Sex – The cause of Unlimited suffering
“Of all kinds of suffering and bondage arising from various attachments, none is greater than the suffering and bondage arising from attachment to women and intimate contact with those attached to women.” (SB 11.14.30)
Because the experience and urges of sex are so intense, and the syndrome of man/woman relationships surrounding it is so complex, it diverts the conditioned soul’s attention away from Krishna and deludes him more than any other trick of maya. Sometimes the foolish conditioned soul experiences great delight in enjoying sex; at other times he is frustrated and burns in the fire of lust. Or, when spurned by a lover, he suffers mental agony, sometimes so severe that he is driven to kill the loved one, or himself, or both. The loss of a partner to whom one is intimately emotionally attached, by death or other means, leaves the remaining partner with a broken heart. And especially in our most abominably degraded modern society, thousands of people’s lives become shattered by having their bodies exploited, either forcefully or tactfully, by others.
The greatest myth in human society is that sex is the cause of happiness and that by adjusting or increasing one’s sex life one can find happiness. Factually, the opposite is true: the more one becomes involved in sex, the more he becomes entangled by the complexities of the actions and reactions of material life. This ultimately leads the unrestricted enjoyer to take birth in the animal kingdom, where he is awarded improved facilities to carry on with his sexual activities, and with minimal restrictions. Birth after birth he can enjoy 8,400,000 varieties of sex to his heart’s content. He will also experience varieties of birth, death, old age, and disease. And he will never be happy.
The much advertised pleasure of sex is more fantasized about than real. People assume that sex will bring them pleasure, but the actual act is over in a few minutes and gives far less sensual gratification than was imagined in the mind. In the long run it brings much more trouble than enjoyment.
On the physical platform also, sex is debilitating and can be dangerous. Sensual enjoyers forget that “the body, which is the vehicle of sexual pleasure, is also the vehicle of pain, disease, and death.” (-Endless Love, Ravindra Svarupa dasa) It takes the essence of sixty drops of blood to make one drop of semen; furthermore, much subtle life energy (prana) is lost in sex life. Rapid breathing during sex also shortens one’s life, for the number of breaths a person will have in his lifetime is fixed at birth (therefore yogis practice breath restraint to prolong their lives). Then there is the danger of sexually transmitted diseases, which are extremely painful and nasty.
Furthermore, to the extent that a person becomes interested in sex, that much he loses all good qualities. For from lust develop all other bad qualities such as greed, personal ambition, hatred, and cruelty. Shrila Prabhupada: “Sex life is the background of material existence. Demons are very fond of sex life. The more one is freed from the desire for sex, the more he is promoted to the level of the demigods; the more one is inclined to enjoy sex, the more he is degraded to the level of demonic life.” (SB 3.20.23)
A lusty person becomes not only keenly interested in sexual enjoyment, but in all other forms of sense gratification also. Although such people may generally appear to act fairly reasonably, actually they are all self-centered and selfish—they are after what they can get for themselves. The Shrimad-Bhagavatam (5.18.12) therefore analyzes that nondevotees have no good qualities, even though they may appear to. They are simply suffering and causing others to suffer in a mesh of greed, envy, and mutual exploitation, with just a veneer of social civility. This is especially evident in today’s “me first” generation—a whole society raised on consumeristic greed and lust, with no higher moral than “get what you can grab.”