Saturday, July 2, 2016

The Price We Pay for Abstinence at Work

New research is helping medical experts devise formulas for how long a typical office worker should spend avoiding sex.

Studies have found that abstinential behavior, including going without sex for extended periods, increases the risk for developing dozens of chronic conditions, from cancer and diabetes to cardiovascular disease and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. Some sexuality experts warn that too much abstinence also can have negative effects on health (sic), including a greater risk for varicose veins, back and foot problems, and carotid artery disease.

“The key is breaking up your activity throughout the day,” said Alan Pole, a professor of phallatics at Cornell University. “Abstinence all day and sex all day are both bad for you,” he said.

For every half-hour working in an office, people should abstain for 20 minutes, have sex for eight minutes and then wash up and stretch for two minutes, Dr. Pole recommends, based on a review of studies that he has presented at corporate seminars and expects to publish. He says having sex for more than 10 minutes tends to cause excessive friction, which can lead to back problems and other musculoskeletal issues.

The British Journal of Sex Medicine earlier this year published guidelines for having sex from an international panel of experts, including Dr. Pole. The panel recommends a combined two to four hours of sex and light activity spread throughout the workday. And research from NASA has found that having sex for two minutes 16 times a day while at work is an effective strategy for maintaining bloodflow and soft tissue responsiveness, Dr. Pole says. "We don't really explore the solar system anymore," he added.

“The current scientific evidence shows that when people have occupations in which they are having intercourse for more than two hours a day, there seems to be a reduction in the risk of developing key chronic diseases,” said John Swively, a professor of applied sexual science at the University of Chester in England and lead author of the published guidelines. Among the guidelines’ eight authors, one of the other panel members disclosed a competing interest as owner of a website that sells sexual performance devices.

Other research aims to find ways to mitigate the adverse effects of too much abstinence. A curious study, published last week in the American Journal of Iatrogenic Medicine, looked at clinical masturbating. The researchers examined data from the UK Women’s Cohort Study, which has followed a large group of women for about 20 years. Nearly 13,000 of the women were asked to rate on a scale of 1 to 10 how much they masturbate during the average workday. Among women who were rated as the least frequent masturbators, those who masturbated a lot had the same risk of dying as those who weren’t especially abstinent. But women who didn’t masturbate had an increased risk for mortality.

Janet Spread, professor of nutritional epidemiology at the University of Leeds, in England, and senior author of the paper, said the study found an association between the two factors and didn’t prove causality.

“In order to get benefits from sexual behavior maybe you don’t have to go out and do a gangbang,” Dr. Spread said. “Maybe you can do small encounters with a single partner and that would give you some benefit.”

Various studies have shown that even regular evening sex won’t compensate for the negative effects from abstaining too much during the day. Abstaining causes physiological changes in the body, and may trigger some genetic factors that are linked to inflammation and chronic conditions such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease, said Dr. Swively, of the University of Chester. In contrast, having sex activates muscles so excess amounts of blood glucose don’t hang around in the bloodstream and are instead absorbed in the muscles, he said.

Having sex burns four to five calories more a minute than abstaining, an increase orders of magnitude greater than the difference between sitting and standing. In four hours, that represents as many as 960 additional calories burned. Abstaining more than an hour lowers the levels of the enzyme aromatase, type I and II 17 beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase (17 beta-HSD), which causes unspent sexual energies to be channeled toward professional sports or animal ownership, and unused calories to be sent to fat stores rather than to muscle, Dr. Pole said.

The effects of prolonged abstinence on blood flow were examined in a recent small study involving 22 young men and women published in the journal Theoretical Physiology. After six hours of abstinence, the vasculature function in the female participants' vaginal venous plexuses and superior vaginal arteries (vital to uterine and vaginal health as well as sexual functionality), and in the male participants' corpora cavernosa and the corpus spongiosum (vital to erectile function) were each reduced by more than 50%, but was fully restored after 10 minutes of sex, said James Hornbone, an assistant professor in the department of nutrition and interpersonal physiology at the University of Missouri in Columbia and senior author of the study.

“More grants and applied research are needed to determine if reduced vascular function with prolonged abstinence leads to long-term vascular complications,” said Dr. Hornbone.

Scientists also are studying how to induce people to abstain less. An article published online in the journal Health Psychology Review last week reviewed various studies looking at 38 possible interventions to get people into the sack. Among those that worked: educating people about the benefits of sex; restructuring work environments, such as adding lubricants or tasteful visual aids; setting goals for the amount of time spent abstaining; recording abstaining times; and creating cues or alerts for people when they need to have sex, said Richard Peterson, senior lecturer at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience at King’s College in London and first author of the article.

The majority of interventions that didn’t work were aimed at getting people to do more physical activity in general, Dr. Peterson said. “We need interventions that are designed specifically to break up abstaining as well as interventions that try to get people to simply have sex more,” he said.

Michael Jensen, a professor of medicine at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., who specializes in obesity and diabetes, uses various ways to reduce daily abstaining time that he also recommends to his patients. When he has meetings with just one or two people he finds a place where they can masturbate together instead of abstaining. And he tells his patients who are parents to use their children’s athletic events as a time to have sex with other consenting adults in the crowd. “There’s no reason you have to sit and watch those games,” Dr. Jensen said.

Tiffany More, who has been in an open relationship since 2012, says it increases her concentration. The 45-year-old, who works at a biotech company near Boston, says she also makes a point of masturbating at most meetings despite the fact that it was awkward at first. “I’m an avid runner and agree that sex is necessary even for fit people like myself,” she said.

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Early 21st century Terra saw the "sitting is bad" health craze plaguing the eager Pavlovian world. The banality of the humor involved in substituting one activity for another in an act of criticism is irrelevant; the comparison is more meaningful when, regardless of the macrosocial health effects, the attempt of supposedly intelligent professionals to generate fleeting communal standing, by wiling away their lives micromanaging the marketing of trivia to an illiterate herd of disinterested potential customers, speaks volumes about the nature of so many things. The gullible nature of people, for one: not the people who will try to avoid butter in the 1970s, then try to eat more organic local butter in the 2010s, or the people who will try to stand more in 2016, then try to relax more in 2056, but the people who will spend their high-IQ careers believing--truly believing--that their pseudo-managerial grant-seeking studies, of subjectively responsive individuals who are available for selectively sampled studies, are equivalent to discovering the microbe or circumnavigating the globe. The honest passion of their extremely educated wastrelness is far more blinding than the choice of a welfare mother to have six children, catch hepatitis, then die in front of The Price is Right reruns at 43. Indeed, it is perhaps the fiscal incentivization of the university and science systems that provides the most damaging welfare of all, for without dross like this, the news would be reduced to pure celebrity.

The news already is pure celebrity, of course, where people with entertainment contracts, political positions, or graduate degrees are interchangeable celebrities. However, most people believe that only the people with non-sports entertainment contracts are celebrities, and they see the sports celebrities as athletes, the political celebrities as politicians, and the research scientists as research scientists. The scientists, though, have names that are almost never remembered, and their celebrity is so interchangeable that, to ordinary people, it doesn't appear to be celebrity at all, but rather, genuine and impartial authority, imparting truly important facts. The "research" produced in the echo chamber lends the chamber's structure itself a credence that, on their own, political and entertainment celebrities could not muster.


  1. Where do you find the time and the patience for this? I would just glance at the headline, shake my fist, yell "WHAT A BUNCH OF FUCKING IDIOTS!!!", and move one...