What Ayurveda Says About Love vs. Sex

What Ayurveda Says About Love vs. Sex

In This Article

Sex vs. Love

In a world where sex and love have been glued together, many live their entire lives without knowing or experiencing true love.

Let me explain: Two people meet, they both feel an instant attraction and choose to pursue the friendship. After a few dates, the attraction grows and in a week or so, they’re having sex. For a couple of weeks, with hormones raging, their new-found passion is defined, expressed, and demonstrated by lots of sex—but is it love yet?

In this article, I’ll travel to one of the most intriguing corners of Ayurvedic psychology to tease out how true love may be obscured and made less accessible in our culture of, dare I say, loveless sex.

Plus, I’ll discuss how we can find and build true love and a life of joy and fulfillment.

See also Sex, Love, and Shatavari—Ayurveda’s Sacred Reproductive Tonic (For Women and Men)

Why Sex Often Wins Out

Very often, relationships are consummated with sex, but without a lot of time to develop into love. Or even when there is love, there can be a strange reluctance to say the words, “I Love You.” With a little luck, sexual passion grows into something called love, and the couple lives happily ever after.

But we all know that when passionate hormonal bonding wears off, we are confronted with the trials and tribulations of a real relationship—with ups and downs and everything in between.

The trouble is, the brain doesn’t realize the risks of conflating sex and love, which include unprocessed trauma, superficial connection, disregulated behavior, addiction, and even the abuse of power.

The road less traveled is the one paved with true love, not sex, and it’s hard to find.

See also Love, Sex, and Yoga

A couple on a date looking at an urban sunset with candles-
Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash

The Ayurvedic Energies of Love and Sex

According to Ayurveda, the energy of love and spiritual awakening are the same, and that energy is called kundalini shakti.

When we’re between 16 and 18 years old, that kundalini shakti, or spiritual energy, which has been dormant at the base of the spine, becomes enlivened and begins its journey from muladhara chakra (your first or root energy center) to the brain. According to Ayurveda, the journey of love energy (kundalini shakti) from the base of the spine to the top of the head represents the spiritual journey we must all take at some point.

This subtle (or sometimes not-so-subtle-feeling) energy travels along channels in the body called nadis. While there are 72,000 of nadis in the body, only a handful can carry kundalini shakti. In fact, according to Vedic science, there are only six energetic pathways that carry kundalini shakti, or the energy of pure love. Most of these channels are direct and go all the way from muladhara chakra to the higher spiritual centers of the brain.

Then there are two indirect nadis, or channels, that kundalini shakti can get stuck in. These don’t go all the way to the spiritual centers of the brain.

One of these is the nadi that carries the energy of sex, called vajra nadi. It starts in the second chakra, or the chakra associated with sensuality, creativity, and sex—called svadhisthana chakra—and culminates in one of the lower centers of the brain.

The problem is that this nadi does not start at the base of the spine and doesn’t culminate at the higher brains centers. As a result, it will never deliver full satisfaction and contentment. It’s an incomplete nadi, one only capable of delivering a temporary spiritual experience.

Sounds just like sex, right?

The other divergent nadi is Saraswati nadi.

When kundalini shakti travels along these channels, it’s called a deflected or incomplete rising, because the energy doesn’t get fully processed, leading to extreme behaviors. A deflected or incomplete rising of kundalini shakti energy means that the spiritual process (enlightenment) is incomplete.

The more you practice sex as love, particularly as an adolescent, the greater the risk the kundalini will rise through vajra nadi, making it very difficult to separate the energies of sex and love.

See also The Science of Sattva (and Giving)

Choosing the Path of Fulfillment, or Love

The more balanced or regulated an individual is, the more direct the path kundalini shakti takes.  

For example, a child who endures trauma and abuse will, when they reach 16 or so, may find kundalini shakti getting directed into one of the two deflecting nadis—vajra or Saraswati. This slows down spiritual progress and access to spiritual power. Until someone is more mature—spiritually and emotionally, kundalini shakti can become misdirected as they attempt to unravel the stress of their childhood.

If the vajra nadi is stimulated with sexual activity before the experience of true love, then the sexual energy in the vajra nadi will be activated, carrying sexual energy to the lower centers in the brain. This will play out just as we predicted: The experience will abound with passion and sex, giving the illusion of love, and leaving both parties longing for more.

Soon, this experience falls short of any sense of true contentment and we start looking for love in all the wrong places. The relationship and the search for true love become fraught with disappointment.

Learn how to balance kundalini energy with slow yoga.

Deflected Kundalini Energy Linked to Addiction and Abuse of Power

Deflected or incomplete energy associated with love can be overwhelming and misused, leading to abuse, addiction and overuse of power.

Energy traveling through vajra nadi can, if left incomplete, lead to sex addiction and , while energy deflected to the  Saraswati nadi more commonly leads to disturbed leadership, manipulation of power that can include sociopathic behavior, abuse, and various addictions.

Sadly, an inordinate number of spiritual leaders who spend years developing kundalini Shakti, or spiritual energy, have been exposed as sexual predators. Some of this behavior can be explained from the perspective of kundalini vidya, or the misdirected energy I discussed before.

Gurus were originally holy men who were employed to teach younger generations to be successful in the world, but in recent decades, gurus have  become teachers of the masses.

The simple desire to have thousands of followers could be in itself a sign that these people have unfulfilled desires.

Learn more in Dr Joan Harrigan’s book, Kundalin Vidya: The Science of Spiritual Transformation.

Healing Through Non-Sexual Love 

In the Ayurvedic tradition, the process of healing and feeling emotionally balanced and regulated cannot happen without engaging in a non-sexual experience of true love.

I recently spoke with a patient who attended a cuddling group, where folks are guided to cuddle in a non-sexual way. The leader provides strict guidelines for the group to follow, so that the energy is clean, caring, and non-sexual. This patient was able to experience touch without having all the sexual alarm bells go off.

Historically, in nearly every religion, young adults were taught to not have sex before they were married. In Ayurveda, this was not just unrealistic dogma that a dad demanded, it was based on Vedic science. Having sex too soon would activate the subtle energy pathway that would stall spiritual progress, and potentially mask the experience of true love for a lifetime.

True love is available to all of us,. It requires some simple action steps. One of the solutions is to slow down and take the time to process trauma and feel the pain associated with it, so that you can work through it and get to love, instead of continuing to distract yourself from it with sex.

To learn more of those steps, read my article “Love Unconditionally on the Road Less Traveled.”

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Dr. John

13 thoughts on “What Ayurveda Says About Love vs. Sex”

  1. Some of us are unable to find someone we would like to have even sex with. i.e. to love. Yes, yes, we experience “love” in many other ways, but the fact remains, many of us simply don’t get to have this however you slice it. 🙁

  2. Interesting and valuable … Yet, in the Tantric tradition they say that in the male body there is a complete nadi from the first chakra to the highest parts of the brain. Only in the male body.

    Maybe not all Tantric knowledge is available to Ayurvedic practitioners these days. Which makes sense as it was generally kept secret (for a number of reasons).

  3. I just want someone to love unconditionally to give my love and adore someone who will in return do the same
    Alas I feel unlovable as I was always told I’ll never meet anyone

  4. At the beginning there were SIX channels mentioned but nowhere in the article are they discussed and there are no references as to where this information is originating from. There are many different organized systems of chakras in a variety of Sanskrit texts from numerous sources and eras, and to my knowledge thus far, none of the primary Ayurvedic texts (Caraka, Sushruta, Vagbhata) mention chakra systems.
    One of the things I love about John’s work is it is always well-referenced so this article was disappointing. It started off with promise and never delivered.

  5. I started out having sex as a young man, I developed early. Had a girlfriend at sixteen. I understand how I’ve substituted sex for love I think. If that’s the case that I suspect how does one transition to from sex based relationships to love based. Perhaps an article on the next steps for transformation

  6. Fascinating information !So there is a scientific basis for all the religious do’s and don’ts.

    Wish I’d had this info long ago.

  7. Thank you for the topic and your remarks. In my personal life, this article hit a homerun. It
    has helped qualify my marriage for the world series—49 and running.


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