Partner-Based Birth Control

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I'm creating this forum in response to gustavo andradne's comment: "Vasectomy could also be something unnecessary if one is in a relationship where it is OK to be inside her only during non-fertile days.. Maybe rhythm/'standard days' in combination with non-orgasmic copulation should lower the probabilities of pregnancy enough to be considered 'safe sex.'"

In this context I assume he's meaning safe sex in the sense of protection from pregnancy, not STD's.

I started a little 'zine a while back on sexual alchemy and i never finished it, but I did outline the partner-based birth control method that I have used successfully for over two years. This is what I wrote; hopefully it will be of interest:

SEXUAL ALCHEMY, THE RHYTHM METHOD, AND INTENTIONALITY: THE PERFECT FORM OF BIRTH CONTROL?

I'm totally excited about the possibilities of closer intimacy and greater sexual enjoyment through the use of what I call a "partner-based" birth control method - combining sexual alchemy, fertility awareness, changing of vaginal PH, and - most importantly - intentionality. This method of birth control is for a couple in a committed relationship who are both on a conscious spiritual path, are practicing non-ejaculatory sex, and who have the patience and interest to know their own bodies well. When we are tuned in, we can care for ourselves and others in a more effective way.

SEXUAL ALCHEMY

In Taoist Sexual Alchemy, the male doesn't ejaculate and the woman doesn't ovulate, unless they want to conceive. I think it's clear that the simple act of the male choosing not to ejaculate is not sufficient as a method of birth control, and could be equivalent to withdrawal in effectiveness, particularly with a "drippy" guy. Read Mantak Chia’s books "Healing Love Through the Tao" and "Taoist Secrets of Love" for further instruction, and use a backup method of birth control during the "learning curve," until the man has mastered control over his impulse to ejaculate.

The focus is not exactly taken away from the groin area, but the groin is seen only as the central starting point from which you can energize your whole system. The basic Taoist observation is that there are different forms of chi, or life force, and one of the most potent forms of chi is the sexual chi, or jing chi, because it can create life. And if we don’t want to create life every time we have sex (which most people don’t), then it’s therefore a waste of chi to expend it externally through orgasm. So you recirculate the orgasmic jing chi back into your system to energize all of your organs, and in that sense it’s a form of health care. There are various positions that are healing to certain maladies.

Since it takes many years for a woman to stop menstruating through Taoist Alchemy and meditation, that's clearly not an immediate possibility for birth control, especially for new practitioners of the art.

According to the Taoists, women lose their chi through menstruation, not orgasm. Ovulation and menstruation are the female equivalent of the male losing his seed. By doing the orbit meditation, women can actually eventually stop having their period altogether, since the life-creating energy is being internalized, rather than sent outwards. I haven't ever had the goal of stopping my period, but my roommate, who introduced me to this and who has successfully used this as a form of birth control for three years, has succeeded in stopping her menstruation. Nuns in China called this "Slaying the Red Dragon." Many people are horrified at this idea, even though many hormonal methods of birth control suppress ovulation as well, though not the bleeding. My periods have gotten much lighter and easier when I have been doing the meditation more diligently. Menstruation can be resumed when and if you want to conceive, by stopping the meditation.

Even if you’re not in a long-term, sexual relationship, you can develop your awareness of the energies in your body by doing the solo cultivation; it doesn’t necessarily need to have anything to do with sexual relationship. This is just about being empowered and distributing the chi evenly throughout your body. You can learn that technique and use it for being energized, and then when you do get into a sexual relationship, you’ve developed that ability.

FERTILITY AWARENESS

There are other, more accurate and less-tedious ways to gauge how fertile you are in your cycle besides taking your basal temperature. This method is only effective for detecting ovulation if the temperature is taken at the same time each day, something which was inconvenient for me.

I've started to gauge where I am in my cycle by the position of my cervix in the vaginal canal, and the wideness of the opening to the cervix (the os) along with the hardness of the cervix. As ovulation nears, the os opens up, there is a slippery liquid at the opening, and the whole cervix itself rises higher and higher in the vaginal canal as ovulation approaches. After ovulation, the cervix begins to descend again, grows firmer (like pressing the end of your nose) and the os, or opening to the cervix, becomes smaller again. Go to www.sisterzeus.com/cervob.htm for more info and photos of the cervix at different times of the month.

To find out more about fertility awareness though mucus observation, visit: www.sisterzeus.com/mucob.htm .

CHANGING OF VAGINA’S PH

I’ve read of whores in Mexico who insert a coke bottle in their vagina to change the ph and make it less hospitable to sperm. I myself have used a small amount (about 1 teaspoon) of high quality apple cider vinegar to a cup of water. After engaging in sex in which my partner does not ejaculate in me, I wash out my vagina with this solution using my fingers. The acidity should kill any lingering sperm. This is the part of the birth control method that could use the most improvement. The vagina is a delicate environment, and you don’t want to throw it off balance. The vagina is normally acidic, becoming less so as ovulation nears. Vinegar is also a good antidote to candida infections, so I feel this douche is not harmful. However, it would be nice to discover other natural spermicides.

INTENTIONALITY

Even fairly radical hippies I've spoken with, who've tried a lot of things, have been wary of this method as I have described it to them, especially the intentionality aspect. So many of them have experienced negative results from the rhythm method. Also, though they may believe that one's intentions directly influence one's life, they would be hard-pressed to use intentionality as a form of birth control. I am not advocating the use of any one of these systems alone as a form of birth control - but, used together, they have been effective for me and others using this method for years.

In this method, both partners state their intentions not to conceive out lout to each other at the end of every menstrual cycle, and before having sex. This aspect of the birth control is very powerful, because both people communicate their desire to each other not to conceive, and in so doing, communicate to any souls waiting at the door who may be waiting for any slightest opening.

The couple gives reasons for not wanting to start a family. While they may already know as individuals that they don't want to conceive, the stating and sharing of the intention out loud as a couple is significant, and part of the spiritual practice.

Part of this practice is also to acknowledge any feelings either person has had to conceive. This feeling is not repressed, and if the couple sees this desire but still feels it is not the right time, they state more firmly their reasons for not wanting to conceive (obviously if they decide they DO want to conceive, this is an option too!). The couple also states their intentions for the whole relationship, and reflects on their interactions and intimacy over the past month, becoming more aware and deliberate in how they want to relate as partners.

PARTNER-BASED BIRTH CONTROL & SPIRITUALITY

Since the majority of contraceptive methods are designed for women's use, sex can be infected with the fear of pregnancy and the resulting resentment that the man doesn't have to shoulder much responsibility in preventing conception. This resentment and fear naturally affects the woman's overall desire. To be freed from anxiety, fear, and resentment is so huge. Underneath those feelings lie the woman's natural desire and love of sex, which easily equals that of man's.

This partner-based birth control method is a spiritual practice. It is radically different than other forms available, in that this is not an external method, where you rely on the condom or rely on the pill to prevent getting pregnant - you rely on each other, and that requires being in tune continually — with your own body and with your partner. It takes sensitivity, time, and communication to accomplish this method, and can be very rich, enjoyable, and valuable as a result. It's a joy to be in tune because that's why two people come together - because they like each other. It's not like it's a hassle to tune in; that's part of the spiritual practice. It requires self-discipline, self-awareness. It's the opposite of the consumerist approach to sex and birth control.

Spirituality acknowledges the human capacity to direct energy in a highly evolved way. So the relation of this method to spirituality lies not only in the acknowledgement of the power in choosing how to expend sexual energy; it also provides a map and understanding of the pathways that energy flows in the body, through the organs. And because each organ in Chinese medicine is associated with certain emotions, an organ with depleted chi is going to result in negative emotions. The reverse also happens, where negative emotions deplete that organ, and this in turn effects the glands associated with each organ, and their capacity to produce the drugs and hormones necessary for balanced functioning and therefore for happiness. A sexual practice that incorporates focused, directed chi in an intentional effort to energize and heal the loved one is very beneficial, because it is through generosity and selflessness that we tap into our true spiritual power.

I think that the spiritual impulse is basically the impulse to examine how one seeks to live one’s life, and to try to find a way to live that is harmonious, energized, and peaceful. Being fertile is a very powerful capacity, so applying our awareness and intention to how we interact as fertile beings is not only important, but crucial to our own feeling of completion as sexual human beings.

Popular birth control threads
No one will guarantee that any birth control method is "completely effective." Even condoms have a failure rate. Sperm are crafty little devils, and women evolved to get pregnant, so their body chemistry conspires to aid their sperm pals. You can read some of these pages for the birth-control thoughts of people who visit Reuniting:

http://www.reuniting.info/blogs/lovers13/birth-control
http://www.reuniting.info/content/karezza-and-birth-control
http://www.reuniting.info/content/karezza-and-condoms
http://www.reuniting.info/node/1035
http://www.reuniting.info/node/691
http://www.reuniting.info/node/1157
http://www.reuniting.info/node/2263

This is a very important subject

and it takes a lot of courage to propose a creative solution. Thanks.

For the record, ancient Taoists most definitely DID teach that women lose energy through orgasm, and not just menstruation and childbirth. For more on this see The Art of the Bedchamber, by Douglas Wile, State University of New York Press (1992) Here's a brief article about it: http://www.reuniting.info/wisdom/taoism_chinese_sexology_wile

Nonhormonal Male Birth Control

Here's an excerpt from a paper I wrote for class for those of you interested in this topic:

A Discussion: How to Reduce Overpopulation without Mentioning Birth Control

About a year and a half ago, I was invited to an exclusive dinner party hosted by an older friend of mine who had recently transplanted from the Bay Area to this small town in New Mexico. A good friend of his, a professor at Stanford who had written a lot on the subject of overpopulation, was visiting him – so they had decided to host a salon party and discussion evening to contemplate the problem of overpopulation. I was the only person in my age group invited, and after the bright older women listened to the ideas of the men, cleaned up the kitchen and went home to put their children to bed, I found myself the only woman left in the discussion.

It was hard to get a word in edgewise. When I finally did, I said, “I’m surprised that in this whole discussion of overpopulation and the need for each couple to have only one child, not once has birth control been mentioned.”

The professor had a ready answer for me. He said that he knew the man whose work had led to widespread use of the pill (Carl Djerassi) and that if I were to visit him in California I could meet the patriarch of women’s liberation in person. I admitted that the pill had given many women freedom, but that the only women friends I had who actually liked it did so because it caused their breasts to get larger and their skin to clear up. The rest of my friends hated the pill, and I myself had refused to continue using it after six months on it, because I felt like some weird parody of womanhood on it.

The professor replied, “There are projects underway to create a male pill. Wouldn’t that be great?” I dissented: having experienced the horrible affects of hormonal birth control firsthand, I would not wish it on anyone. Besides, pundits have been saying that hormonal male contraception would be on the market in “five to ten years” for more than 15 years now.

Well, what then to do? I described to them the partner-based birth control method I had used for years – a combination of fertility awareness; spiritual communion; consistent, verbalized intentionality and communication around fertility; vaginal PH change; condom use during fertile times; and abstinence from ejaculation on the part of the male. This last aspect of the program was not a popular idea among this group of men.

This extensive list of tasks I go through to prevent conception is not a hassle – as Memmler’s list of birth control options implies when it states that one disadvantage of the fertility awareness method is that it “requires careful record keeping.” As though being intimately interested in our bodies – their cycles and changes – were somehow distasteful, a cumbersome distraction or even a pathology. Who has the time when you just wanna get it on? Who wants to actually be conscious around sex? Sex should be spontaneous, carefree – right? Yes – so long as the woman is carrying all the burden of birth control, and so long as that birth control allows her to be conveniently unconscious of the full power of her choice, the rhythms of her body - and an experiential familiarity with the deeper source of her most essential, luxuriant desire.

Disadvantages of Hormonal Birth Control

The Male Contraception Information Project (MCIP), under the direction of Elaine Lissner and Kirsten Thompson, is dedicated to “raising public awareness of promising non-hormonal male contraceptives, advocating increased and expedited government research, and serving as a resource for journalists who wish to write about the subject.” In their call for more research and funding for non-hormonal male contraception, they give a detailed account of the shortcomings of barrier methods as well as hormonal methods (pointing out that besides low efficacy rates, barrier methods pose difficult challenges to poor women living in areas without access to clean water for cleaning out diaphragms, for example).

Memmler’s lists some of the disadvantages of hormonal birth control as follows: risk of cardiovascular disease in older or smoking women; menstrual irregularity; infections; irritation; alters physiology (An aside: yes, we know that Memmler’s must by necessity provide a truncated version of some truths. For example, it describes the clitoris as a “small organ of great sensitivity” and depicts it as such – about 1/8 of its full length, without the roots which extend far back along the vaginal canal).

The MCIP points out further physical, financial, and cultural factors in the use of hormonal birth control, from a more global perspective:

Physical: “Side effects can include nausea, vomiting, headaches, moodiness, breakthrough bleeding, and breast tenderness” (MCIP website). MCIP also mentions bone thinning and prolonged bleeding (Depo Provera), weight gain, and limited use for breastfeeding women.

MCIP also mentions that “the Pill appears particularly problematic for South American women, who tend to experience more side effects because they tend to be significantly smaller, . . . than the North American women for whom the Pills are designed” (MCIP website).

In addition, there is the issue of interference with thyroid health, and a loss of interest in sex - a considerable disadvantage surprisingly not mentioned in standard texts. Apparently estrogen increases the sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG) which also happens to bind with thyroid hormone. 10-15% of women already have thyroid disturbances. Even for those who don’t, the increase in estrogen from hormonal birth control can interfere with the vital functions of the thyroid, which is responsible for such important processes as regulating “mood, energy, and the function of nearly every organ in the body” (MCIP website). SHBG also binds to testosterone, which results in what MCIP kindly calls a “second contraceptive effect” – that of disinterest in sex.

Financial: When thinking of birth control, Westerners rarely think beyond their privileged pocketbooks. If we are really to decrease world population, birth control must be affordable to the poorest of women, which it is not: “Even at discounted rates, the monthly purchase of hormones from pharmaceutical companies is out of reach of the world’s poorest women” (MCIP website).

Ecological Implications of Hormonal Birth Control

With synthetic estrogens passing through urine into water systems, there is much cause for concern, since these estrogens affect fish and wildlife, and therefore the reproductive capacities of wildlife – where they then can get reintroduced into human systems through the food chain. The Male Contraception Information Project points out that “hormone mimics in the food chain are starting to have a negative effect on human reproduction as well.”

If we were to view the body as a microcosm of the earth, we would perhaps be more able to extend the metaphor of environmental degradation to the bodies of women, a guinea pig for many different versions of the technological fix. In her book Women as Wombs, Janice G. Raymond, asks, “Are women being exempted from the natural world as more and more bodily processes become subject to the medicalization of technical progress? Surely, a genuine ecological consciousness should spot this glaring pollution of women. If environmentalists are quick to recognize the mechanizing of nature, why are they so slow to recognize the pathologizing of women’s natural bodily processes?”

Where’s that Much-anticipated Male Pill?

This paper may seem a bit extreme. After all, the world is overpopulated and certainly we must curb our populations somehow. It’s time men shouldered some of the responsibility in this regard. It would seem a male pill would not be that hard to come by. We can fly to the moon and clone cows, but we still don’t have an effective male contraceptive aside from the condom and sterilization. Why haven’t we created a male pill yet? It would be nice if the reason were simply that we know from experience that hormonal methods in men would likely be as deleterious to physical and ecological health as they are to women.

But there are other reasons. In order for a hormonal product to be worth investment and research, it must be taken regularly (short acting), and must provide a profit. Pharmaceutical companies have not been able to create a pill for men that would replace the female pill market in profitability – yet. And until they do, it’s not likely to go on the market for the sake of others.

Just as simple, affordable technologies such as the neem plant and fertility awareness are not promoted because they do not make anyone money, so too there is no funding for research into a long-acting, low-cost male method, which “. . . . holds little appeal for a pharmaceutical company — especially if the man is in a committed relationship and his partner stops buying her Pills from the company every month. Thus, it is illogical to expect pharmaceutical companies to develop such a contraceptive. Its development falls squarely on the shoulders of government agencies and the nonprofit sector” (MCIP website).

Nonhormonal Male Birth Control Options
Do you love your woman enough to wear polyester underwear? The "electrostatic potential" in jock straps could kill sperm – but it also seems to be associated with reduced potency, perhaps “due to the electrostatic fields’ affect on intrapenile structures” (MCIP website). Polyester suspensory research may just be another dead end.
But there are numerous other potential non-hormonal forms of birth control, many of which hold some promise but which have either been stalled by lack of funding, have questionable side-effects, or have had mixed laboratory results. They include: immunological approaches (the body is tricked into attacking its own sperm); electrical shocks (disabling sperm for about ten days); the use of binding/penetrating enzymes (enzymes in sperm eat through the sugary coating of the egg – ingesting these enzymes early on could bind the sperm while they are still in the epididymis); silicone and polyurethane injectable plugs; a number of chemical substances that cause permanent sterilization by injection; and plant-derived substances, such as those from Carica papaya seeds, cloves, neem, and the Chinese herbal medicine Tripterygiumwilfordii (which incapacitates sperm partly by blocking the calcium channel).
While the MCIP does not extensively discuss Neem, I did come across some literature a while back on the effects of the neem plant on male (and female) fertility. The plant seems to be effective against pregnancy taken orally and injected into the vas deferens. These studies were done in the early nineties and I’m not sure why they haven’t become more widely known or pursued, especially since injection of neem also increased immune response. Sister Zeus, reporting on studies by Sharma, Upadhyay, and Vietmeyer, notes that “In a test of neem's birth control effects with members of the Indian Army, daily oral doses of several drops of neem seed oil in gelatin capsules were given to twenty married soldiers. The effect took six weeks to become 100 percent effective, it remained effective during the entire year of the trial and was reversed six weeks after the subjects stopped taking the capsules. During this time the men experienced no adverse side effects and retained their normal capabilities and desires. There were no pregnancies of any of the wives during the period of the study.”
Women at the Forefront of Nonhormonal Male Birth Control Research
Dr. Susan Benoff demonstrated in the mid-nineties that Nifedipine - a widely used high blood pressure medication – has a contraceptive effect in some men via the blockage of calcium channels in sperm membranes. There is some question as to how many nifedipine users become sterile, and to the reliability of the drug as a contraceptive. (I had a boyfriend who had used Nifedipine intermittently over the years in other partnerships. I appreciated his willingness to take it again, though his intense and sudden crankiness after about three days of use made him unappealing as a bedmate.) Potential also exists in the similarly-acting compound N-butyldeoxynojirimycin (Zavesca).
From the 30’s to the 50’s, pacifist; animal welfare advocate, and Swiss physician Martha Voegeli did extensive research conclusively indicating that heating the scrotum for 45 minutes in water at 116˚ Fahrenheit daily for three weeks effectively produced temporary sterility in men for a period of six months. Her program found no side effects on the men or in their future children. For longer sterility, the treatment is repeated. The adult pain threshold is generally considered to be 118˚, and many men find the experience pleasant.
Dr. Christina Wang’s work (with Ronald Swerdloff of the University of California, Los Angeles) is similar to Dr. Martha Voegeli’s work, in that it is fast and inexpensive, therefore receiving little in the way of research support because of its lack of potential for profit. Dr. Wang has shown that ten minutes of ultrasound results in six months of sterility. MCIP notes that this is one of the most promising non-hormonal options available, and describes the process this way: “. . . ultrasound waves (very short, inaudible sound waves) are used to heat the testes. The ultrasound waves are of the same type and intensity as those used by physical therapists to treat injuries. To use the method, a man first sits in a special chair with his scrotum in a cup of water. In the bottom of the cup is an ultrasound element, which heats the water about as hot as a hot tub. It has also been hypothesized that the ultrasound creates an ion exchange between the fluid in the seminiferous tubules and the rete testis, making the environment in the testes inhospitable for sperm formation. The method is painless.”
Reversible Inhibition of Sperm Under Guidance (RISUG)
RISUG is a reversible procedure in which a polymer gel is injected into the vas deferens. The gel solidifies instantly and microscopically. The inside walls of the vas deferens coated with this gel killed sperm as they go by, bursting as they come into contact with the positive and negative charges on the polymer. Reversal is easy, and can be done after days, weeks, or years, when it is dissolved with an injection of DMSO. “Thus, fertility can be limited by one injection or restored by another. . . Standard dose lasts at least seven, and the men from the Phase II studies have been using their RISUG for more than a decade” (MCIP website).
Conclusion
Many nonhormonal birth control options are either already available or promising given more time and research. I still advocate for the partner-based birth control method mentioned at the beginning of this paper. The spiritual implications of being fully involved and responsible for one’s own fertility, and seeing this as a gift and an opportunity for communication and awareness, is a value that future generations might possibly enjoy in a culture that we create now by turning away from profit-driven pharmaceutical companies and consumerist sexual habits.

References

Memmler’s Anatomy & Physiology of the Human Body.

Women as Wombs: Reproductive Technologies and the Battle over Women’s Freedom, Janice G. Raymond, 1995.

The Male Contraception Information Project: http://www.newmalecontraception.org

Sister Zeus: http://www.sisterzeus.com/neem.html

Controlled intercourse and sperm motility

I've said this elsewhere, but it belongs here. The practice of making love without ejaculation does a lot to give men control over the procreative process. The longer the time between ejaculations, the more the sperm in the works break up. They "lose motility" and aren't as likely to fertilize anything. This means that the few sperm in precum are, after a time, REALLY unlikely to make someone pregnant.

Here a fertility doctor (2003 Michael D. Birnbaum, MD, PC) encourages couples who wish to get pregnant to do the very opposite:

Pregnancy and Frequency of Intercourse
As I have discussed in my "MYTHS" pamphlet, there is a very common belief that a man can "save it up." This myth says that if a man abstains from intercourse for several days or more, his semen will be better and he will have a better chance of impregnating a woman.

THIS IS COMPLETELY UNTRUE. In fact, the opposite is true. The most important thing about semen quality is the motility of the sperm - how fast and how well they are moving. The single most important determinant of good motility is frequency of ejaculation. The more frequently a man ejaculates, the better motility. The better the motility, the better the chance of a pregnancy.

Over the years, I have seen numerous couples, particularly those on various ovulation promoting drugs who will deliberately abstain from intercourse until the time of the HCG shot, mistakenly believing that this will improve their chances of conception.

If you are trying to have a baby, it is important to have intercourse on a regular and frequent basis. All the statistics indicate that intercourse on the average of 3 or 4 times a week will maximize a couple's chances of conception. Having intercourse more often will not decrease your chances but a lower frequency definitely will.

To be sure, it is important to have intercourse at the time of ovulation which will occur within 36 hours after the initial HCG injection. However, you must maintain optimum semen quality by having intercourse on a regular basis throughout the entire menstrual cycle. This is the best way to maximize you chances of having a baby. Certainly, deliberately abstaining from intercourse on the mistaken belief that it would improve the chances of getting pregnant is literally counter productive.

7 Up

[quote=hotspring]

I’ve read of whores in Mexico who insert a coke bottle in their vagina to change the ph and make it less hospitable to sperm. [/quote]

I read a long time ago of lemon juice and '7 Up' being used for the same purpose , too:

[quote]The sexual mores of the ancient primitives are illuminating. The most ancient primitives extant in the world are the natives of the Isle of Melville, off the northern coast of Australia, and secondly the natives of the Isle of Iffia. Both of these peoples have a natural instinct to celebrate sacred sex rituals...

I also find it interesting to observe the instinct for hygiene in the primitives as, for example, the use of a small sponge soaked with the juice of some fruit or plant which is acidic, such as lemon juice. It really is a mystery to me how so-called teenagers come by their information, such as using a warm bottle of acidic drink such as Seven-Up or Coke as a contraceptive.

medical doctor and practising psychiatrist (name withheld by request), 1971

[/quote]

Ric
[ying]

Controlled intercourse and sperm motility

The idea that is not a myth is that by "saving it up" the quantity of semen is greater. A large amount of semen supposedly helps neutralize the pH of the vagina. While the vagina does tend to become less acidic around ovulation, perhaps it is still not enough to make it cozy for several days for sperm cells that don't bring along their own large supply of alkalinity.

Do you have a reference for the actual research showing decreased motility? Without even seeing it, however, I can tell you in advance what you already know. Since the subjects in the research were not non-orgasmics, the results don't necessarily apply to the pre-cum of nonorgasmics. Also, just because samples from a large, infrequent ejaculations showed sperm cells with decreased motility, compared to sperm cells from small, frequent ejaculations, it doesn't necessarily follow that the pre-cum of even the same subjects would have less motility. If you want to make conclusions about pre-cum, you have to study pre-cum.

I would like to posit the idea that the sperm in pre-cum, having had the strength to breach the gate, is the most motile of all. Furthermore, that during ovulation the alkalinity of the healthiest vagina is quite sufficient without the need for a large amount of neutralizing fluids from semen. And in conclusion, that it may well be that natural selection favors not the supposed superfecundity of large ejaculations, but rather the frugal, yet potent, drip of the nonorgasmic's pre-cum.

Thanks for this thoughtful post

Makes good sense to me. No, frustratingly, the doctor whose site talked about frequent ejaculation being necessary for increased fertility because "old" sperm break up did not cite any studies. He was, however, a fertility expert.

One couple who wanted to conceive and also wanted to follow this system (lovemaking without orgasm) except at ovulation time, had a very hard time conceiving. On the other hand, another couple conceived just as you say...through pre-cum alone.

Here's what a forum member got from a relative who's a med student:

"Sperm is of course produced in the testicles; the tubes within the testicles produce the sperm on a “on call” basis. Unlike women’s eggs that exist from birth the sperm are not made until needed. As the sperm are ejaculated new sperm are produced and sent to the prostate for the next ejaculation. The problem, or benefit depending upon your outlook, is that the sperm become less viable as length of time between ejaculations becomes longer and the sperm gets older. This is probably one of the reasons Karezza worked as birth control. Think of it like getting a hamburger at McDonalds. They precook the hamburgers and set them under a heat lamp. If you order a Big Mac after they just finished cooking the burgers great you get a nice fresh one, if you order just before the next batch comes out you get a nasty old one.

Now the rub is that there is really an intermediary step between your testicles and your prostate; there is always a “load in waiting” which is getting older. Sperm become less viable every day but as I remember after less than a week they are pretty much goners. Therefore while there is no long term deterioration of the sperm production, for optimal fertilization you need to dump out the old stuff. Dumping the old stuff can of course be fun. Several ejaculations over a few days will bring the freshest and most viable sperm into the system. Also deteriorated sperm have a higher incidence of birth anomalies if fertilization does occur.

My girlfriend felt a little better knowing that there should be no long term fertility issues from restricting ejaculations; she wants to be a mom someday and it looks like she has decided to keep me around for stud services if nothing else."

Do try this at home

Sperm are visible at 1000x magnification, with inexpensive microscopes. I've looked, a long time ago.

As I recall, the sperm ran out of energy after about 20 minutes at room temperature.

So, guys, try masturbating without orgasm, until you produce some precum, and take a look. Or wear a condom while practicing karezza, and see what you find. And let us know.

I'd be happy to do the experiment, but I've had a vasectomy.

It would also be interesting and perhaps relevant to this discussion to hear under what conditions y'all produce precum. For me, it only appears after strong arousal, after the erection goes away.

Slaying the Red Dragon

Hi there,
Thank you so much for this post, it was very well written and extremely insightful!
You spoke about stopping ovulation and your period.
How do you do that??
I would be interested...
In Chinese medicine, we work to regulate the woman's cycle, because we believe it is healthy to have a cycle. It cleanses the insides by having your period, and also, it is one of the reasons that we say that women live longer than men (the other two reasons are that we give birth, thoroughly cleaning out, and also breast feeding builds our immunity and makes us live longer)

But hey, I'd still be up for stopping my period, or at least my ovulation!! How does one do this simply with meditation?

Thanks,

Welcome

I hope others will share any wisdom and experience they have on this subject. The only book I read on this was "Healing Love Through the Tao" by Manewan and Mantak Chia. It has the exercises. It's very boring, BTW. Smile

It's possible Doug Wile's "Art of the Bedchamber" also has some techniques of this type, because it includes translations of women's solo practices, but I haven't checked it.

I deleted your name, because we try to use nicknames here.

info from Hospital

Currently, I'm interning at a Western medical hospital in the gynecology dept, and we have a fantastic Fertility center that has the same standards as NYU...

Here is a few random bits of information:

Regarding slaying the dragon:
Gonadotropin stimulates sex hormones which are released in the pituitary and hypothalamus.
If the pituitary is weak from trauma or other reasons, ovulation is not regular or absent.
(however, I'd still love to hear how women have been able to choose to stop ovulating without damaging their pituitary first.)

Also, before artificial insemination (IUI or IVF) the man is told not to have sex with ejaculation for 3-5 days prior to coming in to ejaculate (which will get injected into the woman or petri dish).

Slaying Red Dragon

OK, nice thread, so one more comment. :)

The method is secret for good reasons and I know only parts of it. It takes hours of combined efforts a day and is designed for those so able to feel in themselves that they practically are able to redirect their chi where they need. And are strong enough not abuse it in any way...

It consists of a specific sort of long breast massage as in the east breasts are considered female sexual organ no. 1. (see tantra teacher Diana Richardson, also on this site in Wisdom). Minimum (I heard) 360 circles in each direction, pressing the palms against the ribs. Then massage of ovaries. Breathing techniques. Visualisation. Taoist women are said to be able to contol cervix opening as they wish so it also might be part of it. Or at least they can retent blood during peroid (if it happens) and just go to the toilet once evry few hours. (see taoist teacher and sexologist Maitreyi Piontek´s books). Breathing into and feeling into the womb as it is regarded the Palace of the woman. And - ability to reverse the Dragon back to life if a feeling of a darling baby knocks on the door. [blinzel]

So, I think because giving new life is the most demanding job for a woman´s body, the reverse process would take the same efforts in different form and everything stays in balance. I definitely prefer to look at Red Dragons in the picture gallery, slayed or alive. Wink

So great to see posts on

So great to see posts on this topic from time to time! It would make sense to me that sperm would have more kick if they were saved up a few days. Still, it takes a lot of sperm to get the deed done. That is why so-called infertile men aren't men who have no sperm, they simply have a low sperm count. We have discussed this topic a lot in this thread as well: http://www.reuniting.info/node/2166.

Yes, Gaia, I agree - the ability to tune into the body allows greater ability to control it. That is why external forms of birth control do a disservice to women because they dissociate her from her own wisdom and instinct to tune in to her body. That is why I believe hormonal forms of birth control are another method for controlling women - not just their fertility, but their moods, drives, and instincts as well. Take into consideration that women on the pill are not able to properly detect the pheremone signals that indicate to them whether a mate is genetically desirable or not. Then they get off the pill only to realize the man they thought they were in love with smells bad to them genetically.

I don't doubt that women adepts have actually been able to slay the Red Dragon. But as you mention, it would take a lot of time and effort, and its not something that's desirable to most women.

JRene, I agree, it seems like stopping ovulation would certainly have effects on the pituitary, but then, a lot of things do. My guess is that if Slaying the Red Dragon were simply a mechanical act of suppression of biological processes, congestion and disease would be the result, just as mechanically stopping ejaculation will cause the prostate to get enflamed. What the Taoists are proposing is something alltogether different, tho, and I'd guess it is the same in the case of Slaying the Red Dragon as it is bringing the male orgasm up the central channel. This process is the process of bringing desirous energy into the core channel and transforming it into the wisdom of emptiness and bliss. At that point Science can't keep up - the wisdom of emptiness is not part of its methodology yet, as far as I'm aware, unless we look to Bohms implicate order or Laszlo's vaccuum plenum to understand how emptiness and form interact. Still, these approaches don't recognize a force such as wisdom as far as I'm aware, tho Bohm talks a lot about creativity.

It's interesting to see how scienctific findings shed light on spiritual practices, because spiritual practices certainly have measurable biochemical and physiological effects. And in many cases spiritual practices that lead towards certain ends are very scientific in the sense that they are a result of thousands of years of close observation. Buddhist thought is based on an understanding of causality - observing cause and effect to understand how the mechanism of suffering works. But my feeling is that science is limited in its ability to understand human consciousness, because human consciousness is always doing interesting and new things. So science is always in the process of trying to catch up to what the wisdom body already knows. Who knows? Maybe the positive effects on the pineal gland of a lifetime of meditation practiced by Buddhist nuns would counterbalance any negative effects of stopping menstruation. So many factors. But I tend to agree that whenever we try to manipulate natural biological processes, there's danger there.

A healthy partner-based birth control needs to be based firmly in an intentional spiritual practice that has physical expressions, and not be merely a mechanical way to avoid fertilization. I've been happy to meet a number of nurse practitioners recently who have been very confirming of my use of natural birth control, and who have verified that it works quite well in those who are willing to pay attention to their bodies and communicate with their partner. Seems like that's what sex should be about anyway: paying attention to your body and communicating with your partner. Strange that people would want to use external methods that dissociate them from their body and make communicating with the partner about fertility unnecessary. Our fertile energy is our creative energy, we just have to channel it in the desired place.

Natural Family Planning

My wife and I have practiced natural methods for child spacing reasons throughout our marriage. Its has been a combination of either abstaining during fertile periods, karazza, or coitus interruptus. In any event, we have been highly successful both at achieving and avoiding procreation. Of my four children, all have been planned and generally they were created within one or two months of attempting to procreate.

To determine ovulation, we use the method that looks at the consistency in a women's vaginal mucus. Thick and stretchy mucus indicates ovulation; watery and clear mucus indicates the absence of ovulation.

Anyway, I find using this method really works. The alternatives, birth control pills or condoms are less desirable for me.

It is interesting to read about the breast massage part.

I find it curious, because when I am ovulating, or approaching my period, I experience a powerful urge to rub my breasts and stimulate my nipples. I always attributed this to the increased sensitivity of them at this time of the month. As far as menstrual control goes, in my own experience, it is mostly dietary, and largely has to do with what is eaten in the premenstrual and menstrual state. I haven't had a 7 day period in years. It usually consists of about 3 to 4 days of light spotting/bleeding, depending on how and what I eat. I am curious to know more about this "Slaying the red dragon." I find it very interesting. Thanks for creating this post Hotspring.

Another study

This one's a bit of a warning. I wonder if karezza practitioners would be more, or less likely to have motile sperm in precum. I would guess less, because they would be ejaculating infrequently, and sperm tend to break up when they sit around for awhile.

Human Fertility (Camb). 2011 Mar;14(1):48-52. Epub 2010 Dec 15.
Sperm content of pre-ejaculatory fluid.
Killick SR, Leary C, Trussell J, Guthrie KA.

Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Hull York Medical School, University of Hull, Hull, UK. [email protected]
Abstract

This study was designed to establish whether motile spermatozoa are released with pre-ejaculatory fluid and whether this fluid therefore poses a risk for unintended pregnancy. Forty samples of pre-ejaculatory fluid were examined from 27 volunteer men. Samples were obtained by masturbation and by touching the end of the penis with a Petri dish prior to ejaculation. Eleven of the 27 subjects (41% ) produced pre-ejaculatory samples that contained spermatozoa and in 10 of these cases (37% ), a reasonable proportion of the sperm was motile. The volunteers produced on up to five separate occasions and sperms were found in either all or none of their pre-ejaculatory samples. Hence, condoms should continue to be used from the first moment of genital contact, although it may be that some men, less likely to leak spermatozoa in their pre-ejaculatory fluid, are able to practice coitus interruptus more successfully than others.

http://informahealthcare.com/doi/abs/10.3109/14647273.2010.520798

____

From another thread:

"Coitus Interruptus Erroneous: Would You Believe That Pulling Out Actually Works?"
http://www.alternet.org/story/140794/?comments=view&cID=1243202&pID=1242...

Withdrawal Method Finds Ally
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/21/health/21cond.html?_r=1

Critique by sexologist:

<blockquote>In the 2002 National Survey of Family Growth (NSFG), withdrawal appeared to be almost as effective as condoms during typical use. However, in the 1995 NSFG, withdrawal was considerably less effective than condom use.

One of the many scientific sticking points surrounding the effectiveness of withdrawal is whether male pre-cum contains sperm. To my knowledge, only one study has been done on this with an N of something like 10. But that one study found that pre-cum doesn't contain sperm. So if this is valid, the main danger--aside from not pulling out quickly enough before ejaculation--would be from sperm that still might be in the urethra from a prior ejaculation. (Best to pee between ejaculations if you are using withdrawal for birth control!)

Withdrawal was the only method during the fertility decline in Europe, and was probably the only effective method of birth control used in the 1800s, when the average size of the American family decreased from 7 children to 3.5. I think it makes sense to propose it as a back up method when a woman skips a pill or two or passion keeps the condom unused.</blockquote>

Also see this exchange on the forum:

http://www.reuniting.info/node/2166#comment-8156