For some people, life as a householder is the correct place for them given their place along the path. For others, it is time to be a monastic. It is best that people find the place that suits them given their current situation, not chasing something that just isn’t meant to be quite yet. That being said, it was no coincidence that Siddhartha went off to be a celibate monk when he became Buddha. Barring very specific tantric techniques, celibacy is required to attain liberation in this lifetime. Even those physical tantric sexual practices some Buddhists hold as leading to enlightenment quickly are not at all the same as the typical sexual relations had between householders, which are the product of craving that enlightened beings have long since abandoned. Married laypeople who had many attainments in the Buddha’s day are very strongly implied or stated to have been celibate within their marriages. If you do not desire liberation now, now, now, then sexual relations are no issue. If you do seek liberation in this lifetime, then it’s time to learn some restraint and probably become a monastic, if we’re being practical about who can achieve full liberation in this latter age of the Dharma. So, make no mistake, celibacy is very much a Buddhist ideal. It’s just that Buddhism also acknowledges that, for people still moving along the path, the life of a householder is often what’s best. Non-celibate householders can still gain attainments, it’s just that the highest levels of realization cannot be achieved by those who still engage in sexual relations out of craving or lust. Celibacy is also very helpful for accelerating spiritual growth, which is good to bear in mind since life is so short. TL;DR: Marriage is absolutely what’s best for many people moving along the path and the life of a householder should not be looked down upon. Still, from the Buddhist perspective, the life of a monastic is idealized and celibacy is required for complete liberation in this life, barring certain tantric techniques that are quite unlike typical intercourse.


Why does sex prevent liberation?


The fact that you are downvoted for asking the obvious question is, perhaps, the answer


The answer being that no one actually has an answer and just wants to dismiss the question because of it. Also, this is in your post history, making your childish comment devoid of substance also incredibly ironic: >From time to time, I mention that love, romantic relationships, and even \*gasp\* sex can be a valuable - even necessary - part of Buddhist practice. If only there were a word for when someone tries to be a pretentious, condescending douchebag, and says something foolish in the process, because you just did it. Learn, grow up, and move on.


It's worth pointing out that there have also been many lay stream enterers that still had lust and sex. The renunciation of it comes on it's own with the rest of the practice, at a very high point of attainment that none of us have to worry about being close to. Renouncing it early just means enhancing focus on progress, as the monks do on many levels.


It is common sense that you would want to be in a relationship where your partner has a long-term interest in a shared goal.


Monasticism is the ideal but that doesn't mean that it's for everyone or that it's always the most fruitful path to take.


>But does the legend about Prince Siddhartha and his wife Yasodharā being together in many lives and helping each other in achieving enlightenment praise the usefulness of certain kinds of romantic relationships? There was one about Mahakassapa the Arhat as well, where he and his wife also made similar vows to Enlightenment lives ago. The initial meeting was something like Mahakassapa being a goldsmith and his wife went around collecting money to build a golden Buddha statue. When she raised enough, she met him to craft the statue and they fell in love. The goldsmith also wished to contribute, so he did the crafting for free. So in the life they met Buddha Shakyamuni, both became Arhats. >I thought the ideal of Buddhism is being a celibate monk. All that was done in previous lives. The love persists, attachment and craving does not. The celibacy part is because we can't be trusted to be wise enough to tell the two apart.


>certain kinds of romantic relationships can be useful for the ultimate goal of Buddhism I'm happy to see that someone else noticed this. From time to time, I mention that love, romantic relationships, and even \*gasp\* sex can be a valuable - even necessary - part of Buddhist practice. When I do, the mob comes out with their torches and pitchforks and starts tying a noose from the tree, and chanting death to the infidel. Which is why it needs to be said. Again and again and again. Dharma is love.


How are romantic relationships a necessary part of Buddhist practice


Because they are part of human life. We must practice the Dharma in everything we do.


You have to consider that in that context the Bodhisatta (Buddha-to-be) is unique. When the Buddha awakened, he taught the Dhamma of Buddhas. This is for monks and nuns to be celibate and to abandon all forms of ignorance and craving. There is no sex involved. I believe out of the 9 acts an arahant cannot physically do, one is having sexual intercourse.[\[1\]](https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/an/an09/an09.007.than.html) [Husband and wife ask the Buddha how they can be reborn with one another in the future](https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/an/an04/an04.055.than.html) So for people wandering through samsara (householders and the like) they will possibly have relationships. The Buddha taught you'd be hard-pressed to find someone who hasn't been your mother, father, brother, etc. in past lives, and it's likely beings are reborn with similar beings time and time again (source: Jatakas, some suttas and other teachings outside Buddhism).


I think romance is somewhat a contrived version of the primordial love that beings exhibit towards one another when unhindered. I think after a certain point in meditation, maybe when the clinging to seeing other beings as not yourself lessens a tiny bit, you start wondering “who was I friends with before? Who was my mother or father, my sister or brother?”. In fact, looking at people on the street, you see you parents in them, your brothers and sister, etc. I don’t think it’s a sexual or romantic thing, but the fact that it’s natural for people to give each other love, except that they have contrived a reason not to. When that guard gets let down you start wondering why you can’t be best friends with everyone you meet. Beyond that I think sexual love is generally unnecessary, and somewhat based on desire to transcend your ordinary body.


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