I joined this forum because of an interesting thread that I read on semen retention, a practice which I am practicing and which has brought me great results. I was going to post this on the same thread, but this post has plenty of detail and is not just about celibacy. Other than that I could use this thread as a journal which will help people.
Anyway, today is my 136th day of semen retention and let me tell you right now that it certainly does have its benefits. To be more precise, it is what the hindus call "brahmacharya" which I am practicing and not just semen retention. Merely abstaining from ejaculation will not get you very far. I tried that several times and while my health and confidence did improve, the benefits were nothing compared to the benefits of real celibacy.
Let me tell you my story...
About a year ago I realized that I was living a very unhealthy lifestyle and not surprisingly I was not happy. I also suffered from low self-esteem, mild depression, anxiety etc... so I decided to make a change. I thought that the causes for my unhappiness were my addictions, so I quit smoking, drinking, processed food and sweets (and other things with sugar which is addictive). I quit these things gradually, and one by one, not all at once. It was hard but in the end, I managed to pull it off. I felt much better after quitting, both mentally and physically, but unfortunately I didn't reach the level of happiness that I was aiming for. So I started searching more on the internet for information which would hopefully make my life better, until one day I came upon an article that claimed masturbation was a bad thing and that it caused several problems amongst men.
Initially I found the article a bit funny and didn't take it seriously but after doing some research I came to the conclusion that masturbation might actually be harmful to health and sexual abstinence beneficial. Long story short I decided to give abstinence a try. I masturbated at least twice daily prior to this experiment and had been doing so for more than a decade. After abstaining for a few days, I became much more energetic (which I had expected) and felt better. I felt so much better that I said to myself that I won't masturbate again, but unfortunately, I failed. The sexual desire was too strong. On the bright side, I experienced something important that day... the weakening effect that comes after ejaculation. Years of frequent masturbation had caused my body to lose its sensitivity to the debilitating effect that comes afterwards, but now that I was abstinent for a few days I could feel it. The energy that I had gained withered away and it took me a few days of abstinence to regain it.
I kept practicing... normally I would manage to hold out for about a week, and then fall until I managed to hold out for about a month. I thought I had managed to conquer sexual desire, until one day I became sexually aroused a lot and fell. It was devastating! After ejaculation I would always feel my energy leaving me but this time it was much more intense. I literally felt as if my blood was being sucked out of me! Also, my mind became kind of dull. I could give much more details but I'll make it short... I felt pathetic, compared to the way I felt before, and what's more, I felt like an animal in heat and masturbated again a few times to vent out my frustration, which ended up making me even more frustrated. But, something good did come out of this! Previously my goal was to reduce sexual activity, now my goal was to eradicate this addiction like I had done with others.
After all, it's much better to quit an addiction than to reduce it. If you smoke, try to reduce smoking and see how long it lasts. In time you'll probably end up smoking just as much as before, so you're much better off quitting it. I realized that 1) Sexual abstinence certainly had positive effects on my body and 2) To quit I needed to control my desire for sex (purify myself). You see up until that day I was only abstaining from ejaculation through sheer will. I still thought about sex and watched porn daily. Sometimes I even masturbated and quit before reaching ejaculation. So I was back to square 1, but this time, I touched myself only to urinate, and whenever a sexual thought sprang up, I let it slip without indulging in it.
The first few days of doing this were very difficult but after a while I got used to it. Fast forward to today... this is my 136th day of real celibacy and my sexual desire is almost completely under my control. I doubt I will fall again now and I hope not, because the benefits are amazing. I wouldn't have given sex up if it wasn't for the massive benefits, both physically and spiritually. Let me show you what I've experienced.
Physical & Mental Benefits:
I had pretty bad eyesight and I started to see a little bit better after starting the practice. Initially I ignored it and thought it was my imagination since I had read about this before, but after I was well into it, there was no denying it because my eyesight recovered completely. My vision is no longer blurred at all. I compared my vision with a relative who has good eyesight by reading words from afar, and my vision was just as good as his.
More Courage/Less Fear & Anxiety
This benefit is also unmistakable. I was quite cowardly before starting this practice. In fact it was one of the reasons that made me look for options to improve my life. I used to feel scared and anxious frequently but not anymore. I'm not talking about a type of fear in particular, but all types. I'm becoming immune to them. This is the most important mental benefit for me. I feel so manly and strong mentally.
Hasn't stopped completely but it has definitely been reduced, and the pimples that grow are not as large as the ones that used to grow before I was continent, not to mention they don't last as long. I doubt this is a coincidence.
More facial hair
Even though I'm in my early 20s my facial hair has not fully grown yet. Before starting I could only grow a mustache, a soul patch and some hair on my chin. Now I have hair on my neck, sides and much more hair on my chin. At this rate I just might be able to grow a full beard after a year. Again, I doubt this is a coincidence, especially after considering that my facial hair has been growing very slowly for the past few years. There has definitely been a boost.
Skin looks better
It has a sort of "glow" which it didn't not have before. I was very pale before and now my skin kind of shines... it's more lively.
Sharper Mind/Better Memory
My mind is definitely sharper. I understand things much more quickly now than I used to before and I'm much more alert. It is very important to note though, that initially the practice of celibacy caused the opposite effect. It was only after my body got used to celibacy that my mind calmed down and became sharper. Every now and then I also remember some memories which I had forgot.
Those are the physical and mental benefits which I have experienced. There are also some benefits which I think are spiritual. It's important for you to know that when I started celibacy I started getting into spirituality and I read several books and scriptures of taoism, hinduism, buddhism etc... I was not into spirituality before I started celibacy. After reading several texts I decided to practice "mental emptiness" along with sexual abstinence. Basically you need to stop thinking, or better yet, let thoughts slide, without "grabbing" them. An indian guru called Ramana Maharshi recommends a similar practice called self-inquiry and says you can achive realization with it (which is my goal now).
This practice was ideal for me because I was already doing it to some extent with sexual thoughts. As I said earlier I started to "empty" my mind from sexual thoughts to succeed with celibacy. Now I started to do the same thing with most thoughts whenever I could. Basically the theory is that thoughts are related to chi/prana and if you still your mind the process of enightenment will start happening on its own, granted you have enough chi (which gets wasted by sexual activity).
The spiritual experiences that I experienced in order are these:
(These benefits were experienced by practicing sexual abstinence and mental emptiness as well)
After about a month or so I started to feel a sort of blissful heat or warmth near my heart but in the middle. At first I thought this was tummo but now I don't think so. Supposedly tummo is felt in the navel area and not the heart. Anyway, by stilling my mind the heat increased and I felt more relaxed.
Cold & Bliss
As times passed by I stopped feeling the heat and started feeling a cold blissful feeling instead. The reason I put these 2 together is becase I feel them at the same time, even though they are different. I feel it in the same place, the heart area and the feeling gets more intense when I still my mind. This is a great blissful feeling that makes me very happy. It's sort of like the pleasure you get from sex. More refined but not as intense. The main difference of course is that I feel it continously and it energizes me, unlike sex which lasts a few minutes and leaves you debilitated afterwards. This is the main reason I have no intention of breaking my celibacy.
Once I was meditating and felt a cool breeze on my face. It was as if someone blew on my face. At first I blamed the wind, even though the room I was in was closed, but later on the frequency of these "blows" increased. I also started to feel this breeze/wind on the palms of my hands. This pleasant refreshing breeze has remained with me and it has somewhat refined itself.
Those are the spiritual benefits that I have experienced. As I said the heat has left me, so right now I can feel the bliss along with cold (a mild blissful cold, not annoying) and the cool breeze. I have tried to find out why the heat was replaced with cold. There was a story in Yoga Vasistha which said that prana leaving its heat turns to apana and then leaves its cold to rise up again. Maybe that's what's happening to me.
Anyway, whatever's happening to myself is good. I feel much better about myself and I certainly do recommend celibacy, not just semen retention, but celibacy or better yet brahmacharya. Remember though that my success is not only due to abstinence but also due to "mental emptiness". It seems abstinence saves the "seed" which serves as fuel and "mental emptiness" sort of administers the transformation. A very important taoist text which I read which describes a process similar to mine is the secret of the golden flower.
There probably are some minor details and also benefits which I forgot to mention. If I remember I'll post them.
Anyway, I hope you find this post useful and I'm interested in hearing your thoughts.
Edited by safi, 19 January 2013 - 05:05 PM.