An important counter-narrative about sex came with the rise of what is called tantra – a movement that began in India about a millennium after the Buddha’s death.
While sex had long been seen as pollution – here it was transformed into a path to purity.
Tantric texts made elaborate arguments about the sublime states of bliss available through orgasm and set forth secret techniques that resulted in deep states of bodily bliss.
Some would claim that sex was not only permissible but necessary – that all buddhas of the past had attained enlightenment and buddhahood through tantric sex.
Still it wasn’t until the 20th century that we find a sustained critique of monastic norms and advocacy of sexual pleasure in Buddhist literature outside the tantric milieu.
In 1939 the Tibetan writer (and former monk) Gendun Chopel composed a work that he called simply A Treatise on Passion.
Written entirely in verse it is one of only two works of erotica in the vast literature of Tibetan Buddhism.