Sunday Scriptures: Sex

Sunday is a busy day here, as its the only day we all get to spend together as a family. So in this weekly spot I’ll dig out some interesting bits of religious literature and will post them without much comment.

[EDIT: Apologies – I scheduled this post wrong, so it is only appearing on Monday!]

Inspired by a post on the Song of Solomon over at the Redheaded Skeptic, I thought it would be interesting to post some scripture on the subject of sex. Some juicy, life affirming stuff. As per the Song itself:

As the apple tree among the trees of the wood, so is my beloved among the sons. I sat down under his shadow with great delight, and his fruit was sweet to my taste.

– Song of Solomon 2:2-3

Unfortunately when I came to search through the indices to various scriptures for similar stuff I found that the odds were against me. Far more common was stuff like this:

The Buddha said: “Be careful not to look at women and do not talk with them. If you must speak with them, be properly mindful and think, ‘I am a Shramana living in a turbid world. I should be like the lotus flower and not be defiled by the mud.'”

– Sutra of Forty-two Sections: 29

Hmm. Not so good. Well, there’s always the Karma Sutra, of course. But that’s hardly what you’d call scripture. It reads more like a taxonomy of sex than a celebration of it:

When the legs of both the male and the female are stretched straight out over each other, it is called the ‘clasping position’. It is of two kinds, the side position and the supine position, according to the way in which they lie down. In the side position the male should invariably lie on his left side, and cause the woman to lie on her right side, and this rule is to be observed in lying down with all kinds of women.

– Karma Sutra:6

Reads like a sex-ed book. (Incidentally ‘all kinds of women’ here isn’t talking about promiscuity – the Karma Sutra classifies women into ‘kinds’ based on the depth of their vagina. No, really. Not surprisingly they don’t tend to go into that stuff in the “Karma Sutra” books you buy in the west. Nor do they print the chapter (9) on how male eunuchs give fellatio.)

Nope. Depressingly, affirmation of sex in scripture seems to be pretty unusual (please provide counter-examples). I’ll leave you with the most depressing thing I read:

The mouth is a vessel filled with foul
Saliva and filth between the teeth,
The nose with fluids, snot, and mucus,
The eyes with their own filth and tears.

The body is a vessel filled
With excrement, urine, lungs, and liver;
He whose vision is obscured and does not see
A woman thus, lusts for her body.

This filthy city of a body,
With protruding holes for the elements
Is called by stupid beings
An object of pleasure.

Why should you lust desirously for this
While recognizing it as a filthy form
Produced by a seed whose essence is filth,
A mixture of blood and semen?

He who lies on the filthy mass
Covered by skin moistened with
Those fluids, merely lies
On top of a woman’s bladder.

– Ratnavali, by Nagarjuna (considered sacred by some Buddhists)

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