Human sexual activity is part of the spiritual journey. When we practice truth, love, peace, right conduct and non-violence, we bring all that we are to our practice of values. We are spiritual beings having a human experience. And that involves a sexual element as this part of our lives ensures the human race will continue. Recent surveys of young people – and recent courtroom events – reveal a rise in sexual choking. For the young, this behaviour flows from the sexual landscape of pornography that shapes so much sexual activity in this day, this age. Some reflections and observations are offered.
The range of what is (freely) available (and paid subscription services) in the field of pornography includes hetero-normative sexual behaviour, same-sex activity, auto-erotica, chat-video programs utilised to invoke behaviour, and included are the disabled, BDSM, transgender and shemales. (All of this can be googled, unless there are parental controls on the smart-phone, on the laptop, like this.) I have my doubts about promoting the networked home with family members in their own rooms accessing the Internet. What are children and young adults accessing? What are their values?
The sexual landscape has been captured by online pornography. Many young boys (and girls) now learn about sex from impersonal video. Orgasms are simulated, pain is included, and sex toys are utilised. Is this the most appropriate introduction to human sexuality? Is this an introduction to sexual behaviour you wish for your own family? Sex education is important, and it ought be comprehensive and presented with balance and objectivity, in collaboration with the other domains of human endeavour: the emotional, the intellectual, the interpersonal, the virtuous and the physical domains.
It is true that the sexual prime of young men is from 18-24, and these hormonal urges are there to ensure the continuity of the human race. Others who are in a committed relationship and want to have children and cannot resort to in-vitro fertilisation. There are donor sperm, frozen ova, and philosophical arguments abound about stem cells, which are thought to be life potentially. And then there is the abortion debate. Allow us one aside, for many get this wrong.
Abortion is the woman’s decision. She is the one who has to carry the foetus to term. And she is the one who decides whether or not she is able to give the child a good life. Criminal acts aside, lack of consent and age of consent aside, Source tells others may offer advice, opinions, but the fine line comes down to the woman.
- Abortion is also confused with when life starts.
- Life can be started in a Petri dish.
- What gets overlooked is when the soul arrives.
- 270 days is human gestation.
- For the first 180 days, it is a foetus.
- Vedanta teaches that on the 180th day, the soul enters the womb.
- Thereafter, human life is present.
Yes, there are premature births and babies in humidicribs, after 36 weeks and so forth, like this. Source tells, the same rule applies.
Returning to the sexual landscape flooded with pornography, that particular internet content ignores the human dimensions of intimacy, passion and commitment. These are three sides of the triangle we call love. Pornography is the heart-bypass, leaving out one-to-one intimacy, commitment and passion. Intimacy is a shared trust wherein a person can give all they have to another, their hopes, dreams, feelings, experiences and downsides – to their intimate partner – and they will be totally accepted and held in an embrace of mutual trust, mutual commitment. Passion is the energy that is shared in that intimacy.
This is not experienced on the Internet. Yes, there can be anticipation of desire and fulfilment, a thrilling exchange of energy with another anticipated but viewing pornography is not the be-all and end-all of sexual encounter. It is not human encounter, it is not sexual encounter. It is illusion taken up by the mind, driven by the tyranny of the ego that tells, “I want; I want what I see; I want that WHEN I see it.” This tyranny of the ego drives the desire, the continual, ever-anticipating want.
What about the cues that are observed and internalised from pornography?
Let’s take a look at the rise of sexual choking.
Sexual choking is now so common that many young people don’t think it even requires consent. That’s a problem! Sexual asphyxiation is the act of choking someone for sexual pleasure. It falls under the umbrella of breath play. That’s any sex act that makes it hard for you to breathe.
In human sexuality, kinkiness is the use of non-conventional sexual practices, concepts or fantasies. Choking in sex is a kink. Yet it has somehow made its way under the mainstream umbrella of things that many young people assume are OK to do without consent – often the first time you’re sexually involved with them.
Experts have warned that there is no safe way to engage in this act. Humans take risks all the time. The concern does not lie with this kink, where ideally it would involve conversations and research that allow people to take a calculated risk, but instead with the fact that it has become mainstream to the point where it is too often assumed that consent is not necessary, and that it seems a standard part of sexual activity in young people.
Sexual choking has become increasingly prevalent in mixed-sex pornography and young men’s sexual behaviour. A national probability survey in the US found that 21% of women reported having been choked during sex, and 20% of men reported that they have choked a partner during sex. In this study, adults ages 18 to 29 reported engaging in choking at higher rates than older adults.
Reflections on Pornography
There are those who have the mad monkey mind. Monkey see Monkey do. There is no discrimination, there is no detachment. There is no assessment of risk, no reflection on right and wrong. What is viewed (in pornography) as an innovation in sexual behaviour is imported into the repertoire of sexual activity with others without discrimination of good or bad, right or wrong. Pleasure here is assumed, and consent is assumed. With the mad monkey mind, pleasure rules, until you become tired of pleasure and have a new thought in your self-awareness.
Experts have warned that there is no safe way to engage in this act (choking during sex). Karma is as karma does. If unsafe sex results in injury or death, then the consequences fall on the doer of that action. Consent is immaterial, failure to see to the welfare of the other in the sex act is materiality in court room.
While pornography is ever-present, so also is the capacity for delay of gratification, and self control. These lead to self-discipline, self-confidence and self-respect. This is the meaning of true humanness, that one applies personal discipline, shows a refined character and utilises a clarified intellect. People who delay gratification ninety-nine times out of a hundred, realise their goals. Pleasure and desire do not lead to the goal of life. The goals of life are the four purusharthas. The purusharthas have to be kept in balance. These are dharma, artha, kama and moksha, (in translation) right conduct, a needful wealth in all compartments of our life, the satisfaction of desires necessary to our station in life and seeking of liberation. Pleasure and desire have to be kept in balance with dharma, artha and moksha.The average age for viewing pornography was 13.6 years and for experiencing anal sex 15.6 years, the survey found. Young men were more likely to have viewed pornography (95.5%) than people of other genders and LGBTQ+ young people were more likely to have viewed pornography than heterosexual young people.
Contos said it was concerning that sex education in schools stopped at the age of 16.
“We need to continue to have sex education after that time. And it can’t just be education that makes sex appear negative, such as about preventing sexual assault, preventing STIs and preventing unwanted pregnancy. It has to be about also addressing the positives and teaching young people what healthy intimacy looks like.
“I think especially for girls and young women, they often have no idea that sex is meant to be pleasurable. And if you go into something with the expectation it won’t be pleasurable, it can be very hard to distinguish between consensual and nonconsensual experiences.” Source
There is another matter to consider. The mind is like a camera, it takes the form of what it is focussed on. There is need to take care where we point and click the camera. So if a person is engaged with pornography continually, then that pornography enters the mind and becomes part of the mind, part of the ego, which is always outwards looking, outwards grasping. Consider the mind like a very young child, a baby, the hand goes out and grasps everything; the hand goes out without discrimination. The child does not ask, “Is it good for me? Will it harm me?”. The child simply reaches out without first thinking. The mind is outward going, outward focussed and thriving on its wants and desires. The ego will not stop and think.
Pornography is like that. It sinks deep, it is outwardly focussed and this appetite is never satisfied. It is never satisfied. One person can destroy a lot around them; not only the family but many other people around them, also. It has a palpable, unpleasant energy that seeps into the aura. It can be felt, it can be detected in present company. That is the company of those who live and satisfy their perversions. Vedanta, Jyotisha and Upanishads all speak of the perverted mind and its fall.
There is no innocent, harmless use of pornography. Just as there is no innocent, harmless use of sexual choking. Both are full of risk, both are full of danger. Neither activity leads to human excellence, to that triple purity of thought, word and action. That triple purity is human integrity. It is purity of thoughts, words and actions that produce the character that an intimate partner can share their trust with; it is that character which is the base of intimacy, passion and commitment – the three sides of the triangle called love.