Is it considered breaking the five precepts under these circumstances:

  1. Both are in a relationship, unmarried and it's purely consensual.
  2. Both are single and it's purely consensual.
  • by "in a relationship" I assume you mean "in a relationship with other people"? If so, see here Commented Mar 29, 2015 at 16:17
  • Bhante, I meant with each other not with other people. Commented Mar 29, 2015 at 22:39
  • By #2 are you referring to prostitution? #1 and #2 seem to be the same otherwise. Commented Mar 30, 2015 at 12:48
  • No, nothing to do with prostitution at all. Commented Mar 30, 2015 at 12:49

1 Answer 1


There are four conditions for wrong conduct in sexual pleasures.

i) There must be a man or woman with whom it is improper to have sexual intercourse.

ii) There must be intention to have sexual intercourse with such a person.

iii) Action must be taken to have such an intercourse.

iv) There must be enjoyment from contact of the sexual organs.

With reference to the first condition, there are twenty kinds of women with whom men should have no sexual relations. They can be divided into three groups, namely: women under the guardianship of parents, family members, relatives and authorities charged with their care; married or betrothed women; bhikkhunis and religious women observing the Holy Life. For all women, a man forbidden by tradition or under religious rules is prohibited as a partner. For any unwilling partner who is drugged or forced to have sexual intercourse under threat of violence or coercion, conditions (ii) & (iv) exclude them from violation of the precept.

Causes of Sexual Misconduct

The root cause of sexual misconduct is always greed or lust, accompanied by delusion. Factors affecting the Gravity of Sexual Misconduct The gravity of the offence is determined by the degree of lust motivating the action and the qualities of the person against whom the transgression is committed. When the lust is very strong, even incest and rape can be committed, the most serious being the rape of a female Arahant.

So to answer your questions, consensuality is actually a requirement to break the 3rd precept. If a girl gets raped, she's not breaking the precept, but the man is.

Case #1: Yes, if it violates the 1st condition

Case #2: Yes, if it violates the 1st condition

Whether it's a long term relationship or just a one night stand is irrelevant to violating the 3rd precept. Lust is the root cause in both cases.

  • I'm not quite following here, y is #1 is a definite yes for breaking the precept and #2 depends? Both have fulfilled the condition of consensuality .#1 is more like both of them are taking it to another lvl and it could very well lead to a happy marriage.#2 is more like a mutual agreement to do it w/o any feelings attached. Commented Mar 30, 2015 at 12:31
  • In #1, by 'relationship', were you referring to the relationship between the 2 of them or them being in other relationships? Commented Mar 30, 2015 at 12:37
  • I'm sorry I may not have made myself clear in this, I meant 2 of them, neither with other people nor other relationship. Commented Mar 30, 2015 at 12:38
  • In that case, what's the difference between #1 and #2? Commented Mar 30, 2015 at 12:45
  • #1 - In a relationship, pretty much attached to each other but not yet married. #2 - Could be someone they just knew, could be just casual acquaintances but both agreed to have sex, no feelings involved. Commented Mar 30, 2015 at 12:54

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