"What Do I Do with This Surplus?"

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man with a surplus of sexual energyA male friend, pictured here, said my book needed to address this question, so here's an excerpt from the new book that does so. Feel free to add your comments to the end of the article.

One reason people often believe that orgasm is purely a beneficial outlet is that it seems to solve the problem of too much sexual energy—or perhaps too much semen if you’re male. This impression seems irrefutable, in part because wet dreams are a natural phenomenon of adolescence. It’s logical to assume that the body is making extra semen that has nowhere else to go.

However, as Dr. Lloyd pointed out in the “Wisdom” section before Chapter 8, semen that is cut off from its natural outlet does not cause a swelling.

Non-ejaculating females sometimes also experience dream orgasms. In addition, people’s experience is that the more they “go for” orgasm, the more frequently dream orgasms occur as well. All of this suggests that there’s more to this phenomenon than excretion of a liquid surplus. Perhaps, in both sexes, such dreams are “dress rehearsals,” which naturally increase libido—due to post-orgasmic cravings in the form of increased sexual tension. Our genes want us ready for action.

The common impression that orgasm is merely a healthy outlet has a hidden risk. It encourages us to solve the dilemma of the phantom “excess” with deliberate masturbation. Without realizing it, we are over-stimulating a very compelling pathway in the brain. In some people, this can lead to an uncomfortable cycle of ever more demanding urges, even though it briefly relieves the “pressure.” (If you are one of those people, realize that it is probably because you haven’t been engaging in enough bonding behaviors, as explained below.)

Excess libido is a brain event more than a body event. Horniness feels like a surplus that must be expended or released, but the need is actually an intense, genuine need to relieve sexual tension through intimate contact. Nourishing, non-goal driven contact decreases these symptoms, and counters anxiety and stress naturally. This means that orgasm is not required for relief; oxytocin-producing contact is.

Yesterday my boyfriend said he always seemed to feel less need to masturbate when in a relationship. He was like, "although, you'd think in some ways the desire would be greater." I was like, "No, I feel the same way."—Suzie

To recap, the feeling of excess, or surplus, arises from an over-activated brain pathway, which is throwing dopamine out of whack, as explained in Chapters 5 and 6. It’s like a faulty keyboard letter that gets stuck every time you hit it and types out the same letter nonstop. Think back to your first orgasms. They probably just happened. They set their own natural rhythm. The over-activated brain pathway is your handiwork. (Good job!) Once you force orgasm, you begin to strengthen a brain pathway that seeks that reward repeatedly.

All this means that you can’t rid yourself of the phantom surplus by means of sexual satiation. Despite short-term relief (when your high dopamine drops), this strategy ultimately inflames your libido even more. Initial relief gives way to increased anxiety. You are now primed for any thought or visual image (cue) that your brain associates with relief. Indeed, if you have been using a lot of porn, your brain may helpfully prompt you with a flashback image at this point in the cycle. This kind of help you don’t need.

Incidentally, karezza offers an effective way to weaken unwelcome erotic fantasies and associations (even fetishes) because it does not lead to the rewarding payoff of orgasm. Without the reinforcing payoff, neural pathways that connect such behaviors with reward gradually lose strength. This is especially true if you substitute a new, unfamiliar behavior—such as gentle intercourse with lots of relaxed stillness.

I am sure of one thing: the kind of behavior I've been through isn't healthy sex. It is not "sexual repression" to stop compulsive sexual behavior.—Martin

Whatever the trigger when you’re feeling low, your dopamine soars in response to it. Now you feel like you have a huge surplus, and no choice but to find relief by the fastest means…at hand. This is a no-win situation. The more edgy or exhausted you feel due to frequent orgasm, the higher your dopamine goes in an effort to urge you toward relief. In other words, a superhuman libido, frequent wet dreams, and hair-trigger orgasms can be indications of sexual depletion—even though they feel like excess. This paradox and its unlikely solution are what the Chinese Taoists discovered many years ago.

Aside from the inconvenience of having to cope with this cycle, the recurring high dopamine over-stimulates the brain. The brain automatically desensitizes itself to dopamine. Over time, the lows may feel lower than before, and pursuing relief may seem even more crucial to your wellbeing.

A year ago (pre-porn use), I could easily regulate my rate of masturbation and thus orgasm, to say once a week, and during periods of sustained spiritual endeavor, could even go for a month without it. Now I'm feeling like a wild bull – every day! I don't understand how I missed it before; this is actually unnatural.—Derek

The solution is not simple, and it may take time—depending upon how intensely you have, quite logically, tried to solve your discomfort with more orgasm. The ultimate solution lies in your brain. You use your rational brain to choose the behaviors that affect your mammalian brain for best results. Do your best not to initiate orgasm (although it may continue to happen inadvertently while your brain is returning to balance). By resisting the urge to initiate orgasm, you don’t strengthen the reward circuitry in your brain that is tapping out those false “surplus” alerts.

I've become increasingly sensitive all over my body. I don't exactly feel hornier, that's not it. It's like all of the sensation that I was channeling into orgasm has now evenly distributed itself through my whole nervous system.—Emily

At the same time you ease your cravings—that is, you avoid the stressful feelings of withdrawal (low dopamine) to the extent you can—with oxytocin-producing activities. Sharing your favorite bonding behaviors with a sweetheart is ideal for this purpose, but other activities also produce soothing oxytocin. Here’s a list derived from research on oxytocin, although a complete list would no doubt be much longer:

· voluntary exercise,
· harmonious interactions with others, support group meetings,
· caring for pets,
· voluntary generosity,
· inspiring scenery, pleasant smells (pine forest, bread baking),
· calming music, singing,
· warm, supportive touch, therapeutic massage,
· companionship, and
· probably yoga and meditation

I think if I had a friend struggling with some kind of compulsion, I would encourage them toward cooperative living.—John

All of these experiences are also rewarding, but not so intensely rewarding as to desensitize you further (to dopamine). Make your own list of things you enjoy that don’t throw you into an addictive cycle. (In other words, go lightly on the refined sugar, alcohol, gambling, video games, etc.) Refer to your list when your mammalian brain tries to urge you toward another cycle of “relief.”

The cure for inflamed libido is much like the cure for poison ivy. “Don’t scratch, and use lots of soothing lotion (oxytocin-producing behaviors) while you wait for healing to occur.” The more you scratch, the more you will itch. Meanwhile, observe your withdrawal symptoms, and learn how your mammalian mating program has been affecting your life.

I’ve long had a predilection for an "orgasm nightcap" in response to my insomnia (when my wife wouldn’t have sex). Two weeks into stopping orgasm and guess what? I am sleeping just fine! More and more, I am less inclined to see my beloved orgasm as the wonderful stress relieving elixir I once did.—Marc

(Pre-order book from Random House)

Tiered browsing:


Wet dreams

"frequent wet dreams, and hair-trigger orgasms can be indications of sexual depletion"

How do frequent wet dreams indicate sexual depletion? I can understand the rest of it but what's the science behind wet dreams specifically? Thanks.

A wet dream

is the result of the triggering of that orgasm reflex (pathway in the brain), just like an orgasm during sex.

Here's what helped me understand this better. Orgasm is not just a genital event. Sounds crazy, right? But the fact is, you can stick an electrode into someone's spine, or brain (if you know exactly where to stick it) and produce the sensation of orgasm. Even if their genitals are at rest and unoccupied. Wink

For example, some scientist wanted to implant "orgasmatrons" in the backs of women who don't orgasm...and he actually did it to 11 women volunteers. Very dangerous and insane...but they had drunk the Kool-Aid that hypnotized them into thinking their happiness was dependent upon orgasm. http://io9.com/357958/a-real+life-orgasmatron) It wasn't, as it turned out...although I'm sure they enjoyed the effortless orgasms (it didn't work right on all of them...according to a TV special I saw about this experiment).

This is true of ALL sensations, by the way, not just orgasm. An electrode implanted elsewhere in the brain may bring back a memory, or cause laughter, or sneezing, or anger, or ..... All are BRAIN events, stimulated by neurochemicals (if electrodes or drugs that cross into the brain aren't used). In short, you can have sex, or not, but the experience of orgasm is a brain event. And the more you "run that program," the more your brain goes there by default. This is because orgasm is a powerful "learning reinforcer." (That is, your brain registers it as highly desirable and remembers all cues associated with it. In the case of vivid images, these "exciting" cues can really haunt you - even if you avoid porn and other sources of deliberate stimulation.)

That's why more masturbation can make night-time wet dreams even more common for some people. Their brain shows them movies to trigger those "helpful" orgasms. ( I say "they," but this has happened to most of us, I'm sure. I've experienced it, too.)

If this is still confusing, let me know and I'll get Gary to explain further. He teaches science.

For me it's fascinating that the ancient Taoists figured this out long ago. I read this in the book of a professor called Douglas Wile who translated a lot of old Chinese sex manuals. Here's how he summarized it.

Ejaculation, although depleting physical reserves, has the opposite effect on sexual desire. "After an immediate postcoital letdown, there is a rapid psychological rebound and an intensification of erotic interest [and wet dreams]." This suggests a cure for sexual addiction: "When the ching is full one is free of lustful thoughts." (for more see: http://www.reuniting.info/wisdom/taoism_chinese_sexology_wile)

I would say that it's not actually "depletion of physical reserves" that's the problem, although there could be energetic depletion that we can't yet measure scientifically. I would say the real problem is the sensation of low dopamine (which can happen naturally after it goes too high). That creates *feelings* of depletion, apathy, anxiety, neediness, insecurity, brain fog, a burning desire for the relief of another orgasm...etc.

These symptoms decrease in severity if you make it through the two-week cycle and allow your brain to return to equilibrium (so dopamine isn't low). This is easier said than done...because you will still be very vulnerable to cues associated with orgasm...but it is *possible* if you're patient, and don't get discouraged. I think it's easiest to re-balance yourself with a sweetheart and a practice like that recommended at this site (lots of snuggling, no intentional orgasm), but some recoverers insist they need to do some re-balancing solo first, and they may know best.

This is probably more than you wanted to know! Smile

A Dr. Heath implanted

A Dr. Heath implanted electrodes in several people in 1972. One women was quoted saying that she felt the metal rod went "all the way down there" because whenever she would turn on the device she would feel a "good" feeling in her private area. Just saw a film of it in my psychology class a few days ago.

Wet dreams

Wet dreams are triggered by thoughts alone or due to a response to a stressful or new situation.
Someone whose mind is filled with lustful thoughts accelerated by pornography or sexual types of films, books, media, etc. will experience these episodes with greater force. Diet is a very important part as well, since the mind is affected by food vibrational fields and there are some foods items which have aphrodisiac properties (garlic, onions, etc.) which help to trigger a wet dream.
No wonder, wet dreams are considered "normal" since "normal" people are brain washed in such filthy material. The "orgasm/masturbation/love" business profits on "normal" people's weaknesses. It is a huge business.

Those individuals who are used to masturbation will have this response as well in a very "natural," "normal" way.
There is a way to get out of wet dreams. Change the quality of your thoughts. Spirituality is the first step. Make your mind busy in this. Of course, an addicted mind will give you the "fight of your life," but a determined mind will break the addiction. Change your diet to a "Satvic" vegeterian one and use the "extra" energy in worthwhile matters which will keep you healthy rather than depleting your sexual energy.

To think that the body produces too much semen that it needs to get rid of it, is a deep fallacy. Can the body produce too much blood that it needs to get rid of it? Everything is in movement. Semen has lots of energy which will allow you to feel greater strenght and stamina if it is not wasted in any form of ejaculation. Yes, this is not "normal"... but, dare not to be "normal," it is a sorry state of affairs....

Best Wishes.

Celibacy is the easiest way to learn to love

I never had one

I've never had a wet dream and I don't remember having any sexual dreams either. So I guess if depletion makes wet dreams more common I think that there must be a hyperbolic graph for that function with a peak and two zero's. And I guess I've been at the upper zero all this time because I've masturbated for up to five to ten times a day sometimes and if that doesn't deplete you then there really must be an excess! Though I went for duration instead of frequency in the end, but even then three to four times a day would be "normal" Wink for me.

Better and better every time! Wink

Thanks for your replies

I'd like to be a vegetarian. I don's masturbate and haven't for a long time, I don't have sex or orgasms at all in the daytime, or at night either. I have frequent nocturnal emissions ... sometimes there's an erotic dream and sometimes I just wake up and notice I've had a nocturnal emission. I'm not addicted and am not convinced yet that my nocturnal emissions are such a bad thing. They seem natural to me. I'm trying to live a pure and healthy life. Marnia had grouped wet dreams together with sex as both bad but I think they're different. Masturbation doesn't make wet dreams more common for most people, that's completely false information.

I have a few questions for you (anyone.)

1. Is a nocturnal emission really an "ejaculation?" (For me it's different. It "flows" out during a wet dream it's not ejaculated.)

2. Does an orgasm occur during a nocturnal emission? Again, for me the answer is no not an orgasm like when awake. Sometimes I don't remember the dream at all, I just wake up with the evidence on my sheets. :) Other times I have a "dream orgasm" which is completely different to an orgasm had while awake. I don't consider it to be an orgasm during my sleep.

3. Does a nocturnal emission cause an increase in prolactin? I can't notice one but can after ejaculating from masturbation.

What are your answers to these questions Marnia?

As far as I know,

there's no relevant research. You must be the judge. If your state of mind is unaffected, then all is well.

The people I worry about are the ones who have innocently fallen into the porn trap, and have laid down such a powerful pathway that their brains are in a rut. That's who I was talking to.

You're right to point out that people who are *not* in that rut may experience wet dreams entirely differently. Thanks.

Since there's no relevant research...

Maybe you shouldn't be so quick to condemn wet dreams. To be blunt, what you've written about wet dreams on this article is opinion which seems to be based on your anti-wet dream preconceptions. You haven't been able to back up your musings with any facts when challenged.

"Frequent wet dreams can be an indication of sexual depletion."

Completely untrue. Prove it! Do you have wet dreams? I do and know some other people who also do. Most would not agree with you.

most would not agree at all...

...that orgasm could destroy relationships and have all those negative effects on body, mind and soul.

Did you really observe yourself very accurately? I have observed that wet dreaming did start the seperation mode in my partner in a similar way as orgasming awake. So it has had a negative effect.


I did and understand my body. I get a very negative hangover after masturbation, wet dreams are entirely different. But your minds seem to be made up and I really don't have the time or energy to argue with you. Your anti-wet dream rhetoric is wrong, but whatever.

A note about semen 'flowing out'...

In 'The Multi-Orgasmic Man' the author Mantak Chia reveals that just as women experience 'clitoral' orgasm differently to 'vaginal' orgasm, when the orgasm in a male has been the result of genital stimulation alone, the semen comes out in 'spurts', but when the prostate is stimulated to orgasm, the semen simply 'flows out'. That could possibly explain why you have experienced semen just flowing out during wet dreams. In fact so have I! This is just speculation, but maybe we have had 'prostate-driven' orgasms rather than 'penis-driven'. Anyway it's a great book and I recommend it. (By the way, Chia is a Tantric Master and he does not recommend masturbation if it is leading to ejaculation! Thought I had better make that clear).
About what Marnia said, please take note of the word 'can' in the sentence..."Frequent wet dreams can be an indication of sexual depletion." The addition of the word 'can' implies possibility and not certainty. I don't think the statement was meant to be final and absolute.

I was referring to

the ancient Taoist point of view, as supported by some experiences men have shared with me. (Women have repeatedly remarked that they experience emotional fallout after dream orgasms, too. This has also been my experience.)

I'm not sure what you're still arguing about. There's room here for your observations to be valid, too, as acknowledged above. I'm glad to hear that your experience with wet dreams has been different. Is there something specific you would like to see changed? I'll happily consider it. For me, this debate is part of the article, so your views are already included, but I'm open to modification of the article itself if you can convince me that something needs revision.

I reread the article. Wet dreams are only mentioned twice, as asides. Once to remark that they're a normal part of adolescence. And then to note that they *can* be a sign of depleted sexual energy. (Their are porn addicts on this site who have confirmed this...although they don't see the problem until they stop the constant draining, and try to give up their habit.) What is your specific objection?

In any case, the article was directed toward the practice of inducing orgasm with masturbation, which apparently *can* cause wet dreams to become more frequent. (Apparently in some men masturbation is so frequent that they have *fewer* wet dreams...until they try to leave their habit behind.) I wasn't condemning wet dreams...or any orgasms. Just pointing out that a habit is a brain pathway, which can increase traffic along itself the more it's used. This is known as "learning reinforcement."

There is no research of the type you'd like to see - as far as I know. I'd like to see some, too. Do you know of some? Wet dreams haven't been a big focus for me. I see my task as helping people understand how learning reinforcement works, and what their options are when it comes to frequent masturbation. Spontaneous wet dreams are a different matter, and seem rather harmless to me...interesting only to the extent that people do, or don't, experience any neurochemical hangovers.


Marnia you know best, it's great to hear you're a wet dream expert, having had so many yourself I'm sure you know what you're talking about. Who am I to disagree...

I *think*

you have misunderstood what I'm saying...and that you think I am saying that *all* wet dreams are caused by sexual depletion, and that therefore yours are, too. This is not what I am saying, as you will see if you read this entire thread more carefully. There's room for both possibilities...everywhere except in you posts. Wink

Sync are you angry about

Sync are you angry about your sexual choices? It is interesting to me that most people engaged on this site appear( to me) to be in a process of reconsidering their sexuality. Is that a threatening possibility to you. It ain't no fun being stuck in an ego stance. Now you're stuck with a hot potato. Blessings dude! Want some mustard? Wink

Democracy in action

It is good to see different viewpoints being bandied about, that's the sign of a healthy forum. Really, though, sync, I think you have taken Marnia's speculation about one possible aspect of wet dreams a little too personally. I too don't always agree with Marnia's views, but note that she doesn't 'squash' opposing viewpoints, and she remains respectful, even helpful I think. (Incidentally, your and Marnia's views are not even 'opposed'! Do read what she wrote again and you will see.) My advice is: take what is useful and helpful from this site, (it's a goldmine btw), and leave the rest. And don't let this little cyber-misunderstanding prevent you from doing that. :)