Sex is the overwhelming obsession of modern society. Sexual promiscuity is so unrelentingly stressed that anyone who does not appear to the highly interested in it is generally considered to be a crank. Social pressure induces people to try to maintain juvenile lustiness long after the sensual high of youth has subsided. Thus millions of people remain emotionally immature all their lives. It is a sick world.
Ignorant of their relationship with Krsna, and unsure of their status in rapidly changing societies which have no fixed values, people desperately desire an identity—an image of themselves which they feel good with and which others respect. In the schools, in the media, and by word of mouth, the story is out: sex is where it’s at. The power of the media to mold people’s attitudes and behavior is a pathetic but documented fact. Even if the average person’s mind would not have been always absorbed in sexual thoughts, the media makes sure it is.
The advertising industry in particular tirelessly churns out unending pictures of dressed-up or undressed women—in magazines, on billboards, on television—always and everywhere. Despite grossly exploiting the bodies of women and the basest impulses of men, solely for the sake of making some already over-rich people even richer, their activities continue for the most part unquestioned. The general public absorb their propaganda and remain ever steeped in lust, having no knowledge of the necessity to resist. Thus, advertisements oozing with sexual overtones allure the willingly gullible public to mindlessly purchase everything from back-scrubbers to brandy. And the consumer society rolls on, with its members forever in an artificial state of sexual stimulation.
Constant titillation of the senses, however, increasingly dulls the spirit. Thus, despite all the celluloid promises, people find themselves cheated of real happiness. In adolescence, when the senses appear to have unlimited power to invoke euphoric delights, happiness through sense enjoyment seems not only to be a distinct possibility, but the very meaning of life. But the pleasures of youth, as the poets lament, is but a fleeting frolic. The ability of the body to enjoy is like a water-laden sponge. At first, if you just pinch it, water gushes out. But as it is squeezed more and more, it gradually becomes difficult to get even a few drops of water from it.
Similarly, attempts for sexual enjoyment increasingly result in emptiness and frustration. Still, most people fail to recognize the limits of sexual enjoyment. Due to their misdirected education, they think that their lack of satisfaction with sex means there is something wrong in their approach to it. They may end up on a psychologist’s couch or reading some of the hundreds of books on “improved” sex life (Yoga for Sex, Tao for Sex, The Modern Woman’s Guide to Sex, A Doctor’s Sex Secrets, Diet for Better Sex, etc.). However, the harder they grope for pleasure, the more surely it eludes them. As they furiously try to force their bodies into giving them the happiness which they regard as a natural birthright, they may turn to frequent masturbation, increased promiscuity, pornography, varieties of perversity, and ultimately violence.
Actual civilization teaches its members to sublimate their sexual desires for higher, spiritual purposes. Modern civilization exploits people’s sexual cravings, makes a business out of it, and sends people to hell by the millions.
Seeing all this, the Vaisnavas are sorry. If only people could understand this simple fact: We are all eternal servants of Krsna. Our sexual desire is simply a perverted reflection of our heart’s deepest longings to love Krsna. If we just knew this we could all be happy. But in the darkness of the modern age it is very difficult to convince anyone that there is anything wrong with sex at all. The members of the Krsna consciousness movement have a great responsibility to somehow or other give this real knowledge to the people of the world. Srila Prabhupada: “The Krsna consciousness movement will go down in history as having saved mankind in its darkest hour.”
BIKC 8: Sense Gratification