Hindu Attitudes to Sex

On a recent TV programme ('Position Impossible'), it was noted that currently there is no sex education in India. This is due to religious and moral objections. It is also estimated that around 60% of men and 40% of women are virgins on their wedding night. In many ways Indian attitudes to sex can seem 'old fashioned'. For example, at the cinema sex scenes are not filmed or shown (unlike most 'western' films), and kissing is rarely seen. This is because Indians believe it is more important to leave it up to the cinema-goer to use their imagination (soft-core), rather than push 'hard-core' cinematic experiences in your face. Yet this 'self-censorship' has come from within the same culture which has produced one the most famous sex and relationship manuals ever written: the Karma Sutra (whose content was the theme of the programme 'Position Impossible'. Some even claim that there is no aspect of human relationships (both sexual and non-sexual), which is not discussed in the Karma Sutra.
Hindus will generally discourage sex before marriage (although the statistic above shows that this is not necessary the practice). This is because sex should be limited to the householder stage of life (called an ashrama), as this is where couples should have and bring up their children (for more details on this see Hinduism and Marriage). Thus sex and children form part of the duty (dharma) of this aspect of Hindu life. This means that adultery is also wrong because this would be going against the purpose of marriage and would betray one's partner (and would also affect one's karma and attempts to attain moksha). In many respects the place of sex for Hindus is idealised by the gods. Unlike the Christian God (who has no partner), Hindu gods get married and have . . . . .

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