Overcoming Sexual Desire


I'm a boy of 22yrs age and it has been that for 8yrs I have been habituated to masturbate. It has been about 4yrs now that I have first realized it is really putting me down and away from happiness and contentment. Ever since after that I have been trying one way or another to establish self control over it. It happens that sometimes I take over it for 2 to 3 months yet sometimes it pulls me down even for many times in singe day. Now all guilt has gone but I have not yet succeed. PRAY AND GUIDE ME FRIENDS

—SS, nepal


I think that most men go through the strong attraction of sexual energy, along with its release. For spiritual progress, we must learn how to transmute sexual energy. When we lose that energy, we lose the very same energy that will help us to grow spiritually.

That energy isn’t something that can be repressed, however. It sounds like that’s the way that you’re working with it. When it’s simply repressed, it must try to find a way out, so eventually one has that strong overwhelming desire again.

Yogananda taught several simple practices to teach us how to transmute that energy. He pointed out that it is the energy of creation, and that we should find ways to be creative in life, for example with art, poetry, music, etc. He also advised his monks to get up and do some physical activity when that compulsion arises, as that will divert the flow of energy that is trying to come out through the second chakra, and turn it into a positive force.

In that context, it would be helpful for you to depersonalize that energy. In one way, it is simply our life force flowing down and out through the second chakra. Any spiritual practices that turn the flow of energy upwards will help us to transmute the energy. Even devotional chanting can be helpful in that regard.

Lest you think that it would be better to not have that energy at all, Swami Kriyananda tells the story of the monks talking to Yogananda about the compulsion toward sex, in the book A Place Called Ananda:

For who doesn’t have it, in one form or another? Master was praising one of the monks to a small group in Encinitas, saying, “Look at him. He feels no attraction to the opposite sex.” One of the young men in the group, new to the monastery, said, “Yeah, Sir, but look at him. It’s because he ain’t got no energy.” “That’s the truth!” Master admitted with chuckle.

Similarly, in Conversations with Yogananda he stated:

If the sexual impulse were taken away from you, you would realize you had lost your greatest friend. You would lose all interest in life. Sex was given to you to make you strong. The more you give in to it, the weaker you become. But when you master it, you’ll find that you’ve become a lion of happiness.

See this battle as something you may not win overnight, but making the effort will make you stronger, and will help to direct that energy upward for spiritual gains.

Finally, when you slip, don’t get caught up in blaming yourself or in feeling a sense of failure. Yogananda said that God likes it when we blame our faults on Him, because He created us and also created the power of delusion!

This most beautiful advice from Krishna in the Bhagavad Gita advises us in how to respond to our failures:

Cling thou to Me!
Clasp Me with heart and mind! so shalt thou dwell
Surely with Me on high. But if thy thought
Droops from such height; if thou be’st weak to set
Body and soul upon Me constantly,
Despair not! give Me lower service! seek
To reach Me, worshiping with steadfast will;
And, if thou canst not worship steadfastly,
Work for Me, toil in works pleasing to Me!
For he that laboureth right for love of Me
Shall finally attain! But, if in this
Thy faint heart fails, bring Me thy failure!