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I met this wonderful girl sometime back and we had a great thing going. We understood each other very well and have lived in great pleasure and happiness. Initially we started dating. after sometime dating, for unavoidable circumstances we knew that this relationship is not gonna work out long-term.

So we had a friends-with-benefits relationship just to have sexual satisfaction with no feelings. But with time we generated strong feelings towards each other up-to a level that we started a relationship. But the relationship is temporary. There is a expiration date. We want to do everything as a couple together. With heavy deep discussions and deep understanding we made this decision. We both are deeply in love but we are still honoring our agreement on the termination.

We aren't really bothered of finding another partner yet so that's why we are having this temporary relationship. When we feel like this is enough, we will terminate it. But no-one knows about our relationship. Not even my parents or hers or our friends. It's secret one.

Now to the important part. As a couple we are thinking of having sexual intercourse. I'm still a virgin. I love her a lot. And I do want to engage in such. But I still haven't agreed fully. My question is, is it a Sin or Akusala if I have sex with her? If so how does it become a sin? What is the Buddhist perspective on this?

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    I live in Sri Lanka – MicroVision Co Jun 4 '18 at 15:15
  • tahudu lankawe koheda – madhawavish Jun 4 '18 at 17:42
  • Is she depend on herself or you feed her.. – madhawavish Jun 4 '18 at 17:57
  • This question is blatantly off topic, there's not even once mentioned a reference to Buddhism.Do I need to say even more?Do we decide now weather people should get married?! – user13064 Jun 5 '18 at 10:31
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    @Eminem I think the 2 or 3 questions in the last paragraph are all asking about Buddhist doctrine. – ChrisW Jun 5 '18 at 10:49
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So we had a friends-with-benefits relationship just to have sexual satisfaction with no feelings.

If sex did not feel pleasurable; why would you have sex? There is no such thing as sex with no feelings.

But with time we generated strong feelings towards each other up-to a level that we started a relationship.

As I said, there is no such thing as normal sex with no feelings. Having sex with no feelings is something prostitutes try to do.

But the relationship is temporary. There is a expiration date. We want to do everything as a couple together. With heavy deep discussions and deep understanding we made this decision. We both are deeply in love but we are still honoring our agreement on the termination.

Having sex is similar to taking drugs. If you become addicted to drugs, you cannot make an agreement to terminate the addiction without experiencing painful symptoms & suffering.

We aren't really bothered of finding another partner yet so that's why we are having this temporary relationship. When we feel like this is enough, we will terminate it. But no-one knows about our relationship. Not even my parents or hers or our friends. It's secret one.

To keep secrets from your family is not Buddhist. In Buddhism, a relationship also ensures both sides of the family are happy (if possible - DN 31).

Now to the important part. As a couple we are thinking of having sexual intercourse. I'm still a virgin. I love her a lot. And I do want to engage in such. But I still haven't agreed fully. My question is, is it a Sin or Akusala if I have sex with her? If so how does it become a sin? What is the Buddhist perspective on this?

If she is not a virgin, it is a sin because you are supporting her bad habits. If she is a virgin, it is an extremely serious sin. It is very dark akusala. The Buddhist scriptures teach parents are to "protect" their daughters (MN 41) until the parents organise a suitable marriage (DN 31). The Buddhist scriptures teach sexual misconduct is particularly a taint upon a woman (Dhp 242) because the more men a woman has sex with, the more it is difficult for her to naturally "bond" with a man and her children (refer to the 5th post at this link on Dhammawheel about Compassion for Women). This is a major reason why, in the West, there is so much social and family disharmony and dysfunction.

As for what you call "love", it is romantic feelings, lust & infatuation. It is not "metta" (Buddhist love). In Buddhism, any action motivated by only lust is akusala. In Buddhism, a Right Action is guided by non-harming & wisdom about the long-term welfare of another & one-self. Temporary sex is only lust. It is not "metta"; not compassion ("karuna"); not sila (morality); and not "abhaya" ("safety").

As a Sri Lankan, you should speak to a Sri Lankan monk and avoid seeking advice from sexually liberal Westerners on the internet who do not understand Buddhism. Western people have lots of suffering & confusion as a result of akusala sex and then try to find peace of mind with Buddhism but they generally cannot find peace of mind because they are unable to give up their wrong views about sex.

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I don't suppose that the suttas distinguish between "a friends-with-benefits relationship" versus "sexual intercourse" -- in both cases, it's sexually-motivated contact.

One difference, I guess, is the possibility of procreation (i.e. pregnancy and so on).

I will try to structure this answer as follows.

  • Third precept
  • Apart from the precepts
  • How does it become a sin?
  • What is 'right' behaviour?

Third precept

I assume you've heard of the five lay precepts.

I think that the scriptural details (such as they are) of the third precept are identified in these topics:

Apart from the precepts

I think the precepts are a minimum standard of behaviour, and behaviour can be "unskillful" even if it's not against the precepts.

If I slapped someone's face, for example, I think that wouldn't break the first precept but that would be immoral and unskillful even so:

  • Unpleasant for the person whose face was slapped
  • Resulting in worse social relationships than before
  • Bad training for me (e.g. failing to learn to use right speech instead)

How does it become a sin?

I'm not sure that Buddhism uses the concept of "sin", a better question to ask might be "How does it cause suffering (dukkha)?"

I guess there are several ways ... but I don't want to spell them out. In brief I can think of at least 5 ways:

  • Pleasurable feelings lead to craving and attachment (and suffering). You might think that getting what you want (e.g. pleasure) helps put an end to craving and is therefore satisfying, but any drug addict or alcoholic could tell you that that's not the way it works.
  • Social disruption -- why haven't you told your parents? What would happen if they knew? What's happening to the fourth precept (i.e. refraining from incorrect speech)?
  • Part of attachment is a loss of independence. I think that Buddhism tries to teach that we can't depend on sensual pleasure and that we should find happiness elsewhere (independently). Finding reliable happiness is difficult when you allow your happiness to depend on the actions of someone else (who you control even less than you control yourself).
  • Perceived loss of independence can lead to predatory behaviour. If I'm hungry for example I might tell myself, "I need that food, I'm going to have that food." Something similar happens if I'm sick ("I need that medicine"), or poor ("I need that money"). It's bad if that starts happening with another person: "I want that person, I need that person, I'm going to take that person" ... that's the exact opposite of what Andrei's answer described (i.e. not trying to "own" someone).

    IMO it's not polite to look at a living being and say "I'm going to take your body to be my food", and similarly it's not polite to say "I'm going to take your body for my sexual gratification".

    That doesn't apply if it's consensual, but it may be difficult to coordinate -- someone's consenting once doesn't mean they'll always consent, and if they don't consent in future then you might try persuasion or coercion.

  • It's difficult to coordinate. Apparently you're hoping that you'll both escape suffering by ending the relationship.

    We both are deeply in love but we are still honoring our agreement on the termination.

    That can be difficult to manage without at least one person feeling hurt (e.g. if one person decides to something or to stop doing something, at a time when the other person doesn't want them to do that or to stop doing that).

    I don't know whether it's you, or her, or both, who are more likely to be hurt. Dhammadhatu's answer suggests it's her.

  • There's an "opportunity cost" -- one of the problem of unskillful behaviour is that you don't accrue the benefits (e.g. the training) associated with skilful or virtuous behaviour.

If this answer seems excessively negative, note that you didn't ask "How does this become a virtue?"

What is 'right' behaviour?

You might like to consider these topics:

  • Any authentic sutta from any tradition that gives guidance on what kind of partner to choose?

    Advice from suttas on how to choose a (marriage) partner

  • Sigalovada Sutta (DN 31)

    General advice on good social conduct for lay people

  • The Four Sublime States

    Introduces the Brahmaviharas:

    These four attitudes are said to be excellent or sublime because they are the right or ideal way of conduct towards living beings (sattesu samma patipatti). They provide, in fact, the answer to all situations arising from social contact. They are the great removers of tension, the great peace-makers in social conflict, and the great healers of wounds suffered in the struggle of existence. They level social barriers, build harmonious communities, awaken slumbering magnanimity long forgotten, revive joy and hope long abandoned, and promote human brotherhood against the forces of egotism.

    The Brahma-viharas are incompatible with a hating state of mind, and in that they are akin to Brahma, the divine but transient ruler of the higher heavens in the traditional Buddhist picture of the universe.

  • I should probably mention "generosity" too.

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As is said in Maitreya-vyakarana:

[Gods, men and other beings] will lose their doubts, and the torrents of their cravings will be cut off: free from all misery they will manage to cross the ocean of becoming; and, as a result of Maitreya's teachings, they will lead a holy life. No longer will they regard anything as their own, they will have no possession, no gold or silver, no home, no relatives! But they will lead the holy life of oneness under Maitreya's guidance. They will have torn the net of the passions, they will manage to enter into trances, and theirs will be an abundance of joy and happiness, for they will lead a holy life under Maitreya's guidance.

The way I understand this, in the future, under Maitreya's guidance, personal relationships will no longer be defined as a type of ownership.

Today she is "your" girlfriend and you are "her" boyfriend - and from this comes all kinds of problems, passions and jealousy.

In the future, all people will be able to openly show their love and friendship to each other, and not worry about offending "the special person" that owns their commitment.

Love is acceptance, love is kindness, love is wanting the other people to experience happiness, love is allowing the other people to express their unique suchness without judgement. Love is not a type of ownership. Love-as-ownership is a reification, a disease.

As long as your love to everyone is pure - without Lust, Obsession, Jealousy, Fear - you don't have to restrict it to one special person you "marry".

There are many ways to express love. My teacher said, in Tusita heaven the gods make sex through eye contact alone - this is the highest and most pure form of sex. In our world, physical sex is one of the many ways to express love - one form of communication and tenderness.

As long as your love to everyone is pure - without Lust, Obsession, Jealousy, Fear - you don't have to restrict the ways you express it.

  • The question is, can "sex with benefit" happen without Lust ? – Krizalid_13190 Jun 5 '18 at 6:29
  • Of course it can. Sex can be a communication of friendship, tenderness, and trust. No need to reify emotional and physical closeness as an exclusive black-n-white relationship "this is real love", "this is just lust" etc. - there is a spectrum of closeness and it doesn't have to be exclusive. – Andrei Volkov Jun 5 '18 at 11:08
  • So, you are basically saying "sex with benefit" relationship cannot be 0% lust. Which, the answer to my first comment should have been a No, then. – Krizalid_13190 Jun 6 '18 at 1:43
  • What is "sex with benefit", do you mean "friends with benefits"? Of course there can be sex without lust, for example sex with Varjrayana consort, which is a type of meditative practice. – Andrei Volkov Jun 6 '18 at 1:49
  • Yes I meant 'FwB'. As for the Tantric consort, I don't know much about it so I will not comment. But pretty sure it is far from 'FwB' described by the author of this post. – Krizalid_13190 Jun 6 '18 at 6:06
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"just to have sexual satisfaction with no feelings" <- stop lying to yourself, please.

If it is not love, only lust remains.

Action derived by lust is a sin.

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