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Home | Sex and religion | Why do we stop having sex?

Main-stream and alternative religious approach to SEX

Why do we stop having sex?

The likes of Nikola Tesla, St. Teresa of Avila or Sri Aurobindo would tell you that they have deliberately avoided sex and relationships to preserve energy and to safeguard it for the fulfilment of their mission – their mental work or their spiritual growth. Most major religions will wholeheartedly support this decision because in their viewpoint sexual energy belongs to our animal nature, is used for reproduction, and should be left sleeping within the realms of our sub-conscious.

Taoist and Tantrist tend to differ from this main-stream religious approach to sex. Taoists, in China, have developed various sexual practices also known as: ‘joining of the essences’ that lead their practitioners to good health, longevity, and some even claim immortality. During the Han Dynasty that ruled from 200BC to 200AC, Taoists performing sexual intercourse as a spiritual practice was at its peak. The essence of their teaching was in the preservation of sperm because they link the sperm loss to the loss of the vital life force. According to them, meditation is an important part of the sexual merge, whereby the lovers intentionally direct the life energy into the brain. For an expert Taoist view, it is worth having a look at Mantak Chia’s book: ‘Taoist Secrets of Love’. In an interview with Lama Tantrapa he says: ‘Jing qi, or sexual energy, is the most powerful energy we have. It is like “baby formula” for the spirit.’ In his pursuit, he suggests that Taoist students should live a puritan life-style taking care of their life force: ‘Sex, drugs, even coffee…these cause a loss of energy, even though an addict feels listless without them…after experiencing the bliss of practice, these addictions will lose their hold.’

The esoteric teaching of Tantra originated in India, and was practiced by a small number of Hindus and Buddhists. A tantric sexual merge is used by the tantrists to nurture the sexual energy to achieve union with the divine, and it is only one aspect of this elaborate spiritual practice. Osho Rajneesh, a tantric master that lived during the last century, says: ‘Unless your sexuality rises and reaches to love it is mundane, it has nothing sacred about it. When your sex becomes love, then it is entering into a totally different dimension — the dimension of the mysterious and the miraculous.’ Both Taoist and Tantrics advocate sexual union that lasts for hours.

The sacred texts give us an idea of how we could treat this mystical link between sexuality and love, and between sexuality and spirituality.

In the meantime, the modern psychologists are still struggling to unravel the puzzle of conscious and un-conscious phenomena within the twilight zone of sexuality. So why do we have sex? Or if it is so good, why do we stop having sex? A research done by Meston and Buss involving more than a 1,000 people, gives us some insight into how many people link sex with love. They have interviewed people from all over the world asking them: why do you have sex?

According to the research the top 11 reasons women have sex are:

  1. I was attracted to the person
  2. I wanted to experience physical pleasure
  3. It feels good
  4. I wanted to show my affection to the person
  5. I wanted to express my love for the person
  6. I was sexually aroused and wanted the release
  7. I was ‘horny’
  8. It’s fun
  9. I realized I was in love
  10. I was ‘in the heat of the moment’
  11. I wanted to please my partner

The top 11 reasons men have sex are:

  1. I was attracted to the person.
  2. It feels good.
  3. I wanted to experience the physical pleasure.
  4. It’s fun.
  5. I wanted to show my affection to the person.
  6. I was sexually aroused and wanted the release.
  7. I was "horny."
  8. I wanted to express my love for the person.
  9. I wanted to achieve an orgasm.
  10. I wanted to please my partner.

The stereotype ‘women do it for love, and men for joy’ did not get its proof within this survey. Both men and women seem to seek love and pleasure out of the sexual intercourse. Even though, within the book, you could find some amusing quotes of this sort: ‘Most of the time I just lie there and make lists in my head. I grunt once in a while so he knows I'm awake, and then I tell him how great it was when it's over. We are happily married.’

Initially, winning a partner with the most desirable genes is one of the reasons why we seek and offer sex, but we are also after the excitement, passion, and bliss of ‘falling in love’ that is induced by all sort of love fairytales that are part of our make-up, and chemicals that wage wars within our brain. Most people aspire to obtain lifelong love, and most people wish to have a fulfilling sexual relationship. So, the statistic of the estimated 20 million married couples in America living in sexless marriages (sex less than ten times a year) is quite shocking.

Within the long-term relationship, as time goes by, you lose the initial spark and the desire wanes and you stop having as much sex. Whether the brain gets accustomed to all the inflow of the chemicals or you simply get bored of your partner, the result is – no sex. Keeping the intimacy and attraction between partners becomes ‘work’ or in the cases of Taoists and Tantrists a ‘spiritual practice’. I suggest to all that might have this problem, to start their ‘work’ and ‘spiritual practice’, further exploring the ancient tools and techniques, because the deepest and the most fulfilling closeness between partners comes from the intimacy of this long-term effort of understanding sexuality and transforming an unconscious sexual intercourse into what Tantrists call maithuna.