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NITAAI-Veda.nyf > All Scriptures By Acharyas > Satsvarupa Dasa Goswami > Obstacles on the Path of Devotional Service > Illicit Sex > Illicit Sex in Marriage

Illicit  Sex  in  Marriage


From time to time we hear rumors of "preach­ing" in ISKCON that it is not against the rules to enjoy sex intercourse with one's wife even if there is no intention of producing children. To fall a victim to maya is excusable, but it is inexcusable to preach a new "philosophy" that illicit sex in mar­riage is not a transgression of the initiation vows. Prabhupada's statements on this are frequent and unequivocal. As with any sex transgression or any sinful act, occasional slips may be forgiven. But there should be genuine repentance and practical steps taken to overcome it so that it is not repeated. Otherwise the marriage partners will lose respect for each other, and the whole foundation of the Krsna conscious marriage can crack to pieces.


Sometimes we hear complaints from a wife or husband that they are being seduced into sex by their spouse. Often it is the women who complain that their husbands force them into illicit sex. They say the husbands demand it in the name of loyalty and submission. But Prabhupada's instructions about a wife's faithfulness to the husband do not include following a husband who is fallen. If the husband wants to engage in repeated acts of illicit sex, it is not the wife's duty to follow him. Of course the husband's problems also have to be taken into consideration and so compassionate marriage coun­seling, as well as other attempts to restore a fallen marriage, should be undertaken by the couple.

Here is Prabhupada's advice to a husband who is about to enter marriage:


 I encourage that all the brahmacaris may be very responsible and marry one of the girls. Because  generally the girls desire a good husband and a good home, children, that is their natural propensity, so we want to show some ideal householders also. But the proposal that mar­riage will solve the question of lust, is not practical. Neither wife should be accepted as a machine for satisfying our lust. The marriage ties should be taken as very sacred. One who marries for subduing lust is mistaken. —Letter, October 7, 1968


When speaking against these various deviant and illicit sexual acts, devotees should not con­demn other persons. Prabhupada had said we should "hate the sin, not the sinner." The problem should be discussed compassionately, and at the same time the philosophy should not be watered down. In a cool-headed way we should carry out the actual science of Krsna consciousness. If you behave rightly you will get the right result; if you behave wrongly you will get another result. Perhaps some of the remedies I have mentioned are the same things you have heard before. But I hope my discussing it may lead to earnest attempts for reform. We are very fortunate to be able to practice spiritual life, and we should not ruin it by deviant acts.As we deal with various obstacles on the path of devotional service, we should avoid giving pat philosophical formulas. We should hear out each personal problem and not just mechanically tell people, "Just chant Hare Krsna, Prabhu."


One suggestion we repeatedly make is that a devotee ought to confidentially reveal his mind. This may be hard to do with sexual problems, and yet it is also one of the functions of Vaisnava relationships to help each other in this way. One of the conditions of such exchanges is that they should be confidential. We should find a person whom we can talk with openly and admit falldowns or addictions. That person should be trustworthy, and there should not be intimidation or wrong motivation in the relationship. When the conditions are right, then just by admitting our weakness we will make progress.