How can I dissolve sexual inhibitions and shyness?

Lama Ole’s answer:

I advise people to see the body as a tool to give the other person joy, and to wholeheartedly jump into the experience. It’s worth it to fully focus on the partner and not think about oneself. Both partners can do this.

The man can be happy about the joy he gives to the woman. And the woman can enjoy the power she activates in the man. In matters of love, I would always decide to follow whoever is experiencing the highest feeling and bliss. If it’s the man who is experiencing something more intensely, then the woman can emotionally melt together with him. And if it’s the woman who has a more intense experience, the man can dive into her experience and be happy to be able to give her so much. It’s like a good encounter between close friends: let the best storyteller do the talking. We simply choose the best trip.

What is the best way to handle sexuality?

Lama Ole’s answer:

Try to see your emotions and your body as tools to benefit and help others. Actually, we can reach other people’s minds through physical joy. This gives them freedom and the chance to experience their own power and qualities. Love is like an initiation where we bring out richness and beauty in each other.

In the past, people saw sexuality as separate from the mind and only belonging to the body. I believe the exact opposite is true: sexuality has something to do with our totality, with our behavior and our whole experience.

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.

Is sexuality the only way to bring together the male and female principles?

Lama Ole’s answer:

It’s best if everything male and female basically inspires you. You move through space and perceive it—the openness itself—as the female principle. Likewise, you experience joy as the male principle. You open up towards all qualities and the inherent potential of everybody who crosses your path.

On the personal level, we distinguish between four kinds of relationships, depending on the way people react to each other: a woman can be a mother, a daughter, a sister, or a lover. Not everybody embodies every type. It’s the same thing with the men: there are father types, sons, brothers, and the men that a lady would like to take home immediately. Thus, men and women can complement and touch one another in different ways.

All in all, we should try to let ourselves be inspired by the whole spectrum of experience. At first, you might think mainly of sexual relationships and that kind of closeness. But then you discover that a relationship with fewer desires might be even stronger and, in the long run, more beneficial.

However, the type of encounter is also subject to the degree to which one’s masculinity or femininity has developed. There are people who are very masculine or feminine, and thus need partners to find their balance. For instance, when I am not together with a woman for a longer period, I walk around like a tank: I forget to shave and end up being too rude.

The same is true for some women who are very feminine: if there is no man around, they only talk about hats and kids for days on end and nothing else happens. In these cases, men and women need each other a lot.

There are also the types of people who are less extreme. They have some female and some male qualities, a little bit of both. They can do well without a partner.

How is it possible to experience a love-hate relationship?

Lama Ole’s answer:

It seems to me that a love-hate relationship is frustrated love. First you love something and then you hate it because you cannot obtain it.

If one loves something and does get it, but then hates it nonetheless, then one might have been confused in the first place and had too many expectations.