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Submitted by Marnia on
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[From a reader, posted with permission]

You wrote "Giving up sex is not healthy". The question is why? Of course,
from the biological point of view, the answer seems to be clear, Marnia, but
I think health is relative. I don't know who it was that once said "If you
are not strong enough to force your rules upon fate, then you have to accept
the rules that fate forces upon you." This statement is sad but absolutely
true. If you can't get the best option of something, you have to choose the
second best, therefore the question is not if there might be a part of
myself still looking for a partner. Unfortunately, I must disappoint you if
you expect optimism and thinking positive concerning finding a girlfriend.
The problem is not to meet women, but to meet their requirements. When I was
young, many things (including my mind) were running more easily and
smoothly. However, I've never been able to raise a girl's interest in me.
Nearly all free women my age are divorced, and it's clear that their
expectations for the next partner have risen, not fallen. This isn't a
matter of moral or so. Don't misunderstand me, please, I'm writing about
sexual relationships, not friendship. Since I'm not exactly experienced in
being somebody's partner, the situation is hard. Finding a girlfriend used
to never succeed, Marnia, so why should it now be working?

Despite not knowing me, you told me that there were probably 3 women within
a few kilometers who would feel honored by my company. Where does your
optimism come from? - Call it stupidity, stubbornness, small-mindedness,
arrogance, self-pity, cowardice or whatever else, but I think it's better
for me to abide to the saying 'Cobbler, keep to your last!'. I'm really
tired of bumping my head again and again. You know that society has become
very complex, and just being a male is not qualification enough on today's
gender market. Ask three women what they want from men and you'll get at
least five different opinions. It's much easier to acquire the necessary
skills for succeeding on the job market because its rules are simpler. In
this area I know what to do. But maybe American women are different. I hope
so. God bless America!

I hope, Marnia, that you are not offended by my openness. Believe it or not,
the reason for this message is NOT to give you a discourse on the battle of
the sexes. I'm neither an expert in this kind of things, nor in leading an
abstinent life. Why should giving up sex be unhealthy? From the physical
point of view, I'm almost sure that there can't be any harm because even if
I bowed to biology's rule and tried to "spread my genes", it could take
extremely long to succeed.

Of course, this is the male point of view. The problem is that the male
sexual drive can be very urgent - even annoying. Every now and then human
bodies long for a relieving dopamine shot. To be frank, I don't think Mother
Nature was too clever to create sex this way. I would like to get rid of all
this sexual stuff in favor of getting additional energy resources for other
areas of my life. We all know that staying abstinent is not easy to achieve.
One of the reasons why I came across your web site was that I've been
searching for a long time for scientific support. My question is what the
psychological consequences of long-term abstinence are and whether it's
worth to give it a try. How could it influence my mental or emotional state,
stress tolerance or other parts of my personality? Can there be drawbacks?
Unfortunately, modern research doesn't seem to be keen on yielding answers.
It's almost impossible to find information on the Internet not being
religiously or otherwise ideologically motivated. Nobody but me seems to be
interested. Concerning sex, you once said 'Biology has us deeply
hypnotized...', Marnia. You're right. Shame on science!

According to your web site, trying to keep one's own dopamine level low can
be a stressful experience. Unfortunately, I'm having more than enough stress
at work. In one of your messages to me, you described my life style as being
wasteful with my life force energy. Call me selfish, Marnia, but I think
that I deserve some kind of reward if I save this energy. Okay, there are
some small hints at your web site ("...celibacy can be rewarding...", the
report on the Oneida community,...) and that's more than you can find on the
rest of the Internet. However, it's not really satisfying. Some of my
friends call me an odd fellow - and I even agree with them at times.
However, it's hard to believe that my ideas appear to be that strange.

I wish you all the best

I can't imagine living a

I can't imagine living a celibacy life. There's something consuming in sex, that's right, but there's nothing like the feeling we have after that. This is what brings some people together, what creates intimacy and can bring out wonderful feelings like love is. I just can't understand how some people can give this up.

Is it really possible to be

Is it really possible to be a healthy celibate? Part of me says no, and part of me wonders.. What if a person had a supportive environment, and knew the SKILLS needed to transmute sexual energy and do this in a healthy way?

Perhaps it may even need a 'rewiring' of the biology... but currently I think it's detrimental to be celibate.

Try Chinese solo a starting place

Thanks for your thoughts. First, when I said, "giving up sex is not healthy," I should have said,
"trying to give up masturbation by force of will is not healthy." That is
what I really meant. I apologize. I do believe it may be possible that sex
can be "superseded"...solo, or even between partners...if we learn to
circulate and blend our life force energies completely and transmute them
into spiritual energy. I don't know that this transmutation is possible from
personal experience yet, however. I just believe what I've read about it
because it "feels" right, and because I have already seen so many healing
benefits from making love without conventional orgasm.

Another reason I said that "giving up sex is not healthy" is that I had just
been reading an anthology of ancient Chinese sexology texts, translated into
English by a professor in New York. The Chinese found that sex with loss of
energy (orgasm) has high costs, but that abstinence leads to unwanted
behaviors, not least of which is "extinguishing one's inner flame." That can
affect your outlook on life for the worse. The book I refer to is "The Art
of the Bedchamber" by Douglas Wile. I'll be doing a summary of it in a summer
article for the newsletter.

I don't know if the Chinese are right, but I think that if you are
really interested in healthy celibacy, they offer some helpful suggestions.
The Chinese Taoists taught practices not just for couples, but also for
singles. In the solo practices, you give up sex with others, but you learn
to activate and draw your own sexual energy upward in a sort of sexual
alchemy that unites your inner male and female energies. This is apparently
not the same thing as just repressing your urge to masturbate, which, as you
point out, would cause a lot of inner conflict. Instead it harnesses your
sexual energy and spreads it throughout your body, enlivening you. I think
it's likely that the book "Taoist Secrets of Love: Cultivating Male Sexual
Energy" by Mantak Chia is available in Germany. It has practices for both
solo and dual (with a partner) cultivation. Find a copy and experiment with
the ideas. I think you will be glad you read it.

I'm very clear that my role on the planet seems to be promoting "dual
cultivation" for spiritual purposes, so I'm no expert in the solo
cultivation practices. I suspect that they can be very useful, however, as
an interim step. It may be that after some time with the solo practices, you
will notice that you are considerably more attractive to women. Often as
people learn to conserve their sexual energy and move it higher, they seem
to become more magnetic...and (as I once explained to my husband) "less like
wet seaweed at an energy level." Smile So don't be surprised if you end up
with a partner after all!

Everything you said about divorced women getting choosier is correct. It's
the same with divorced men, although they are biologically designed to
choose "younger" women. This is the fundamental separation mechanism at work
between the sexes, and America is certainly no better in this respect.
However, increasing your personal magnetism may make women choose you! I
know this seems unrealistic, but there is more to each of us than meets the
eye. And men who begin consciously cultivating their sexual energy have told
me that women begin giving them phone number and calling them...even though
such things had never happened before. Obviously something in their aura, or
energy field has changed. You have to experience this to believe it, but for
now you need not worry about women. Just get the Chia book and start doing
the solo practices. You say you're prepared to give up sex anyway. I would
imagine that the Chinese way is probably the safest way to go about it. Give
it a few months before you assess the results. I'm just warning you that
your solo path may ultimately attract a partner.

While you're solo, there are other activities that can make your life easier
(because they help you produce more oxytocin): meditation, prayer, yoga, Qi
gong, breathing exercises, dance, walking in nature, swimming or
bathing, massage, activities with groups, and caring lovingly for others or pets.

I agree that we have every right to be angry with biology. As things now
stand, "we're damned if we do...and damned if we don't." However, I have
even begun to see the Divine Hand at work in this seeming conundrum. It
forces many of us to dig deeper and discover new things (very old things,
actually) about sex, and how to move it upward, which also heightens
spiritual awareness (according to many esoteric traditions across the
globe). Maybe this inner conflict IS part of God's plan for awakening us. I
don't know about you, but I would never have started looking for answers if
things had been going more smoothly in my love life. So perhaps one day you
will thank that "urgent, annoying" male sex drive of yours...because without
it you would never have started looking for insights!

Healthy celibacy?

On the other hand ... "Why Bother?"

It might be my own silliness -- but not having a partner has distinct advantages.

Having a partner usually takes vast amounts of "Quality Time" without the partner one can spend his time in any way one sees fit.

I feel an incredible freedom not having to spend time escorting my partner to whatever social function she wanted to go to.

If I want to spend 48 hours straight lost in computer programming ... I can.

I am not sure a person can do good computer programming if engaged in an intimate relationship.

Oh well just my $0.02 (two cents).

Lance Martin

This may sound far-fetched...

but we find that when we stick to this practice, our days seem to "flow," and we both get to do what we want, or need, to do without feeling "put upon" by a partner's demands. By the same token, when we slip back into orgasmic sex, solutionless conflicts with time and inclinations arise, as if by magic.

In any case, bonding behaviors done daily do *not* have to be exhausting, or long. Even a moment or two of hugging can keep things humming between lovers. When things are harmonious, we actually *want* to do things for each other...just as during the flirtatious courtship phase.

All this is really a way to say that *projection makes perception.* When we feel whole and satisfied, we tend to be more flexible and accommodating and enjoy helping others. But when we feel drained or needy (low dopamine), we're either wanting to avoid all obligations...or we're a bottomless black "hole" that no one can matter how many functions he attends, or how much extra attention he delivers. Wink (And, of course, sometimes the roles are reversed between the genders - and the man is needy while the woman wants "space.")

This is why inner balance is *so* important. And why conventional sex is so much more...costly...than we realize.

causation problem

I realize this post was written years ago, but the ideas could still be relevant, and I must disagree with the content.

I am a very reluctant programmer, forced to program as a consequence of the career that I naively entered, failing to realize that computing has invaded nearly every type of employment, even fields that are ostensibly unrelated. In any case, I am skeptical that programming effectiveness is compromised by intimate relationships. In fact, I have noticed the opposite. When I am deeply involved with a scripting project, my marriage suffers (as does my awareness of nearly everything--nature, happiness, touch, even taste), and in a positive feedback loop, the relationship strife and negative disposition toward 'the world' drive me to spend even more time programming. Some of my most effective programming work partially precipitated the worst times in recent memory--when my relationship was nearly unbearable, when I was disregarding my health, and when even a spectacular day could appear grey and pointless. The only conclusion that I find to be reasonable is that a good intimate relationship is, for me at least, difficult to maintain while engaged in programming. The rigid logic required for programming almost necessitates a suspension of emotional intelligence, and after many hours and days before the screen, renewing emotional capacity for intimacy becomes progressively more difficult.

Speculating is sometimes risky, but I suspect that the kind of personality drawn more to 48 consecutive hours of programming than to an evening out with a woman would be functionally autistic. And I do not in any way suggest that as a negative judgement. If relationships with other humans are tedious for an individual, then the dominant cultural message that not having a relationship means failure is bound to cause resentment, indignation, and the kind of misconception that women expect to be escorted to social functions all the time. For men disinclined to be in relationships (distinct from men who desperately want relationships but can't establish them), perhaps it would be most helpful to recognize that emotional, intimate, and/or sexual relationships are not absolute requirements for happiness.