I am very impressed with the quality of questions that have been coming in lately. Jon-Mikael asked the following:
“I wanted to ask your take on how sex affects the body and one’s strength. I have at times “released” my sexual energy and my body feels like it is on vacation. I then go to a workout and either I feel like my warm up sets is like maxing out or I have a really good workout and am breaking previous maxes. Although the former happens more often then the later. So do I need to scale back on expending my sexual energy to keep my mass and gains going?”
There is definitely a connection between sex and strength, but as you’ve found it is not necessarily simple.
Sex, whether by yourself or with another person, can be energizing. It can also be depleting.
The idea of a man falling straight into sleep right after he’s released is pointed to as a common occurrence. In facts so stereotypical jokes are made about it.
If you look at sports throughout the years, boxing, football, martial arts, many coaches have cautioned the athletes not to have sex leading up to a big game or match. Sometimes this even went on for months prior to the big match.
But there are other coaches who believe the exact opposite, encouraging it, even the night before a big game.
Which one is right?
The Beneficial Side of Sex
There is obviously a lot going on with sex within the human body. Let’s look at hormones. For men, testosterone typically rises with any kind of sexual behavior. Testosterone is good for feeling strong and building muscle, so having sex should be good for strength training.
Besides testosterone, sex is fun and exciting, especially with a partner. By ramping up your sexual energy this can then be used in training. More on using your sexual energy in a bit…
Sex can also be relaxing. It can relieve stress. Thus if you’re overly tense and stressed, then sexual release may be quite helpful for training better.
The Drawbacks of Sex
Specifically after ejaculation the hormone prolactin spikes upwards sharply. This is thought to be what causes the refractory period, that period of time where the man can’t go again right away. A very high rise in prolactin may also contribute to getting fatigued and tired.
We also have to look at the ejaculation. Creating sperm is seen as mission critical for the body. We are made to reproduce. However, that doesn’t mean it isn’t an energy intensive and demanding process. It is estimated that each release has 5 mg of zinc. 5 milligrams is almost half of the 11mg/day RDA for men, so obviously if you’re doing this often you’ll need more.
Zinc is used in testosterone production (the conversion of various steroidal hormones with enzymes) and used in the contraction of muscles, along with many other processes.
Maybe whether you’re energized or tired is because you have a surplus or deficiency of zinc at the time?
That’s just one example of what is in the sperm. There are many other components.
The Daoist Practice
This all leads to the Daoist practice of separating orgasm and ejaculation. Few people realize that these things are not one and the same, but through certain practices, you can learn to separate the two.
Notice that the beneficial side discussed above was about sex itself. The negative side was more about the issues surrounding ejaculation. Thus if we can do one without the other, we could get the best of both worlds.
This practice is the same path to become multi-orgasmic as a man. I have only begun recently to work on this, with a few successes, but by no means do I have it mastered.
The idea behind this is to learn to channel that sexual energy around your body, rather than just through your genitals. Also you gain more control right around the point of orgasm, rather than losing control.
If you’d like to investigate this further I recommend Mantak Chia’s and Michael Winn’s Taoist Secrets of Love: Cultivating Male Sexual Energy.
This isn’t just an esoteric Eastern concept though. Napoleon Hill, in his famous book Think and Grow Rich, talks about sex as an emotion.
He discusses the idea of sex transmutation, which is taking that sexual energy and transforming it for other purposes.
In the book, it is obviously geared towards making money and building businesses. But it can be used in other ways…like getting stronger.
He credits this to the fact that most men do not become successful, financially speaking, until older age. When younger, men are too wrapped up in sex and haven’t yet learned how to use that energy for other purposes.
A Fascinating Experiment
Sexual energy is powerful stuff. A few years back I was learning about the energy systems of the body, in the Chinese sense.
Using specific acupressure points on the body and specific visualizations I amplified and anchored that sexual energy.
Then I did a lift.
Because of that sexual energy I hit a big PR…but it came at a cost. I was wiped out, just like many people are after sex.
I repeated this a couple more times, with the same results. Then I stopped doing it because I didn’t want to deplete myself in that way.
But very useful to know for when you want to use it, like in a competitive environment where you’re willing to leave it all on the table.
To wrap up, this article has probably got you asking more questions than it answered. That’s good! I don’t claim to have all the details figured out on this, but encourage you to do your own experimentation. I’m sure I’ll write more on the subject in the future.
If you want more information I go into more details on this inside of Upgrade Your Testosterone.