Do you have any suggestion on how to view the act of sexual intercourse objectively? For example, when we view a lady, we view her as a composite of flesh, bones, feces, pus, joint oil, etc.

Similarly in which way can we address sex neutrally without labelling it as good or bad? This is because I have learnt to remove my lust for the human flesh, but not for the sexual act. Is there any thought based method using which I can achieve this feat? Similarly while using urge surfing, when a lustful desire comes up I repeat in my mind "pleasure, pleasure" -- similarly how can I combat a desire to have sex through this technique as I am on a period of abstinence?

2 Answers 2


The Buddhist path has 3 trainings:

  1. sila/morality

  2. samadhi/concentration

  3. panna/wisdom.

To view a lady as a composite of flesh, bones, feces, pus, joint oil, etc, is the practise of panna/wisdom. It is called 'asubha'. There are many 'asubha' videos on Youtube.

Not judging things as 'good' & 'bad' is the practice of samadhi/concentration but not the practice of morality or wisdom. Not judging sex as 'good' or 'bad', i.e., 'theme-less-ness', can also overcome sexual urges.

Morality forms the foundation of the path. It is to know what is good (harmless/beneficial) & what is bad (harmful/unbeneficial). Without morality, there may possibly be a battle against sex because by using asubha or theme-less-ness only it may be difficult to generate empathy & thus metta (loving-kindness) towards women, whose natural purpose in life & often greatest joy is motherhood. Morality includes the precept about refraining from 'sexual misconduct'. The purpose of the precept is to preserve the integrity & nurturing of families. In the modern world, since the era of universal birth-control, there is obviously a correlation between sexual liberalism & difficulties in maintaining the family unit. Thus morality views certain types of sex as 'good' & other types of sex as 'bad'.

A well-rounded practitioner uses all three methods, as described in the Bharadvaja Sutta. The 1st method here is to view women as family members only, i.e., mothers, sisters & daughters; the 2nd method is to see the unattractive nature of the parts of the body; the 3rd method is to abide without any judgments (themes).

  • so it implies that morality is the spine of these above-prescribed methods?
    – user10546
    Commented Dec 27, 2016 at 5:24
  • Morality limits the potential of sex so is a good starting point to narrow one's perceptions of what is possible. Commented Dec 27, 2016 at 5:28
  • so by engaging in illict sex with polygamous partners,do we invite bad karma and simultaneously deprive a woman of motherhood?
    – user10546
    Commented Dec 27, 2016 at 8:00
  • I suppose this just increases lust, which is an obstacle to the path, plus we do not engage in any development of higher virtues. Knowing women is difficult but if we want to develop metta (loving-kindness), we should always think about what women really want. We can ask them ourselves. Do a survey of different women of what they believe will bring them happiness. Commented Dec 27, 2016 at 10:34

I see you have accepted an answer but i feel like to add something because I can personally feel related.

learnt to remove my lust for the human flesh, but not for the sexual act

Do yo mean like you learnt to let go of the ice but still desire its cooling property?

If so, that means you can let go of rupa (form) but stuck at kama sanna (perception of sensual pleasure). Perception of grossness of body may not help with kama sanna because you are already above Rupa and dealing with something of a higher level.

So many ways to deal with kama sanna such as meditation. I promise you it will help.

FYI: I recognize a pattern for terms Buddha used for satisfactory in sensual pleasures; kama chanda, kama raga, kama sanna, kama yogi. Each has specific use and definitely not interchangeable. For example, when Buddha taught about sensual pleasure in 5 hindrance, or jhanna, he would use kama chanda, or kama sanna. Howerver, when he talked about higher fetters or an anagami, he would use kama raga or kama yogi.

For those who are interested in the difference between Kama Chanda (English-sensual desire), and kama raga (sensual lust): The Greater Discourse to Mālunkyāputta

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