• Sex, Sin, and Zen

  • A Buddhist Exploration of Sex from Celibacy to Polyamory and Everything in Between
  • By: Brad Warner
  • Narrated by: Brad Warner
  • Length: 9 hrs and 48 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: Religion & Spirituality, Buddhism
  • 4.7 out of 5 stars (84 ratings)
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Publisher's Summary

With his one-of-a kind blend of autobiography, pop culture, and plainspoken Buddhism, Brad Warner explores an A-to-Z of sexual topics; from masturbation to dating, gender identity to pornography.

In addition to approaching sexuality from a Buddhist perspective, he looks at Buddhism - emptiness, compassion, karma - from a sexual vantage. Throughout, he stares down the tough questions: Can prostitution be "right livelihood"? Can a good spiritual master also be really, really bad? And ultimately, what's love got to do with any of it?

While no puritan when it comes to non-vanilla sexuality, Warner offers a conscious approach to sexual ethics and intimacy; real-world wisdom for our times.

©2010 Brad Warner (P)2017 Brad Warner

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Perhaps a co-author would have helped?

I really like mostof Brad Warner's books. Been reading his stuff since Hardcore Zen, and usually give him 5 stars. (In fact, his latest, Letters to a Dead Friend About Zen, is brilliant!)

This one, though, was frustrating. And not because of the topic, cutesy cover art, or because of anything offensive. In fact, some of the chapters about Buddhist topics were (once again) brilliant!

In this book, Brad swings amongst giving the Buddhist view, saying there's no clear Buddhist view, giving his opinion, making a joke... The topics about sex are dealt with in this very repetitive, get-nowhere format. The vaguarities are fine for someone like me (Brad's age) but I'm not sure it would help someone younger and struggling with a sexual issue. He doesn't want to give out absolutes, of course; and he does give guidance, except that he often ends with "on the other hand..." and nearly dismisses what he just stated.

He simply doesn't seem to have enough experience and perspective on many of these topics. His opinions are from his own experience, or from his Buddhist education, but neither of those gives him much insight into other perspectives.

For example: Polyamory. He's correct that humans naturally pair-bond. What he doesn't say is that humans tend to pair-bond sequentially, and pair-bonds don't always last beyond 20 years (enough time to raise a child). With about a 50% divorce rate in the US, the "mate-for-life" experience is rare. Also, people can be pair-bonded, even truly in love, perhaps for life; and still play around. In the gay world, that's almost a given. In other words, there's emotional pair-bonding, and then there's f---ing. In many aging relationships, it's an open, healthy, and light-hearted agreement amongst adults. As Brad points out many times, sex is not a sin.

I do sorta wish he had more strongly emphasized the flip-side of that--vis-a-vis the 3rd Precept--a bit more, though: Doing harm to self and others through sex is not healthy. Hurting your spouse's feelings is bad. Messing around with someone else's partner, when you know that they haven't agreed to this, is bad.

It wouldn't have been that tough to use some simple examples and restated The Golden Rule. But...his book, not mine.

He could have talked to a woman, or a gay man, familiar with these topics, and likely provided better advice. His is mostly a limited straight white male perspective. He's not unfair to women, gay men, or transgendered folx. He's very fair, but not very insightful.

There are even one or two places where he says there are better books, written by more qualified writers, that you should go read. But he rarely references those books.

So, a great Buddhist writer, writing about a topic he really shouldn't have ventured into, alone. Brad, everything is better with a partner! ;-)

2 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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love the style of the author.

definitely gave me new perspective on some things. Lots of food for thoughts. I admire directness in his style.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

instant Classic

A wonderful book,the author was funny and insightful,got me hooked from the start.It made it even better that he read it himself.

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    5 out of 5 stars

Best Audible purchase so far!

Absolutley fantastic. I'd even say revolutionary

The use of humor, history, personal ideas as well as the acknowledgment on the pros and cons of more institutionalized ideas made this book truly profound.

You may not agree with everything, nor does it encourage you to, but theres no way one could listen to this and not grow exponentially ♥