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Masturbation/Lots of Sex. Is it really good for you?

by 1090 · July 01, 2014 at 07:30 PM

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.

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11011 · July 06, 2013 at 01:12 PM

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: masturbation/lots-of-sex.-is-it-really-good-for-you? 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.

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2094 · July 06, 2013 at 12:31 AM

masturbation/lots-of-sex.-is-it-really-good-for-you?

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1580 · July 06, 2013 at 12:51 AM

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

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75 · July 05, 2013 at 05:05 PM

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.

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1207 · July 05, 2013 at 07:50 PM

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.

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161 · July 05, 2013 at 06:14 PM

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.

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455 · July 05, 2013 at 06:04 PM

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.

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2483 · July 05, 2013 at 07:22 PM

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.

_Lazza

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15380 · July 05, 2013 at 06:57 PM

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.

  • it rewires your brain so you get addicted
  • it lowers your libido
  • it destroys your sexual performance
  • etc.etc.etc

EDITED:

http://yourbrainonporn.com/

http://yourbrainonporn.com/your-brain-on-porn-series

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/lauren-dubinsky/porn-addiction_b_1686481.html

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3886 · July 05, 2013 at 01:42 PM

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.

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943 · July 01, 2014 at 07:30 PM

I haven't noticed any of this. I ejaculate about 3 times a week. (That's about the best I can hope for at 71.) It doesn't really seem to affect me other than feeling good.

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188 · June 30, 2014 at 12:43 PM

I was interested in researching this topic after hearing Tim Ferriss mention how ejaculation prolongs ejaculation on his podcast with Dr. Rhonda Patrick

DHA is not only a primary structural component of the brain but semen as well and as you mentioned semen contains plenty of other vital nutrients necessary to create life which is why I try to abstain from ejaculation as much as I can.

Benefits I have noticed after 4 weeks of abstinence:

Clearer skin, less inflammation

More energy

Increased motivation in general

More creative energy

More outgoing

A down side for me however is I feel more aggressive, probably because of the increased T levels but I alleviate that with high intensity exercise so it works out sometimes.

IMO men seem to have far more to lose when it comes to casual sex than women due to ejaculation, which doesn't seem fair :(

Abstaining from ejaculation has been known to promote longevity and health for thousands of years by some traditional cultures and as far as my anecdotal evidence goes the health claims are legit.

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0 · December 23, 2013 at 10:01 AM

There should be limit to your habit; addiction really cause damage. The first answer is best, there are many things to live.

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0 · December 23, 2013 at 04:35 AM

Hi,

I am a young woman and I had my first memorable orgasm when I was 9. I was standing outside with my legs crossed and bing! I had experimental girlfriends when I was 10 and in my teenage years. I had sex with a boy the first time when I was 15. I began masturbating regularly to orgasm (every night once a night) when I was 12.

6 months ago I decided to become celibate. I masturbate occasionally. I made this choice because I felt that the way that I was using my sexual energy was harming me spiritually and emotionally, though physically it was great.

I would have to say that since I became celibate I am much more functional than I used to be. I am the hyper-sensitive and hyper-stimulated type so releasing a lot of sexual energy intensely and at once really caused mood changes and emotional instabilities in me.

Looking back, I attribute my abundance of sexual energy directly related to my abundance of creative energy that was going undeveloped and unused. (I was adopted. My adoptive parents are a lot less physical, creative, and sensual than I am. I wasn't encourage to "let it out" in constructive ways as they really feared raw energy and wanted to punish and control it). Now that I have discovered my creative side, I am finding that I have more balance in my attitudes and uses of my sexuality, referring to the act of sex or sexual stimulation.

My choice for celibacy came from the fact that through all my relationship mistakes, I learned that I needed to choose a better partner(s) than I had in the past. I needed to assess my partner(s) more complexly than I had in the past. And choose them for reasons that extended beyond sexual, mainly so that my gratification with my partner could be more than sexual or social status oriented.

I have never used pornography. I have a fantastic imagination and I believe the capacity for sexual fantasy lives in everyone. (I also don't think that pornography promotes a lot of healthy sexual fantasizing).

Mainly, I agree with the author. I think that sex and masturbation can be overused. Particularly if there are areas of your life that are underdeveloped or off-balance. For instance, if you don't get enough exercise, there is too much or too little stress in your life, you are excessively angry or frustrated, or if you have pain elsewhere in your life, emotionally, intellectually, or spiritually. I don't agree with the way that our society promotes sex so readily because it seems to go against encouraging higher-functioning.

Someday I hope to meet a partner in my life who I can share my sexuality, creativity, sensuality, and intimacy with. But for now, I am just working on developing my personal artistic expression, and I hope to get some more training in an art form.

Thank you.

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0 · November 13, 2013 at 09:44 PM

Hahaha sooo this means I should never date any guy who's also into Paleo :P ... WTF ONCE A WEEK!!!

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1353 · July 07, 2013 at 01:38 PM

I found taking a McDonalds type attitude to porn and too much masturbation to be pretty helpful, i.e. that it is an addicitve poisonous substitute for the real thing.

On the other hand I'm not sure actual sex with my wife could happen too much, but there's no way to know since we have young kids and a baby and can't do it as much as either of us would like anyways :)

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1142 · July 06, 2013 at 07:51 AM

In the UK Victorian age masturbation was bad and people even tied children and others into devices to stop them doing it. People were told they would go mad if they did it and it was a sin. We now know that is a load of rubbish.

I would always go with what feels natural. If you feel sexy then have sex or masturbate. If you don't, don't. Most men want more and plenty complain their other halves do not give them enough and that may well be why Ghenghis Kahn spread his seed across much of Europe as he raped and pillaged and why some religions allow men 3 or 4 wives and no religion I have found yet would allow me several husbands whilst limiting men to one woman - lots of sexism around....

The main thing is to find a partner, if you want one at all, with a similar sex drive which may well be once a year or once a month or never or could be every few days once the early enthusiasm has died off and not that often when there are small crying babies about.

I suspect if you're 15- 17 and masturbating 4 times a day you are probably doing what nature intended (impregnate 4 girls a day when you are the height of your powers - it will never be as good again) but it is not going to get you the right grades in school and you won't have as much time for normal life as perhaps you ought.

Remember if men totally abstain they do still have ejaculation in their sleep which does suggest total abstinence is not a great idea for anyone although apparently more people are totally asexual in the UK (and I assume the USA) than gay so there are a lot of people out there who have no interest in sex at all.

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11011 · July 05, 2013 at 12:11 PM

I have a bad experience from too much sex for too long. yourbrainonporn has some info on what happens to rats when they become sexually satiated/exhausted. Increased estrogen receptors, decreased androgen receptors in certain parts of the brain. Also a misbalance between dopamine and prolactin happens supposedly.

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2923 · July 05, 2013 at 11:09 AM

Interesting question... If I answer, I'd like to know first who are the people who 'dismiss the idea that lots of sex or excessive masturbation can be very deleterious to your mental and physical health.'? Is a general trend you've noticed on sites likes this or are there explicit examples? Also, what do you define as 'excessive'? For yourself or other people? Cheers

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