Harnessing Sexual Energy: The Restraint Challenge

For most of history, humans have struggled with how to use and control sexual energy. Yet even after thousands of years of intrigue, many of us don’t understand our sexual energy. This is shocking, considering it has such a profound impact on our lives and broader society.

Frank Langella is the Oscar-nominated actor who portrayed Richard Nixon in Frost/Nixon. He observed, “We do most of what we do out of our sexual energy and sexual needs.”

It's almost an understatement. In 2015, there were more than two billion web searches for porn. It demonstrates how a current of sexual energy underlies society.

It's just below the surface. All you have to do is scratch.

This is no new phenomenon. Lust and love have always caused wars and brought down kingdoms. And it still happens today. Men, so successful, disciplined, and insightful in other realms, can't deal with their sexual impulses. These impulses are arguably the most powerful force for good and evil in the known universe (apart from the Star Wars franchise).

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Masculine vs. Feminine Sexual Energy

Britney Spears was once accused of sexual harassment by a bodyguard because she flashed him. He sought $10 million dollars for psychological damages. There have also been many cases of female teachers taking advantage of male high school students. But these exceptions prove the rule.

It’s mostly men making headlines for sexual misbehavior.

It's helpful to consider the difference between masculine and feminine sexual energy. These terms 'masculine' and 'feminine' don't correspond directly to 'man' and 'woman.' You can be male and have a feminine energy. And you can be female and have a masculine energy. The levels of such energy vary, too.
Brittany’s masculine sexual energy likely led her to behave inappropriately. And let’s hope her bodyguard got the counseling he needed.

Generally speaking, masculine sexuality tends to be aggressive, physical, and penetrative. Feminine sexuality is less driven and is receptive and other-oriented. Sex-change patients have reported this. Men who take female hormones report a decrease in sex drive, but an increase in emotionality. And women who take male hormones generally report an increase in sex drive.

In feminine sexual energy, sex is less a basic drive and more of a way of being intimate. Remember, these are usually but not always women. For masculine sexual energy, the question is often how to control and process it. But for feminine sexual energy, the concern is rather if it’s used to make the world a better place or for a selfish end. Feminine sexual energy is historically unrivaled in its persuasiveness.

What to do With Sexual Energy

How then should one deal with these potent forces?

The first and most obvious is to have sex with a willing partner. Consensual intercourse is a fantastic method of expending sexual energy. It's enthusiastically endorsed by those who've tried it.

But there's another option we don’t hear much about these days: restraint. This can take many forms. And some argue that there are significant benefits to conserving sexual energy -- particularly for men. The belief is that by avoiding orgasm you reap physical and mental benefits.

Restraint isn’t a celebrated ideal in this age. Today, we expect immediate gratification of our every urge whether sex, food, or overnight delivery. While the deprived youth of yesteryear crept furtively into the family bathroom. His only hope: that dad’s latest National Geographic was laying there and featured bare-breasted women. Unless, of course, he had an older brother with a Playboy collection tucked under the bed.

Now soft porn is available even on the Family Channel. The more explicit stuff is only a few keystrokes away on much-trafficked porn sites. There’s growing concern that this generation’s sex education is being shaped by porn. These fantastical (and ultimately damaging) portrayals are taking youth to a dark place.

Given all of this, maybe restraint isn’t such a bad thing?

Sexual Energy and Religion

“To my understanding, sex is your only energy. It is life energy. What you do with it depends on you. It can become sin, and it can become also your highest peak of consciousness. It all depends on you how you use the energy,” ~ Guru Rajneesh.

Napoleon Hill published one of the bestselling self-helf books of all time, Think and Grow Rich in 1937. He said: “Sex energy is the creative energy of all geniuses. There never has been, and never will be a great leader, builder or artist lacking in the driving force of sex.”

His point was that sexual energy can be diverted and used for things that don’t involve ejaculation. But he wasn't the first to have this insight. It’s been a constant theme throughout history.

Celibacy has long been a necessary requirement for religious or spiritual leaders. Catholic priests must abstain from sex and masturbation to achieve union with God. Unfortunately, we know how well that worked out.

The Catholic Church has taken a firm (pardon me) stand on the issue of masturbation. In Catholicism, it's known as the sin of Onan after the biblical sinner who was slain by God. His crime? Spilling his semen on the ground rather than impregnating his brother’s wife.

And they haven't given up any ground on this issue, either. As the church somberly declared in 1975: “Both the Magisterium of the Church, in the course of a constant tradition, and the moral sense of the faithful have been in no doubt and have firmly maintained that masturbation is an intrinsically and gravely disordered action.”

There are other traditions that take an opposite view. One is the Westernized version of Tantric practices. This view maintains that sexuality is a gift from God. Sex is a sacred act capable of elevating its participants to a higher spiritual realm. But only when properly practiced.

Certain Taoists believe that ejaculatory orgasms lead to the loss of life force. They maintain that excessive ejaculatory orgasms can result in premature aging, disease, and general fatigue. These Taoists argue that there is the potential to create life in your semen. It's no simple task for your body to create that life force.

Some Taoists believe you should do everything in your power to never ejaculate. Others take a softer approach. They provide a regimen for how often one should ejaculate for optimal health. (Note: some Taoists believe women can have ‘ejaculatory’ orgasms with the same consequences.)

The Taoists created many methods for delaying and avoiding ejaculation. One such method is to stop oneself just before ejaculation. Another is specific application of pressure to the perineum. This is a deep area of study not for the faint hearted. But the Taoists promise increased stamina, more energy, and multiple male orgasms (without ejaculation).

The Buddha was also well aware of sexual energy. He considered it one of the chief causes of human suffering. He said, “So one, always mindful, should avoid sexual desires. Letting them go, he will cross over the flood like one who, having bailed out the boat, has reached the far shore.” He required abstinence of his followers, nuns, and priests seeking enlightenment. For those with regular ambitions, he recommended greater control of sexual longing. Restraint reduces suffering, was his argument. It's advice that many in Hollywood and government should have followed.

"Sexual activity and the thoughts and fantasies of sex, use up a great portion of our vital force. When that force is conserved through abstinence, it becomes sublimated as spiritual energy," said Patanjali, another ancient sage.

This, also, seems like common sense advice.

The Potential Benefits of Restraint

Surprisingly, there's little science on the benefits or disadvantages of sexual restraint. This is surprising, considering the outsized role desire plays in our lives. Although, premature blindness because of masturbation has been pretty well ruled out.

The loss of zinc and other elements through masturbation is a common concern. But is this rooted in science? It's rabid evangelical types most often advancing this narrative. They support the notion that self-pleasuring is a sin. Ejaculation results in the loss of zinc. So, they claim, too much sex or masturbation could put you into a serious depletion. Fixing this would require expensive multivitamins and an oyster diet. Or at least that's the claim.

But it’s quite unlikely. Adult males need 11 mg of zinc per day. So, losing 1/50th of a milligram, the amount lost in a typical ejaculation, is insignificant.

Athletes sometimes refrain from sex the night before performing. This practice is based on the worry that sex will reduce testosterone levels. This will, in turn, hinder their performance. The science purporting this is also weak.

A review published in the Clinical Journal of Sport Medicine showed that abstaining provided zero benefits. A strength test the morning after sex and also after six days of abstinence found no difference in performance. The same held true with tests on grip strength, balance, and aerobic power. And there's evidence that male orgasm actually boosts sports performance by increasing testosterone.

But there are other advantages to consider. Many argue that sexual restraint leads to increased energy, focus, and creativity. They say it can make you happier, heighten masculinity, and teach you about willpower. This willpower improvement helps you better understand your own sexuality. Which, in turn, makes you better at pleasuring your partner.

Proponents of restraint claim sexual energy can be positively channeled to other activities. Your art, business, or interactions with other people can all benefit. By refraining from ejaculation, we harness this powerful energy. We then divert it from a distracting, destructive force to something life-enhancing.

This is a scientific question where you can make yourself the subject of your own experiment.

The Restraint Challenge

Here’s the challenge: for a week (no, let’s go for a month) practice self-control.

Think of it like going on a month-long ketogenic diet, but instead of giving up carbs you're giving up orgasms. You also don’t need to consult a doctor or pee on those little ketone-measuring strips.

So, for the next month, no ejaculation allowed (you too ladies). You can fondle your genitals as much as you want, in fact it's encouraged, but not to the point of orgasm. And, you can give your partners an orgasm, (also encouraged) as long as you deny yourself that pleasure. This will be a great learning lesson in itself. (You can also take this challenge on with your partner.)

Actively cultivate your sexual energy but never release it through orgasm. Think of the pressure that builds in a teapot. That's what you're going to do for your sexual energy.

Keep a Journal

During the challenge, note your different stages of arousal when participating in any sexual activity. What's your body doing? What parts of your body respond? Record how you feel. How do you feel immediately after denying yourself orgasm? How about the next day?

Be aware of how your sexual energy influences your day-to-day life. In the days and weeks that follow, pay close attention to what happens in your body.

Ask yourself questions like:

·      What is your energy level like through the day?

·      How motivated are you?

·      Is your mood positive, or depressed?

·      Does your interaction with the opposite sex change?

·      Do you sense a change in their attitudes toward you?

·      How do you sleep?

·      What are your workouts like?

Record all the answers in your journal.

This is a tough assignment, but I’m sure you’re up to it. One thing is for certain: you'll learn a lot about sexual energy. This will put you ahead of 99.9% of others.

Written by: Thomas Walker - Co-founder of Metta energy drink.