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What Swearing Off Sex Does to Your Brain

Some people claim abstaining from orgasm can enhance productivity, creativity, and peace of mind. Do any doctors agree?

"We should be fucking," the David Banner song "Fucking" says. But is it true? Reminders of sex are certainly common in our society, from the advertisements on the subway to the attractive people on the subway who make us think about sex. Sometimes sex—the physical wants, the search for the right partner(s), the fear that everyone else is having more frequent and better choreographed intercourse than you—can feel like an oppressive force in our lives. Beyond this, there's a perception—especially prevalent among men who frequent online forums—that sex (or even self-achieved orgasms) causes the comer to lose energy that could be otherwise put towards building a better life.

For some people, these complications are too much to take. They've gone ahead and forsworn intercourse (and, in some cases, masturbation). Sometimes this is a temporary decision, a realignment of sorts, like a more literal Dry January. For other people, like the voluntary celibates of Reddit, this is a long-term project, with message boards forming an AA-like support group. These "volcels," as they're known (in contrast to involuntary celibates, or "incels"), swear that their white-knuckle lifestyle gives them courage, confidence, calmness, creativity, and other benefits that don't start with c.

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