Is long-term abstinence healthy? (Edit)

Discussion in 'Self Improvement' started by SpartanViking, Feb 16, 2018.

Is long-term abstinence really healthy?

  1. Yes

  2. No

  1. SpartanViking

    SpartanViking Fapstronaut

    Edit 09/04/2018: This edit will make things right.
    1. Losing male's fluid is bad for health. Period.
    2. If you try to reproduce after a year of abstinence, you will have a lot of old sperms, but you will have also a lot of new sperm. I don't know how much of each, but at the end the ovum will be fertilized by the newest and fastest.
    3. Having weekly sex is totally necessary for health. You can practice non-ejaculatory physical sex (tantra or karezza), or energetic-clothed tantric sex. In both cases, the orgasmic effects are caused by the raising of energy from the first chakra to the seventh.

    That is the question. I invite everybody in this forum to participate in this debate and to help me (and others) to sort out this question. I have been doing my own research but I don't think I am making any progress.

    I would start the debate expressing my own opinion and the reason for it:

    No, long-term abstinence is not healthy.

    A man or woman abstaining for more than 7 days will experience a reduction of his/her reproductive capacities. The man will have worse sperm quality and the woman will have irregular cycles (the optimal cycle being 29.5 +/- 3 days). For example, a woman having irregular periods will be in danger of developing osteoporosis.

    Evidence of the above reasons:

    Basic Idea (prove this false and my argument will be refuted):
    The basic idea that supports my statement is this: fertility=health. If you have good physical and mental (no stress) health, you will be fertile; if you are ill, you are sterile. Therefore, if long-term abstinence reduces your fertility, it also reduces your health.

    Extra (Not necessary for the present debate):

    Background information: In the past I thought that a man could abstain from intercourse and only do it during ovulation days of his wife. That is, once each a minimum 15 months (9 pregnancy+6 lactancy) if he has one wife and more if he has more wifes. If the evidence I have is true, then doing this will result in lower chances of conceiving and in worse quality of sperm fecundating the ovum.

    Consequences: If what I have propose is true, then it follows that we need to have regular sterile intercourse (that is, using some kind of anticonceptive method). This is a great challenge because there are great chances of going into the bad path; the path of hedonists and self-indulgence, lust, etc. We need to bear in mind that our primal desire to have sex comes from the desire of our body to attain biological immortality, to reproduce. Having sterile intercourse will never give us the real satisfaction. So, it is easy to get lost in the pleasurable sensations in itself, forget our biological desires and start to seek the desires of our mind. That is, having sexual attraction for other persons without any biological reason for it.
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2018
    2525 likes this.
  2. Elcamino

    Elcamino Fapstronaut

    I'm not basing my opinion off of science, but observations that I have made within my own body. Physically I have more energy, feel stronger, sleeping deeper, and having less cravings for junk food (I would say i've always eaten cleaner in general). Mentally I can tell my memory is better, I feel more focused with day to day activities, confidence is also very high during.
    Legacy of Lost Soul likes this.
  3. The studies you post provide no evidence. The male study appears to only compare sperm health after 1 - 8 days of abstinence and not beyond. The female study claims there is a correlation between cycle accuracy and intercourse. It only looks at 14 weeks which is absurdly short and I didn't notice anything about birth control used which has an effect on a woman's body and fertility like being run over by a truck.

    The easiest refutation that health is negatively impacted by abstinence is by looking at the long term health of communities who have observed long term abstinence. There are studies of priests and monks that show they are healthier than sexually active people with similar background. Of course these peoples lifestyle is different in more ways than abstinence. But the fact that they are healthier shows that it is unlikely that abstinence has a negative impact in any significant way.

    All that being said I would say you have no grounds in science to rationalize your way back to a managed addicted state for 'health' reasons..... ;)
  4. Gota

    Gota Fapstronaut

    I think long term abstinence is not good and maybe this is from both, physical and mental perspective, we need sex, sex is a part of our life. The problem is that we abused it and I look at abstinence as a part of healing process. When you get flu you temporary stop your all day activities until you start feeling better, the same here. But lifetime celibacy doesn't make much sense for me.
    SpartanViking likes this.
  5. We need food, water and shelter.
  6. What @JackStrident said.

    Don't forget air!
  7. SpartanViking

    SpartanViking Fapstronaut

    Thank you all for participating in the debate. I will try to answer all the best I can.

    Thank you for sharing with us your experience. I will share mine: a few days ago, after three months of abstinence, I ejaculated (conscious decision) and immediately after doing it I felt extremely well; the general weakness and the pain in the lower back that I experienced for 10 days or so disappeared. I didn't include this in my argument because there could be some other reason for that pain and weakness.


    The evidence provided support the statements about men and women losing fertility after prolongued abstinence. I have edited the post to make this more clear.
    Well, it would have been great if they have done that. What they say is that after those 7-8 days, the overall sperm quality starts to decline. Maybe with more days of abstinence the sperm quality declines more or maybe remains equal, but I doubt it gets better with time.
    To be exact, they show correlation between regular intercourse and optimal menstrual cycle.
    You didn't read carefully. Search this with C+F:
    "In this study, there were much fewer numbers of women with regular weekly sexual activity because oral contraceptive or IUD use disqualified women from participating."
    As you say, the lifestyle of monks and priests (in many religiones over the ages) differ in many things, not only sexual abstinence: they fast and do some form of penitence. But if you have some study about that to share with us it will be great.
    But you should remember that my statement that long-term abstinence is unhealthy is based on the fact (open to discussion) that long-term abstinence affects fertility and on the idea that fertility=health. An effective refutation should take care of these two things.
    No comments...

    I agree with you. You have summarized the truth in very few words. Abstinence is a healing process. If our relation towards sex is a trilogy, the first episode would be addiction and self-damage, the second episode abstinence and cleaning, and the third one back to normal factory settings.
    I would add that "sex" is the process we need to do in order to reproduce. Reproduction is the driving force. Other species don't need to engage in physical intimacy to satisfy their need to reproduce and perpetuate their DNA information (fish, for example). And even if we decide not to reproduce, that force still drive us and we need to have sex. Yes, sterile sex is sad, but is a "lesser evil" we need.

    Once you get that, you will reproduce. Otherwise, the species goes extinct, unless you use "we" to refer to "us" (people in this forum).

  8. Davidphd1866

    Davidphd1866 Fapstronaut

    Fascinating topic. I always appreciate how Spartan takes the time to carefully make his point. His intellectual honesty is most refreshing: He seeks clarity more than he seeks agreement. Hence, his obvious efforts to carefully present his point of view.

    In this case, however, I have to disagree with him.

    Since abstaining from sex from a health perspective primarily is an argument about glandular activity, I would like to make the assertion that glands do not need our help to stay healthy.

    For example, do we have to exercise our pituitary gland? Do we ever tell ourselves to get out there and take care of our gall bladder? Spleen? They "empty" themselves. I believe it's the same for the prostate, testes, Cowpers Gland, and seminal vesicles. Those glands, just like our other glands, don't require our active participation.

    The wet dream is evidence that our body will see to it that we empty things if the brain feels it's needed.

    As for emotional health, I can't say much about that.
  9. Mankrik

    Mankrik Fapstronaut

    I can only speak for myself, but not jerking off or having orgasms by whatever means is not going to kill you. Did 240 days hardcore. Best decision I ever made. Rewiring is definitely a thing but perhaps even more significant is proving something to yourself.
  10. PSC94

    PSC94 Fapstronaut

    I would have to read up on the data, but for me personally I am definitely not about that abstinence life.

    The reason I’m doing NoFap is because of PMO dependence. I think at the very least the M & O are beneficial in moderation. Too much of anything is bound to be bad for you.
  11. I've heard heroine addicts extoll on feeling particularly great after relapsing after a period of abstinence too.
    Yes. I was only skimming, looking for major fallacies. I could pick it apart in more detail but it doesn't seem justified.
    Sure, it could mean for instance that fasting is unhealthy but that the benefits from abstinence outweigh it. Or the other way around. At least you can say with certainty is that if you want to be more healthy you should live like a monk in all aspects.
    If at some point you would become interested in that then I would recommend looking at long-term studies.... not short-term.
    Why such a strange idea? Are children unhealthy? Are sterile adults unhealthy? Is a 70 year old male with 12 children and a low sperm count unhealthy? What if he lives to be 120?

    Well you really should, at least privately for your own sake, think on it. I give you kudos for your eloquence and well-structured post but the fact of the matter is this: people on this site are attempting to abstain for a long period of time (or even indefinitely) their biggest problem is their rationalizations. You have recently failed, I am guessing due to your own rationalizations, and now in a somewhat oblique manner, you appear to be attempting to convince us how reasonable these rationalizations could be. I think you should question your (unconscious?) motives. It's far more interesting (and beneficial to you) than your narrowly defined argument. For instance, it would not be uncommon for someone in your situation to try and feel better about themselves by getting others to fail for the same reason.
  12. Ongoingsupport

    Ongoingsupport Fapstronaut

    As an unqualified generalization.. I cannot just go for a yes or no, even assuming we're talking about adults. What about post menopausal women? You don't need to know a lot about human development to know it may be different for people at different times. This kind of black and white reasoning does not deal with timing and context (which is not a simple matter of how long in terms of number of days, again there is a developmental context as one example - to say nothing of mental health and the social and situational life context) which I think is very necessary. And of course there's the obvious example of someone who is recovering from extremely high volume of PMO. At this point in their biological and psychological development, and remember this may be teens or younger - how can we equate it with a little number like 7 days without further consideration?

    Also the traditional dialectic format of "adversarial thinking" leaves much to be desired. If there is going to a serious formal consideration I would think a parallel process like de Bono's Six Hats method is called for, where you consider the matter from a particular perspective or track at the same time, or in our situation with asynchronous communication online simply identify, organize and compile all info presented as evidence under the appropriate track. Otherwise it's just jumping around and regardless of it being formalized as a debate I find there tends to be a lot of confusion where evidence in one track is fought against with evidence from another, whereas they are simply different types of evidence. I've never met anyone willing to actually practice this simple method but if anyone is interested:
  13. diogo431509

    diogo431509 Fapstronaut

    I see this post becoming slowly a flame wars, so let's begin.

    I made my own research, and it backs up what SpartanViking said in the first post. The best sperm is about 15 days. In counting and in mobility. Let me just add what I researched when I was fired up about this subject.

    1. The worst sperm is when one ejaculates everyday or more. Counting is really low. You're ejaculating basically your fluids, with low sperm count. Although mobility is normal.

    2. About two weeks your sperm reaches good count. Mobility is at his best too.

    3. Sperm from a person abstaining from more than 30 days have a higher count. But not too much, so the biggest difference is the first two weeks. Motility is reduced

    I will not care to provide references as most of my research was done with Portuguese medical sites, but you might start here:

    Now, on the concept of fertility=health you said.

    If higher sperm count is used as a parameter, then the longer one abstains, the healthier he will be. If we consider both sperm count and motility, then you might be right, and one should fap at about twice a month.

    JackStrident hit right in the gut when he said you might just be rationalizing after you failed. OK, man, fapping moderately might not harm you, but you're letting out precious nutrients your body need. Don't use it as an excuse to fap, because we're all compulsive fappers and what is normal for a normal person just isn't right for us. In my fapping days I could do nothing except bang my dick all day. Now you tell me, is that healthy? Analise your own story and see for yourself what is healthier.

    @Mankrik you're a legend man, sad to see you lost that streak, I remember logging on this site when I had about 10 days and I saw your profile and asked "just how this man did this?". Glad to see you still with us.
  14. Davidphd1866

    Davidphd1866 Fapstronaut

    Ongoingsupport likes this.
  15. Davidphd1866

    Davidphd1866 Fapstronaut

    I goofed up on my post/reply to OngoingSupport. I said his post "goes to 11". (a reference to his avatar, which is hilarious)
  16. SpartanViking

    SpartanViking Fapstronaut

    David, you are always very kind with me. Your appreciation of my clarity in transmitting ideas is more valuable that your possible agreement with those ideas. I will try to continue being clear.

    General answers:

    Word "healthy": When I use the word "healthy" I am not referring just to "being alive", but to be "really healthy", with optimal fertility, strength, adaptability, the will to survive... Children are healthy and undeveloped. What we call "old people" is just people that have lost physical health since they were young.

    Recovering from PMO: Obviously, to recover from this one needs to spend a quite deal of time abstaining. For some, it will be 100 days, to others 1 years. Whatever you need to return to factory defaults, do it. After this period I don't think long periods of abstinence will do us any good. Maybe I am wrong, that is why I created this debate.

    Particular answers:

    Good theory, man, what it is not true. The body can absorb the semen, all the fluids of all the sexual glands. Wet dreams are an issue at first, but with due time they disappear. Some will think that I am admitting an argument in support of long-term abstinence, but no. While you have wet dreams be happy, fear when you not.

    @JackStrident, what you say about me and my unconscious motives is not truth. In general, is it true that people usually try to convince others of what they want to believe.

    I think that you are not really open to new ideas:
    I think that you have the established idea that monk lifestyle is great:
    I have lived that way, it doesn't make you more fertile nor more healthy. I think it is only useful if you want to skip living this life and preparing for what is beyond. I prefer be here and now.

    You said this when talking about fertility:
    Search on google advices directed to couples wanting to conceive. What is suggested is that couples should abstain 5-7 days, no more. Some, even say less than that, because in that way the sperm is more fresh. (I am not recommending any of this periods for the purpose of this debate).

    Finally, you said also:
    Wrong. This site is for recovering from PMO addiction and return our brain to "factory defaults".

    Partially, I answered in the general answers. About the period that I am suggesting to have regular sexual intercourse, it may be 7 days, 10 days (this is the maximum time the study suggested for sperm donors) or maybe 14 days. I don't know, I am only suggesting an idea that may be wrong if more studies are posted.

    Sounds interesting, I will check that when I have time.


    Interesting. Even if they are in portuguese, please feel free to link them. I can use google translate if I don't understand something. Your study seems to point out similar results but in different time frames.
    In general, I would say that the studies we have are not enough to discover the time when sperm starts to deteriorate. One study will say this and other will say that. We need more studies and longer. But, I think you and I agree in the fact that long-term abstinence deteriorate the quality of sperm, and that that makes us less fertile.

    The study I linked says that all deteriorate: sperm concentration, sperm count, motility, ph, viscosity, viability, morphology, membrane integrity, DNA integrity, acromosome integrity.

    Good done in pointing this out, nobody have done it yet. We can see a list of nutrients in semen here:
    I think this is very important.

    How will we find more benefits: maintaining semen inside and reabsorbing its nutrients or having regular (7-10 days) intercourse and taking care of having a good diet to replenish those nutrients? From this question the debate can benefit a lot. I am not sure which is better. Any new ideas? People, I am open to new ideas. Let them in!


    PD: I want to hear the voice of women as well. So far, only males (apparently) have express their opinion. Tell us, have you practiced long-term abstinence beyond the rebooting period? Have you developed irregular cycles?
    Davidphd1866 likes this.
  17. Davidphd1866

    Davidphd1866 Fapstronaut

    I don't think anyone on this entire forum tries so hard to address everyone's comments. Bravo to Spartan.

    I do agree with Spartan's quote: "While you have wet dreams be happy, fear when you not." I still personally believe that wet dreams are a good guide to the ejaculation frequency your body really "wants". (In the absence of masturbatory stimulation) I had to admit, I am looking at my lack of wet dreams as an indicator that I should abstain for longer periods.
  18. SpartanViking

    SpartanViking Fapstronaut

    Thank you for your support, David, it is really appreciated. I suppose that owning a thread gives me that responsability of answering all the best I can.
    I think you are right. I remember you telling me this in private some time ago. I also think wet dreams are the best indicator to measure the period that our body needs to reproduce or pseudoreproduce (that is, having sterile intercourse). There is no point in seeking that information in studies. Every one of us is different and have different age, diet, exercise habits, overall health condition, time of the year (it is not the same being in spring than in winter for reproductive porpuses), where we do live (I think people who live where is more hours of sun have more sexual drive)... And for that reason the period it will need would be different. Maybe, is possible that most young men need a mean period of 7 days, but we have to look ourselves.

    So, if you have not yet have wet dreams, David, I suppose it may mean that you need more abstinence. Only, of course, if you maintain the other conditions normal: your diet and exercise.

    Davidphd1866 likes this.
  19. diogo431509

    diogo431509 Fapstronaut

    I have a formula to have a wet dream if anyone is interested. Don't exercise, drink two big size cups of water and go to sleep.
    Davidphd1866 likes this.
  20. ReZen8ster

    ReZen8ster Fapstronaut

    Spartan Viking you present some good information and researched evidence. Anyone trying to actively conceive a baby would benefit from your advice. Healthy=Fertile.

    For the rest of us who are not I present a different logic.

    My first assumption is that the number #1 goal of our species is the reproduce. Because of this reason the best blood, hormones, and aminos goes into producing seminal and sperm fluids. Many of this comes from Hindu and Taoist traditions so much of this can be considered westerly unscientific. But to waist this fluid do non reproductive activity is unhealthy.

    On the same primary assumption that our number #1 desire is to have sex and reproduce we will do anything to achieve that goal. That sex energy and desire can lead us do incredible things. It’s widely known for athletes and especially fighter no sex before a fight. It’s well known and published that some of the most successful businessmen in the world use sexual energy and abstinence to help achieve life goals.

    As a boxing article points out, “Scientifically and physiologically, the effect of having sex doesn’t matter. Boxing trainers will say it makes you weak or less aggressive. Researchers might say it helps you. Experts on kung-fu or spiritualism, might say that having sex drains your inner energy. The inner chi, spiritual energy, it’s called different things in different arts and different cultures. Again, the arguments go back and forth. Whether sex helps you physically is not the point. The point is: having sex takes away your motivation to succeed, it weakens your competitive spirit. By already having the REAL reward of success, you lose the desire to fight for it.”

    By making the argument that Fertile=Healthy and that masturbation every 2 weeks is good, is the same telling an alcoholic to drink wine with dinner because of the health benefits.

    That being said there are many health benefits to sex and orgasm as there are with abstinace and semen preservation. A life time of absitinence is not necessarily healthy either. Taoist article on optimal ejaculation

    My main rebuttal to you argument. While 2 weeks might be the optimal period to obtain maximum fertility it’s not necessarily optimal and healthy to masturbate based on virility levels. For an achieved man in a healthy long term relationship, sex every 2 weeks is optimal. For all the single men or undulfilled men every time you orgasm you lose a little bit of your essence, drive, and motivation. Staying hungry and virile makes you more successful and powerful in life. Choosing to not masturbate and use that focus instead on realizing your goals; love, success, fame will make you healthier.

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