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Religious Studies

Hinduism: beliefs about love and sex

Love is often used to describe a close attachment to another person. Sex means sexual intercourse between two people. Most religions have views on love and sex. Hindus believe that sex is a duty in marriage.

Hindu views

Hindus believe that kama (sensual pleasure) is one of the four purusharthas or aims of life (dharma, arta, kama and moksha).

Sex is considered a good thing which is to be enjoyed as one of the duties of married life (the householder stage of life). Sexual intercourse is generally expected to be between married couples, although the attitudes of some Hindus are changing where Hindus live in societies with more liberal attitudes. Faithfulness within marriage is expected, and adultery is not approved of.

Self-control is an important aspect of Hindu teaching. During the brahmacharya stage of life (generally birth to around 25 years) young people are traditionally concentrating on their education. Sexual relationships would be a distraction at this time, and they are encouraged to avoid them. In a society such as the UK where people are marrying later and where there is so much attention given to sex generally, keeping to the ideal can be very difficult for young Hindus.

There is no mention of homosexuality [Homosexuality: Sexual or romantic attachment between two people of the same gender. ] in Hindu scriptures. Homosexuality is a taboo subject for many Hindus, although there is some debate particularly in countries where homosexuality is generally accepted. Men and women are believed to have a religious duty to be married and produce children so heterosexual relationships are generally regarded as the norm.

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