19. Is sexual abstinence necessary or advisable?
There will be far less unhappiness if people will only free themselves from the error of the merits of sexual abstinence. Forced abstinence is an interference which may have dire consequences. Wherever one looks the Laws in all Creation show the way plainly enough. Suppression is against Nature. All that is against Nature is a rebellion against the Natural and thus the Divine Laws, which in this, as in all else, can never yield any good results. No exception is made on this particular point. Only man must never permit himself to be controlled by the sexual impulse, must not become a slave to his instincts, otherwise they will develop into a passion whereby what is natural and healthy will become a morbid vice.
Man should be above it, which means that he should not force abstinence upon himself but, with a pure inner morality, practice self-control so that neither he nor others will come to any harm thereby.
If some people think that through abstinence they can rise higher spiritually, it may well happen that they achieve just the opposite. Depending on individual disposition, there will be a more or less continual conflict with the natural urges. This struggle consumes a great part of the person’s spiritual powers, restricting them so that they cannot be active in other directions. Thus the free unfolding of these spiritual powers is hindered. Such persons will at times suffer from a depressing melancholy which will hinder them from joyfully soaring upwards.
The body is a gift which God entrusted to man who has the duty to take care of it. Just as he cannot abstain with impunity from satisfying the body’s needs of food, drink, rest and sleep, and of relieving bladder and bowels; and just as lack of fresh air and sufficient exercise will soon make him feel uncomfortable; so precisely the same applies to the healthy desire of a mature body for sexual activity, which he cannot artificially deny without harming himself in some way.
Fulfilling the natural desire of the body can only further and never hinder the inner man, i.e., the development of the spiritual, otherwise the Creator would not have placed this desire within him. But here, as in everything else, excesses are harmful. Great care must be taken that the desire is not the result of an imagination artificially stimulated by reading or some other cause, or the consequence of a weakened body or overwrought nerves. It really must be only the demand of a healthy body, which by no means approaches man often.
It will occur only when there has previously set in between both sexes a perfect spiritual harmony which, in its consummation, sometimes strives towards physical union as well.
All other causes are dishonoring to both parties, are impure and immoral, even in marriage. Where there is no spiritual harmony, the continuance of a marriage becomes absolutely immoral.
If the social order has not yet found the right way in this matter, then this lack can in no way change the Laws of Nature, which will never orient themselves by human dispositions or by wrongly fostered ideas. There will, however, be no other choice left to man but finally to adapt State and social institutions to the Laws of Nature, i.e., to the Divine Laws, if he wants to have true inner peace and become healthy.
Sexual abstinence has nothing to do with chastity, either. At best abstinence could be included in the concept of “decency,” resulting from discipline, education or self-control.
By true chastity is meant purity of thought, but in all things right down to everyday business. Chastity is a purely spiritual and not a physical quality. Even in the act of satisfying the sexual urge, chastity can be fully preserved through mutual purity of thought.
Moreover, physical union not only serves procreation, but also through the equally valuable and necessary intimate fusion and exchange of mutual currents greater energy levels are attained.