Not only is sex the number one search term on the Internet, it’s what everyone is searching for in this material world. Sex is the prototype of all material enjoyment. Along with eating, sleeping, and defense, sex is counted as one of the four basic drives of every soul in every material body. Krishna conscious teachings have much to say on the topic—what its purpose is, how it relates to the original consciousness of the self, and how to avoid being ruled by it.

The very first teaching of Krishna consciousness is that we are not our bodies; we are spiritual beings temporarily within material bodies. No amount of material pleasure can give us true happiness because we’re not material—we’re spiritual. We can only really be fulfilled when our goal is spiritual happiness.

Ironically, while sex is the highest material pleasure, it can diminish our capacity to experience the highest enjoyment there is—ananda, the uninterrupted bliss that comes as a result of reawakening our spiritual consciousness and entering into a relationship with Krishna, the source of all joy.

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Our natural, original, spiritual condition is prema, love for God. In the material world, we most often direct our love elsewhere. Our prema has transformed into kama, lust. Our desire to please the source of all pleasure is now the desire to please our own senses. The principal expression of kama is sex.

Marriage is the traditional way of socializing and regulating sex within human society to help ensure social stability and the welfare of women and children. This is so in Krishna consciousness as well. Marriage is a samskara, one of the principles recommended for the social life of human beings. Krishna says that He Himself is sex according to principles of dharma, proper behavior. The natural, biological result of sex is children, and the highest expression of sex is to beget and raise children in a spiritual atmosphere.

How to manage our sex desire—while trying to become free from it—is a major issue faced by all everyone looking for transcendental happiness. Kama can be converted back into prema by the practice of Krishna consciousness. When we redirect our desires toward the center of all enjoyment—the source of all desire—we can experience a sense of perfect, permanent fulfillment and peace higher than even the best of sex.