Make the most of your sexual desire.
Mood swings born of subtle neurochemical shifts can produce distress in our lives despite best intentions. (Think PMS.) Want to reduce your inner turmoil? Try strengthening your equilibrium.
There are many time-honored ways to stabilize your sense of well-being: mindfulness meditation, daily prayer, qi gong, balanced diet, exercise, selfless service to others, aligning your will with the Divine or the Dao, and so forth. All have merit. All appear to calm the primitive part of the brain.
However, one of the most ancient, and overlooked, methods of centering yourself is careful cultivation of sexual energy. If you're single, and sexual frustration is distracting you and making frequent self-pleasuring a demanding necessity, you might try the following technique for a few weeks—just to see what you notice. Warning: You'll have to pass up some orgasms to try this. *gasp* This is purely an energetic experiment, not a moral proscription. You'll return to your current habits later to compare results.
The experiment is very simple: avoid orgasm for at least three weeks as you observe yourself. When you feel sexual frustration building, close your eyes, tighten the muscles in your genitals and imagine the sexual feelings, or tension, rising up your spine like a thermometer to the top of your head. Feel tingles? Whether or not you do, imagine a waterfall of energy flowing down the front of yourself, and allow it to pool just below your navel. Do this as often as necessary to relieve your sexual tension. Finally, turn your attention to something productive.
Here's what a friend in her twenties observed:
I viewed this experiment strictly as an opportunity to explore the channeling of sexual energy. I didn't "put a cap on" my sexuality. I allowed myself to experience pleasure and arousal, without trying to go anywhere with it. Dancing, singing, laughing, and jogging all helped. The only thing I tried very hard to avoid was focusing on longings of any type. I did engage in a little self-pleasuring, which, it turned out, was as satisfying as trying to get myself off.
I noticed very little difficulty after the second week. As of tomorrow, it will have been a month since my last orgasm, and my level of sexual frustration is lower than before I began.
We think of energy as a good thing, but our first reaction to having a lot of concentrated energy (sexually, physically, emotionally, etc.) is often to try to get rid of it as quickly as possible ("catharsis"). I now want to flow with high-energy states, instead of trying to escape them. [Note: That was two years ago. She was soon in relationship and is engaged to be married.]
That woman was emotionally stable to begin with. Other explorers with more serious mood swings, substance abuse, severe low self-esteem due to childhood trauma, and so forth, noticed even more dramatic improvement in their emotional health, especially over longer periods of the practice (even with occasional climaxes). A woman of about thirty wrote:
I can honestly say that my physical and emotional health are much better than when I was masturbating frequently, and I still have a healthy sex drive, as far as I can tell! But I learned that I could not just stop masturbating, yet continue doing everything else the way I did before I stopped, such as isolating myself, or zoning out with TV. I had to use the energy toward a larger goal. In my case I went back to school and eventually discovered a field I really like. [She was recently asked to apply for a full scholarship to do a PhD.]
Another, in her late thirties, who hasn't been in relationship, shared:
I've abstained for 31 days or so and I feel OK with it all. Matter of fact yesterday and today I have a sense that I really can accomplish whatever I want... and that is scary, actually. I also feel something deep inside that makes me kind of appreciate the beauty of being a lady (woman). I wanted to hug the Fed Ex guy. And THEN, the AT&T guy pulled up and HE WAS CUTE TOO! (What in the HELL is happening to me???) I never even looked guys in the face EVER, or anyone for that matter, not really, ya know? [She's now getting her art up on line, and has cut back on smoking, quit drinking and lost weight effortlessly.]
A student, whose partner lives several hours away, wrote:
The last 5 days there was always horniness in the background, which made me more stressed out. I sometimes gently stroked my vagina, as a massage. That did take out the pressure. So yesterday I decided to do this again (I had always been too tired to do this in the evening) and I have the feeling it works. I stroke it really gently about half an hour until the horniness was (nearly) gone and I fell asleep. It felt better than ignoring my sexuality. If you want to calm down you can try this: Put your finger into your vagina and let it be surrounded by your inner muscles, just lie still. That calmed me down.
Are such results merely flukes? Perhaps not. A curious piece of research supports the idea that frequent orgasm can tarnish women's perceptions. A group tracked their orgasms over thirty days, and then viewed pictures of men they didn't know. Who ranked the men the most unattractive and aggressive? Those who had climaxed most. Moreover, the women who had only climaxed via masturbation ranked the men the worst. Researchers noted that another study associated depression in women with masturbation. Weird, eh? (Incidentally, it may be that unsuccessful attempts to orgasm also create distress. Perhaps they raise frustration and dopamine to uncomfortable levels, creating inner turmoil.)
Orgasm feels great, but the story unfortunately doesn't end at the glorious peak. A longer neurochemical cycle causes fluctuations in the part of our brain that sets our emotional tone and colors our perceptions— perhaps for as long as two weeks.
Careful observers in ancient China recorded physical and emotional benefits from cultivating sexual energy rather than fighting to repress it, or pursuing it to the limit of desire. Interestingly, even though Kinsey insisted that more orgasms for women would enhance domestic bliss, the women subjects who reported the most orgasms more often either failed to marry or divorced. (Judson Landis, "The Women Kinsey Studied," in Jerome Himelhoch and Sylvia F. Fava, eds., Sexual Behavior in American Society: 112.)
If you make this experiment, set aside all preconceptions. Simply, record how you feel for three weeks. (Expect ups and downs the first two). Continue to observe yourself for two weeks after you return to your previous habits, too.
You may find that balanced sexual energy is one of the most powerful tools for increasing inner equilibrium. With clearer perception, the world looks like a friendlier place.
For science buffs: Growing evidence of a lingering post-orgasm cycle (links to studies)