Because I speak about male sexuality, I get asked all the time about porn usage.
A lot of my colleagues, particularly the more spiritually inclined, tend to lump all porn together and call it all bad. They're anti-porn.
Some of my other colleagues similarly lump all porn together and say that it is all good. They're pro-porn.
I sit somewhere in the middle.
I'm not pro-porn because I definitely think there is porn out there that is perpetuating unhealthy narratives about masculinity, femininity and sexuality as well as exploiting performers and having adverse effects on consumers.
I'm not anti-porn because I have seen some amazingly inclusive, diverse, artistic and educational porn that I believe promotes healthy narratives about masculinity, femininity and sexuality as well as empowers performers and celebrates human eroticism.
I actually think there are two conversations to have regarding porn usage; (1) What type of porn is being consumed? (2) How is that porn being consumed?
The first conversation references ethics. I advocate for ethical porn firstly because of the fair treatment of performers and secondly because it uplifts healthier narratives. As a consumer, it is important to be responsible.
The second conversation is about practicalities. Rather than mindlessly jerking off in front of a computer screen, I frame ethical porn as a tool that can be used for embodying eroticism. Perhaps by reading or listening to it, or by standing up and moving while watching, or combining it with mirror work, or not using at all sometimes, or using it in a myriad of other ways.
I don't think all porn is bad. I don't think all porn is good. Not all porn is created equal. Bringing intentionality to the porn you're using and how you're using it is my approach.
I've spoken with men who are doing NoFap or practicing semen retention and believe that a wet dream is bad because it ends their streak of consecutive days without ejaculating. This has always intrigued me.
Wet dreams, also called nocturnal emissions (NE), are spontaneous ejaculations that occur during sleep. While hardly researched, they're considered a normal part of male sexual function and 83% of men will experience NE at some time in their life (Kinsey et al., 1948).
Anecdotally, men report that wet dreams occur more often when they aren't masturbating/ejaculating as much. It's commonly believed that in order to prevent wet dreams, you should masturbate. However, no statistical association between masturbation and NE frequencies has been found (Burg, 1988; Widaman & Helm, 2012; Gul et al., 2018).
Because dreams involving no erotic scenes are capable of eliciting NE (Yu & Fu, 2011), some men share that their wet dreams are just ejaculations without an accompanying orgasm. This is one indication that your body is able to separate orgasm and ejaculation.
While NE are considered to simply be an involuntary sympathetic nervous system reflex (Sugar, 1974), there has been a lot of debate about the spiritual/energetic significance of wet dreams.
Christian monks from the Middle Ages believed that wet dreams were a temptation and, according to European folklore, were caused by a succubus, a female demon, having sex with the man at night.
Saint Augustine held that NE, unlike masturbation, did not pollute the conscience of a man, because they were not voluntary carnal acts, and were therefore not to be considered a sin. This view is confirmed by the Protestant theologian Philip Schaff.
Sri Swami Sivananda, commenting on the practice of Brahmacharya, said that there is not much draining of energy and that essence does not come out during wet dreams.
It has also been suggested that NE are the body's way of maintaining sperm quality (Levin, 1975). But, I know some teachers believe that with a strong sexual transmutation and sublimation practice, you can stop NE altogether.
So, if you're practicing or teaching semen retention, what does a wet dream mean to you?
If you're interested in experimenting with ways to help yourself last longer, here is a pretty unique one. I'm not an orthodontist, so take this with a grain of salt. This is just what my understanding is.
You may not think it, but your tongue can carry tension (LeFevre, 2017). Just ask any singing teacher. This tension in your tongue, which affects its position in your mouth, can have an impact on your temporomandibular joints, where your jaw bone connects to your skull (Rosa et al., 2020).
Impact on the temporomandibular joints can affect the trigeminal nerve, the largest of the nerves in your face (Pedullá et al., 2009). Stimulation of the trigeminal nerve can trigger the trigeminocardiac reflex, which influences heart rate (Meuwly et al., 2017).
It has been found that clenching of the jaw is associated with increased heart rate (Yap & Chua, 2016). In fact, people who suffer from bruxism, which is excessive clenching of the jaw, have been found to have higher levels of the stress hormone cortisol in their bodies (Flueraşu et al., 2021).
It is known that elevated heart rate is associated with sympathetic nervous system activation (Gordan, Gwathmey, & Xie, 2015). We also know that the sympathetic nervous system plays an important role in the expulsion part of ejaculation (Clement & Guiliano, 2016), as well as contributing to the etiology of premature ejaculation (Xia et al., 2014). I've spoken at length about this before.
In layman's terms, all this is to say that if your tongue is tight it'll make your jaw tense, which will increase your heart rate, kind of like how we clench our jaw when we're angry and our heart rate goes up. This will activate your sympathetic nervous system, which will make you cum quicker.
So, relax your tongue. Apparently, when you position your tongue on the palate rather than on the floor of the mouth, there is a significant reduction in heart rate variability (Schimdt et al., 2009). Try some tongue positions next time you're trying not to bust and let me know how it goes.