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All this info is quite fascinating - though have an intuitive sense
of its merit (as I have the experience of "depression" after orgasm which
I've previously identified with my sexual issues, past abuses, religious
conceptions etc) from where I'm standing non-orgasm intimate relationship
feels like an oxymoron - based on my experience I have not been able to
seperate sexual intimacy and orgasm/ejaculation. Is there a technic I could
benefit in practicing? What is the trick? At this point the only way I could
refrain from orgasm is if the entire genital area is not touched (directly
or indirectly) which doesn't seem likely nor desirable in an intimate
encounter. I have heard of people working towards orgasm without ejaculation
- does that also have the desired effect of not precipitating a "let-down"
afterwards? (as it seems at least one's not "depleting" oneself) Please let
me know or point me into the right direction. I am looking forward to
experimenting with this once I find a partner!
Thank you for your time and caring
in all things be well

Masturbation

Believe it or not, depression is a very common reaction to ejaculation...and the recent neurscience discoveries about the pleasure/reward center in the brain point to why. For example, a Dutch scientist reported recently that when he performed brain scans of people having orgasm, it looked like the scans of people shooting heroin. No wonder there's a crash afterward! It's just too much of a good thing for many of us. (Usually we fail to make the connection, however, because it seems like something that feels so good shouldn't later make us feel rotten.)

Frankly, I think the post-orgasm crash is the reason much of the human race associates sex with guilt (or "issues"). A Catholic friend in Belgium once spontaneously said to me that he had just experimented with making love without ejaculation...and he didn't feel "guilty" afterward. Very interesting, huh? Also, my husband, who tended to be very busy with do-it-yourself sex from adolescence onward, was chronically depressed most of his life. In the three years we've been together (and been consistent with making love without orgasm), his depression has gradually stopped. He thought he would be on antidepressants the rest of his life, and now he doesn't need them at all. I might add that he wasn't Catholic, and didn't feel guilty at all about sex. He just felt depressed--and never, of course, connected it with frequent ejaculation...until he stopped. So take heart!

Now, as for the "how to," the system he and I use requires a partner. I'm not sure anyone can overcome the orgasm reflex completely without one. Yes, you can cut back on masturbation, and consciously avoid pornography, and so on, but without a lot of affectionate contact with a partner you are unlikely to succeed 100%. And maybe that's a good thing. A deep connection with another person is very good for your health, longevity, and psychological wellbeing (if there's harmony in the relationship...). Happily, this approach promotes harmony, and decreases that urge to separate after passionate sex, which at least one partner usually has due to the overstimulation. So it protects relationships.

Things that have helped single friends while they're waiting for a partner are: meditation, martial arts, social contact with others, therapeutic massage, service to others, yoga. All these things increase the flow of oxytocin (the "cuddle hormone"), which naturally counters depression and decreases cravings. There's also an exercise on our website that helps somewhat, and you may want to check out questions/answers on our website.

Our generation, the "sexual revolution" folks, have mislead your generation. We were right that sex should not be associated with guilt. But we were mistaken that more frequent orgasm is a path to greater wellbeing. (Too bad, eh?) More intimate contact is a far better measure of wellbeing than frequency of orgasm. Had my generation been right, porn addicts would be the happiest people on the planet. Instead they just get hungrier and hungrier...too much of the neurochemical dopamine (the "molecule of addiction"). At last, neuroscience is beginning to catch up with the ancient wisdom on this subject. See the "science" link.

But back to "what works." The key is inner balance or "wholeness," and having a partner (interested in exploring the same process) helps enormously. I wrote my book so that people would have a tool for "recruiting" lovers, but you might try to see if you can get potential partners to check out our website as a starting place.

Let me know how it goes. Stay open to the idea that there may be nothing at all wrong with you. I remember that a friend talked to me about a young man she met at a celibate ashram. He said, "I love sex and women, but I just had to stop having sex....It kicked my ass." I don't know him, but if I did, I would tell him there is a "middle path," short of celibacy, that would allow him to make love without depression afterward.

Good luck, and be patient. It's a big shift, but it gets easier and easier as you move away from our current, addictive, overly-stimulating habits. (NO guilt intended! We just had a bad set of instructions.) And at least you now have a possible explanation for your mysterious depressions. That's very healing in itself.