Are there any guidelines in Buddhism concerning sexuality?

Answer of Lama Ole Nydahl:

Regarding sexuality, the Buddha gave teachings on three levels. For those who have difficulties with their sexual life—for example, people who get depressed during an orgasm and feel that they are losing something, or for people who have problems with relationships—the Buddha’s advice for this group of people is to become a monk or a nun. That puts the problem on ice and keeps everything out of their lives, but it doesn’t lead to joy and happiness. Their troubles are obviously rooted in previous lifetimes, in which they were unable to build up anything good with others.

Then there is the level of the average lay person, where one sees the body as a tool to give one’s partner joy and happiness. The male part is seen as a diamond and the female part as a lotus flower, and a couple tries to give each other as much happiness as possible.

Then there’s the third level of the accomplishers. They are bound, above all, to their view. Monks and nuns are committed to avoiding suffering; lay people are committed to using their abilities and applying wisdom and compassion in everyday life; and yogis are committed to their view—to constantly seeing everything on the highest, purest level and to always experiencing highest bliss. On this level, if we are capable of seeing something pure in every human being, our sexual lives can be tools to create enormous joy. If it happens on the level of purity, if we have respect for each other, if we experience ourselves and others on a beyond-personal level, then enlightened energies can move and we learn something in the process—it’s totally amazing!

There are, of course, big differences among these levels. Just a quarter-hour of freestyle wrestling with a bottle of wine in your belly—that’s not something I would do or recommend to others. This only causes trouble. On the other hand, it is very good if you can consciously share time together and give each other joy—called detong in Tibetan and “space and bliss inseparable” in English. Then hold this state and radiate it into space as a constant source of joy, as a beyond-personal source of joy that radiates to all sentient beings. If you are capable of doing that, you can bring huge amounts of blessing and a lot of inspiration into the world. You can help many people discover their own potential and strength.