I find it odd that people in the Paleosphere readily think outside the box and question authority with regards to diet/nutrition, but dismiss the idea that lots of sex or excessive masturbation can be very deleterious to your mental and physical health.
Does anyone have bad experiences with lots of sex/masturbation in the past?
In my own struggle with health and weight, I found that my digestive system was extremely sensitive to everything. I'd have problems focusing, low energy, easily become bloated, anxiety/confidence issues, excessive appetite, immune system problems etc. My problems improved a good amount since going a ZC/VLC paleo template but not quite resolved. However, I began to read alot of history of cultures and questioned my sexual practices. I've stopped masturbating entirely for a month and cut down sex with the gf to 1x/wk (used to be a lot of both). Not only has my energy and confidence soared up, I have better skin, better muscle tone, much better energy/focus (and better self-control with my diet, OBVIOUSLY DOPAMINE related). I no longer have digestive and bloating issues even after binging on beers, pizza and other SAD food during today's July 4th festivities. I also feel calmer and my libido is more stable. I feel masturbating/sex can be addictive like food and drugs.
I find a lot of people have posted problems similar to mine on this website and other Paleo blogs and they only think about diet/sleep but guys, sex/masturbation IS a huge part of lifestyle too. I don't believe all humans were meant to constantly "procreate" every day or many times a week. To put your foot down without considering our ancestors' wisdoms that excessive sexual practice is harmful is simply not being open-minded and goes against the spirit of Paleo diet and thinking against conventional wisdom. after all, when people first touted eating meat like cavemen it was absurd too vs healthy vegan diets but turns out its correct no?
Please share any thoughts. Btw I'm 25 and currently a medical student. I'm sure if I've seen improvements by curbing my sexual practices, many of you older guys/gals will benefit even more.
Edit: For example, I've read on psychology.com and other sites that excess sexual stimulation upsets the HPA axis. In women, it tends to raise T. In men, it tends to lower T. Also, semen contains serotonin and dopamine, many vital nutrients (despite few calories), and sex hormones. One can make a leap and could reasonably think: if all of my neurotransmitters and vital hormones are constantly going into semen to be lost, total dopamine available for the brain and body will be lower, thus messing with energy, motivation, self-control and will fuel other addictive behaviors. Also, excessive sex/masturbation causes releases of prolactin to counteract high dopamine levels, and prolactin has been shown to cause weight gain. Another example: there are rich dopaminergic and serotonergic tracts in our GI tract, part of the brain-gut axis. One can conceivably see depleting our hormones/neurotransmitters can not only cause sexual dysfunction but gut/total body and even psychological problems. My thinking is out there but not all farfetched.
Alright, this thread has garnered a lot of attention so I'll chime in my 2 cents.
When somebody watches porn or has sex there are a plethora of hormonal changes that happen in the brain. Firstly, dopamine and testosterone are stimulated. These two chemicals are almost like positive feedback chemicals. They say, oh yea, you're going in the right direction, keep going, feel rewarded, throw a little bit of your caution to the wind and keep doing whatever you're doing.
Watching a porno before working out is documented to increase strength in the gym. It's also documented to raise testosterone, and it secretes dopamine in the brain which is like the wanting hormone that makes you want to keep doing it. Talking to a pretty woman also raises testosterone, especially if she's flirting with you.
Your body is wanting you to procreate as that is one of if not the absolutely most important functions you can perform in your life. Brains that didn't work towards reproduction were weeded out through evolution pretty quickly.
However in most people (there are genetic predispositions against this), but in most men there exists a refractory period after orgasm. What is a refractory period? Essentially it is the up-regulation of prolactin. Prolactin and dopamine have inverse relationships, if you have one of them elevated the other one is low. They inhibit each other. Dopamine and Testosterone are also strongly positively correlated, if you have high of one you usually have high of the other.
Once a man reaches his refractory period, which looks like this: His sex drive will become essentially nonexistent unless he finds a new mate. If he finds a new mate he will be able to orgasm again with her quicker than he was with his previous partner. This is called the Coolidge effect.
For this next bit of info I've only seen evidence of it being true in rats, but essentially Sexual satiety decreases androgen receptors in the brain. This means that your sex drive will be down for almost a week after sexual exhaustion if you are a man. So frequent sexual exhaustion would in theory have a feminizing effect on men's brains.
I like to think of sexual exhaustion like an all you can eat buffet. If you keep eating and eating and eating, you're eventually gonna become a fat &%#$ (4 letter explicative). When you become fat, you're testosterone and insulin sensitivity are going to dwindle because of their inverse correlations with visceral fat. But that doesn't mean you should never eat or make new recipes.
I can't say with certainty when or how much any individual should orgasm, but from my personal experience, I can tell you that more than once a day for more than 1 year seemed to have a feminizing effect on me which some may classify as being 'pussy whipped'. I can only acknowledge this in hindsight.
So take that with a grain of salt, but generally I would recommend being stimulated (watching porn, talking to cute girls, going on dates) more than I would recommend satiety (orgasm) for men. The ratio of stimulation:satiety that I would recommend would likely be very high considering how short of a time period the satiety usually lasts (less than 30 seconds). So, and I'm just ball-parking it here, but maybe at a ratio of or above 360:1. Which would (assuming a 30 second satiety) translate to 3 hours of stimulation (preferably over days++) to one unit of satiation. This may (or may not) work towards sensitizing ones' androgen receptors (this might be different in women, I'm mainly speaking for men here), possibly up-regulating dopamine/testosterone while keeping prolactin in check.
But I'm sure there are multiple interpretations of the data, like I said , that's just my two cents.
I think there is a difference between sex and masturbation for a start. In normal day to day life for many people having enough sex, rather than too much, usually ends up being the problem. Seriously though, i am sure that masturbation is much worse for you than sex, maybe only when done excessively, but i think mainly due to the "source" of stimulation. The fact is the number of people searching for and using porn is ridiculous, so no matter how much some people deny using it, many, if not most must be. I think when looking at the negative consequences of masturbation many of them will also come down to porn. I have no scientific knowledge of this subject but i think regular and long term use of porn messes with parts of the brain and all kinds of neuroregulator type thingies etc apart from all the other negative aspects [of course i am not speaking from experience]. Obviously there is a physical difference between masturbation and sex, good sex anyhow, but i also believe there is a fundamental psychological difference.
As mentioned everyone will have their own "sweet spot" when it comes to how much sex/masturbation is best for them but i have no doubt that, for men anyway, sex and masturbation greater than once per day, long term, is damaging for many. I think this is especially true for people who exercise a lot and are on the edge physically anyway, sex and masturbation do take "something" out of you so when combined with strenuous exercise i think it can be too much for the body, especially the immune system, to take.
I do believe there is some logic behind some sportsmen, boxers in particular, abstaining before a fight/match/game etc, it maybe a bit ott but i believe if you are exercising/working/living hard then the body [and maybe brain] can only take so much. It is my experience and i know others have said the same, that when you are exercising hard you should "release", for want of a better expression, less. I have heard of people talking about increased "gains" in the gym when "releasing" less, no joke. Maybe when the stress is more psychological rather than physical and the danger is emotional rather than physical exhaustion, the opposite applies, as mentioned.
Maybe the answer is all that tantric type shizzle, get doing them Kegel exercises people.
I think you're on to something here. I came across this study a few months ago that looked at the relationship between ejaculation frequency and testosterone levels - http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12659241 "The authors found that the fluctuations of testosterone levels from the 2nd to 5th day of abstinence were minimal. On the 7th day of abstinence, however, a clear peak of serum testosterone appeared, reaching 145.7% of the baseline"
Here's another similar study - http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11760788?dopt=Abstract "These data demonstrate that acute abstinence does not change the neuroendocrine response to orgasm but does produce elevated levels of testosterone in males."
In the "4-Hour Body" Tim Ferriss talks about how nematodes live 37% longer if they're prevented from mating. He goes on to quote Dr. Philip Anderson - "The genes and biochemical processes nematodes use are the same as that humans and other mammals use." He concludes with a quote from the Times - "Ceaseless sperm production takes its toll on a male, perhaps requiring the use of complex enzymes or biochemical processes that have harmful metabolic effects ... the difference in lifespan between men and women may be linked to sperm production."
Lastly, here's a somewhat related TEDx video - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c_RIm9ZMN1I In the video, the presenter talks about how viewing porn causes frequent dopamine surges, which over time can lead to overall desensitization and perhaps even a reduction in the number of dopamine receptors.
I'm going to put it out there - if my boyfriend only wanted to bone me once a week, he'd be an ex-boyfriend pretty quickly
However I'm sure there are lots of girls in long term relationships who would love to only have to have sex with their partner once a month or less!
I do know that my crew team used to get a sex and masturbation ban a week before races. They were allowed to do stuff but not ejaculate. Apparently it raises testosterone?
Too much fapping is not good for men because it can mean you can't get off with regular sex as you're using a tighter grip with the hand
For women though I don't think there's too much. It takes us years to learn what we like
Ultimately, it depends on the person. Everyone has their own comfortable frequency of orgasm. For some, it's a stress reliever. For others, it's a stress-inducer.
For me, I'm one of those people, like you, who experience great mental, emotional and dare I say spiritual? effects from abstinence. It's good to know that other people are thinking about this too.
I remember reading in Tim Ferriss' book about longevity and masturbation or sex, I think that it lowers testosterone and biologically it sends a signal that you have "sowed your seed" which makes you less focused and energetic. I have also read the brain chemistry can change dependent on sexual frequency. I do think there is something here, it's just that no studies really exist and I'm sure the studies that do are bias. The hard part is determining what is too much and also what is too little compounded with the arguments of sex vs masturbation and masturbation with or without porn.
interesting topic for sure, just a bit progressive for most people to understand.
If this is sex with someone you love and who loves you back - then yes - sex is good for you. I don't think you can have too much sex because you get physically tired at some point.
I don't think masturbation is good, unless you are on a ship lost in the sea somewhere. But then you will be thinking about fresh water and food all the time. Also, sex feels way better.
Porn is really bad for you in many different ways.
I think it is reasonable for many of the people to whom you pose this "question" to feel a little weary. My initial reaction is to what aim is all of this restrictive behavior? What type of a person do you want to be? A clear-headed, ripped, VLC super-human who restricts sex with the same zeal as you restrict carbs? At a certain point this kind of thinking becomes a losing proposition, as some of the best things in life have to do with moments of senseless indulgence - of food and sex.
Our culture overindulges and pays an enormous price, but going to the opposite extreme sets you up for a monastic asceticism that ultimately takes you out of the world and separates you from relationships with people who don't share your practices. If your goal in life is furthered by these behaviors - more power to you, but don't be surprised that others won't be as gung-ho as you about your "discovery". Many of us don't see restriction as healthy. many don't view "optimal" as desirable. For most of us, being healthy humans with good guts and happy hormonal balances is enough - we don't need to be PERFECT.
You are young man - I don't know anything about you - but i do think it is good that you are asking yourself these questions and testing your sexual limits. As a rule, this is an overly sexually stimulated culture, especially among kids who have grown up with easy access to porn. But abstemious behavior has many unintended consequences over the longterm - especially if you are in an intimate relationship. I hope your girlfriend won't take your experiments as rejection.
Sex is good. Too much sex is like too much food - not good. Not enough sex or no sex can be weird.
Well plainly put: ejaculation is good in that it helps "clean the pipes". So I follow my urologist's advice and do some pipe cleaning once in a while. :)
Although I don't know of any serious physical drawbacks to "excessive" masturbation/sex it does often reflect, I feel, the desire to get that "rush" associated with an orgasm. For some it is downright addictive. This can lead to all sorts of behavioral/social problems. Eventually such behavior is moderated due to hormonal changes associated with aging.
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