Religions are such complex and varied institutions that it is difficult to see how they can attempt to control anything in the same way that a human agent might. Nonetheless, religious writings and priests have often attempted to exercise a strong influence over sexual behavior. It does not matter from the religious point of view that the individual performs the act on their own, since religion does not separate public and private life in the way that secular culture does. All things are seen by God or, in religions without a strong concept of God, have an effect of the soul. The motive for religious leaders to control sex acts is clear: sex is in direct competition with religion as one of the strongest sources of human motivation.
Buddhism adapts the Hindu ideas of karma and rebirth to fit the central Buddhist idea of transcending suffering through enlightenment. In Buddhist scriptures, what was simply a description of the way the universe works changes into a form of evil. The aim of the Hindu is to live a good life, accumulate good karma, and be reborn to a better life. The aim of the Buddhist is to stop being reborn into the world when they attain enlightenment. The Buddhist therefore thinks that sex for procreation is, on balance, a bad thing, which causes suffering, while the Hindu regards it as an essential part of the cosmic cycle.