I'd like to know if masturbating with his/her boyfriend/girlfriend, during a sex cam session for example, is a sin ? Is showing one's private parts to his/her bf/gf is a sin? Does it take part in breaking the 3rd precept ?

2 Answers 2


The five precepts define ways that do not harm others. Forms of unconventional sex with a permissible (non-prohibited) partner do not fall under the 3rd precept. However, they may be unwholesome & stupid behaviors that harm oneself, either in the short or long term (such as cultivating unbeneficial & dangerous mental tendencies, habits & addictions).

  • Thanks for the the answer. Can you explain what do you mean by non-prohibited please?
    – Concerned
    Commented Dec 20, 2016 at 10:56
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    The 3rd precept is defined as: not having sex with children/teenagers/young adults that still live with their parents particularly if the parents disapprove; not having sex with a person under the age of legal consent; not having sex with a person in the care of a institution; not having sex with another person's husband, wife or fiancee. These are explicitly prohibited sex partners. That said, this definition was obviously culturally specific since in that culture people married very young, as soon as they reached sexual puberty. Commented Dec 20, 2016 at 19:51
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    If i may add something to the answer, even though it may not be a breaking of the precept it is still a "Akusala" as it creates a bond / attraction / lust that did not existed before. But in that case there is little shelter from akusala as any craving for lay life's pleasures falls into that category. But you needn't be brightened as "Akusala" comes to effect as a delayer for nirvana unlike Bad karma which can be terrifying. @Concerned
    – Theravada
    Commented Dec 21, 2016 at 18:54
  • @Concerned, although it's technically not a breach of the 3rd precept, doesn't mean it should be encouraged. Any reaction will have a re-action and sometimes the reaction can haunt one for the rest of his/her life. Ever heard of a thing called "revenge porn"?
    – santa100
    Commented Oct 9, 2018 at 21:22
  • If they are not independent, growing under the protection of parents, yes it's a sin
    – Syrus
    Commented Oct 12, 2018 at 5:32

There is no "sin" in Buddhism. Every act is evaluated on the basis of whether it leads to Peace or to Trouble, and in what degree. Any activity that feeds and cultivates Lust leads to Trouble, in a strong degree.

This is because Lust is what's known as "blinding affect", it makes one's mind blind. Blinded by lust you no longer know what's good / what's bad for you or for others, because you are so focused on achieving your desire that you have tunnel vision, you don't think.

Also, lust leads to objectification of the person which you desire. You no longer see them in all their complex inter-being with the rest of the world, you see a Thing which you want. When you are in this mode, you can easily harm the other person with insensitive acts.

Finally, lust leads to "subjectification" of you. When you project yourself onto the future and fantasize about being with the object of your lust, you cement an artificial image of "I" - which, as any fantasy, leads to conflict with the real world.

So no matter how you look at it, cultivating Lust leads to trouble for you and others. Will camsex not reenforce your lust and desire towards that other person? I don't think so.

  • Andre, what do you mean by inter-being? This is not what the Buddha taught, did he? I presume that the questioner is probably a lay practitioners since he is - as you correctly corrected him - speaking of 'sins', where there are no commandments in Buddhism. Personally, the whole concept of not giving in to sexual desire is for a lay practitioner quite hard. Notice, I said hard not impossible, but the 'suffering' is usually not seen, and for a good reason: If he enjoys sex (even a ONS) and leaves it at that, then he isn't suffering, he just increased his lust. That's normal in his age.
    – Val
    Commented Oct 10, 2018 at 7:16
  • Volkov While there is a connection between ''coveting" & 'being angry for not getting what one wants', it doesn't automatically follow that anger WILL take place. What is causing anger (and guilt and many other problems) are underlying dogmatic statements like MUST's & SHOULD's. If one investigates the harm on oneself & on others (=sex is done consensual), I see no reason for him not to engage in these activities. It's not optimal for samadhi, but then again: Is it worth it while restraining himself he somehow gives into sex he as a consequence self-loathes himself? I Don't think so.
    – Val
    Commented Oct 10, 2018 at 7:30
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    @Val what do you mean by inter-being? "Inter-being" is a doctrine of Thich Nhat Hanh, maybe of others too; an outward manifestation of which is brothers and sisters, social interactions between lay and monastic.
    – ChrisW
    Commented Oct 10, 2018 at 8:59
  • @Andrei, I can't accept this "Any activity that feeds and cultivates Lust leads to Trouble". For laypeople it's accepted by Buddhism to have sex for husband and wife. It's not totally restricted
    – Syrus
    Commented Oct 12, 2018 at 5:34
  • @Joe - I'd agree with Andrei on this. It's just that sex between husband and wife may not feed and cultivate lust. Indeed, I imagine it may have an ameliorating effect for some people if they are still caught up in it. All in all sex is a tricky issue.
    – user14119
    Commented Oct 12, 2018 at 12:26

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