When discussing repressed desires, it is impossible to avoid the topic of sexual desire. The matter is a stumbling block to many seekers: Some feel afraid to socialize with the opposite gender and adopt a bygone recommendation to repress their desire; others follow current sexual liberation tendencies and end in sects where promiscuity is a basic practice. Given how much people care about sex, seekers who have begun to work on themselves often have twice as many concerns about this matter.

I have mentioned previously that one should approach ancient scriptures with caution and consider the author’s origin and target audience. Often, monks wrote such texts as a way to justify their vows of sexual abstinence, and hence, highlighted statements about the harm that derives from sexual activity. I appreciate the point: Indeed, sex and romantic relationships consume much of our energy, which otherwise could potentially be used in spiritual practices. Still, over the last several hundred years of enforced sexual repression, including the “platonic” Soviet times, sex has nearly become completely skewed in the mind. According to one perspective, the majority of modern people have never plunged into the depths that a true orgasm creates that allows them to explode and relieve themselves of their pent-up energies.

Any blockages in the body interfere with the natural flow of energy—that is an obvious fact. The blockages associated with any repressed energies inhibit delicate body sensitivity, while restrictive sexual attitudes contaminate one’s sexual life with the denial of sex and self. This makes one veer to another extreme: I am sexually active (which is prohibited allegedly); alas, I am a sinner. As I am bad anyway, why don’t I live it up and become dissolute. This is akin to taking a long break from alcohol, then having one drink and saying, “I took a shot, broke my sobriety, it’s hopeless”—and getting truly plastered.

A seeker will face the need to work on his sexual repression throughout all of his three lower bodies. At the level of the physical body, the practice of awareness needs to be applied during both foreplay and intercourse. In the beginning, the desire and arousal will cause him to revert to unconsciousness, but the better he becomes at body awareness in everyday life, the better he will be able to maintain witnessing during sex. This witnessing will help him identify areas of tension in the body that are associated with repressed sexual energy and change the movement pattern that was formed under the constraints thereof. In this way, he will be able to become more natural, spontaneous—more alive, if you will—during sex.

With respect to emotions, one should work with the fear that shrouds the entire subject of sex. Women are afraid of men’s potential aggressiveness and men are afraid of women’s power; both patterns are established in childhood and leave an imprint for the rest of one’s life. The perception of sex as something preposterous, animalistic, and dirty is passed on unconsciously from generation to generation and is part of social conditioning. Sex is alluring and frightening all at the same time. Hence, we have repressed sexual desire and its satellites—anger and sadness. It’s no wonder that most expletives that people use to express their frustration on any pretext have a sexual theme. Therefore, a seeker is bound to observe anger and sadness that accompany repressed sexual desire.

Next comes the mind. First, one must trace one’s negative attitude toward sex and restrictive ideas about having sex. Then, one should work with repressed sexual desires that have accumulated since puberty. If you manage to cease deprecating your desires, it will make it easier for them to manifest themselves, and thus, you will have an opportunity to change your internal situation. Observation changes everything, and sexual desire is no exception. The rules for working with this desire are the same as for the other desires: some are fulfilled, some become irrelevant. Obviously, this is a schematic representation, as this work is usually performed concurrently at each of the three bodies’ levels, which is a more natural and correct thing to do. The lesson is that so long as one denies and represses one’s sexuality, one remains psychologically immature and aggressive. This is an undisputed fact.