Could Serotonin cause a longer cycle

Submitted by keanmedu on
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Would it be plausible a longer cycle? Something that is easily up to a few months longs. Governed by Serotonin. With Serotonin growing slowly as a person is celibate, until it leads to spontaneous orgasms (but not emissions). At that point the system is unstable, and a person often stops being celibate. This leads to masturbation. Which either lowers serotonin, or lowers perceived serotonin (with a system similar to what we know so well about Dopamine). As Serotonin is now lower, a person becomes more impulsive, and masturbates more.

This would explain fairly well the fall that many people have when alone in for many months.

I am pretty sure that if I measure my serotonin (or serotonin receptors, maybe?) when I am celibate, or I measure it a few hours (say 6) after I have had the first orgasm in many days, I would find a much much lower value.


As you know these relationships are complex, and not really studied. Generally, dopamine and serotonin have an antagonistic relationship when it comes to libido.
At orgasm, dopamine drops as, serotonin rises. Dopamine is inhibited by serotonin. This is part of cause of the post-ejaculatory interval (PEI). Serotonin inhibits sexual desire, orgasm and ejaculation. From the studies, this rise in serotonin is short lived.

This is why prozac and other SSRI"s, which increase serotonin, are used to treat premature ejaculation, and even some sex offenders. It is also why people on SSRI's have reduced sex drive, or the inability to have an orgasm.

Average Serotonin

Hi Gary,
yes indeed, those relationships are indeed complex(*).

Part of the complexity is that you cannot model a hormone with a single scalar. Each hormone is de facto a multi dimensional entity. Because you have to consider the part that is active, and the part that is in the brain (and where), and the part that is in the bloodstream, and how much are open the receptors, and then you have some that are also in the guts, and so on. Some of the hormone is sometimes bound with other molecules, and so on.

And this makes the analysis complicated and the dynamic complex.
All this to say that the fact that serotonin increases after orgasm, but this is short lived, might be relevant... or it might not.

In the book "The Alchemy of Love and Lust" the author explains that Serotonin tends to change more slower than, for example, testosteron. So while testosterone has a half life of a few minutes, and a cycle of (I think, I kind of remember) 90 minutes. Serotonin is slower.

SO, when I say that Serotonin might be connected with a 40-100 days cycle, I am more referring to some sort of average base level. Maybe taking the average along the day, you would see it. Or even a moving average of 3 days.

By the way, as you might have guessed, I ama scientist, but not from this field.
What book would you suggest to start?


* I remember reading a paper where it said: the relation between ... (hormone A) and ... (hormone b) is complex [1][2][3][4].
And the 4 references were something similar to:
[1] A increases B
[2] A decreases B
[3] B increases A
[4] B decreases A.

Sorry if I don't have the exact reference to this jewel. Biggrin

hormone vs neurotransmitter?

The sexual inhibition by serotonin occurs in the hypothalamus of the brain, where it functions as a neurotransmitter. Serotonin affects behavior and sexuality as a neurotransmitter, not a circulating hormone. It's very important to keep circulating hormone functions separate from neurotransmitter functions. Neurotransmitters communicate between nerve cells, and are instantly broken down. That's why we can't discuss them as building up - they are always instantly broken down.

Although the blood contains serotonin, it’s not thought of as a circulating hormone. There's no gland that makes it, or adjusts its levels. That is the definition of a hormone. 99% of blood serotonin is found inside platelets, and its function is related to blood clotting, inflammation, etc. This circulating serotonin has no known effect on the brain. It is a separate system.

I'm not able to follow what baseline serotonin you are referring to. Where is it located?

And I don't know what you mean by serotonin changing more slowly. Keep in mind - the half-life of circulating hormone does not apply to brain serotonin, as it functions as neurotransmitter, and is degraded by local enzymes, or brought back into the cell.

maybe not serotonine, but one of the elements that controls it

Gary, I don't know, and I will not pretend that I do. I was just hand waving. I have been observing my behavior in the past, and read the description of the effects of Serotonin. But of course I do not know enough to make a correct hypothesis. All I notice is that my behavior seemed to change in some parts of my long loop. And this behavior seemed to match the description that is there for different level of serotonin. Maybe it is not serotonin that slowly changes but the serotonin receptors like with dopamine. Or any of the other elements that cause serotonine to be higher or lower.

For example I read that SSRI drugs don't actually rise serotonine, but stop serotonine from being reabsorbed from the same cell that released it (forgive me if I am imprecise). Could there be a natural mechanism that does something similar in a way that slowly builds up? Then there are other antidepressant that stop serotonin from being destroyed. Or maybe simply, as the body strengthens there is more material to produce serotonin. Just like when you don't have enough Tryptophan you will get depressed.

In short what I am suggesting is that there is a complex control mechanism, still unknown, that has the net effect that the body receives more serotonin.

Who knows?

When I answer questions, I always see it as an opportunity to educate everyone reading on basic physiology.

According to the theory SSRIs prevent reuptake of serotonin in the synapse. So the serotonin sticks around longer. However, this mechanism is not how SSRIs affect depression. If it were, then then antidepressants would work immediately, rather than taking the usual 4-6 weeks. Researchers and drug manufacturers know the old theory of SSRI mechanisms is incorrect.

Other theories of how SSRI's work include:
1- Affecting oxytocin
2- Elevating dopamine through a complex mechanism
3- Neurogeneis, or increased neuronal growth

Why do you think it is serotonin, and not other neurotransmitters?

Thank you. Indeed the book I

Thank you.

Indeed the book I am reading is incorrect then. As I said if you have good books to set up the foundations please let me know.

>Why do you think it is serotonin, and not other neurotransmitters?

I have been trying to stop masturbating (or just limit it to a healthy level) for nearly 15 years by now. I pass through periods of months where I don't masturbate, and then I binge back, and I don't do anything else for days on end. I have tried everything (except chemical medications). Massage, automassage, meditation, sport, tai chi, concentration, you name it.

What I find really interesting is not just that I always fall, but how similar each time is. How the phases I go through are so similar to each other. And I am grateful to the work you and your companion have done in clarifying those 15 days, because before I had to keep myself from masturbating for as long as possible. Now, although I still strive to do so, I know that after 2 weeks I can relax. And this really helps me in lasting longer.

I tried, by the way, to look for a healthy middle way. Only masturbation with no pornography. Or with no fantasies at all. Or just once every ... days. It never worked... so far. Or actually it would work... the first few times. And then as soon as I would binge one time, I was back to square one and that particular trick would not work at all anymore. So for example I would say, now I only masturbate when I feel like, with no fantasy. And I would be like that for x days. Then I would masturbate, and I would succeed. And I would do it for some time like that. Then one time I have a fantasy (life provides for instabilities), and like if in this way I have shown to my internal demons the place where I was hiding. Now that one trick would not work. I would be hunted by fantasies. And when I would masturbate without any fantasy. I would have to keep my full concentration. My nervous system would not relax. And after that time I would be tired, and stressed out... and then I would masturbate with fantasy. And then with porn. And then with worse and worse porn. And I was back to square one. Or actually minus one because now I have dug myself a bit more in the pit.

SO all this just to say how I have experimented for a long time, with many things. And none worked in the long run. But what I could notice was how some patterns repeated. And one of them was noticing how after I would have an orgasm, a few hours later it was really difficult fort me to resist temptations. Any temptation.
Note that this is not just the fact that I would need the fix. It is more the fact that from an idea that passes through my head, and an action from my hand the line is shorter. I see myself doing things faster.
The pain that would come if I did not masturbate was due to the dopamine (the process you guys have so well described). But this IS different. And it has a quality about not being able to resist temptations.
And how in the long run, in the periods when I would not masturbate, I would feel stronger, but also my integrity would be stronger. It was now possible for me to resist temptations much more. Think of Gandhi with his nieces. But then, I would reach the point where my sexual self would be recovered. And I would be the sexy me. If I were to go with a girl, and I was naked she would look at my penis in admiration. There is something about a man (and a woman) who restains himself that makes him more beautiful. It's like I would recover that very sexual essence that I would look for in women. Young women. And when that happens, I have energy in my body. I can control it (I always can do that -being a trained taoist meditator-, but it is now stronger, and naturally stronger). And I can ignite it with orgasm at will. Then, and there, I AM what I have been looking for.

And igniting orgasm would happen. Sooner or later I would do it. You know, just the orgasm. Just the bliss. No ejaculation. And that is the peak of the curve. Soon that would happen more and more, and then I would fall. Down and hard.

When I have a girlfriend it would not be so much, because I could hug, and make love, and develop oxytocin together. And exchange my yang energy for her yin, and I would cool down.

Now those phases, this pattern is incredibly stable. I can sometimes cut it short if I masturbate earlier. But I cannot make it longer. Not so much. Not while I am single (btw, I have of course tried also using prostitutes, and masseurs. 15 years is a long time to experiment things).

If we look at this pattern:
ejaculation-->inability to resist temptations
self restain-->ability to resist temptation
more self restain-->sexual self, and feeling beautiful and sexual, and lots of energy, and ability to experience orgasm at will (and more... Wink )

And this pattern have been stable for those 15 years. And we look at the description for serotonin:

low serotonin: impulsivity
middle serotonin: no impulsivity
hight serotonin: spontaneous orgasm

It just fits perfectly. Now that is a neurotransmitter. But neurotransmitter are built upon aminoacids, and minerals. And then fats are necessary also (for the perception??). SO it does not look like it is such a stretch of the imagination that the taoist texts that claim that "male sexuale essence" get "depleted" when one has an ejaculation. If those essences are those minerals and aminoacids, it would explain why serotonin gets produced less after an ejaculation. And a lot more when a person did not have an ejaculation for a long time.

After all isn't it in Marlene book that it describes how when a person goes into a binge where he masturbates many times during a week, it can take months to recover from that? Well Taoist speak about 100 days and 300 days to recover and restore the jing.

one is called the small

one is called the small accomplishment and the other is the big accomplishment. I only have been able to do the first, so I don't have first hand experience of the second. The first leads you to reality.

Are Taoists cruel? 100 days

Are Taoists cruel? 100 days is not small accomplishment. 300 is a big one. What happens after you get to reality? Days 101-300 are what? And 300+?

How do they measure those days? What must one not do? Do you start over according to them or can you pick up in the middle somewhere?

taoists, those evil bastards...

>Are Taoists cruel?

maybe, maybe Wink

Small and big are comparative terms.

The 100 days accomplishment is a small tool that is used by many schools. It is good because it is pretty easy to do. In the sense that you can't really fuck things up too much. Either you do it or you don't. But then many schools use it in different ways. Chia school use to consider it a prerequisite before opening the microcosmic orbit, for example. Another school would have people being fondled by female taoists, who would teach them to reabsorb their energy. If something went wrong, the female taoists would just let the student come, thus avoiding further complications.

The 300 is indeed harder and rarer.

Regarding 300+... I don't know. We speak about dead jing, and not wanting to have stagnant sperm in your body.

And there is an issue of limited return... . A bit like an investment, there is a point where it just ends paying back and you should change. Of course unless you are a natural celibate, in which case you are not paying any price for it at all.

>How do they measure those days?
Possibly with a calendar. If you are measuring it with a clock with the seconds you will not make it ;-).

>What must one not do?

[when you ejaculate] >Do you start over according to them or can you pick up in the middle somewhere?
generally start over. Even though some school, if you had a single dry cumming while sleeping, might let you just add one day to the end. If you think you came but nothing came out you should also check that you don't have semen in your urine. You can get the semen to your prostate, and then reabsorb it in your bladder. Not healthy, and it counts as cheating.

You ask many questions. I am not here to teach. If you are interested you should look for a school, and learn from them.


The Daoist book I first read Taoist Secrets of Love: Cultivating Male Sexual Energy had a Q&A in the back. A guy said he was doing all the techniques, but that he couldn't totally stop ejaculating. The author said, "Listen to your body and get a girlfriend." Smile Sounds like that might be a good strategy for you, too.

You are right that the neurochemical effects of sex on the brain will turn out to be more complex than the pieces we're illuminating. Personally, I think the subtle energy factors that the Daoists spoke of may also be realities, and that some day we may possess the equipment to see that they aren't so mysterious. In any case, it's great to share your theories, whether or not you happen to persuade us.

Freedom, the Daoists say a lot of things. Their philosophy toward women and ejaculation frequency morphed over the centuries. For a book that gives this perspective see Wile's Art of the Bedchamber in which he analyzes a lot of ancient Daoist texts.

Each modern Daoist teacher seems to come from a slightly different tradition. I'd never heard the 100-300 day thing. These inconsistencies are another reason that I think it's wise to consider the descriptions of similar practices from various traditions. That way, one focuses more on the essence (balance, harmony, greater health, etc.) than quibbling about the details. It may be that a recipe that works for one couple won't work as well for another.

I agree that the underlying

I agree that the underlying common values matter more, but I'm curious where he got that from and what that source has to say.

I'll try to get that book at some point. I can go use it "supervised" at NYPL or do an ILL request and have to deal with librarians stares.

I wouldn't think

the librarians' eyebrows would raise too much. It's a pretty dry book. And you will find no references to a source for that particular answer. The Chinese Daoists relied on passing things down from master to pupil more than written sources.

trying to accomodate human nature, when possible

Hi Marnia,
I appreciate you trying to help me :-).

What Chia is referring to (or actually Winn, who use to write his books, at the time) is part of a bigger teaching in Taoism that has to do with the variability of human nature. In this Taoists are probably one of the traditions that are more at ease with the fact that human nature has an incredible variability, and you should try to accomodate it when possible. Which other tradition organise orgies, while also being perfectly happy with people that are celibate all their life, and pass it in a cave for 60 years? And, no, not at different historical time. Pretty much at the same time. And that is because the taoist teaching is that human beings are different. And some people will not be happy while having sex (and not because of some bad things that happened to them, just naturally), while others need one, or more partners. I, for example, was really happy and relaxed when I had two girlfriends at the same time. By the way. I fucked up all my relationships because I wanted an open relation. And that has changed reading your book. So you already had a big impact in my life. If only I read your book when I was 21!

So, to go back. No, I am not a natural celibate. Everybody knows that. And their sisters, too.

Unfortunately for me to accomodate this I have to either find a girlfriend. A stable girlfriend. Or pay for sex. Now if I pay for sex that triggers my addiction. At least western prostitution does. Maybe we should set up a geisha service that offers karezza, one night minimum stay. I bet it would be a great success. Oh yes, you know about the time I went to a prostitute, and I told her I only wanted her to hug me? You should have seen her face! That was the most costly hug I have ever received!

If I get a girlfriend, as soon as the relation becomes serious, and I would tell her about my addiction (btw, "don't let her discover it...") either she will dump me, or she will lose all respect for me. And then I would dump her because no one can stay with a person that despises them. Of course in the meantime a couple of years have gone by...
How do people who used drugs, find a partner? Or who went to jail?

Btw, when I told my teacher about my porn addiction, or my porn career as he would call it ("but look at your porn career" he would say, sternly), he stopped suggesting that I went with prostitutes or that I stopped trying to be celibate. He very well saw the need for what I was pursuing. As we said earlier on this post: try to accomodate your nature, when possible.

So I should find another meditator who has faced similar demons in themselves (did I mention I am available to be a courtly companion?); or untangle what happens chemically, not in the first 2 weeks, but after. Months after. So I can balance that and keep on indefinitely.

Can you find your nature

[quote=keanmedu]As we said earlier on this post: try to accomodate your nature, when possible.[/quote]

Can you find your nature while blinded by too much dopamine? Can you be sure you haven't been misled by societal viewpoints without any period of testing things out from another perspective?

I'll write here

I don't think it is related to serotonin. Your description is a classic sensitization reaction. As described from this science article:

Drug sensitization occurs in drug addiction, and is defined as an increased effect of drug following repeated doses (the opposite of drug tolerance). Addiction may also be related to increased (sensitized) drug craving when environmental stimuli associated with drug taking, or drug cues, are encountered. This process may contribute to the risk for relapse in addicts attempting to quit.[6] Such sensitization involves changes in brain mesolimbic dopamine transmission, as well as a molecule inside mesolimbic neurons called delta FosB.

This means that a pathway of neurons wired for sexual stimulation will release higher than normal levels of dopamine to get you to do it again. Could be porn, fantasies, or just having an orgasm. You activated the dormant pathway and the extra buzz of dopamine causes you to lose control.

Most addicts have sensitization - a strong pathway that leads to excess dopamine, AND desensitization - chronic low dopamine (or receptors) that leads to cravings.


I do know what you speak about. This is different. The internal sensation is different.
If it was what you spoke about then this would kick in immediately,
and not come over only after so many weeks.

Unfortunately you would have to take my word on this, and you are not prepared to do so.
Nor do I have any measurement to show you.

I have recently went to a clinic to measure my serotonin. I will do it again when I am in the opposite part of the cycle. And then maybe I will have something. But, as you pointed out, serotonin in the body and in the brain follow different pathways. But if they culprit is something that is producing serotonin, then it would still come out. And once I have that, maybe I can convince some doctors to make some serious measurements and write a case report. I can see the first line:
"a middle age, sex addict taoist came to our clinic, and ..." Wink

it was a blood test. The only serotonin test they had.

I am not sure, it was a blood test. The lab would just take the blood and send it to the central unit. It was the first time they did it for serotonin, so they also did not know what to do. By what the nurse said in the big book of tests they were offering this was the only one under the heading "serotonin".

spontaneous emissionless orgasms

> Who is having spontaneous emissionless orgasms?
In Taoism is very common among people who are celibate for some weeks. You just bring the energy up. Some people call it bliss, but when you reach it you realize that the experience is very similar to when you have an orgasm. Even in the few days that I was here I have seen some members of this community that described something similar.

Look at this post, for example:

> why would it increase without limit as opposed to settling at a higher baseline?

Teleologically speaking, If you want to look at an evolutionary point of view, you might say that it is better for the genes if the person remains hooked with sex, than if he just sits in contemplation, and stops reproducing.

Practically speaking, as I have no idea what exact measure of serotonine would this be (serotonin in the brain, in the guts, ...) it is hard to tell. But I have no doubts that it is possible for such a biological system to exist. In the sense, I don't think there is anything inherently impossible in it.

It wasn't spontaneous. He

It wasn't spontaneous. He was doing things that led to it even though it was spontaneous in the moment.

Yes, but we're not evolutionarily meant to go haywire without sex. It was feast and famine so we're likely evolved to handle both and perhaps not as good at anything in the middle.

spontaneous orgasms

[quote=freedom]It wasn't spontaneous. He was doing things that led to it even though it was spontaneous in the moment.[/quote]

Now you are just playing with words. There is a description of serotonine, and it says that it causes spontaneous orgasm.
Now we have people that have an orgasm without any external stimulus. You think that a researcher looking at it would not call it spontaneous orgasm?

The problem is not if it is spontaneous in absolute, the problem is: does it fits the description that we have about what does serotonin do? Because if it does then serotonin can be a cause of it (and of course a partial cause, as there is also a cause that leads to serotonin rising, and so on.

And in any case, from his description he made clear that it was about the first time that it happened to him. Once people master that they can have activate an orgasm anytime they want. Just take my word on that, ok.

Yes, but we're not evolutionarily meant to go haywire without sex. It was feast and famine so we're likely evolved to handle both and perhaps not as good at anything in the middle.[/quote]

I am sorry, I don't understand what you mean.

The need for external

The need for external stimulation ignores the fact that orgasm is in the brain. I don't see how the brain recreating those triggers internal tothe body without stimulation makes it spontaneous. There was still stimulation external to the brain. I agree this distinction doesn't matter for your point. I wasn't clear about what you were labeling a spontaneous orgasm.

You suggest that serotonin rises until we spontaneously orgasm. I'm questioning why that would happen. If that is natural, I suppose it would be fine, but you suggest that is an unstable system. I was suggesting that it might not make sense that the body would move toward instability without internal correction. I realize now that this spontaneous orgasm might be the internal correction. Perhaps I misread the sequence initially. If one has to actively induce spontaneous orgasm, it isn't a fully natural corrective mechanism.

We're good at binging in a feast or famine sense. It takes work to stay in the middle. One way to help that along is to add a healthy dose of bonding.

locally unstable, globally stable

indeed it's harder for single persons.
And even more so if the would be partner realizes she is needed for stability.

Ok, let me rephrase it.
I suggest that something make serotonin raise (or be absorbed more) until it becomes easier and easier to have an orgasm. It can be a spontaneous orgasm, even some sort of religious bliss, or it can just be the person caressing his body (not the sexual organs) and feeling bliss in a more grounded way. In both cases without any ejaculation.

So the system is locally unstable, yes.

But globally is very stable. Is terribly stable!

Locally unpredictable, globally stable, sounds like a chaotic system.

Don't partners generally

Don't partners generally provide some sense of stability to each other?

Let's set aside the seretonin issue as I'm not sure anyone knows. Bliss gets tossed about a lot and it is tough to define. There is some alternate form of uplifting feeling that is not part of orgasm and feels better grounded. The combination of brain sensitivity and getting beyond orgasm as a goal likely open us up to the rest of reality. Do you equate this broader reality to orgasm in another form? Or when you say orgasm are you limiting that only to orgasm with or without ejaculation?

>Don't partners generally

>Don't partners generally provide some sense of stability to each other?

-Indeed Smile

>The combination of brain sensitivity and getting beyond orgasm as a goal likely open us up to the rest of reality.
>Do you equate this broader reality to orgasm in another form?
>Or when you say orgasm are you limiting that only to orgasm with or without ejaculation?

When you are celibate, in my experience, you are more in reality. This for sure.
But Orgasms also are part of reality. Fantasies are not, but orgasms are. Which is part of the reason why having sex with a girl does not necessarily lead me to binge back (I cannot speak for others). In fact it helps me.

From a taoist point of view Orgasm is a particular form of energy. Or I should say a way in which energy gets transformed. And when you have an orgasm you are transforming energy. You do it naturally when you have an ejaculation, but you can also do it through meditation. It is the same energy (although the quality is slightly different, like different brand of wine, still wine. Moscato versus Barbera)

>Do you equate this broader reality to orgasm in another form?
No, there is no need for now to go that deep. Another time, another place...