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Precepts of the Gurus - 2nd Seminar Part 4

by Sangharakshita

... it means that
subjectively, the biological, instinctual side, the emotional side etc., are exactly the same. All
that happens is that there is not the possibility of actual reproduction. Then of course in some
cases there are social factors, and cultural factors and so on.

Mangala: From that point of view, it could be regarded as a perversion.

S: Well only in the reproductive sense. I've avoided the word perversion, I've spoken of a
deflection which I hope is a neutral sort of word. But I think one has to accept the fact that
biologically, in the biologically reproductive sense, there is a deflection. Yes? But
subjectively there would seem to be no difference, between the deflected and the non-
deflected. Otherwise, for instance, if a man and a woman don't have children, the biological
instinct is deflected, but does that mean that the experience of a man or a woman who don't
have children, the sexual experience of a man and a woman who don't have children, is quite
different, from the sexual experience, including emotional experience from a man and a
woman who do have children? It is really no different from that. In the case of the man and
woman, husband and wife, say, who practice contraception, in their case too, the biological
instinct has been deflected, but the physical instinctual, emotional side of the relationship, the
function in itself, remains exactly the same.

Manjuvajra: I've noticed a kind of difference - I mean I'm not very experienced in sex with
men, but there does seem to be a completeness that comes when you have sex with a woman
that is not there with a man. That may be - I accept that that can be through lack of
experience, but there does seem to be a sort of biological completeness.

S: I wouldn't say there's a biological completeness. There could well be a psychical
completeness, just because of the factor of emotional projection and you can also get
emotional projection between people of the same sex. I think the experience of completeness
when you are with another person, whether sexually or non-sexually, members of the same
sex or opposite sex, comes from the fact that you are experiencing through them something
which you are not able to experience at least as fully within yourself. I don't think that on the
biological level, strictly speaking, you can speak of completeness or non-completeness.
Though of course in the case of male and female, there is a certain appropriateness of the
respective organs which is not the case with two members of the same sex. I don't think
really you can say anything more than that. There's a physiological correspondence which
must not be mistaken for sort of completeness in another sense.

Manjuvajra: So that the intense feelings of completeness are associated with emotional and
psychic projections, would you say?


S: Yes, yes. On the other hand, of course, when an instinctual need - taking sex as an
instinctual need - is fulfilled, there can be an intense feeling of instinctual satisfaction,
leading to oblivion, which could in retrospect to interpreted as a sort of feeling of
completeness or wholeness. I think that would be a mistake though.

Padmaraja: You spoke a few days ago about some people being naturally celibate. Would
such a person be more integrated, would have no ...

S: Yes, this is what I intended to say. Someone who was naturally celibate, assuming that he
or she was a healthy person, would be the person who was more integrated. Because as far as
most people are concerned, sex is part of a search, as it were, for wholeness but they tend to
look for it the wrong direction. But a person who was psychically whole, I also made this
point, would not thereby be excluded necessarily from biological functioning. But it would
be much less urgent because the biological is very often with human beings impelled as it
were by the need for emotional and psychological wholeness or completion. It is completion
rather than wholeness that people are usually looking for.

Padmaraja: The ideal then is that one should achieve this androgynous nature, but do you
think that some people can actually be born with that?

S: Well, it depends how much importance one attaches to karma and the possibility of
bringing over from a previous life a certain character. I mean some of the people that one
does meet do strike one as sort of complete, even pure, and more developed, than other
people are, without them having apparently made any effort in this life itself, and that could
apply also to or could include this particular aspect. Sex doesn't bother them so much, they
are not so much in search for completeness because they are more whole than most other
people, and so on.

Padmaraja: So they are almost born with a higher degree of integration?

S: Well, yes, this is possible I'm sure. Not everybody is born surely with the same degree of
integration, even admitting that your early upbringing plays a great part here and you could
become more or less integrated as a result of the way in which you were brought up when
you were very small.

Padmaraja: So presumably for such a person adolescence or puberty wouldn't be such a
terrible ...

S: It would seem not. Some people seem to go through it relatively easily, for others it is
quite a traumatic experience.

Mangala: Could sex not also just be experiences, a functioning of the senses, a pleasurable
functioning of the senses?

S: Well, I said that sex is very rarely simply just sex. It is very rarely just, as it were, skin
contact and a certain amount of instinctual activity. It becomes overlaid, not to say
overloaded, with all sorts of other factors, mainly emotional, psychological, so to that extent
it ceases to be a purely pleasurable - a purely sense activity in fact - and therefore not just a
purely pleasurable activity. If you just think, for the majority of people, their sex experience,
their sex life, has not been one of unalloyed pleasure. But why should it not have been? It's
only because the mind, the emotions etc., have intervened. But most people have got very
mixed feelings about sex and very mixed experience. I mean the majority of people that one
meets, or sees, even on, say the Tube presumably have or have had some sort of sex life, but
they do they look as though they have had a large component of sense pleasure in their lives?

They certainly don't. So even allowing for all the wear and tear of office life and all that,
well, even then one surely would expect them to be looking more fulfilled as regards sense
pleasure than they actually do. But how many of them have got that look? Very, very few
indeed.

Mangala: Do you think that sex used to achieve physical closeness would be .......

S: Well, it's used to achieve closeness generally. I think a lot of people assume that if you
have sex with someone you automatically become close to them without any further effort.
But I think most people know that that is not so, and that you can say, have sex with
somebody, have a sexual relationship with somebody over a certain period, when that stops,
it's almost as though you don't know them any more, you cease to know them.

Mangala: What I was thinking of was like using sex as perhaps a way of achieving a more
sort of infantile physical warmth which perhaps one didn't have as a child - would that be a
sort of an invalid use of sex, if you see what I mean?

S: I'm sure this does happen. I think it would be an invalid use, yes, it does happen a lot.
There's a lot of infantilism in sexual relationships. What is the significance of the baby talk
that a lot of lovers indulge in? What does it mean? People just don't consider these things.
Why do lovers indulge in baby talk instead of discussing things intelligently? (Pause) I hope
these young men aren't learning too many of the facts of life! (Laughter) Anyway, it really is
astonishing, isn't it? But I mean people don't think about these things, but there is a reason.
The reason is infantilism. You go right back to infancy, or one of you at least does, very often
both of you, and that doesn't help your development as an individual.

So it really is astonishing, just to enlarge upon this a little bit more, it's something I have
sometimes thought, it's astonishing that people don't get more pleasure than they do out of
sex. It's really strange how little pleasure most people seem to get out of sex. I think it is just
because the actual sense experience is overlaid with so many psychological, especially
emotional factors. I think this ...

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