the exception of the Tantric tradition
most Buddhist schools take a cautious attitude to all
expressions of sexuality. The Buddha's teachings on the
subject are summed up in the third Precept which requires
one to avoid sexual misconduct (kamesu micchacara).
This somewhat vague term has been interpreted differently
but it is probably best to understand it to mean that
one should not sexually exploit another. This would include
rape, adultery (which takes advantage of a spouses trust),
sex with the intellectually, economically or psychologically
disadvantaged and promiscuity.
Buddha did not teach that celibacy is necessary for
enlightenment but he did see it as being very helpful.
Constantly pandering to sexual desires agitates the
mind, provokes frustration and can even become a preoccupation
thus distracting one's energies from the spiritual quest.
Clearly, his attitude to sex was not based on the idea
that it is 'dirty', 'immoral' or 'evil' but on an assessment
of its impact on the mind and its utility to the spiritual
Buddhism, at least as it was sometimes practised in India, took a very different attitude to sex, teaching
that the power of sexual passion could actually be used
to attain enlightenment. Some Tantric text like the Guhyasamaja
Tantra glorify the most extreme licence as proof of
freedom from all conventions and discriminations.
Cabezon, (Ed) Buddhism, Sexuality and Gender. New
M. O.C. Walshe, Buddhism and Sex. Kandy, 1986.