Monasticism is the pursuit of spiritual ideals and separation from matters of the flesh and the world

3.6.3. Attitudes toward sexuality

It implies a separation from ordinary life. Monks generally live in seclusion from the rest of society, and solitary prayer is common within monastic communities. Monasticism was very popular in early Christianity, and had its forerunners in Judaism. Of all the physical desires and distractions of the world, monks most reject sex, ily.

Even among those who did not pursue the complete monastic separation, sexuality and marriage were typically viewed as distractions at best. Within this view of sexuality there are several variations. Some viewed complete abstinence as the only way to be saved. Some viewed abstinence as the ideal, but not a requirement. Some viewed sex as necessary for continuation of the species, but only for the continuation of species (that is, they rejected sex outside of fertile times or for enjoyment). Recall that for those who believed the order of nature would change very soon, planning for future generations was a waste of time. The Essenes according to Josephus

These Essenes reject pleasures as an evil, but esteem continence and the conquest over our passions, to be virtue. They neglect wedlock, but select other persons’ children, while they are pliable, and fit for learning, and esteem them to be of their kindred, and form them according to their own manners. They do not absolutely deny the fitness of marriage, and the succession of mankind thereby continued; but they guard against the lascivious behavior of women, and are persuaded that none of them preserve their fidelity to one man.

Moreover, there is another order of Essenes, who agree with the rest as to their way of living, and customs, and laws, but differ from them in the point of marriage, as thinking that by not marrying they cut off the principal part of human life, which is the prospect of succession; nay rather, that if all men should be of the same opinion, the whole race of mankind would fail. (さらに…)