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Benefits and Drawbacks of Sexual Abstinence


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#1 Proteus

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Posted 26 February 2010 - 10:28 AM

People have attributed various mental and physical benefits and drawbacks both to sexual abstinence and sexual activity. Purported benefits of abstinence would include increased testosterone, acetylcholine, dopamine, lecithin, phosphorus, calcium, mental energy, sensitivity, creativity, and spirituality, while purported drawbacks are insensitivity, anxiety, emotional suppression and, resulting from the latter, even physical symptoms.

Purported benefits of sexual activity would include increased immunity, oxytocin, vasopressin, mental energy, testosterone, dopamine, sensitivity, creativity and spirituality (!), and reduced pain, anxiety, depression, risk of prostate cancer, risk of heart disease, and death rate, while purported drawbacks (aside from increased risk of STDs) are reduced dopamine, acetylcholine, prefrontal activity, increased risk of prostate cancer, insensitivity.

The lists go on. Obviously, very few of these claims are even consistent, and even fewer are proven. The only of these claims which I have thus far found to have been consistently (so far) confirmed by research are that sexual activity increases immunity and reduces death rate, while abstinence increases testosterone.

I have found almost no research on the mental effects of sexual abstinence/activity. I know of no one who has as yet measured the neurochemical or psychological effects, yet there have been plenty who have made unbacked claims about it. Taoism and Hinduism see sexuality as something spiritual. Freud and pre-sexual revolution scientists saw it as an obstacle to emotional growth and well-being. Post-sexual revolution scientists have generally seen it as healthy. I'm growing tired of sorting through all the bigotry. I want facts.

This is significant to me because I have been sexually abstinent for the past few years. Be it because I had personal issues with sexuality or because of its effects on neurochemistry, I found it made me more creative but because of those personal issues, I am biassed. Now, a doctor has attributed a variety of symptoms I've been suffering from since about the same time to abstinence, including liver, stomach and bladder complications. A gastroenterologist has already confirmed that the former are psychosomatic, and in all likelihood so is the latter. This isn't hard to understand, as these organs all lie directly underneath diaphragms (urogenital and thoracic), which move with breathing and so undergo strain in case of troubled breathing, as can occur during stress. The same doctor went on to say that abstinence was only likely to drain me of mental as well as physical energy.

My query: has anyone found actual RESEARCH about this? I'm tired of claims which have no basis except for biassed intuitions.
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#2 Mr Skeptic

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Posted 26 February 2010 - 01:22 PM

Well, abstinence can give you much more free time, and potentially be better for your wallet as well. For some people, having sex is the only strenuous exercise that they ever do. As for the mental effects, I can't say, although it could have different effects on you than on the population in general.
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#3 Miser

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Posted 18 November 2012 - 08:34 PM

OP, I strongly share your desire to find objective truth on this issue. And like you, I have sifted through much of the available literature to look for answers. Truth is, there just isn't any substantial research on the effects of masturbation. This is, to my suspicion, due to the leftist nature of academia to not go against the current liberal culture of free sexual expression.

Sexual release induces sedative-like effects for the individual. Its endorphin inducing mechanism could be looked at as small doses of heroin as both of these chemicals work on opiates. Though subtle in the short term, its effects could be powerful in the long. Why are heroin addicts losers? They do nothing but shoot heroin. They are satisfied with doing nothing. So logically it follows that those who masturbate are satisfied with doing less than those who don't. Masturbation rewards doing nothing. The same opiate high could be found through exercise instead of masturbation-a much healthier and rewarding habit. Sometimes to achieve greatness, the first things one must do is to abstain from deleterious behavior.

When objective answers are not available, it doesn't hurt to have subjective ones. And abstinence has given me much energy but also much strain on my body. I hope that the psychosomatic issues that you are facing are relieved-it has been two years since your original posting.

Please send me a message when you see this, I'd like to talk to you more about this topic. If it leads to a betterment of one's higher faculties, then the sacrifice of lower desires is all-too-appropriate.

Cheers.

Edited by Miser, 18 November 2012 - 08:45 PM.

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#4 Moontanman

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Posted 18 November 2012 - 09:23 PM

benefits of sexual abstinence... let's see... ummm err ahhh, Hmmm wait i am sure there is one... :unsure:

drawbacks to sexual abstinence.... easy peasy... no sex.... yeah! it's sex for the win! yeah... :lol:
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#5 John Cuthber

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Posted 18 November 2012 - 09:24 PM

http://www.newscient...nst-cancer.html
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#6 Moontanman

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Posted 18 November 2012 - 10:27 PM

http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn4861-frequent-ejaculation-may-protect-against-cancer.html



and yet I had prostrate cancer... hard to imagine how I could have ejaculated any more often... anecdotal i know...

I hope this is relevant, if not it is funny...


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“The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance, but illusion of knowledge.” — Stephen Hawking

"In every country and in every age the priest has been hostile to liberty; he is always in allegiance to the despot, abetting his abuses in return for protection of his own." ~ thomas jefferson

 

Religion evaporates in the light of critical inquiry much like the morning dew in the light of the rising sun... 

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#7 Miser

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Posted 19 November 2012 - 03:34 AM

All the masturbation defenders I've seen thus far holds to dear life the prostate cancer study. Check this out: http://www.livescien...ate-cancer.html The results aren't as conclusive as you think.

And many thousand year old traditions encourage the preservation of seminal fluids as they are considered the essence of the man. I bet none of you are in graduate school and not many of you are in college for anything substantial. Anyway, sweeping generalization. But if only you had preserved your essence for better things you may have more energy to become fully realized. And its still not too late.

For now, all that is available is anecdotal evidence from people who try to quit porn and incidentally masturbation. There have been countless reports of improvements that range from increase in confidence to energy. There were also Plato, Nietzsche among others who abstained from sex to preserve creativity. As a common proverb goes "The blood in my body can either goto my brain or my dick".

Edited by Miser, 19 November 2012 - 03:43 AM.

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#8 hypervalent_iodine

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Posted 19 November 2012 - 03:50 AM

And many thousand year old traditions encourage the preservation of seminal fluids as they are considered the essence of the man. I bet none of you are in graduate school and not many of you are in college for anything substantial. Anyway, sweeping generalization. But if only you had preserved your essence for better things you may have more energy to become fully realized. And its still not too late.


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Moderator Note

Pro tip: don't assume things. I count 3 people in this thread so far with at least a Bachelors level science degree.

Mod tip: The implication that the people who have responded in this thread are in some way too uneducated to have a real opinion on the subject matter won't fly. If you have something objective to counter the study with, then present it, but don't try and cut down their arguments by insulting them.


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#9 John Cuthber

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Posted 19 November 2012 - 07:18 AM

All the masturbation defenders I've seen thus far holds to dear life the prostate cancer study. Check this out: http://www.livescien...ate-cancer.html The results aren't as conclusive as you think.

And many thousand year old traditions encourage the preservation of seminal fluids as they are considered the essence of the man. I bet none of you are in graduate school and not many of you are in college for anything substantial. Anyway, sweeping generalization. But if only you had preserved your essence for better things you may have more energy to become fully realized. And its still not too late.

For now, all that is available is anecdotal evidence from people who try to quit porn and incidentally masturbation. There have been countless reports of improvements that range from increase in confidence to energy. There were also Plato, Nietzsche among others who abstained from sex to preserve creativity. As a common proverb goes "The blood in my body can either goto my brain or my dick".

Don't talk bollocks
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#10 Miser

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Posted 19 November 2012 - 12:41 PM

Didn't I add that it was a sweeping overgeneralization? My point was conserving semen could lead to a greater man; one who's more motivated to accomplish more with life. It is the epitome of delayed gratification-which I, along with countless psychologists, believe to be one of the highest qualities of man.

In any case, ignore the ad hominem. I've given a fair bit of evidence already. Talking to people about this issue always elicits the same response so I hope you'd forgive me for my frustration. Nobody likes to seriously consider this issue because, let's be honest, people love masturbation and our culture supports it. But if the status quo ostracizes those who engage in drug use-opiates in particular-, which gives pleasure in somewhat the same way as masturbation (only varying in degree), then why should masturbation be so accepted and even encouraged?

Men are failing across the board. The male to female ratio in college is 2 to 3. Porn use is cited as one of the culprit. But I want to go a step further and argue that masturbation doesn't do one much good either.

I am arguing that our values should be changed on this topic. It should be cut down if not eliminated so that one would be motivated to do more. To seek that opiate high somewhere outside the bedroom.

I won't add anymore evidence because the previous ones haven't been responded to yet and more evidence could serve as grounds for unnecessary contention in light of ones already presented.

Edited by Miser, 19 November 2012 - 01:30 PM.

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#11 iNow

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Posted 19 November 2012 - 03:41 PM

And many thousand year old traditions encourage the preservation of seminal fluids as they are considered the essence of the man. <snip> only you had preserved your essence for better things you may have more energy to become fully realized.

This is a really useful point and I want to ensure I understand it fully, but need your help. Let me ask, what device are you using to measure this "essence?" What types of error bars should we expect on the measurements taken from that device? How sensitive is it to confounding variables like diet, exercise, and mental state? What baseline readings should we use for comparison when studying populations of men who are and are not ejaculating regularly (what is the norm, and is there a threshold below which the essence must fall before effects can be measured)? On a historical note, did this device also exist in the times of Nietzsche and Plato? Is that how they knew these things with such confidence?

Since you've rightly surmised that nobody here is likely in college studying anything substantial and that we're all probably a bunch of misinformed paste eaters who don't even have graduate degrees, we would all most certainly benefit from you sharing a clear, concise, and well informed reply to the simple, straight forward, and functional questions above. Let me thank you in advance for your effort!

Also, and I know this might possibly be too much to ask, but it would help a great deal if you could carve out a few moments from your schedule to address this... And trust me... if your speaking and teaching schedule doesn't allow it, that's okay. I totally understand.. Please, just say so. I will ask though (to ensure clarity and understanding), can you please cite 5 to 10 peer reviewed studies that describe this "essence" that is preserved when males avoid self-induced ejaculation? It would be an enormous help to us if we could do some supplemental reading in preparation for your reply to the above functional questions so your points don't go over our heads. Thanks! :)
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#12 John Cuthber

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Posted 19 November 2012 - 07:55 PM

I did't realise that Plato and Nietzsche were specialists in prostate cancer.
However, even if we grant that they are, the best you have come up with is an appeal to authority- that's a logical fallacy.

I had a look at the study you cited. It's not really very good.

The most obvious problem is this
"Among men with prostate cancer, 34 percent had masturbated frequently in their 20s, compared to 24 percent among the control group. "
Most men with prostate cancer are quite old.
It's simply not realistic to expect them to remember what they did (and how often and with whom) decades earlier.
It's also bound to introduce confounding variables like innate testosterone levels which would be expected to have an effect on cancer incidence..
Finally your assertion that we should " seek that opiate high somewhere outside the bedroom." is only one side of the coin. A lot more men die falling off motorbikes than jerking off in bed.

And your "proverb" is so "common" that Google doesn't find a single instance of it. I wonder if you will admit that you made it up.

And I'm now going to mention that women do it too.
Does it affect their chances of getting prostate cancer?
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#13 Miser

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Posted 19 November 2012 - 10:07 PM

Finally, the conversation gets rolling...

Prostate cancer is merely a side issue in this topic. Granted masturbation can reduce its incidence, so can a balanced diet and frequent exercise. If conserving semen has benefits that outweighs its reducing the risk of prostate cancer, then perhaps it is a worthy endeavor. Nietzsche and Plato had nothing to do with the effect of continence and prostate cancer. They, among others, attribute their superior intelligence to abstinence.

This is succinct with the following findings taken from a 1957 paper Science discovers the physiological values of Continence: "The semen is a viscid albuminous fluid, alkaline in reaction, which is very rich in calcium and phosphorus, also in lecithin, cholesterol, albumen, nucleoproteins, iron, vitamin E, etc. In the ejaculation of the normal man, about 226 million spermatozoa are given off; these are rich in phosphorized fats (lecithin), cholesterol (the parent-source of sex hormones), nucleoproteins and iron. An ounce of semen is considered to be equal in value to sixty ounces of blood, of which it constitutes an extract of some of its most valuable constituents, as far as its vitalizing power is concerned. " The article can be found here http://davidpratt.info/bernard.htm

And please don't be so presumptuous to say that I made the proverb up, perhaps I've just mistaken how common it is when I heard it. But since I've committed the offense of ad hominem first, I expect reciprocity.



Also, I will admit in advance that there simply isn't too many studies on abstinence. The only one that is of any value is the Chinese study that showed a acute rise, followed by a sharp return to baseline, of testosterone in those who abstained from masturbation for 7 days. There are studies on the ill effects of masturbation on the other hand.

I'll leave it like this for now, more on it when I'm not in danger of laptop batteries running out

Edited by Miser, 19 November 2012 - 10:17 PM.

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#14 iNow

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Posted 19 November 2012 - 10:34 PM

I'll leave it like this for now, more on it when I'm not in danger of laptop batteries running out

When you return and your laptop batteries are charged again, will you please address the actual questions I put to you regarding male essence and the devices used to measure it? Since none of the questions I posed to you were directly answered, I remain uncertain of the veracity of your points. I look forward to clarification and support from you when your battery is once again charged and power is available.
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#15 Moontanman

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Posted 20 November 2012 - 12:14 AM

All the masturbation defenders



Really? Masturbation defenders? :o

Are you saying there is a group of miscreants who defend masturbation?

Edited by Moontanman, 20 November 2012 - 12:16 AM.

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Life is the poetry of the Universe
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You do not possess belief, belief possesses you...

I'm always open to new ideas, I just don't let them crawl into my skull and take a dump... 

“The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance, but illusion of knowledge.” — Stephen Hawking

"In every country and in every age the priest has been hostile to liberty; he is always in allegiance to the despot, abetting his abuses in return for protection of his own." ~ thomas jefferson

 

Religion evaporates in the light of critical inquiry much like the morning dew in the light of the rising sun... 

Check out my YouTube channel here.



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#16 Miser

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Posted 20 November 2012 - 12:39 AM

When you return and your laptop batteries are charged again, will you please address the actual questions I put to you regarding male essence and the devices used to measure it? Since none of the questions I posed to you were directly answered, I remain uncertain of the veracity of your points. I look forward to clarification and support from you when your battery is once again charged and power is available.


Aren't you a sour puss. I presume that the question you ask regarding the scientific standards of tradition is rhetorical. Traditional philosophy provide clues to potential fields of research in science and should not be used to prove it.

Like I said, there isn't enough scientific literature for me to support the cognitive benefits. Critique the nutritive content of semen and we'll go from there

Really? Masturbation defenders? :o

Are you saying there is a group of miscreants who defend masturbation?


Don't be such a boor. Such a statement should be taken on its sentimental value. Its, at the very least, very very common, probably all that I talked to.

But quit wasting time, back to the arguments.
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#17 iNow

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Posted 20 November 2012 - 12:45 AM

Aren't you a sour puss. I presume that the question you ask regarding the scientific standards of tradition is rhetorical. Traditional philosophy provide clues to potential fields of research in science and should not be used to prove it.

Like I said, there isn't enough scientific literature for me to support the cognitive benefits. Critique the nutritive content of semen and we'll go from there

Don't be such a boor.

Okay, I wonder why this has become like pulling teeth. I did not attack you. I did not challenge your authority. I merely asked you to support some things in the method of science. Here are my questions again, to help make it simple for you:


This is a really useful point and I want to ensure I understand it fully, but need your help. Let me ask, what device are you using to measure this "essence?" What types of error bars should we expect on the measurements taken from that device? How sensitive is it to confounding variables like diet, exercise, and mental state? What baseline readings should we use for comparison when studying populations of men who are and are not ejaculating regularly (what is the norm, and is there a threshold below which the essence must fall before effects can be measured)?

<...>

can you please cite 5 to 10 peer reviewed studies that describe this "essence" that is preserved when males avoid self-induced ejaculation?


YOU are the one that asserted that masturbation had a negative impact on the essence of men. Mention of cognitive benefits and nutritional value of semen are red herrings, or at best an attempt by you to move the goalposts away from your original assertion.

The questions put to you were straight forward. Either you can address them reasonably, or you cannot and what you've been asserting throughout this thread is bullshit that you've pulled directly from your ass. Which is it?
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#18 Moontanman

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Posted 20 November 2012 - 01:15 AM

I've looked for some internet info on this idea that semen is some sort of drain on the human body, so far the info is thin but what there is seems to indicate semen is not exactly a huge drain on the testes...

http://goaskalice.co...e-serving-semen

This looks a little better...

http://wiki.answers...._of_human_semen

This content would seem to be a negligible loss. More below...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Semen

Health effects

In addition to its central role in reproduction, some studies have made claims that semen may have certain beneficial effects on human health:
Antidepressant: One study suggested that vaginal absorption of semen could act as an antidepressant; the study compared two groups of women, one of which used condoms and the other did not.[15][16]
Cancer prevention: Studies suggested that seminal plasma might reduce breast cancer by "not less than 50 percent."[17][18] This effect is attributed to its glycoprotein and selenium content, with apoptosis being induced by TGF-Beta. A related urban legend parodied these findings and claimed that performing fellatio at least three times a week reduced the risk of breast cancer.[19]
Preeclampsia prevention: It has been hypothesized that substances in semen condition a mother's immune system to accept the "foreign" proteins found in sperm as well as the resulting fetus and placenta, keeping blood pressure low and thereby reducing the risk of preeclampsia. A study shows that oral sex and swallowing semen may help make a woman's pregnancy safer and more successful, because she is absorbing her partner's antigens.[20]
Increased libido: Another hypothesis has emerged that absorption of the testosterone contained in semen through a woman's vaginal walls during sexual intercourse (or even through the act of swallowing semen) may increase her sex drive.
Other studies claim adversarial effects:
Cancer worsening: seminal plasma has prostaglandin elements that could accelerate the development of an already existing cervical cancer.[21]


This seems to cover it...

http://wiki.answers...._body_and_penis

Don't be such a boor. Such a statement should be taken on its sentimental value. Its, at the very least, very very common, probably all that I talked to.


There is no argument here, you are asserting that masturbation is bad and making unsupported claims about the essence of a man and how semen is somehow a huge drain on the body when in fact the content of semen is negligible.

you make an insinuation of somehow any one who masturbates is somehow inferior to those who do not then make a thinly veiled attempt to show that somehow people are promoting masturbation, as though that was something horrible.

you say

There are studies on the ill effects of masturbation on the other hand.



as though that is common knowledge... how about showing us some of them? and I'll stop being a bore... :mellow:
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Life is the poetry of the Universe
Love is the poetry of life

You do not possess belief, belief possesses you...

I'm always open to new ideas, I just don't let them crawl into my skull and take a dump... 

“The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance, but illusion of knowledge.” — Stephen Hawking

"In every country and in every age the priest has been hostile to liberty; he is always in allegiance to the despot, abetting his abuses in return for protection of his own." ~ thomas jefferson

 

Religion evaporates in the light of critical inquiry much like the morning dew in the light of the rising sun... 

Check out my YouTube channel here.



If I was helpful, let me know by clicking the [+] sign ->


#19 Ringer

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Posted 20 November 2012 - 03:28 AM

This is succinct with the following findings taken from a 1957 paper Science discovers the physiological values of Continence: "The semen is a viscid albuminous fluid, alkaline in reaction, which is very rich in calcium and phosphorus, also in lecithin, cholesterol, albumen, nucleoproteins, iron, vitamin E, etc. In the ejaculation of the normal man, about 226 million spermatozoa are given off; these are rich in phosphorized fats (lecithin), cholesterol (the parent-source of sex hormones), nucleoproteins and iron. An ounce of semen is considered to be equal in value to sixty ounces of blood, of which it constitutes an extract of some of its most valuable constituents, as far as its vitalizing power is concerned. " The article can be found here http://davidpratt.info/bernard.htm


I don't even know where to begin on that paper. Besides not citing any sources, quote mining, appeals to authority, etc it's not a scientific paper. The quote you have tries to create a ridiculous false equivalence and is extremely vague. If it means the entirety of plasma, all it's saying is that a fluid that is ~80% water (IIRC) and major cell concentration lacks nuclei has less proteins than a fluid with self propelled cell that specializes in reproduction. Big shocker there. There is absolutely no evidence in this article.
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#20 John Cuthber

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Posted 20 November 2012 - 07:15 AM

It's not clear what motivates Miser, but it isn't science.
I suspect trolling.
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