(science) on celibacy

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Jokingfish
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(science) on celibacy

Post by Jokingfish »

Firstly, good article by hhdl https://selfdefinition.org/celibacy/quo ... libacy.htm

But science would disagree with this, which is a shame, since celibacy is very good and useful..

Maybe we can have a discussion about this? (what do others think on science of it, its use, should monks preach more on this subject etc)

Ty.
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Re: (science) on celibacy

Post by Johnny Dangerous »

People don’t generally become celibate for “scientific” reasons, outside of medical necessity, it has an ideological basis, whether it’s moral or a claim based on retention of energy, etc.

So the health status of celibacy is pretty meaningless outside of not getting STDs, from a standard medical perspective.
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Re: (science) on celibacy

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Jokingfish wrote: Fri Nov 18, 2022 4:08 pm But science would disagree with this, which is a shame, since celibacy is very good and useful..
You're speaking about science like it's a singular entity. Science is a method for obtaining knowledge as well as the body of knowledge obtained through this method.

From what I've observed there's overwhelming scientific evidence for the health benefits of celibacy.

To name the very least, the neurochemicals of dopamine, oxytocin and prolactin take 17 days on average to return to baseline after a single orgasm.
https://sites.tufts.edu/emotiononthebra ... the-highs/
Image

This is a very deep rabbit hole and from all that I've observed and studied, the ancient masters who teach celibacy are entirely correct. For the vast majority of aspirants brahmacarya is an essential ingredient.
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Re: (science) on celibacy

Post by Johnny Dangerous »

Injrabodi wrote: Sat Nov 19, 2022 8:55 pm
Jokingfish wrote: Fri Nov 18, 2022 4:08 pm But science would disagree with this, which is a shame, since celibacy is very good and useful..
You're speaking about science like it's a singular entity. Science is a method for obtaining knowledge as well as the body of knowledge obtained through this method.

From what I've observed there's overwhelming scientific evidence for the health benefits of celibacy.

To name the very least, the neurochemicals of dopamine, oxytocin and prolactin take 17 days on average to return to baseline after a single orgasm.
https://sites.tufts.edu/emotiononthebra ... the-highs/
Image

This is a very deep rabbit hole and from all that I've observed and studied, the ancient masters who teach celibacy are entirely correct. For the vast majority of aspirants brahmacarya is an essential ingredient.
Where are the long term studies responsible for the “overwhelming evidence” of the benefits of celibacy?

Having an a more regulated relationship to the brains reward system is great, but eating often produces as much or more dopamine than sex, so the idea that celibacy will magically regulate it is silly and based on nothing.

Sometimes people post articles like this and I can tell (or at least suspect) you are missing some basic understanding of what dopamine does. You literally need a certain amount of dopamine to get out of bed in the morning, it is a needed thing for survival and functioning.

Also insofar as your link goes, while yes technically any dopamine stimulating activity can lead to compulsion, sex produces nowhere near the amount of dopamine as drugs do. Generally speaking it’s not even close.

Indeed, using drugs and sex are similar in a broad sense, but then if you want include anything that stimulates the reward system as “addictive”, you are misunderstanding that this is simply how the brain works, not a deviation.

Check out The Biology Of Desire: Why Addiction is Not a Disease by Marc Lewis for more info.

Your article is referencing people who have co morbid addiction and are likely already in a kind of dopamine debt without stimulation via compulsive sex, drug of choice or whatever. If you think this article is somehow making a compelling case for being celibate I think your position lacks context.

You appear to be just cherry picking what you want to hear/see.
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Re: (science) on celibacy

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What's the point of celibacy if its just ideology? If its not logical? If science say its not useful, why do people practice it? Why do Buddhist do (because of desire and attachment - but what is that, if science say its not useful)? Probably a huge misunderstanding from my position, sorry, just looking for answers..

Ty.
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Re: (science) on celibacy

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Jokingfish wrote: Sun Nov 20, 2022 9:03 am What's the point of celibacy if its just ideology? If its not logical? If science say its not useful, why do people practice it? Why do Buddhist do (because of desire and attachment - but what is that, if science say its not useful)? Probably a huge misunderstanding from my position, sorry, just looking for answers..

Ty.
The reason to be a renunciate in Buddhism is just that, renounce things that are not Dharma practice and focus on the job of being a monk for ordained people. For non-ordained yogis it’s to focus on nothing but practice.
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Re: (science) on celibacy

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Johnny Dangerous wrote: Sat Nov 19, 2022 11:43 pm Where are the long term studies responsible for the “overwhelming evidence” of the benefits of celibacy?
One of the issues with studying celibacy is a lack of research and control materials. I recall one study in the last few years on the consumption of pornography that failed to begin entirely, because the researchers couldn't find any men that didn't consume pornography for their control group.

Usually the only men that are celibate are severely ill, and their celibacy is only a byproduct of their illness.

The deliberately, intentionally celibate are very rare- almost non-existent entirely in the western world.
Johnny Dangerous wrote: Sat Nov 19, 2022 11:43 pm Having an a more regulated relationship to the brains reward system is great, but eating often produces as much or more dopamine than sex, so the idea that celibacy will magically regulate it is silly and based on nothing
The study I just cited on postcoital neurochemistry specifically showed otherwise. Sex has by far the most profound effect on neurochemicals in the brain, second only perhaps to extreme drug usage.
Johnny Dangerous wrote: Sat Nov 19, 2022 11:43 pm Indeed, using drugs and sex are similar in a broad sense, but then if you want include anything that stimulates the reward system as “addictive”, you are misunderstanding that this is simply how the brain works, not a deviation
Of course all of the neurochemicals in our brain fluctuate as nature intended. They serve their intended purpose when humans function as nature designed. The issue is when humans act in an abnormal manner, which unfortunately is the new normal in our day and age.

The average man in our world is very sick, which is why the Buddha acted as a physician for the world and why he specifically taught celibacy to those who followed him.
Johnny Dangerous wrote: Sat Nov 19, 2022 11:43 pm You appear to be just cherry picking what you want to hear/see
There's plenty of studies I can cite regarding celibacy demonstrating its health benefits (many regarding testosterone and androgen receptors) however ultimately it's my own sadhana that has indisputably proven the power of celibacy to me.

I have to say it's very odd to encounter a Buddhist arguing against celibacy given the fact that the Buddha was celibate and there's a very wide plethora of Buddhist texts from all traditions advocating celibacy.
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Re: (science) on celibacy

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Injrabodi wrote: One of the issues with studying celibacy is a lack of research and control materials. I recall one study in the last few years on the consumption of pornography that failed to begin entirely, because the researchers couldn't find any men that didn't consume pornography for their control group.

Usually the only men that are celibate are severely ill, and their celibacy is only a byproduct of their illness.

The deliberately, intentionally celibate are very rare- almost non-existent entirely in the western world.
Right, so, no studies and you cannot base these claims on evidence.
The study I just cited on postcoital neurochemistry specifically showed otherwise. Sex has by far the most profound effect on neurochemicals in the brain, second only perhaps to extreme drug usage.
That’s not what is shows, and we already know how much dopamine is generally produced in drug use vs sex. As I said, drugs produce more - that’s non-controversial, and so can eating.
Of course all of the neurochemicals in our brain fluctuate as nature intended. They serve their intended purpose when humans function as nature designed. The issue is when humans act in an abnormal manner, which unfortunately is the new normal in our day and age.
Having sex is not abnormal. The thread is not about sex addiction, porn addiction, etc. It’s about celibacy. The fact that you generally associate-any sex- with dysfunction says volumes about your viewpoint.
The average man in our world is very sick, which is why the Buddha acted as a physician for the world and why he specifically taught celibacy to those who followed him.
Ah yes, and you are not sick because you retain semen or whatever, got it. Is it about being “not average” and special?

Again, giving up sex is good if one practices a vehicle of renunciation, but of little importance if one does not. Simply having a healthy relationship to sex is fine if one does not practice as a renunciate.

Similarly if one can’t have sex anyway, is uninterested in sex or romance etc., sure, nothing wrong with giving it up to focus on practice - as I already mentioned.

The Buddha also taught non -celibate laypeople too, even in Pali literature. Of course ordained renunciates are celibate for specific and practical reasons.
There's plenty of studies I can cite regarding celibacy demonstrating its health benefits (many regarding testosterone and androgen receptors) however ultimately it's my own sadhana that has indisputably proven the power of celibacy to me.
Really? go ahead. Do you have any professional or research experience reading studies well enough to even make sense of them, or are you just cherry picking off the Internet in an attempt to prove your biases?

as aversive towards sex as some are attached.
I have to say it's very odd to encounter a Buddhist arguing against celibacy given the fact that the Buddha was celibate and there's a very wide plethora of Buddhist texts from all traditions advocating celibacy.
Did you not see that this is a Vajrayana/Mahayana forum? Are you under the impression that there are only celibate Buddhist traditions?

Of course celibacy is a great practice for those who choose the renunciate path, it’s the general tone of moralizing and superiority about celibacy combined with (I suspect) a poor understanding of the basic brain science (and it’s not like I have much either, but enough to know the difference here) behind your claims.

I never said or implied I was “against celibacy”, I’ve taken many teachings from ordained people and have respect for that path. You could have just read the post before yours to see that.

The OP is asking about science which somehow “proves” that celibacy is more healthy than having sex. There is no such body of research because people who choose celibacy do it for reasons that are not quantifiable, and often are not testable or falsifiable.

There’s nothing wrong with celibacy at all, but as far as Western medical consensus goes (implicitly what the OP is asking for), there’s not a big difference between someone with a healthy sex life and someone celibate, beyond risk of STD, etc.
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Re: (science) on celibacy

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Jokingfish wrote: Sun Nov 20, 2022 9:03 am What's the point of celibacy if its just ideology? If its not logical? If science say its not useful, why do people practice it? Why do Buddhist do (because of desire and attachment - but what is that, if science say its not useful)? Probably a huge misunderstanding from my position, sorry, just looking for answers..

Ty.
Generally, the reason behind any abstination of sensual pleasure is the peace of mind. If you abstain long enough, your longing for the object of your desire lessens. If you don't have a strong desire for sensual pleasures, it's much easier to focus on dharma study and practice.
All suffering without exception comes from wishing for one’s own happiness.
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Re: (science) on celibacy

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Johnny Dangerous wrote: Mon Nov 21, 2022 12:00 am Right, so, no studies and you cannot base these claims on evidence.
There are no studies on long term celibacy that I'm aware of. Only studies on relatively short term abstinence that show positive results for said abstinence.
Johnny Dangerous wrote: Mon Nov 21, 2022 12:00 am That’s not what is shows, and we already know how much dopamine is generally produced in drug use vs sex. As I said, drugs produce more - that’s non-controversial, and so can eating.
It seems painfully obvious to me that blasting heroin produces profound effects on dopamine levels. It's such an absurdity I'm not sure why you brought it up at all.

Do you have any source for your claim that eating can effect dopamine levels more profoundly than orgasm? This is a powerful and interesting claim I'm interested in learning more about.
Johnny Dangerous wrote: Mon Nov 21, 2022 12:00 am Having sex is not abnormal. The thread is not about sex addiction, porn addiction, etc. It’s about celibacy. The fact that you generally associate-any sex- with dysfunction says volumes about your viewpoint.
Strawman. I never claimed sex was abnormal. My claim was that the average man in 2022 is unhealthy and has an abnormal relationship to sex.

The fact is that most adult human males in my country consume pornography, which studies have very clearly shown damages the brain by reducing grey matter. Hence, most adult human males in my country have an abnormal relationship to sex.

Johnny Dangerous wrote: Mon Nov 21, 2022 12:00 am Ah yes, and you are not sick because you retain semen or whatever, got it. Is it about being “not average” and special?
You make it sound like a petty and egoistic thing, but I don't see why a man should ever settle for being average. Settling is death in my opinion. When one has all the answers and learning stops, or striving stops, one might as well be dead.
Johnny Dangerous wrote: Mon Nov 21, 2022 12:00 am Again, giving up sex is good if one practices a vehicle of renunciation, but of little importance if one does not. Simply having a healthy relationship to sex is fine if one does not practice as a renunciate.
From my understanding celibacy or semen retention at the very least is essential if one seeks enlightenment in this lifetime (for the vast majority of aspirants).

Merely having a "healthy relationship to sex" is fine if one seeks enlightenment at some future point in future births.
Johnny Dangerous wrote: Mon Nov 21, 2022 12:00 am The Buddha also taught non -celibate laypeople too, even in Pali literature. Of course ordained renunciates are celibate for specific and practical reasons.
Yes, and as it was also understood in Pali literature, none of those sex having laymen would be achieving enlightenment in this lifetime. The absolute best they can hope for is to become a celibate monk in a future birth.
Injrabodi wrote: There's plenty of studies I can cite regarding celibacy demonstrating its health benefits (many regarding testosterone and androgen receptors) however ultimately it's my own sadhana that has indisputably proven the power of celibacy to me.
Johnny Dangerous wrote: Mon Nov 21, 2022 12:00 am Really? go ahead. Do you have any professional or research experience reading studies well enough to even make sense of them, or are you just cherry picking off the Internet in an attempt to prove your biases?
Ad hominem. I'm merely a humble farmer but I don't see why you should be gatekeeping simple and publicly available studies on the internet.

I think it would be a good thing if more people attempted to study and educate themselves. This isn't a dangerous topic either, or far out of reach of the ordinary man. With just as little as a single month of celibacy (of body and mind) anyone can feel its power.
Johnny Dangerous wrote: Mon Nov 21, 2022 12:00 am Did you not see that this is a Vajrayana/Mahayana forum? Are you under the impression that there are only celibate Buddhist traditions?
I have never seen a Buddhist tradition that advocates the spilling of seed for pleasure. I've only ever seen hedonistic sex tolerated among laymen that won't be attaining enlightenment in their present lifetime.

If you wouldn't mind educating me, what Buddhist tradition advocates hedonistic ejaculation?

Johnny Dangerous wrote: Mon Nov 21, 2022 12:00 am Of course celibacy is a great practice for those who choose the renunciate path, it’s the general tone of moralizing and superiority about celibacy combined with (I suspect) a poor understanding of the basic brain science (and it’s not like I have much either, but enough to know the difference here) behind your claims.
I had no intention of conveying any sort of supremacy in my posting. I do believe that in general for serious spiritual aspirants celibacy is superior, given the many examples of celibate masters in almost all religious traditions.

I think the celibate and enlightened likely outnumber the sex-havers by at least 10 to 1, but of course this is just a rough number I pulled out of the air.

Daoism sums it up neatly I believe. There is a yang gate and a yin gate. Our energy wants to move and exit somehow. The vast majority of humans will have sex for pleasure and therefore flush their energy out of the yin gate. The yang gate on the other hand requires retention and sadhana to exit.

Whew this post ended up way bigger than I originally intended :toilet:
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Re: (science) on celibacy

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Mirror wrote: Mon Nov 21, 2022 1:16 am
Jokingfish wrote: Sun Nov 20, 2022 9:03 am What's the point of celibacy if its just ideology? If its not logical? If science say its not useful, why do people practice it? Why do Buddhist do (because of desire and attachment - but what is that, if science say its not useful)? Probably a huge misunderstanding from my position, sorry, just looking for answers..

Ty.
Generally, the reason behind any abstination of sensual pleasure is the peace of mind. If you abstain long enough, your longing for the object of your desire lessens. If you don't have a strong desire for sensual pleasures, it's much easier to focus on dharma study and practice.
Just to add to this, people are mainly talking here about the choice to do something. Now imagine -not- having something, or that which provides comfort taken away.

So our toys are taken away from us, but we are cognizant that they are gone (perhaps the parable of the poisoned arrow is useful to consider here). Of course Buddha was allegedly talking about metaphysical matters here, so what was emphasized is the urgency of more practical matters. ie: What really matters, what will actually help etc..

Recognize that things can be taken, but in matters of celibacy, this can happen naturally too. For the younger folk moderation in our endeavours particularly regarding strong urges, and not picking up new shiny habits that invariably hamper practice.
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Re: (science) on celibacy

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Injrabodi wrote: Mon Nov 21, 2022 2:13 am I do believe that in general for serious spiritual aspirants celibacy is superior, given the many examples of celibate masters in almost all religious traditions.
Well then you are excluding rabbis, married lamas, and spiritual leaders in many if not most indigenous cultures.
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Re: (science) on celibacy

Post by Injrabodi »

PadmaVonSamba wrote: Mon Nov 21, 2022 10:31 pm
Injrabodi wrote: Mon Nov 21, 2022 2:13 am I do believe that in general for serious spiritual aspirants celibacy is superior, given the many examples of celibate masters in almost all religious traditions.
Well then you are excluding rabbis, married lamas, and spiritual leaders in many if not most indigenous cultures.
Semen retention is one of the most sacred practices of Judaism. Kabbalah actually considers it the most important distinguishment for separating Jews from non-Jews (along with Shabbat and Teffilin).

Here's some quotes from Rabbis on the subject-
Image

Just like the married Rishis who composed the Vedas, they only spilled seed for reproduction.
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Re: (science) on celibacy

Post by PadmaVonSamba »

Injrabodi wrote: Tue Nov 22, 2022 12:52 am
PadmaVonSamba wrote: Mon Nov 21, 2022 10:31 pm
Injrabodi wrote: Mon Nov 21, 2022 2:13 am I do believe that in general for serious spiritual aspirants celibacy is superior, given the many examples of celibate masters in almost all religious traditions.
Well then you are excluding rabbis, married lamas, and spiritual leaders in many if not most indigenous cultures.
Semen retention is one of the most sacred practices of Judaism.
That’s not the same as celibacy. You can have sex all over the place and not ejaculate.
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Re: (science) on celibacy

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Injrabodi wrote: Tue Nov 22, 2022 12:52 am
PadmaVonSamba wrote: Mon Nov 21, 2022 10:31 pm
Injrabodi wrote: Mon Nov 21, 2022 2:13 am I do believe that in general for serious spiritual aspirants celibacy is superior, given the many examples of celibate masters in almost all religious traditions.
Well then you are excluding rabbis, married lamas, and spiritual leaders in many if not most indigenous cultures.
Semen retention is one of the most sacred practices of Judaism. Kabbalah actually considers it the most important distinguishment for separating Jews from non-Jews (along with Shabbat and Teffilin).

Here's some quotes from Rabbis on the subject-
Image

Just like the married Rishis who composed the Vedas, they only spilled seed for reproduction.
I really feel like this comment comes from little experience of Judaism or Rabbis beyond just stuff you read in isolation about Kabbalah (which is by no means universal to Judaism -at all) on the Internet.

The basic tenets and practices of most forms of Judaism are heavily centered around the family and reproduction, these things are quite central to the Jewish religion, quite obviously… including to Chabadniks etc. who may practice more esoteric things. Rabbis do not practice celibacy, and in fact in Orthodox type circles tend to have large families.

Anyway, this is largely irrelevant to the subject of what science has to say about celibacy anyway.

Let’s try to keep the OPs question, else the thread bumps against the TOS and goes the way of the dodo.
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Re: (science) on celibacy

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Why does dharma teach to be more celibate, and science (our modern psychology) doesn't? How can one merge these two, should one do that?

Ty.
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Re: (science) on celibacy

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Jokingfish wrote: Tue Nov 22, 2022 12:13 pm Why does dharma teach to be more celibate, and science (our modern psychology) doesn't? How can one merge these two, should one do that?

Ty.
You have already had a good answer:
Johnny Dangerous wrote: Fri Nov 18, 2022 6:56 pm People don’t generally become celibate for “scientific” reasons, outside of medical necessity, it has an ideological basis, whether it’s moral or a claim based on retention of energy, etc.
The choice is yours - follow the dharma (one version of it, anyway) or follow the science.

:juggling:
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Re: (science) on celibacy

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I would rather be celebratory
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Re: (science) on celibacy

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Far as modern science-oriented thought I think it’s pretty simple:

https://www.webmd.com/sex/the-psycholog ... f-celibacy

Then there’s studying it as a cultural thing:

https://academic.oup.com/book/2116/chap ... m=fulltext

Then there’s seeing from the point of view of specific traditions, these are different things. As the article above alluded to, generally ideas about celibacy in various traditions are not adhered to by modern science. It goes without saying that religious traditions have a very different values system wrt to sex and sensuality than science, which is theoretically neutral - though that could sure be debated.
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Re: (science) on celibacy

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PadmaVonSamba wrote: Tue Nov 22, 2022 3:25 pm I would rather be celebratory
I take it that you know the old joke about the manuscript in the monastery cellar which which was mis-copied years ago?

:smile:
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