What's it like to go without orgasm?

Submitted by CuriousFellow on
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What is it like for a guy to go for weeks at a time without orgasm? Would you go crazy with cravings? Would you be unable to sleep?

A few years ago I read the web site of a man who chose, of his own free will, to go through life celibate. Not for religious reasons, but just because he "felt better" that way. At the time I had a hard time imagining how anyone could feel that way, and wondered if the guy had abnormal hormone levels.

A year ago, someone recommended the Reuniting site to me. After reading some articles, including one that challenged readers to try celibacy, and another that challenged readers to give up porn, I decided to try both (I love challenges). And so here I am, more than a year later, and still (mostly) on the abstinence wagon, and even more so on the no-porn wagon. So, what's it been like?

Quitting smoking is easy. I've done it hundreds of times. - Mark Twain

It's been surprisingly easy, for me. I guess I was never really addicted to porn, so that part was easy. In the last year I spent one night watching videos on a site that is something like an X-rated YouTube - apparently people can upload videos, but don't get paid, or don't get paid much. So it is just people enjoying themselves, having a good time. Quite different from the usual porn sites. Other than that, I've peeked at porn sites about twice, to see how it would affect me. I watched for a minute or so, shrugged with lack of interest, and moved on. (To those who do have a porn addiction: I don't recommend that you "take a peek." Know your limits...)

"Quitting" the orgasms has been pretty easy, too. I don't think I'm undersexed or anything like that. I have been frustrated with insufficient sex throughout most of my marriage, and before I took the challenge, I was masturbating to orgasm almost daily. I think what made it easy for me was my attitude. From the beginning, I've regarded this abstinence from orgasm thing as an adventure, an opportunity to explore relatively unfamiliar territory - not as a burden, something I "have" to do, or something to feel guilty about if I slip up, fail, or give up. And, surprise, surprise! Life without orgasms is not a dull, lifeless desert - there are prairie dog colonies, pretty cactuses, and beautiful, wind-sculpted sand dunes to enjoy out here. (Ok, I'll leave the metaphors to Josef from now on. Lol

And there are many new friends on this site to share the journey with together.

I've already mentioned most of my motivations for starting, and continuing the journey, at http://www.reuniting.info/node/1376 and http://www.reuniting.info/node/1498#comments.

So, what's it like...?

My craving for orgasms seems to peak rather consistently about four days after my last orgasm. If I had sex with my wife on Sunday, I would be uncomfortably horny on Thursday. Occasionally it would be quite unpleasant - a skin-crawly, wired feeling, like I had had way too much caffeine. On those occasions, it would be hard to get to sleep. Orgasm from masturbation seems to cause much milder cravings. (There is an article on this site which says that orgasm from intercourse releases four times as much prolactin as orgasm from masturbation.) Since I haven't had regular sex for several years... it's been pretty easy to get past day four.

After day four, the craving subsides. It doesn't go away entirely, and probably never will, no matter how long I go without orgasm, but right now (a month since last orgasm) it is quite subtle and doesn't even deserve to be called a "craving." It's just a tiny signal from "down there" that I don't even notice, if I'm busy with anything. Last night, for example, as I was going to bed, I thought for a few seconds about whether I wanted to masturbate. I quickly dismissed the idea. No interest, not worth the time or energy, not worth ending the current adventure and starting over again.

This morning, I had a case of "morning wood." Now, actually, a woodie doesn't necessarily equate to horniness or craving an orgasm, but a woodie does intrude on a guy's consciousness, and in this case I indulged myself with a few thoughts...

I imagined enjoying Karezza with my wife. I wondered if my declining interest in orgasms might be followed by a declining interest in sex of any kind (who knows... but I'm not really worried...). I thought about masturbating again - this time I thought about it a bit longer. I could use my hand, but that would be kind of boring. I could use a sex toy that I rather like. But that would need some preparation, and by the time I was ready, my erection would be mostly gone. And I'm much more sensitive when flaccid than when erect. Attempting to use the sex toy when flaccid would have a high probability of causing an unwanted orgasm - it's happened several times before. So I ended up doing nothing, and the woodie eventually went away.

Just as it ended, I felt a distinct discharge or release sensation - not at all orgasmic, and there were no ejaculatory muscle contractions. I reached down and... slippery. It was a bit of precum. I've observed for many years that precum, for me, only appears after an erection subsides. But this is the first time I've ever felt its release. What an interesting discovery, which I might have missed, if I hadn't embarked on this orgasmic celibacy adventure!

Well, I think it's kind of interesting, and I read with great interest the occasional similar post by others. So, to anyone who may have read this far, I hope you didn't find it too boring. Smile

Update, 11-15-2008: My last orgasm was August 5, and last masturbation without orgasm was about four days later. Before then, I was still masturbating, usually without intending to have an orgasm. But once a month or so I would get too close to the edge and have an orgasm. Although the masturbation was pleasant, it didn't seem worth the (considerable) time I was spending doing it, which was taking time away from sleep. Also, I didn't like slipping and then going through another hangover cycle.

When I originally wrote this article, I had already pretty much decided to give up masturbation and orgasms for good. Around that time, Persephone wrote some posts, Hold the orgasm, please, Day 4 Tsunami Recovery, and hangover which tells the story of how she had a wonderful lovemaking session with a guy, and then he got creepy in the next few days. Very dramatic. It strengthened my resolve to stay away from orgasms. Although I don't think I get creepy like that after orgasm, I don't want to risk it. So, no more orgasms for me, thankyouverymuch!

At this point in time, my mind and body have gotten used to celibacy. Most nights when I go to bed, the thought of masturbating doesn't even cross my mind. I still get erections sometimes, and I still get horny sometimes, though not as intensely and not as often as before. I don't expect to have difficulty avoiding masturbation indefinitely. I don't expect to have any more orgasms, except perhaps accidentally, while trying to practice karezza sometime in the future, or due to a dream orgasm (but those are very rare for me).

This might be of interest to those with ADD: In early August, I nearly ran out of my ADD meds. I stopped taking them, and I've been doing pretty well without them. It seems plausible to me that celibacy helps with ADD, by reducing the distractions of horniness and other orgasm hangover effects.

Update, 07-26-2009: I've now gone nearly a year without any masturbation. I've been as celibate as the Dalai Lama! It continues to be quite easy. Really there is not much new to report about how I feel and so on. I expect to go the rest of my life without masturbating or deliberately going for orgasm, because I like the way I feel, free from orgasm hangovers. I still hope to connect with someone - could be my present (estranged) wife, could be someone else - and enjoy practicing karezza with her.

In the last year, I've had about four "dry" dream orgasms (three of them in one dream!), and one nocturnal emission. The nocturnal emission may have been due to some combination of: tight underwear, less than four hours of sleep for a couple nights (seems to increase horniness and "morning wood"), an argument with my wife, and eating half a bag of Wheat Thins before going to bed. In each case (especially with the three orgasms in one dream), there was increased horniness starting about four days later and lasting a few days. The most recent one (the nocturnal emission) actually made me feel quite relaxed and less horny for the first few days after.

As for porn - A few months ago I found a porn DVD and decided to watch it before throwing it away, just to see what my reaction to it would be. It was sort of like the joke about Playboy Magazine: "I buy it for the articles." Well, when I watched the DVD, I fast-forwarded through the sex scenes and just watched the dialog. The sex scenes were just too boring and uninteresting. Of course, the dialog wasn't much better. Smile

At this point I'm still interested in the subject of human sexuality and relationships (thus I hang out on this forum a lot), but I have NO interest in porn. I just don't like the feeling of being sexually aroused, without a partner to share those feelings with. And if I had a partner, I wouldn't need porn anyway.

To summarize, these are the reasons why I choose, very willingly, to avoid porn, masturbation and orgasms:

1. The pleasure of orgasm lasts only a few seconds. Definitely not worth the costs. I agree with the first two paragraphs of this post. This thread is also apropos.

2. Masturbation without orgasm can be pleasant and longer lasting, but it leaves me feeling unsatisfied when I stop. It also feels meaningless - no emotional connection with a partner - and ultimately just feels like a huge waste of time.

3. I don't like the orgasm hangover, which for me is the "spent" feeling immediately afterward, and the compulsive "wanting more" feeling that can come minutes, hours or days later.

4. I don't like being distracted by horniness. Avoiding orgasms, by itself, seems to go a long way toward alleviating my ADD, by minimizing the distraction of horniness and avoiding the neurochemical roller coaster caused by orgasms. For the last year I have rarely taken my ADD meds (dexamphetamine), and have been doing very well. I took the meds a couple times when the ADD flared up (for reasons probably unrelated to orgasms) and found that the meds really helped. So maybe meds + celibacy would work even better than either alone. But I choose to avoid the meds as much as I can. The meds raise my blood pressure.

5. I like being in control of myself, as opposed to being driven around by my primitive brain.

Update, 08-31-2012: I got started on this no-PMO path five years ago, and haven't masturbated at all for four years now! Still very much committed to staying on this path.

My wife and I got back together 2 1/2 years ago, and for the last 1 1/2 years the marriage has been quite peaceful and pleasant. From the beginning of our reuniting, we started practicing karezza, at my request, plus some conventional sex, at her insistence. (She still hasn't really bought into karezza, but I guess she goes along with it just to humor me.) We have been practicing karezza exclusively for the last year and a half. I've just politely but firmly declined to have orgasms. I think avoiding orgasms has accounted for the peacefulness of the last 1 1/2 years. Before then, when I would have an orgasm, irritation or arguments would often follow in the next few days. So, that's one more reason for me to avoid orgasms.


Thanks for sharing

If anyone else wants to add his/her experience, we can link this thread to a place on the forum where others can find it more often.

Slight correction, it's *prolactin* that is released in greater quantities after orgasm with intercourse. Your experience suggests that after about 4 days, it drops again (allowing dopamine, the "craving" neurochemical to rise again). This event is probably part of a longer cycle, involving other neurochemicals, too. Testosterone spikes at 7 days after orgasm in men, for example.

For those who don't know CF, I feel compelled to add that during this past year he also created a new safety device for horse trailers (on his own, not for a company), which required some brilliant engineering. There is quite a demand for it, and I wish him much success.

It's amazing the potential we're sitting on - so to speak - even though it doesn't *feel* like it. The decision to orgasm may *seem* casual, but if we could see that we stand at a fork in the road, and look down each road a ways, I suspect we'd more often choose to skip it and channel that energy for something more lasting, and more cherished.

Forgoing Orgasm

Curious summed it up quite nicely when he said in one of the linked posts from above:
[quote=Curious Fellow]Slow down, enjoy the journey. Forget about the destination. It's not very interesting.[/quote]

I could not agree more! I feel empowered the longer I go without orgasm. Masturbation is now just a waste of time and energy. I have better things to do. It is that simple. Porn is also a time waster (and much worse). It holds no appeal for me.

Curious also had another analogy that I find quite apropos:
[quote=CuriousFellow]Making love, with orgasm, is like a chocolate pudding with a maraschino cherry on top. The cherry is like the orgasm - tasty, but gone in an instant. The pudding is the penetration and the cuddling - longer lasting and yummy![/quote]

Funny thing is that until you try being celibate / forgoing orgasm, the thought of never having sex and orgasm is not easily comprehensible. Same with Karezza. If all you have ever done is conventional sex, the thought of removing foreplay / orgasm etc is mind boggling, even though the logic of going without makes sense. Your mind fights it. It will be boring, what will we do in bed, etc?? Once you try it though, at least for me, there is no going back! I like the pudding much, much, much better than the cherry!

If I had it to do all over again, I would avoid orgasm except for procreation. I would be celibate while single, practice karezza while married / with a long term partner. If I had know about the advantages of and practiced single celibacy / married karezza all along, it would have made for a much more productive life, more happiness and less hurt in my marriage, and I would have never had to did such a huge hole to dig myself out of later!

I am so glad I have found it now! My wife and I are really bonding again. It is truly a blessing! My marriage is a happy one! My life in all ways is much improved.

Orgasm is highly over rated. Do yourself a favor, forget about it and get on with your life!

I'm glad to hear of your experience

but the pull of biology is strong. I suspect most of us won't be willing to experiment with the karezza alternative until we dig ourselves a pretty deep hole following those dopamine surges. They feel so RIGHT.

Besides, the younger you are, the more demanding they are, and if you fight yourself too hard, you can make sex seem "forbidden" and therefore really, really enticing and exciting. Not a good idea. Better to get back in balance and then find a partner, or set a reasonable schedule.

Somehow the answer seems to lie in understanding how the brain and sex interact, and then choosing to watch yourself, experiment, and find what works for you...mindful that the "right" answer may change over time.

You're right that you have to try the ideas to see the benefits. Otherwise, they just seem...well...insane. Wink I remember when I read my first book about Taoist lovemaking...written by two men (Chinese master and his American ghost writer). I couldn't believe my eyes...and yet...I was definitely curious to try the ideas. I'm glad I did.

I agree, sort of.....

It would take a cultural shift of huge proportions to make karezza the default sexual method. Until such time, I think it will be just as you say and we have all experienced, we will have to dig ourselves out of the hole we find ourselves in. Of course, we never get to start over, that is just wishful thinking, which is what I meant to express it as. I am sure I would do it the same dumb way if I had it to do over and was as ignorant and pig headed as I was! Wink

However, I think sex is still quite forbidden in many circles and therefore quite exciting and dangerous... What if there were a modern society similar to the Oneida's that actually taught the proper way to have non reproductive sex? The urge for sex is great in youth, but need there be orgasm just because the urge for sex is so strong? As we now know, orgasm only brings the pleasure to an end, causes problems with long term relationships, etc, etc. Why not teach young boys to love their girlfriends first, not continue to objectify them through images and sexual conquest?

There are many of us who think the whole concept of forgoing orgasm is far from insane. It is just a matter of relearning how to have intercourse, to put our spouses first, etc. that is strange in the execution. The idea makes logical sense. It is the baggage we carry from society and our upbringing that makes the concept insane.


I hope to equal your experience! I am at the 3 month mark now and have not masturbated in over 8 months! It gets better everyday! If it happens, it happens, but I do not actively seek ejaculation, nor will I ever again! I feel free and in control!

no orgasms

after being a bit disillusioned with the world, and desiring after a new outlook i have steeped myself in hindu philosophy. namely buddist and jainist. my entire life i have thought the monks preached a philosophy that was impossible to maintain, and maybe it will prove to be. but after studying it closer i found great wisdom in vow making, extreme honesty, and meditation. i come from an atheistic viewpoint where the shortness of a lifespan seems to cry out for gratification while we still have the ability. that procreation and money and power are central. this viewpoint has led me to feel insecure, unsatisfied and frustrated. how could it not? it doesn't appear that the world that is here to satisfy us, and doesn't seem like it ever could. the mad search for security in the world has yielded diminished returns. this realization has led me to eastern ideas. the hindu asceticism is music to me ears. i have made a vow to go a month with no orgasms. why you might ask? what's the point? i say the world of gratification, laziness, dishonesty and shallowness is boring, and moral destroying. and moreover, i wanted to see how difficult it would be, and how much mind control i really have. i am a single guy right now so i figured it would be a good time, and i want to marry and have children in the years to come, so i don't take a hard stance against never having an orgasm again, but for now, i offer to you, my reasons.

so far it has been extremely easy. it's only been one week, but this is the longest i have gone since i was 13 or 14 without an orgasm. i am 28. i feel calmer, more in-control of myself, and oddly less eager to make bad decisions with girls, or to subject myself to nonsensical porno. who knows where my life will go, and maybe my vow will disappear tomorrow. i felt like contributing these words to this page.