Wednesday, 22 July 2009

Sex and Zen.

Sooooo, I'm trying to sedate my sex drive. Or just ignore it. For years I have known it to be a cross between a tickle and an annoyance. Certainly, whilst I've had a lot of fun with sex, a fair amount of the wreckage surrounding me has been generated by inappropriate sex. I haven't taken the precepts, but I can see the inherent value of the one covering the dirty deed.

I'm not going to be celebate. I'm married after all. And my wife wants another child, so there'll be plenty of bonking going on at regular intervals over this next while. Jeese, last month I got a bit fed up with bonking to be honest (there was a bonking schedule designed to hit the most fertile time of the month. For a week before until a week after the time of the right temperature, it was every other night. And still, The Wee Fella wanted to go wandering. You can't underestimate the power of The Wee Fella.) But that's not what I'm on about. It's a fundamental truth that a great deal of the tension and uneasiness in my life is to do with The Wee Fella wanting to get it on when it's just not appropriate to do so.

For example, I work in an education environment with lots of young adults. i.e. lots of young women, and I live in Japan, which means in summer the classrooms and hallways are full of hot pants, mini skirts and low tops. I know that there are some who would blame the women who dress like that for my predictament, but I can recall Gandhi writing somewhere that the bodhisattva would not allow his sexuality to dominate his mind, even if a naked woman were to be sitting on his lap. Personally, I think you'd have to be dead to manage that feat of endurance, but, hey, I ain't no Gandhi. Still, I know what he was getting at.

So what I am doing to sedate my sex drive. I'm doing the very same thing I do when I find myself getting caught up any unnecessary thoughts, putting my awareness on my breathing or whatever task I'm performing at that present moment. I simply ignore it. Often it has been a helluva struggle, but I've managed on enough occasions to prove to myself that it can be done without needing a monumental amount of effort. I'm just not following through on the thoughts as often. I'm doing exactly what I do on the zafu, only it's not on the zafu. My time and efforts on the zafu is strengthening my ability to remain present as I go about my daily business.

I've often enjoyed following through on the thoughts, but I have to admit that moreoften it leads to anger and frustration when there's no avenue of release for the resulting physical energies that accrue. And when there is, maybe it has come about as a result of a sense of duty on my wife's behalf, rather than a shared desire for sexual gratification. Then the exquisite line from the poem Deceptions, by Philip Larkin comes to mind, when he describes sex as:

"stumbling up the breathless stairs
To burst into fulfillment's desolate attic."

But that's the negative side of bonking. The positive side remains exquisite in itself. And I can attest with total conviction that there is no better sex than when it is with someone you love and you are both trying to make a baby.


  1. I'm in the same bonking boat! My wife wants children as well, but my desire to stray outside my relationship is much less now than in my younger bonking daze.

  2. I like the old story about Buddha himself claiming he would have failed had there been another temptation as strong as sex. As Robert Aitken Roshi says, we struggle on the path because we share Buddha's nature. Buddha struggled, we struggle. It's a very old, creative, and powerful force and I don't see any grounds for shame or embarrassment. I think attention and awareness is the key. But it ain't easy...