I was recently asked about my stance on ‘no fap’ as well as Taoist semen retention. Here is the question, from reader ‘shaking my head’, in full:
You talk about guys with high sex-drive. What’s your take on this whole ‘no fap’ (i.e. not jerking off) or “semen retention” stuff that Taoist practitioners preach? I ask since you, Aaron, have been into meditation for a while. Is all this semen retention and ‘no fap’ a bunch of nonsense?
First, let’s talk about ‘no fap’. I am familiar with it. Look online, and you will find quite a few sites where men write about how much their life changed for the better once they stopped fapping. However, it’s not fapping itself that is the issue but fapping to porn. The biggest benefit of ‘no fap’ seems to be for people who are obsessed with porn if not downright addicted to it. If this is your problem, then you are simply an addict and any kind of addiction treatment will help. Fapping to porn is simply a concrete expression of an addiction, which is not fundamentally different, on an abstract level, from other addictions such as social media addiction, gambling, drug abuse and so on. In short, if you are addicted to fapping to porn, meaning that this habit negatively affects your life, then it’s time to work on it. This is no different than if you were addicted to X, whatever X may be.
On the other hand, if you are not addicted to fapping to porn, then rubbing one out every now and again, even if it is to porn, is hardly an issue. The No Fap community makes some very strong claims related to the benefits of abstaining from fapping to porn, but I call bullshit on that. Dropping a moderate fapping habit will not magically increase your productivity like crazy or take care of all your mental issues. In the No Fap community you’ll get plenty of anecdotes of how not splashing a huge load of cum all over your screen while watching some real-life sex doll getting bukkake’d by fifty guys turns you into superman. Much more likely is that you just fap less. If you lack willpower, you will simply find other ways of wasting your time. That PlayStation under your TV probably starts to look awfully tempting for most guys that have kicked their porn habit.
An issue with addictions is that they point to underlying problems in your life. So, if compulsorily fapping to porn is an issue for you, then the obvious question is how you could even get to that point. If I look at how busy I have been the last few years, I wouldn’t even have had the time to develop some addiction, let alone a porn addiction. I don’t think I am special. Work full-time, commute, devote some time to a hobby, have a girlfriend, and then tell me how you’re going to fit in ten masturbation sessions a day. You won’t be able to do it. There is a very fitting proverb for all of this: “The devil finds work for idle hands.” So, find something meaningful to do with your life and porn will be much less of a temptation.
Now, onto the second issue: semen retention. The belief is that if you don’t ejaculate then you retain ‘vigor’ and yield a whole slew of other health benefits. It is based on Taoist beliefs. There is just one problem with it: it does not make much sense. As far as I know, there is not a single study that has shown that releasing sperm has negative effects on your health. Blowing a load may very well have negative effects on your life if you impregnate a woman during a one-night stand and she subsequently sues you for child support, but apart from that, shooting your wad really is not an issue. If the absence of scientific proof isn’t good enough for you, then how about viewing this from an evolutionary angle. This quickly leads to a contradiction because if retaining semen had evolutionary benefits, then… Oh, wait, if you retain semen, you don’t even get to procreate.
Here is something else to think about: show me a No Fapper or Semen Retentionist who not only proclaims increased productivity but also actually produces something. I’m not talking about a blockbuster movie or a best-selling book. Just something, anything. In my case, I just put out one book and will have another one out soon. I don’t subscribe to No Fap and I think little of semen retention. I know that my argumentation is a bit shady, but proponents of No Fap and semen retention are quick to claim universal benefits. As you all know, because you all have had some exposure to mathematics, an example isn’t a proof, but a counter-example is a counterproof. Thus, pointing to people who enjoy mental clarity even though they don’t practice semen retention is a counterexample to the proclaimed universal benefits of that practice. Similarly, being productive while not abstaining from fapping is a counter-example to the claim that fapping is bad for you. (Repeat: compulsive fapping is bad for you, just like compulsive anything is bad for you.)
Lastly, let me talk about meditation for a little bit. I have been meditating for over twenty years, starting in my mid-teens. Through that practice I acquired great mental clarity. I also acquired many, if not all, of the purported benefits of semen retention, like being able to remain calm in the face of chaos. Serious meditation is a genuine struggle. If you don’t believe me, then try meditating, not focussing on anything, for fifteen minutes, if you’re a beginner. Heck, if you think you’re good, do it for two hours. Meditation is a phenomenally effective tool for training you willpower. It even works if you ejaculate every once in a while. If this sounds cryptic, think about what this entails.
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