Sanzang is always guarding his primal masculinity. The idea that one has to be celibate to gain enlightenment has a special meaning. Many esoteric traditions use the lover and beloved to symbolize an internal relationship. The lover is the part in a man that wants to be with beloved, the God within.

When Sufi poetry mentions separation from, or union with, the beloved, the Sufi understands it to mean separation from or union with God. -- Al-Ghazali (11th c. Persian Sufi mystic)
Tarot card XXI, showing the Beloved

In Journey to the West Sanzang represents the part in a man that desires to be with the beloved. The lover must only be interested in being with the Beloved.

You have left your Beloved and are thinking of others, and this is why all your work is in vain. -- Kabir (15th c. Indian mystic poet)

If the lover becomes interested in something else than the beloved and pursues this, it is called adultery. The inner meaning of adultery refers to the inner mind becoming interested is other things than the God within.

But whoso committeth adultery with a woman lacketh understanding: he that doeth it destroyeth his own soul.
-- The Bible, Proverbs 6:32
If a man relinquishes remembrance of God he commits adultery.
-- Gregory of Sinai, Philokalia (Greek Orthodox Christian text)

Interests of the lover, other than the Beloved, are refered to as a woman. A woman symbolizes a strong internal desire that takes one away from the desire to be with one`s Higher Self. This has nothing to do with being a man or a woman; it refers to both men and women.

A ‘woman’ represents someone who is slave to his desires and unable to consider anything or anyone except himself. -- Ibn Arabi

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