Sex in Marriage

Question

I would like to know if there is a Yoga Technique to neutralize the sexual desire...I know that Yogananda used to say that couples should only have intercourse with the sole porpuse of procreation and always keeping God on their minds but how can you move the energy that concentrates in the sex chakra when you feel the sexual desire and how can you have a celibate life when you are married?

—Mary, Houston-USA

Answer

Dear Mary:

Your question follows naturally from what you say is Master’s teaching about sex in marriage. I am curious as to where you heard that. It is not at all what Swami Kriyananda has given us as Master’s teachings on that subject.

Also, the statement you ascribe to Master seems to me both harsh, and unrealistic – not Master as I understand him to be.

In fact, I must add, this kind of stern dogmatism attributed to Yogananda is why Swamiji recently wrote the book, Rescuing Yogananda – to correct a growing misunderstanding about the nature of Master and his teachings.

In contrast to what you have quoted, consider these words of Master from page 8 of the first edition of Autobiography of a Yogi. “Mother made a remarkable admission to my eldest sister Roma: ‘Your father and myself live together as man and wife only once a year, for the purpose of having children.”

The notable word here is “remarkable.” If Master expected all married couples to live as his parents did (sex only for the purpose of having children, and if you want less than the eight children Master’s mother had, sex in your marriage will be even less frequent than once a year) why did he characterize this description of married life as remarkable? Obviously, he did not see it as the norm.

Yes, too much emphasis on sex is not good for a marriage. But neither is forced celibacy.

It is true that eventually we have to overcome the craving for sex. In Self-realization we transcend the body completely. But this transcendence has to come from inner realization. You can’t put it on from the outside like a straight jacket.

Maybe by that method you will be able to suppress your sexual desire for a time, but suppression is not the same as transcendence. Suppression creates a host of other problems, like guilt, for example, and seeing your own marriage partner as nothing but a temptation.

Now you will have to deal not only with sexual desire, but also with all the complexes you’ve built up around it. Not a good plan. A branch can be coaxed to grow in a certain direction but if you bend it too hard or too fast it won’t grow at all: it will snap in two.

Sex is too sensitive a part of marriage to approach dogmatically. The right relationship between you and your husband has to evolve naturally, in a wholesome way.

In his book, Expansive Marriage: A Way to Self-Realization (published under the name, J. Donald Walters) Swamiji devotes a chapter to “Sex in Marriage.” I urge you to get this book (out of print at Crystal Clarity, but available on the internet) and study it. He holds before us high ideals, and then gives us practical, realistic ways to reach them, not only for sex, but for all aspects of marriage.

I have also given a class series on this book, which is a free download from the Talks and Newsletters section of www.anandapaloalto.org.

And, finally, to answer your specific question, of course there are techniques for transmuting sexual energy. In lesson ten of The Art and Science of Raja Yoga you’ll find one method, first taught by Lahiri Mahasaya. But before you embrace that as your practice, perhaps you and your husband could study the book and class series mentioned above. With the expanded perspective those materials will give you, you can then decide together how best to proceed.

If you have further questions, don’t hesitate to write again.

Blessings,

Nayaswami Asha