The whole dimension of spirituality is to grow beyond the physical, to taste something beyond the physical. If your involvement with the physical is very deep, naturally your attachment to the body is very strong. It is not sex per se which can be an impediment in one’s growth but one’s attachment to the body definitely is an impediment – there is no question about that. Generally, sexuality breeds that attachment. Celibacy has been talked about in that context. But does the sexual act itself stop a person from pursuing his spiritual path? Not at all, but what is being said is, unless your focus is strong and one-pointed, the chances of progress or the progress itself will naturally be very slow because you are thinking in many directions at the same time.
For a person who wants to go all out and do things in a short time, the advice is definitely to not get entangled with these bodily aspects because then you will get involved in many things. For many people, if they start out with any kind of physical involvement with something, emotions and thoughts follow and their whole life becomes just that – they cannot keep their focus on anything else. If a person is such that one department of his life is handled one way and it is totally absent when he sits for something else, then it is not so much of an impediment. But most people cannot deal with their lives like that. It just entangles them on all levels. It is in that context that this has been said.
Though people would like to project their sexuality as a very conscious process, it is not so. It is a compulsive process. Maybe it is handled a little consciously by some people while others do it compulsively, but essentially, the basic ingredient and seed of sexuality is a compulsive process. It is physiological and chemical – it is a function of hormones which drives you in that direction. Unless you are able to transcend all compulsiveness within you, it is definitely an impediment in that sense.
Any kind of activity, whether it is eating, sexuality, talking or whatever, if it is a compulsive process – if you are enslaved to it – it is an impediment. If you look at what is causing this compulsiveness, if you understand that and handle that aspect, compulsiveness goes away. That means you are definitely moving towards freedom. If one pursues a spiritual path, irrespective of where he is right now, he will gradually evolve out of many compulsions within himself.