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Lay Buddhists and sex

JeffreyJeffrey Veteran
edited December 2013 in General Banter
Any adivice on this. This is not about CTR (sigh) or monks. Just us ordinary beings.

I find that I want to make someone happy. But I want sex in context of a friendship rather than a friendship in context of sex. I'm not looking for long term but it makes me sad sometimes that I am 'just' friends even though that's what I really want. I want the friendship. But sex is just very joyful. I am sad that I don't have a good income to support a family.

So just airing out my thoughts, but the topic isn't a Jeffrey call for help rather I just want people to say, as a lay person, what they think of sex. As a Buddhist lay person, what do you think?

Comments

  • BhikkhuJayasaraBhikkhuJayasara Bhikkhu Veteran
    edited December 2013
    so long as it is consensual and beneficial for both parties(well as much as it can be beneficial.), then whatever works. Friends with benefits is a sticky situation because it's hard for one or the other person to not fall and want more.

    I will admit to the whole sex thing being a lot easier when you lose much of your desire for it.. it's amazing how much of what a man does in his life is really done out of some sort of aspect of the sex drive.

    Futureama does a funny part of one episode where its a documentary and it says how everything man has ever done was to impress women , all the science and inventions etc LOL.. not necessarily true, but funny.

    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/hl-5052038/futurama_anti_robot_propaganda_season_3/
    Jeffreyvinlynjaecvalue
  • I will admit to the whole sex thing being a lot easier when you lose much of your desire for it.. it's amazing how much of what a man does in his life is really done out of some sort of aspect of the sex drive.
    Definitely. It's much better just taking it for what it is. Thanks.
  • EvenThirdEvenThird NYC Veteran
    edited December 2013
    I find joy and benefit in sex. I find it grounding in its own way. Maybe it's the chemical release, I dunno. Sex initiated by love first and lust second is the kind that grounds me. This is kind of new territory for me, as I was always almost entirely lust motivated in the past, and in my personal experience, being lust motivated was addictive and more prone to hurting others emotionally.

    For me, friends-with-benefits relationships always ended up being sex first, friendship second in the end. My only experience with the reverse(love/friendship first) has been in my current long term relationship.

    In my personal experience, sex/lust can greatly complicate a platonic, functioning friendship.

    Then again, I'm not sure anything I said has much to do with me being a buddhist lay person :dunce:
    -but that's my 2 cents.
    Jeffreylobstercvalue
  • Thanks for saying that @EvenThird
    EvenThird
  • From experience I know that exercise, anaphrodisiacs, illness, ridiculous amounts of practice and a regular outlet will reduce the libido in men - a little. Well that is just me. Some men have different hormonal arrangements. Some men with different hormonal and biological arrangements are known as women I believe . . . or is it we are all women with men being engineered to protect the superior half of evolution . . . ;)

    I believe it was George Orwell in Animal Farm who postulated:
    Two legs good, four legs better (wait a minute . . . that's not right . . .)

    Love, compassion, metta is the higher form of sex.

    Lovely. Eh Ma Ho.
    EvenThirdJeffreyjae
  • I don't see sex as a bad thing as long as it doesn't cause any harm. If the participants are adults and both give consent, I don't judge. For me personally, I'm not sexually attracted to people that I don't otherwise like. I have to at least be friends with them or the spark isn't even there. I don't see marriage as something important for anything other than filing taxes, so I don't have any ill feelings about premarital sex. I don't have any problems with gay sex, being a lesbian myself. I don't have many qualms at all about sex except in cases of pedophilia, rape, adultery, etc.
    Jeffrey
  • Is it possible to just have "friendship with benefits"?

    There's a Seinfeld episode where Gerry and Elaine try to do this, but discover it is a minefield.

    VastmindLinc
  • DairyLamaDairyLama Veteran Veteran
    "Sex: the pleasure is momentary, the position ridiculous, and the expense damnable."

    Lord Chesterfield

    :p
    jae
  • Fun fact: In Russia there is a national day where couples have sex and if they have a baby 9 months later they get special gifts and celebrations.
    lobster
  • cvaluecvalue Veteran
    edited December 2013
    Just friends or maybe not... It's a complicated subject!
    An extract from "When Harry Met Sally"
    Harry Burns: Would you like to have dinner?... Just friends.

    Sally Albright: I thought you didn't believe men and women could be friends because sex will always get in the way.

    Harry Burns: When did I say that?

    Sally Albright: On the ride to New York.

    Harry Burns: No, no, no, I never said that... Yes, that's right, they can't be friends. Unless both of them are involved with other people, then they can... This is an amendment to the earlier rule. If the two people are in relationships, the pressure of possible involvement is lifted... That doesn't work either, because what happens then is, the person you're involved with can't understand why you need to be friends with the person you're just friends with. Like it means something is missing from the relationship and why do you have to go outside to get it? And when you say "No, no, no it's not true, nothing is missing from the relationship," the person you're involved with then accuses you of being secretly attracted to the person you're just friends with, which you probably are. I mean, come on, who the hell are we kidding, let's face it. Which brings us back to the earlier rule before the amendment, which is men and women can't be friends.
    :)
    Jeffrey
  • JeffreyJeffrey Veteran
    edited December 2013
    Any female perspectives? (or have we gotten someone female's perspective already?)

    Remember this is Buddha for Beginners talking about sex and Buddhism. It is not about 'Jeffrey's' situation. :D
  • EvenThirdEvenThird NYC Veteran
    edited December 2013
    @Jeffrey My perspective was a female one :)
    However, grain-of-salt is advised, as most of my relationship/friends-w-benefits experience has been with other women, except for my current one.
  • Mr Poptart assures me I'm female.

    Personally I have no problem with sex so long as no one is being abused or exploited.

    To be honest, I'm not sure what it is you actually want, Jeffrey. Friendship + sex = a relationship. You say in your OP you're sad about being "just friends", but that contradicts it being what you "really want". Maybe you should just let things pan out and stop trying to control events?

    If the only thing holding you back is the fear of not being able to support a family, I would say why do you need to have a family at all? Not all women are desperate for motherhood. And even if, by accident rather than design, a Little Jeffrey popped into the world, you'd be amazed how everything falls into place in your hour of need.
    jaeToshVastmindBarra
  • jaejae Veteran
    @poptart... well said.. good advice Jeffrey.... go with the flow and be kind (to yourself also) ;)
  • Another thing to consider @Jeffery is that with the right partner, you might make an excellent stay at home dad.
    jaeEvenThirdVastmind
  • jaejae Veteran
    @robot... excellent view, from my experience of being a stay at home mum, I think stay at home Dads are great.. in my opinion they focus on the task at hand rather than trying to do everything round the house
  • Please be mindful the point of the discussion/OP isn't my situation. The point is lay Buddhism and sex.
  • lobsterlobster Veteran
    edited December 2013
    More things to reduce libido: age, drugs and restricted diet.

    For those wishing to increase the libido . . . assuming it is not out of control . . . maybe another thread . . .

    Increase in Love
    as the 'evil dervishes of Islam' try to do when not killing innocents (thus have I heard but found no Love in) @towhomitmayconcern

    Good luck guys. If you can love the lovable, may be time to move on . . .
  • DakiniDakini Veteran
    edited December 2013
    I don't think there's a problem with a FWB situation, as long as both agree on what they want out of it and what the limitations are. As long as there's agreement then (in theory) no one would be at risk of being hurt, so it would meet the criteria of the precept regarding sexual activity. But I don't know if FWB is an option in your situation, OP.
  • Jeffrey said:

    Any adivice on this. This is not about CTR (sigh) or monks. Just us ordinary beings.

    I find that I want to make someone happy. But I want sex in context of a friendship rather than a friendship in context of sex. I'm not looking for long term but it makes me sad sometimes that I am 'just' friends even though that's what I really want. I want the friendship. But sex is just very joyful. I am sad that I don't have a good income to support a family.

    So just airing out my thoughts, but the topic isn't a Jeffrey call for help rather I just want people to say, as a lay person, what they think of sex. As a Buddhist lay person, what do you think?

    I think you should overcome the first hurdle first: You may want sex from a friend but the question is does your friend want sex from you?
  • Please be mindful the point of the discussion/OP isn't my situation. The point is lay Buddhism and sex.
  • Jeffrey said:

    Please be mindful the point of the discussion/OP isn't my situation. The point is lay Buddhism and sex.

    Then why did you mention your situation?
  • HamsakaHamsaka goosewhisperer Polishing the 'just so' Veteran
    Jeffrey said:

    Any female perspectives? (or have we gotten someone female's perspective already?)

    My perspective has probably already been stated. I'm unable to have sex (yes, really) unless I have deep attraction and affection for someone to the point I'm thinking about a serious commitment. I've tried it without. It was gross. It was probably even destructive (to BOTH of us, poor thing). I'm probably more toward a female extreme, though, having known women who were able to be much more casual about sex.

    As for lay Buddhism and sex, it's just like anything else a person can do that distracts them from their practice, which includes a whole lot of things.

    I do have to say, I feel genuinely sorry for men, as I sure hear a lot of self reporting, being yanked around (pun intented) by their erm drives. I don't know what that is like, but it seems like a huge bother, and kind of an unfair burden just for being male.

    Gassho :)

    lobsterVastmind
  • Ask your friend? What do they want and is that something you could go for too? Your attitudes to sex need to be compatible too I would say. To be a bit gross about it - it's not going to work well if one partner is envisioning the goddess while the other is shouting 'Give it to me big boy' :eek:
  • We are an item now. :) I guess I talked about my situation to start the ball rolling. I don't mind talking about myself, but I am interested to hear experiences of others and how it affects their Buddhist practice. So @Hamsaka shared that it can be a distraction. Things like that, I am interested in. I like @droogiefret saying that you have to be on the same page ha! 'give it to me big boy' haha. Yes we need to be on the same page. She is more like passionate and harder and I like gentle. But we do both and it is good because it is less of a 'rut' sort of changing the pace. Sadly, she can never be a goddess, though, aside from in the thinking mind. She is just a woman. I just need to be in the present. I trust her though.
    lobsterHamsakaEvenThird
  • Jeffrey said:

    We are an item now. :)

    Cool. Good news.

    In some ways, that is the answering without question.

    :clap:
    Vastmind
  • :::: sits and contemplates the "Old Days" - when sex was FUN, SPONTANEOUS, "FREE' & UNCOMPLICATED :::


    You youngsters are really waaaaay too uptight and repressed. :-)
    I am sooo glad I'm "old" and had SO much (responsible) fun and freedom back in the day. I'm sad for you younger people now...
    JeffreyEvenThirdChazlobster
  • MaryAnne said:

    :::: sits and contemplates the "Old Days" - when sex was FUN, SPONTANEOUS, "FREE' & UNCOMPLICATED :::


    You youngsters are really waaaaay too uptight and repressed. :-)
    I am sooo glad I'm "old" and had SO much (responsible) fun and freedom back in the day. I'm sad for you younger people now...

    I'm glad someone was being responsible back then.
  • MaryAnneMaryAnne Veteran
    edited December 2013
    I was responsible, and so were all my friends- male and female. The females went on birth control pills (or used something else) by the time we were 15-16. We did not need our parents' permission.... walk into a Family Planning clinic, or whatever, and walk out after a full gyno exam by real doctors, with a script for BC pills. No sweat.

    All the guys I knew (not "biblically" speaking, by the way! LOL) carried condoms, just in case the girl they were with wasn't taking/using BC. I'm sure accidents happened and/or there were those who weren't careful to begin with... but among the people I knew during those days, which was a pretty large group, there were no accidental babies born.
    I'm guessing from my experiences and friends that the average age a female became sexually active was around 16 back then. About 15 or 16 for the males as well. Is it still the same today? (I honestly don't know).

    But it just seems like there is so much 'angst' about sex these days. I know the AIDS scare in the early-mid 80's had a lot to do with this... this... sexual repression. But It's been more than 2 decades since we've learned how NOT to spread diseases like AIDS and other STDs. Why don't more young people have fun and adventurous sex lives while they are still single?
    Hamsaka
  • VastmindVastmind Memphis, TN Veteran
    Speaking in the context of 'lay'.....or 'misconduct' or
    'unskillful'....
    From my experience, FWB causes too much confusion.... In a lot of little
    ways at first...and then bigger later on down the road. Most people
    find out for themselves.....

    An item now? :) Well, alright then...... carry on with any and
    all benefits....
    :vimp:
  • Something else just occurred to me-
    Aside from the long past "aids scare", another reason so many young people may have issues with sex and feel inhibited or (unjustifiably) overwhelmed by it all, could be because of the resurgence of religious fundamentalism in America -- all throughout the 90's and 2000's.
    Yeah, all those Christian youth camps, all those silly "purity vows" and "purity rings" parents foisted on their kids.... "slut shaming" for girls, (not so much for the boys, of course, but there was some); rejection of "responsible sex" in favor of "abstinence only" - what a crock that all is/was. Any thoughts?
  • I believe in condoms and the pill. I didn't have many sexual adventures even in my 20s. I had some girls interested in me but I was too much into my studies. Then in my late 20s I had a girl friend. It is interesting being an item. I feel a little bit more pressure to be a good boyfriend than before when we were just friends. I am going to make sure I do my meditation every day. Thanks everyone for sharing your input.
  • I think biology is more powerful than theology, so by teaching all those unnatural beliefs/behaviors, there's a risk that ALL theology will end up being rejected. And I think that's exactly what happens with many young people, probably in much larger measure than the church recognizes or would like.

    I think we also run the risk of trouble, with a minority of young people, by unintentionally creating this conflict. I've seen it lead to turmoil and trouble, and emotional distress or worse, that can persist well into adulthood. In this sense, these absurd teachings represent a profound disservice to society, exactly the opposite of the intended effect -- and I do believe the practice is sincerely well-intended though tragically misguided and sometimes permanently harmful.
    MaryAnne
  • HamsakaHamsaka goosewhisperer Polishing the 'just so' Veteran
    MaryAnne said:

    Something else just occurred to me-
    Aside from the long past "aids scare", another reason so many young people may have issues with sex and feel inhibited or (unjustifiably) overwhelmed by it all, could be because of the resurgence of religious fundamentalism in America -- all throughout the 90's and 2000's.
    Yeah, all those Christian youth camps, all those silly "purity vows" and "purity rings" parents foisted on their kids.... "slut shaming" for girls, (not so much for the boys, of course, but there was some); rejection of "responsible sex" in favor of "abstinence only" - what a crock that all is/was. Any thoughts?

    I was born in '65, and so was just becoming socially aware (so to speak) when AIDS and the Religious Right dug in. I sure do remember those Christian camps, though (my boyfriend and I would go to one after another, and afterwards swear to NEVER do it again til we were married). By the time the RR really took hold in the 90's, I was no Christian by far but I admit, I was deeply impacted by the practicalities of keeping one's legs firmly closed. I even voted for GWB the first and second time around, not because I was fond of conservative politics, but because I saw great practicality in a conservative mind-set. I disdained the Religious Right all along, never saw a thing wrong with safe sex with whomever one chooses as long as it was mutually chosen. I saw the liberal mind-set as a bunch of whining blame-shifters who wanted a Big Somebody to make nice nice.

    Getting birth control was NOT easy, in my experience, at all. My daughter, born when I was barely 18, is a statement of that fact.

    I've since come 'round and see much more deeply into the so called politics of the right and left, and have come to see much, much more good in social liberalism but that could be because the Religious Right have all but humiliated the conservative party(ies) in my opinion. I fondly encourage lovely, lovely sexual activity as often as it can be had because we do have measures to prevent unwanted transmissions :) My previous 'keep your knees together, girls' was more a product of the times, when it seemed that was the only sure-fire way to stay disease-free, and the advent of AIDS was still terrifying.

    I only have opinions about the 'purity vows' and all that . . . I was never in those crowds, and don't know how pervasive they were or are. I opine they weren't particularly 'common' or widespread. I've lived in three states and several rural and urban areas, and have only rarely run into that kind of moral puritanism. It's there, but how much it affected the collective attitude? I dunno.

    Sometimes I look back at the 60's and 70's and part of the 80's as a pendulum swing who's momentum began in the post WWII era, and the current momentum of conservatism is pooping out (what with gay marriage and legal pot here in Washington state) and slowly swinging back the other way.

    That implies we only swing back and forth, but I'm pretty sure there's more to it that that, maybe we spiral up and outward, revisiting powerful collectivity at every turn of the gyre . . .

    Gassho :)

    MaryAnne
  • LincLinc Site owner Detroit Moderator

    Fun fact: In Russia there is a national day where couples have sex

    If they're straight. The gay ones get beaten and jailed for corrupting minors. :orange:
    lobster
  • BhikkhuJayasaraBhikkhuJayasara Bhikkhu Veteran
    edited December 2013
    Hamsaka said:

    Jeffrey said:

    Any female perspectives? (or have we gotten I someone female's perspective already?)

    My perspective has probably already been stated. I'm unable to have sex (yes, really) unless I have deep attraction and affection for someone to the point I'm thinking about a serious commitment. I've tried it without. It was gross. It was probably even destructive (to BOTH of us, poor thing). I'm probably more toward a female extreme, though, having known women who were able to be much more casual about sex.

    As for lay Buddhism and sex, it's just like anything else a person can do that distracts them from their practice, which includes a whole lot of things.

    I do have to say, I feel genuinely sorry for men, as I sure hear a lot of self reporting, being yanked around (pun intented) by their erm drives. I don't know what that is like, but it seems like a huge bother, and kind of an unfair burden just for being male.

    Gassho :)

    You have no idea how much freedom that drive lessening brings :-). I cant say I have gotten rid of it completely, as im no arahant.. Or even very advanced, however i have not gone on a date since 2009, nor do i have any desire for a girlfriend.

    Now im not saying ive been completely celebate since 2009, ive had some friends with benefits experience during that time, but ANY kind of sexual activity has really lost value and you see that its not a physical drive that makes you want to do things, its all about ego and mental fantasies.

    Ive knick named that insight "massaging the fantasy, not the phallus" . This is the number 1 thing that makes monks disrobe, and i dont feel much loss about the possibility of never doing anything again.

    As ajahn brahm says, its time to fight for celebate people's rights ;-).
    Vastmindcvalueseeker242EvenThird
  • HamsakaHamsaka goosewhisperer Polishing the 'just so' Veteran
    edited December 2013
    @Jayantha: That must be a relief, I'm genuinely glad for you. Even as a female, now that I'm nearing 50, having never been yanked around by my sex drive the way I've heard males explain, even so, my female 'urge to merge' drive has mellowed out and I do not miss my much more 'roaring 20's LOL!!

    The sheer distraction of that drive is gone. I meet, get to know, and regard acquaintances without so much as a "gee, I wonder if . . ." kind of thought. People are just people, their bodies (or the potential of their bodies) are just simple descriptions that I know them by.

    Plenty of women my age insist they have the best sex lives EVER at my age because they no longer need fear unwanted pregnancy, and have matured past any girlish morality or worries about not being physically 'perfect'. They can just enjoy sex with freedom for the first time ever.

    After I got rid of my second husband, and that was seven years ago, I haven't had more than a handful of "I wonder if . . ." thoughts, but none of them got off the ground. At first I wondered if I were somehow permanently 'wounded' after the disaster of that marriage (I did not 'off' him, though it crossed my mind, I merely kicked his ass out). I don't believe that is the case, though. I am very, very comfortable in my single-tude and it is a breath of fresh air in my life to be free of the wish to have that special someone.

    I've encountered many women in my life (and suspect it is rampant in American culture at least) that honest believe they are 'second class' unless they are hanging off the arm of a man. They feel shame for being unpaired. I don't understand that shame. It must be a terrible burden.

    In my most unguarded moments, I've thought of giving up my career and taking up residence as a nun. I say this with utmost respect and sincerity for the life of such, and then I wonder if I'm being silly. If I'm honest, except for working, I LIVE as a nun. I have four sets of work scrubs and five articles of outer clothing plus a pair each of slippers, boots and work shoes. I go to work and come home. I eat the same thing every day. I read sacred and sacredotal (lol) literature daily, meditate daily, and never watch TV or listen to the radio. I do not socialize, though I've been given invitation to do so, except I have visited a good work friend twice for dinner with her and her husband. I endlessly spin yarn and sometimes knit or crochet something with it. Half of my tiny mother-in-law studio is packed with sheep, goat, alpaca and llama fleeces I've yet to clean and process :D .

    Maybe I don't need to go BE a nun, I already am one :)

    Anyway . . . it all sort of ended up 'this way', my life, for a reason. The sacred is forward now, and perhaps that alone has something to do with no urge to merge?

    I had no idea monks primary reason for disrobing is the urge to merge. Hmmm.

    Gassho :)
    BhikkhuJayasaraVastmindlobster
  • BhikkhuJayasaraBhikkhuJayasara Bhikkhu Veteran
    Yep, monks meet some beautiful girl, think the grass is greener, and disrobe. They say the sex drive is the last and hardest drive to totally eradicate at the root. From a great book about monks called bistered feet blissful mind, someone talking to the monks is suprised and says they could never give up sex. The monk says sexual desire is like and itch that the less you scratch it the less it itches.

    Also you do sound like you live a form of nun's life.

    Being single, being celebate, its all very rebellious. Monks/nuns are the ultimate rebels, shunning everything most people hold dear.. But instead of leather jackets and motorcycles they have robes and alms bowls.
    Hamsakalobster
  • @Jayantha, good for you.
  • seeker242seeker242 Zen Florida, USA Veteran
    My experience has been with lots of practice, like 2 + hours a day of meditation for an extended period, sex drive just gone. The joy of samadhi far outweighs any joy from temporary sex pleasure. But, after stopping such meditation practice, it comes back. Interesting phenomenon!
    BhikkhuJayasaralobster
  • BhikkhuJayasaraBhikkhuJayasara Bhikkhu Veteran
    seeker242 said:

    My experience has been with lots of practice, like 2 + hours a day of meditation for an extended period, sex drive just gone. The joy of samadhi far outweighs any joy from temporary sex pleasure. But, after stopping such meditation practice, it comes back. Interesting phenomenon!

    when the desire is not eradicated at the root yet, it will grow back.. I know exactly what you mean haha.
  • JasonJason God Emperor Arrakis Moderator
    edited December 2013
    Jeffrey said:

    Any adivice on this. This is not about CTR (sigh) or monks. Just us ordinary beings.

    I find that I want to make someone happy. But I want sex in context of a friendship rather than a friendship in context of sex. I'm not looking for long term but it makes me sad sometimes that I am 'just' friends even though that's what I really want. I want the friendship. But sex is just very joyful. I am sad that I don't have a good income to support a family.

    So just airing out my thoughts, but the topic isn't a Jeffrey call for help rather I just want people to say, as a lay person, what they think of sex. As a Buddhist lay person, what do you think?

    I think sex is a complex thing. It's something we're naturally inclined to do, and it's something we tend to enjoy doing, reinforcing the desire.

    On the upside, it's pleasurable and can strengthen already strong and intimate relationships (which may be due in large part to the complex chemical reactions that occur during and after). On the downside, it can complicate relationships and obsess our thoughts, leading to feelings of frustration, anxiety, and jealousy.

    In essence, it's not evil or bad, but it's not purely wholesome, either. It's a mixed bag that we need to be careful when reaching into.

    Learning to deal skillfully dealing with my own sexual desires has taken a long time, and a combination of trial and error and being mindful of what's going on inside of me. I've found that a lot of the trouble comes from the desire and the proliferations that I tend to indulge in rather than sex in and of itself.

    It's kind of like when we're hungry and we begin to think of all the food we'd like to eat. How's it going to smell, taste, etc., and how enjoyable it will be to eat.

    We indulge in this kind of thinking/fantasizing; but when it comes time to eat, we often eat quickly and don't really enjoy it all that much. And if we get too obsessive over our desires and plans, with the craving underlying them, we can suffer when they don't turn out the way we want. What if our partner isn't hungry yet or wants to eat something else? We can get sad or even angry.

    The same is true of sex, I think. What if it's not how we wanted it to be? What if the person we want to have sex with isn't interested?

    In the end, while the desire to eat and the desire for sex are both natural, they can both cause us suffering if we don't have the tools and knowledge to treat them skillfully, and for each person, that's going to vary slightly. And developing those tools and cultivating that knowledge takes time, effort, and a lot of mindfulness to see what works and what doesn't.

    To me, sex should be treated like any other object of sensual desire for a lay-follower: if we're going to indulge in it, at least try to do so skillfully.
    Jeffrey
  • howhow Veteran Veteran
    Sex has it's causes and it's effects.
    The most common complication it brings to a Buddhist practice is thinking that it is somehow less worthy a phenomena to meditatively face within our conditioned responses than any other skandhic influence.
    Vastmind
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