they do around not being attractive enough - like "oh - just be naturally beautiful and flawless" and there's this discomfort around wearing makeup, but sometimes it's kind of nice and empowering :). And that's okay :).

    I guess you have to do what makes you feel happy and comfortable and your husband has to respect how you feel as well and try not to be too shallow... I guess men are visual creatures...but that also seems like disembodied sexuality - it's also about women being passive in their sexuality and something to be looked at (these are the societal messages communicated) - I think that being 'sexy' is also about like being in touch with what you like and your own sexuality, which goes beyond what you look like - but maybe your husband is also only thinking in terms of the most simplistic ways that women are sexually perceived as. But I think this is something a lot of women are disconnected from. Your husband can also help you feel that way by focusing on your sexuality...

    Sexuality is also about confidence and passion and about what makes you feel good, that's also down to your husband as well :) and I guess it's why it's so important that you take care of yourself in a way that makes you feel happy and comfortable, as well as your husband. What makes you feel attractive? How can you own your sexuality in a better way? Then I think sexiness comes...but it's probably hard to feel that way if you feel like you're not attractive enough - men have to be careful, this is such a painful, touchy, shame-based place for women!

    Sorry if this is getting a bit personal lol :).

    VastmindKeromelobsterDhammaDragon
  • KaydeekayKaydeekay UK Explorer
    edited April 10

    @Bunks said:
    Marriage is hard. Both men and women will look (hopefully not touch!) elsewhere at different stages.

    From a male perspective, we're bombarded with images of sexy women wearing not much from morning to night. On television, the internet, advertising posters etc.

    Whether you like it or not, we're affected by it.

    I don't really have any advice. In my current situation (recently separated), I am cynical about marriage i.e it goes against our nature to be with just one person for ten, twenty, thirty, forty years. Why should we fight that?

    Anyway, I hope you guys can sort things out. Good luck!

    Ahhh, hmm - yeah but on another level - this is like me saying that women are bombarded with ideals of super-romanic, passionate men in romantic films (not that I watch that stuff....) and that this affects me whether you guys like it or not. I think it's like trying to be compassionate and see people as people beyond what we can get out of them. We can all go beyond this and not think we a deserved something which is impossible to maintain 24/7, aren't we all just human beings lol?

    We have to take responsibility for managing our own expectations and conceptions as well.

    I think it also subconsciously sends the message that men are owed these super beautiful women, then sometimes this resentment or dissatisfaction then gets projected onto their partner - but that's not really logical, or realistic lol. Water seeks its own level and beauty is going to fade with time anyway...

    VastmindToshspiderlily
  • BunksBunks Australia Veteran

    @Kaydeekay said:

    @Bunks said:
    Marriage is hard. Both men and women will look (hopefully not touch!) elsewhere at different stages.

    From a male perspective, we're bombarded with images of sexy women wearing not much from morning to night. On television, the internet, advertising posters etc.

    Whether you like it or not, we're affected by it.

    I don't really have any advice. In my current situation (recently separated), I am cynical about marriage i.e it goes against our nature to be with just one person for ten, twenty, thirty, forty years. Why should we fight that?

    Anyway, I hope you guys can sort things out. Good luck!

    Ahhh, hmm - yeah but on another level - this is like me saying that women are bombarded with ideals of super-romanic, passionate men in romantic films (not that I watch that stuff....) and that this affects me whether you guys like it or not. I think it's like trying to be compassionate and see people as people beyond what we can get out of them. We can all go beyond this and not think we a deserved something which is impossible to maintain 24/7, aren't we all just human beings lol?

    We have to take responsibility for managing our own expectations and conceptions as well.

    I think it also subconsciously sends the message that men are owed these super beautiful women, then sometimes this resentment or dissatisfaction then gets projected onto their partner - but that's not really logical, or realistic lol. Water seeks its own level and beauty is going to fade with time anyway...

    Yep. Agree. Women have the same unrealistic crap shoved down their throats.

    Hence my cynicism about marriage.

    Particularly in this day and age in western society where we're constantly told we shouldn't compromise and settle.

    Then on the other hand we're expected to stay with the same person for life.

    Which one do we choose?

    Kaydeekay
  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran

    It's all relative .... and inconsequential the deeper one delves into the Dharma ....However one needs to overcome the ego's strong desiring influence for things to be a certain way... Also to bear in mind that Nothing is permanent including ones desire for things to be a certain way...

    Bunksspiderlily
  • gracklegrackle Veteran

    To compromise if both parties are willing I think leaves a good feeling. By compromise I mean each one involved gives a little to perhaps gain something that turns out to be greater than they thought. So to compromise is not to settle but to find a newer direction than before. I am very fond of The Little Locksmith by Katherine Butler Hathaway. It is mentioned in The Vision of Dhamma by Nyanaponika Thera. We are often told to forgive but the real task is to forget.

    VastmindBunksShoshinspiderlily
  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator
    edited April 11

    No. The real task, is to Trust.

    lobsterTosh
  • KeromeKerome Did I fall in the forest? Europe Veteran

    I still think the first task is to resolve your own attitudes towards feeling beautiful and being sexy @spiderlily - once you can be happy there you can engage with the husband about his desires and how far down that path you should meet him, and how much of an adjustment you can ask of him in return.

    spiderlily
  • KaydeekayKaydeekay UK Explorer
    edited April 11

    @Bunks said:

    @Kaydeekay said:

    @Bunks said:
    Marriage is hard. Both men and women will look (hopefully not touch!) elsewhere at different stages.

    From a male perspective, we're bombarded with images of sexy women wearing not much from morning to night. On television, the internet, advertising posters etc.

    Whether you like it or not, we're affected by it.

    I don't really have any advice. In my current situation (recently separated), I am cynical about marriage i.e it goes against our nature to be with just one person for ten, twenty, thirty, forty years. Why should we fight that?

    Anyway, I hope you guys can sort things out. Good luck!

    Ahhh, hmm - yeah but on another level - this is like me saying that women are bombarded with ideals of super-romanic, passionate men in romantic films (not that I watch that stuff....) and that this affects me whether you guys like it or not. I think it's like trying to be compassionate and see people as people beyond what we can get out of them. We can all go beyond this and not think we a deserved something which is impossible to maintain 24/7, aren't we all just human beings lol?

    We have to take responsibility for managing our own expectations and conceptions as well.

    I think it also subconsciously sends the message that men are owed these super beautiful women, then sometimes this resentment or dissatisfaction then gets projected onto their partner - but that's not really logical, or realistic lol. Water seeks its own level and beauty is going to fade with time anyway...

    Yep. Agree. Women have the same unrealistic crap shoved down their throats.

    Hence my cynicism about marriage.

    Particularly in this day and age in western society where we're constantly told we shouldn't compromise and settle.

    Then on the other hand we're expected to stay with the same person for life.

    Which one do we choose?

    Well said. Neither? I tend to believe in serial monogamy, rather than 'till death do us part' monogamy, not believing in one person for all of life, or making one person my whole life forever - that mindset doesn't sit well with me. People and relationships continually evolve - there is a right person for right now, but forever? Unlikely.

    I think when we put too much expectation on a person or relationship, it also makes it more stressful, less enjoyable, more likely to breakdown faster and in a toxic manner...I'd rater enjoy connections with people and invest in my happiness in other ways, beyond a relationship. I feel like in a lot of ways relationships, love and marriage and clung on to as the golden ticket to happiness and fulfilment and that leaves a lot of us unhappy and frustrated.

    KeromeBunks
  • KeromeKerome Did I fall in the forest? Europe Veteran

    @Kaydeekay said:
    I feel like in a lot of ways relationships, love and marriage are clung on to as the golden ticket to happiness and fulfilment and that leaves a lot of us unhappy and frustrated.

    I think that's very true... I'm probably unusual in that - by choice and chance - I have lived a life free of relationships, marriage, and mostly free of sex, and so I feel I can answer that it's possible to have quite a fulfilling life without those things. Luckily my childhood was such that these things were not programmed into me.

    But I think a lot of people have this set in front of them as a goal from an early age, not through any choice of their own but as part of society's grand plan. Jiddu Krishnamurti often talks about the things the parents, teachers and priests program into young minds, I find his talks quite refereshing at times.

    When it turns out that "one partner, till death do us part" is more usually a Jewish tradition from very long ago that never worked very well, many people end up disillusioned and feeling as if they had failed, and then a second marriage works as a pick me up. But it still leaves you with the impression that each broken marriage is a failure, while in fact, it was never realistic to begin with.

    Kaydeekay
  • spiderlilyspiderlily Explorer

    Hi again everyone. Thank you all for taking the time to respond. Forgive me for not being able to address all of the comments, because I'd prefer not to divulge too much on something of such a sensitive (to me) nature. However, the replies in this thread have provided much insight, coming from wiser and finer minds than mine, and you have my deepest gratitude.

    I'd like to clarify though, that things aren't nearly as serious as what I might have made it out to be, or what has been suggested in here! We are still having much fun together, laughing, having great conversations and generally enjoying each other's company, nothing so far that has suggested a relationship that is falling apart.

    As for myself, I have become somewhat of a slob admittedly, and it doesn't help that I am in the process of a 2 year long IPL (hair removal) treatment which means I am perpetually prickly and painful to the touch everywhere, obviously not the sexiest creature around. Howeve I will definitely be looking into the suggestions on getting basic grooming covered and putting on prettier outfits, if it gets the job done, so to speak.

    Right now, there is pain (and definitely a huge blow to the ego), but I believe there are also lessons in here somewhere, so whatever the outcome may be, I will be grateful for this experience, maybe not right now but definitely in the future. I thank all of you for your well wishes and intentions.

  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Veteran

    I am not sure my view is well accepted by many, but it is what it is. I think we, as a result of our society largely, think we are entitled to put our needs on someone else. A partnership is, of course, about give and take. But IMO we should be spending a lot more time examining our needs and why we feel it is ok to expect others to meet those needs for us and worse, to punish them if they do not.

    I have a large need for touch. Not sexual touch, just connection with people. My husband is not big on touch. Unfortunately, this is not what he showed me when we were dating so my expectation was that that level of touching would carry on. It was very hard to suddenly feel unwanted! He insisted that wasn't the case, he just wasn't a big hugger/hand holder etc. False advertising! But I truly did not want to end our marriage over it. So I looked at what my needs were and why I felt it was ok to put them on him, and then to be upset with him for not meeting my needs. We connect in many ways, and have a great marriage/relationship. I wish he had been honest before, but I think most of us have masks we wear when we date to try to meet what we think someone wants. I am sure I did the same in some ways. Actually I know I did. We all falsely advertise. But for me, in looking at my own needs, I found I can get them so many other places. I hug my kids a lot. I hug my girl friends. I get massages. I learned how to make my body happy without feeling like it was my husband's job to do so. I know some people believe that is how relationships should be. I just don't. It means someone is taking their needs, and saying "This is what I need, and it's more important than what you need, so, meet my needs, or else." That is ridiculous. There has to be a meeting in the middle, so it is up to you to explain to him why his demands are causing you to go against your own needs. I chose to find healthy ways to meet my needs. And it's not that my husband and I don't touch, lol, we do. Just not as much as I'd like, and more than he'd like. So it's a compromise. But we also talked together about those expectations, why i had them, why I felt bad I wasn't getting them and what we could do. On his part, he is 9 years younger than me. He was 21 when we met, and I was 30. so his desire to make a strong sexual/physical impression on an older lady was high, lol.

    Like @federica said, I would also look at changes. Is this something he is suddenly demanding after knowing you for so many years? Did he change, or did you? It's pretty common for women, after getting married, to get overly comfortable and even sloppy compared to how they advertised themselves while dating. Did you used to make yourself all up to go on dates with him, and now he only sees you in your pajama pants and a messy bun? Because form his point of view, that would be false advertising on your part too, and something you have to reconcile. I was older (in my 30s) when I met and married my husband. By that point, I was over being someone I'm not to impress a man. So he got what I advertised in that regard which is no makeup, jeans and hoodies, and someone who believes a ponytail is a hairstyle. But it didn't change, and his expectation is no different and he says he wouldn't want me any other way. It seems from one of your view points, something changed. Either he has started to demand you to be someone that you aren't and haven't ever been, or you changed and he is wanting that old you to make an appearance sometimes.

    To be clear, I'm not suggested your husband should go elsewhere to meet his sexual desires! But he can look at his needs and think them, and you, differently. But if you are the one that changed, then you are the one that has to look at why and try to see things from his point of view, and meet in the middle.

    Dakinispiderlily
  • DakiniDakini Veteran
    edited April 11

    @spiderlily said:

    As for myself, I have become somewhat of a slob admittedly, and it doesn't help that I am in the process of a 2 year long IPL (hair removal) treatment which means I am perpetually prickly and painful to the touch everywhere, obviously not the sexiest creature around. Howeve I will definitely be looking into the suggestions on getting basic grooming covered and putting on prettier outfits, if it gets the job done, so to speak.

    Right now, there is pain (and definitely a huge blow to the ego), but I believe there are also lessons in here somewhere, so whatever the outcome may be, I will be grateful for this experience, maybe not right now but definitely in the future. I thank all of you for your well wishes and intentions.

    OP, the italicized is huge! Do you feel that that process has affected your clothing choices? Have you discussed with your husband how this process you're going through makes you feel? He may offer some emotionally-needed support, if you open up to him about this. (If you haven't already.) My guess is that you're going through a lot with this treatment, and the emotional fallout from that should be addressed, not swept under the rug or masked with a "stiff upper lip", and so forth.

    RE: becoming somewhat of a slob (which could be due to your treatments, but also-->): there's something to be said for not taking each other for granted after the marriage settles into a routine. There's something to be said for maintaining an attractive appearance for one's spouse (a two-way street, of course), to keep romance alive and well. Exceptions are to be made, and understanding and support offered, though, for a spouse struggling through a medical condition, and things like menopause/manopause, certainly.

    spiderlily
  • spiderlilyspiderlily Explorer

    Oh no no, there's nothing medical about this. It's just a beauty treatment using 'intense pulsing light' that removes hair from the body eg. leg hair, underarm hair, hair in the nether region etc. It's a 2 year process and a requirement is we shouldn't shave or wax, so the hair that grows out is prickly most of the time (namely on my legs and bikini area).

  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    @spiderlily said:
    Oh no no, there's nothing medical about this. It's just a beauty treatment using 'intense pulsing light' that removes hair from the body eg. leg hair, underarm hair, hair in the nether region etc.

    I have been practicing the light shining out from nether region :p

    Seem to be doing it wrong again ... :3

    spiderlily
  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    @Dakini said:

    @spiderlily said:
    Oh no no, there's nothing medical about this. It's just a beauty treatment using 'intense pulsing light' that removes hair from the body eg. leg hair, underarm hair, hair in the nether region etc. It's a 2 year process and a requirement is we shouldn't shave or wax, so the hair that grows out is prickly most of the time (namely on my legs and bikini area).

    Never heard of it. Thanks for explaining. But....have you noticed the irony in getting a 2-year beauty treatment process while at the same time fretting that dressing more attractively might be un-Buddhist?

    I doubt the situation is entirely down to vanity. MY cousin says herself she looks like a bear.... She's never done anything about it, afaik, cosmetically, but she's had her hormones investigated because she was so hirsute..
    For a lady, having more hair than she needs is generally uncomfortable and unsightly. Quite apart from the physical aspect it can also draw tactless, thoughtless and downright insulting remarks.

    spiderlilylobster
  • mosquitomosquito Explorer

    If you are asking for perspectives, you can also consider the following one...

    Keynote: please, don't try to solve this dilemma in your head.

    (And reading provokes sometimes more thoughts, more head-made solutions, more confusion... But I sense you are reading wisely, so - let me add to the mess; ))

    Instead, try to be more mindful during the day (I'm not assuming you are not - just what I'd focus on even more in such days), also in outwardly unrelated situations. Try to see every moment (also the person called your husband) with a fresh look, without labels already given to them in the past. He changes too. What I want to say is... there's a wisdom for every dilemma if we are mindful enough.

    Things change somehow anyway. And surprise us. Your husband will behave according to how he is conditioned and no one can guess the direction. You can do less than you think to control it. But to embrace things as they are - you can do a lot: ) But I hear things are fine - that's good!

    Being a little late in the thread, I'm not sure it adds any value.

    But one more thing... @federica said - the real task is to Trust. This sounds a bit sliding off in the direction of expectations... (sorry if I'm getting this wrong). Unless we mean the Trust that we'll not gonna lose our love even if we wake up one day with our hearts under the rubble...

    (Isn't the real task - to Love?; ))

    But, possibly too much rumbling on my side now.

    Have a peaceful day!

    :)

    spiderlily
  • DakiniDakini Veteran
    edited April 12

    @federica said:

    I doubt the situation is entirely down to vanity. MY cousin says herself she looks like a bear.... She's never done anything about it, afaik, cosmetically, but she's had her hormones investigated because she was so hirsute..
    For a lady, having more hair than she needs is generally uncomfortable and unsightly. Quite apart from the physical aspect it can also draw tactless, thoughtless and downright insulting remarks.

    I had no idea. It still sounds like it could be stressful, and could try one's patience, if it goes on for two years.

    Sorry, OP; I didn't mean to get bogged down in unnecessary details or make a rude remark. :blush: Clearly, I'm going through a bit of a learning curve, here. Carry on.

    spiderlily
  • KaydeekayKaydeekay UK Explorer

    @Kerome said:

    @Kaydeekay said:
    I feel like in a lot of ways relationships, love and marriage are clung on to as the golden ticket to happiness and fulfilment and that leaves a lot of us unhappy and frustrated.

    I think that's very true... I'm probably unusual in that - by choice and chance - I have lived a life free of relationships, marriage, and mostly free of sex, and so I feel I can answer that it's possible to have quite a fulfilling life without those things. Luckily my childhood was such that these things were not programmed into me.

    But I think a lot of people have this set in front of them as a goal from an early age, not through any choice of their own but as part of society's grand plan. Jiddu Krishnamurti often talks about the things the parents, teachers and priests program into young minds, I find his talks quite refereshing at times.

    When it turns out that "one partner, till death do us part" is more usually a Jewish tradition from very long ago that never worked very well, many people end up disillusioned and feeling as if they had failed, and then a second marriage works as a pick me up. But it still leaves you with the impression that each broken marriage is a failure, while in fact, it was never realistic to begin with.

    Really insightful thoughts @Kerome :).

    I'm a Millenial and I think that there is becoming more openness around this kind of thing, which is nice to see :).

  • KaydeekayKaydeekay UK Explorer
    edited April 12

    Also, wanted to add that sometimes for women it feels like a double-bind. You get shamed for being 'sexy' and wearing makeup, but then you get judged and 'rated' based on how attractive you are. So, what - we are supposed to be flawlessly beautiful without even trying? How is that realistic?

    I think sometimes grooming and wearing makeup, and dressing well makes you feel good - why not enjoy feeling good in yourself? As long as you don't invest more in your looks than you do living a good, kind-hearted, meaningful-life, then that's all good :). I think it's because there is shame around how you look as a woman, that it feels like such an emotional situation - compared to say other 'sense' pleasures and focuses. It's like if we enjoy food, or dancing, or socialising - it's all part of the material life, we can celebrate and enjoy what we have, without becoming attached to it and defining ourselves and world by it and attaching our happiness to it :).

    spiderlilylobsterkarasti
  • spiderlilyspiderlily Explorer

    Hi again everyone. I have had a rather rough day today grappling with my emotions, but your kindness, concern and support (although sympathy is the last thing that I need right now!), has made everything this much easier to bear. Especially given how I might not be able to share this with anyone I know in real life. I don't feel so alone right now, so much thanks to all!

    @mosquito You've have really hit the nail on the head. My entire day today was a practice in mindfulness every step of the way (and for some reason, the image of Ajahn Sumedho's smiling face made me sob a little, hah!). I felt the waves of pain come and go, and I think I did pretty ok.

    Also, as what you have suggested, contemplating on my own actions and the path that I have to take on my own, instead of placing my focus on him, has helped to clear my mind a great deal. Thank you for reaffirming that I am perhaps heading in the right direction. I will definitely bear your words in mind when I hit my next emotional stumbling block.

    @federica Your understanding and empathy is deeply appreciated. I am probably quite bear-like in that aspect, myself!

    @Dakini that pricked a little but no harm done, and you did give me a chuckle or two so I guess we're even!

    @Kaydeekay I think you're really seeing the picture that I am seeing right now, and a double-bind describes very aptly what I'm feeling. Trapped between a rock and a hard place! It will be something to contemplate on when my emotions are less raw and I have enough mind and emotional space to do so. And thank you for your pointers on non-attachment. It really does boil down to balance, after all.

    Much love and thanks to all.

    lobstermosquitoKaydeekay
  • spiderlilyspiderlily Explorer
    edited April 12

    @karasti thank you for sharing your experience. I am for sure, far from the point where I am free from expectations or needs, and I suspect I would be miserable in an attempt to do so, so for now accepting that I have these needs and expectations will have to suffice :) I hear you on false advertising though! It's one of those things that has happened to me far too many times, but one that I have barely developed a tolerance for.

  • I am usually bald, but at the moment I'm sporting a regular haircut because my girlfriend would like it for an occasion due in a months' time. What's the big deal? We can be good partners and good Buddhists at the same time. I would be sorry if she looked drab all the time. We are layfolk. We should also focus on making our family life work, which can entail compromising on some other Buddhist idea.

    lobsterHozanDhammaDragonspiderlily
  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Veteran

    @spiderlily I didn't mean you shouldn't have needs. I just meant that you, and he, can take a look at what needs you are expecting the other to meet and see if there are healthy ways for you to meet them on your own. It can get exhausting if you (generally speaking) have a lot of needs and always expect someone else to meet them for you. Taking some of that load off them and accepting it on yourself where you can makes more room for those partner needs to be met. I couldn't say if you are a "needy" person or not, just that it's worth it to investigate our needs and consider whether it's fair for us to put them on someone else. In my example, was it fair for me to expect my husband to meet my needs while ignoring his own? The conclusion I reached was no, and so I meet those needs other ways to be fulfilled and our relationship is happier. My husband is more willing to be affectionate now when I am not constantly demanding it. You can't force yours to look at his needs, but perhaps at a point you can suggest it. But you can look at yours. It might help you understand his point of view better or at least arrive at a better way to discuss it with him. Investigating our lives is a major part of Buddhism, an it brings about understanding in our relationships on a much greater level, and better communication as well.

    i'm not suggesting you should do something you dont' want to do to meet your husband's needs. Just to look at the overall needs between you both and of your relationship and see how balanced they truly are.

    federicaspiderlily
  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    Well said @Ficus_religiosa we are not required to be baldies (unless we are folically challenged). We do not have to dress in zen black, without make up and perfume as if in the presence of a holy monk.

    I was recently in a dilemma. I wanted to cut hair from long to baldy. However I look very scary to some people. More skinhead than ascetic. So I cut to reasonably short.

    In the Bodhi Sufi tradition, the truly non-attached are not attracted to or repulsed by outer form. Which is certainly not true for me. Those of sufficient realisation are more empty ...

    Are we shallow? I iz. Buddhahoodiness is too extreme ... and a little inhuman IMO.

    DhammaDragon
  • TiggerTigger Toronto, Canada Veteran
    edited April 17

    @lobster said:
    I was recently in a dilemma. I wanted to cut hair from long to baldy. However I look very scary to some people. More skinhead than ascetic. So I cut to reasonably short.

    I know what you mean @lobster, if I shaved my head I look scary too (or sick) so I try and avoid it. I think when you start balding is a good time to look at shaving your head because it looks better IMO. I know the point of this conversation is the fact that you don't need to shave your head to be Buddhist but lobsters comment made me think of how I look bald....you don't want to see that :lol:

    federicaDhammaDragonlobster
  • spiderlilyspiderlily Explorer
    edited April 19

    @DhammaDragon I am quite secure with how I look, and I am not unattractive.

    If anything, I am more insecure about my knowledge on Buddhism, what I should and shouldn't be doing as a 'good' Buddhist, which is why I felt compelled to post on here and find out more. My question, to be exact, is: is it ok to be concerned with outward appearances as a Buddhist practitioner - and that has been answered already, so I think I'm good now.

    Thank you for sharing your perspective. Together with the rest of the replies here, it has all been very helpful to me :)

    That said, I probably come across as stiff and mechanical in my understanding on buddhism, given my limited exposure to Buddhism, so do bear with me :o

    DhammaDragonmosquito
  • spiderlilyspiderlily Explorer

    To add on, I don't think neglecting my looks stems from a place of insecurity - rather, it's more of a 'look at how vain and showy you used to be and all the trouble that got you into; let's stay away from that for now'.

    mosquito
  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Veteran

    It is ok, and quite possible, to care for your body without being vain. Usually when we take care of ourselves, we also look our best as well. If that was your only question though, why did you bring up the stuff about your husband and his requests? If you want to make a choice to take care of you and look good as result, then that is fabulous. But if you try to do it JUST for him, it's unlikely to be sincere and you probably won't see the results you hope for. So while I'll say indeed it's good to care for yourself and look good, it's not ideal to do it just for someone else.

  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran

    My body is my temple ... however, it needs a bit of renovation every now and again :winky:

    spiderlilyDhammaDragon
  • dhammachickdhammachick crazy Aussie BUJU Sydney, Australia Veteran

    @Shoshin said:
    My body is my temple ... however, it needs a bit of renovation every now and again :winky:

    Mine needs reconstruction :awesome:

    DhammaDragon
  • HozanHozan Veteran

    @dhammachick said:

    @Shoshin said:
    My body is my temple ... however, it needs a bit of renovation every now and again :winky:

    Mine needs reconstruction :awesome:

    Mine needs demolition

    DhammaDragonlobsterdhammachick
  • DhammaDragonDhammaDragon Carpe Diem switzerland Veteran

    @Hozan said:

    @dhammachick said:

    @Shoshin said:
    My body is my temple ... however, it needs a bit of renovation every now and again :winky:

    Mine needs reconstruction :awesome:

    Mine needs demolition

    Mine needs beauty in the eyes of the beholder =)

    dhammachickHozan
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