Key points: Ejaculation is a loss of pleasure. it is the ending of pleasure. Most men mistakenly associate ejaculation with peak or maximum pleasure. This is a fundamental misunderstanding as you will see below.
This article is intended for both male and female readers. The focus of this article is the fundamental misunderstanding men have about their own orgasms and their own peak sexual pleasure. However, this misunderstanding has been propagated to women too. Many women believe (possibly because men tell them) that unless a man ejaculates he is not sexually satisfied. In this article I will explain why this belief is a misunderstanding.
The misunderstanding is wide spread and comes from many directions. Some men believe ejaculation is required for maximum pleasure. Some individuals believe their partner must ejaculate to be satisfied. So misunderstandings exist on both sides of relationships, in both males and females and in people of all sexual orientations.
As a teacher, I hear objections to learning tantric practices from both guys and girls. For example, they tell me that males often reject learning tantric practices when they hear any phrase similar to “ejaculation control.” I sometimes hear this directly from the guys. No matter how gently one introduces the idea of not ejaculating, some men will mentally close down at that point and completely lose all interest in learning tantric practices, regardless of the potential benefits. (This seems to be true for both straight and gay men.) I hear the same feedback from some females who have introduced their male partner to tantric ideas. In this case the rejection can seem even more harsh when there is the implication that a female cannot relate to the male experience of sexual pleasure. She will obviously feel frustrated when her partner refuses to participate in something that she knows will improve their relationship and enhance sexual pleasure for both of them.
However, the objections can come from the other direction too. Many people, male and female, straight, gay or whatever, expect their partner to ejaculate during sex. In fact, some students tell me that their partners demand that they ejaculate! Ejaculation is glorified and even worshiped in many ways. But this is just an example of yet one more unhealthy aspect of our modern society. More and more aspects of modern culture are moving further and further from ideal, natural and healthy practices. We chase pleasure with behaviors that ultimately chase pleasure away and mire us in greater discomfort and unsatisfactoriness (dukha).
I will share some facts and perspectives that should help you resolve this situation, regardless of which side you find yourself on and whether you are male or female, straight or gay.
One key misunderstanding is that men (mistakenly) believe that ejaculation is synonymous with maximum sexual pleasure. Men (mistakenly) believe that ejaculation control will deprive them of maximum pleasure. This is not the only misunderstanding related to sexual pleasure and orgasm, but it is an important one and it is the focus of this article.
In truth, ejaculation is the end of pleasure. It is a cutting off of greater pleasure. It is the loss of the man’s ability to experience higher, greater and more prolonged pleasure. There is absolutely no pleasure associated directly with ejaculation! Ejaculation itself is not a pleasurable experience!
As a teacher, I know that most men will be tempted to disagree with the statement that ejaculation is not a pleasurable experience. Although they have not examined the process deeply, their experience seems to tell them that ejaculation coincides with maximum sexual pleasure. Orgasm and ejaculation are (falsely) experienced as one. This is a fundamental misunderstanding.
Figure 1. (The Pleasure Curve of an Orgasm with Ejaculation)
In Figure 1 we show a graphical representation of the level of sexual pleasure a typical guy will experience in one sexual event/episode (such as intercourse with one’s partner). Guys typically get off to a faster start than girls. Arousal and pleasure rise fairly consistently over the course of the sexual experience. There is a point when the pleasure rises quickly to a peak. This is a very powerful experience — in another article I will explain why it is even more powerful and profound than most of us realize (in terms of higher consciousness). It is also a very brief experience. The orgasm and ejaculation lasts a few minutes at most (more typically, the peak is less than a minute). After this brief peak experience of orgasm and ejaculation, there is a very rapid decrease in arousal, pleasure and energy, as the diagram illustrates.
For the sake of this discussion, it makes no difference if a young man is able to recover fairly quickly and repeat the experience of sexual activity, orgasm and ejaculation after a brief rest. The curve in the diagram of sexual pleasure (Figure 1) will be very similar. In fact, the pleasure experienced the second time (if the man does have this ability to make a quick recover and perform again soon) will be diminished compared to the first.
The diagram does a fair good job of representing the very intense but very brief peak experience of sexual pleasure associated with orgasm and ejaculation in the male. (Some females have a similar experience, but it is more universal in males.) This is the universal male experience and it is difficult to argue with someone’s experience — particularly when everyone else you know shares the same view. However, I’m going to provide the factual explanation that will resolve this misunderstanding as well as explain how you can discover the truth for yourself. And in the process of discovery, many of us will be surprised to find that we didn’t really know ourselves as well as we assumed, and that we were not even experiencing reality as it is (across the full spectrum of life’s experiences, not just in terms of sex)!
Modern science has its advantages and disadvantages. This is not an article on the philosophy of science. All we are concerned with here is the fundamental technique of observing reality accurately. This technique underpins modern science. Science cannot happen without accurate, refined, unbiased observation of reality. However, this technique is also important to true spiritual practices. The Buddha was exceptional at applying this technique to spirituality.
Perceiving reality happens through sensing. Science has taken this to an extreme in that most scientific laboratory instruments can probably be classified as devices that extend the human senses. Obviously, telescopes and microscopes both do this (for vision). But there are scientific instruments that could be said to extend all the human senses for the purpose of enhanced data collection. This is all part of the process of discovering truth.
There are some meditation techniques that focus very deeply on enhancing and extending our sensory abilities. Those who master these meditation techniques gain abilities that are not unlike the advantages that come to a scientist who makes use of powerful instruments that extend his or her ability to probe into the depths of reality and make new discoveries.
Meditation can be self-referral. One’s attention is turned back on oneself. When self-referral attention plus witnessing is combined with enhanced sensory abilities one is in the unique position of being able to conduct objective subjective research. What I mean is that one is able to perceive finer details and deeper structures with greater accuracy and without bias and that the object of one’s perception is one’s own subjective experience. I can discuss this in more detail in other articles. For now, the focus of this article is the true nature of sexual pleasure. In particular, we want to know whether ejaculation is necessary for maximum pleasure, whether ejaculation itself is pleasurable or whether, as I claim, there is absolutely no pleasure associated directly with ejaculation! I stated earlier that ejaculation itself is not a pleasurable experience! It is something that stops further pleasure. Without ejaculation, additional (and more intense) pleasure will follow.
In this discussion of science and experimental methods (and how those empirical methods related to meditation), the important point is that any person who acquires these meditation-based skills can conduct experiments to discover the truth for himself or herself.
It was precisely the spiritual masters, trained in meditation methods that gave them enhanced sensory skills, who discovered that there is little or no pleasure associated directly with ejaculation! Through very exacting, very scientific perception of their own subjective experience during sex, orgasm and ejaculation, these masters clearly saw that ejaculation itself is not a pleasurable experience! They broke down each infinitesimally small sensation while maintaining a witnessing (objective) state of consciousness during the intense pleasure of sex. Once they were able to perceive the sensations so clearly, in the way a scientist would, they were able to discern that ejaculation itself is not pleasurable. The pleasure is in the stimulation, the sexual touch, and the orgasm. But the male ejaculation is nothing more than a contraction that expels the seminal fluid and leads to biochemical changes in the body which immediately decrease sexual pleasure.
Figure 2. (Ejaculation is the end of pleasure)
Figure 2 is another illustration of the pleasure curve, but with two different potential outcomes. In black, we show approximately what happens with ejaculation. The contractions associated with expelling the seminal fluid are not the same as the wave-like contractions of orgasm. However, when unexamined in the detailed way described above, these sensations get mixed up. In Figure 2 the black curve shows that the pleasure curve associated with orgasm and ejaculation is very brief. It may feel intense to one who has not experienced anything greater. But there is no argument that the ejaculation ushers in the very rapid decline (and end) of the pleasure. In contrast, the red curve on the right of Figure 2 shows what one experiences when one does not ejaculate. The rhythmic wave-like contractions of orgasm are still experienced. The pleasure is extended. It reaches greater intensity. After orgasm, there is a small decrease in arousal, but it is brief. Almost instantly, arousal begins building toward another orgasm that will be even higher and more pleasurable than this one.
This scenario has been stated in various ancient traditions by a number of masters. However, the language has not always been very clear to those of us living in modern times. This article is my effect to make this point very clear. I want to provide an unambiguous intellectual understanding. Ejaculation leads directly to the loss of greater pleasure. It is the ending of pleasure. Without ejaculation, much more pleasure will be experienced. Even more importantly, one’s overall health and well-being will increase, but that is not the focus of this article.
Furthermore, in this article I don’t intend to teach you how to master the techniques of meditation described above. The point of the discussion above is that anyone can prove this to themselves by acquiring these sensory based meditation skills. Ultimately, it is not necessary to take anyone else’s word for how all this works. However, my hope is that a clear intellectual understanding based on this article with its diagrams and unambiguous language is enough to give many readers an epiphany!
There’s another aspect to this discovery. Orgasm is pleasurable, but orgasm also leads directly to heightened sensitivity which further increases pleasure. This is why orgasms without ejaculation lead to higher and higher pleasure.
Figure 3. (The Enlightened Pleasure Curve)
Figure 3 shows what a typical male sexual experience can feel like when one learns to allow orgasm without ejaculating. After the first orgasm there is a very small decrease in arousal. It is very brief. In fact, it is usually as short as a few seconds. It does not resemble the loss of pleasurable sensation and arousal experienced after ejaculation. Instead, within a few brief seconds, it makes all the sensations feel more delicious. One gets drawn more deeply into the pleasure of sex and the enjoyment rises to new heights. This increasing pleasure happens with each and every orgasm!
I’ll illustrate with a real life story of a real student, but without using his real name. Dylan has had dozens of orgasms in single sexual experience after learning these tantric practices. Before practicing these tantric techniques, it was normal for him to have one orgasm maximum and then he was done. Some years ago, as he described it to me, he was in a really passionate relationship with his girlfriend of the time — there was a great deal of sexual chemistry between them. Once, they had sex six times in a single encounter. Dylan told me that was his record (before learning tantra from me). However, he admits that this was a macho effort. It was more about trying to live up to an image of what the ideal male sexual partner should do. He now realizes that the experience wasn’t even very enjoyable. There was diminishing pleasure with each intercourse experience and the last few were certainly just “work” without much true pleasure except the very brief ejaculatory orgasm at the end. Each experience was similar to the pleasure curve in Figure 1, except the peak pleasure diminished each time and the ramp up that peak took more work and effort. Most importantly, however, each experience more deeply drained his reserves, as shown by the fact that the sensuality and passion level ends lower than it began. Often one doesn’t want to have multiple orgasms with ejaculations. Often one is not able. But if and when it happens, there is a very real depletion of one’s inner reserves as well as one’s passion and sensuality. Dylan understands that well now. Figure 4 shows what the pleasure curve looks like in this situation.
Figure 4. (Multiple Orgasms The Usual Way)
The opposite occurs with multiple orgasms using tantric techniques, as I showed in Figure 3. Dylan shared the following estimate of his orgasms and pleasure with me to illustrate how different his experience is now:
- ten to 20 times more orgasms per sexual experience. Previous norm was one orgasm per sexual experience. Now it is easily a dozen (and the only limit is our time).
- each orgasm lasts as long or longer
- each orgasm is at least as pleasurable
- successive orgasms become more and more pleasurable
- the pleasure level between orgasms reaches as much as probably 100 times the level reached in normal sex
- the overall pleasurable sexual experience can be lengthened several times. It is not unusual for the experience to last about 5 to 10 times as long. It just depends on how much time we have available.
- when you add all this up, a single sexual experience can be about a thousand times better than usual!
- furthermore, the usual “recovery” between sexual experiences is greatly reduced. In fact, recovery can be instant, if the partners wish. Because one is not drained, there is really no physical reason to stop. If time permits, a couple could enjoy sexual pleasure continuously all day long (taking breaks to eat, of course!).
- in practice, Dylan’s sexual activity in his long term relationship has gone from about once per week (at the most) to twice each and every day!
Dylan (and any student of mine) knows not to get caught up in analyzing these kinds of statistics. He’s not trying to achieve a certain result. But I gave him some specific (and delicate) instructions and using those he was able to honestly estimate (quantify) the pleasure and enjoyment he experiences now compared to before learning tantra. These estimates could be off by quite a bit, and that’s OK because no one is keeping score. However, for the purpose of discussing the benefits of these techniques with others who may be skeptical, having ballpark but honest feedback like this from a real person can be meaningful. This is a truthful testimonial of what an average guy can expect.
Figure 5. (Comparison of the usual pleasure curve to the tantric pleasure curve)
One word that comes up often to describe the pleasure of this multi-orgasmic tantric practice is “delicious”! What happens is that one’s sensuality undergoes a phase transition after several non-ejaculatory orgasms. The level of neurotransmitters and neuropeptides in one’s system rises to a level where one is on a type of natural high and one’s senses are functioning at a different level. When this happens, the stimulation of sexual activity changes from simply pleasurable or exciting to deeply delicious and deeply satisfying. After that phase transition, the idea of reaching an end (the old fashioned ejaculatory climax) becomes even less attractive. The delicious sensations draw one deeply into the present moment. It is such a nice state with a tangible peace of mind that one could just stay there.
However, there is a caveat. In short, it stems from the fact that one could just stay in this state of sexual pleasure. It becomes so enticing that it can sometimes be hard to stop. For some people recommend treating it like a meditation practice — set aside a certain amount of time each day and practice for that set amount of time consistently. When it is time to stop, stop immediately after an orgasm. Unlike regular ejaculatory orgasms, with this practice the arousal does not diminish much so there is no physical need to stop. Furthermore, after multiple orgasms, one’s state is so blissful that it takes some will power to stop if one doesn’t have a set routine and a time limit.
Another amazing thing is (once one has gained some experience with tantra) that when one does stop the sexual activity, one can shift gears very easily. It is totally unlike the process of stopping sex without being satisfied before learning tantra. Stopping normal sex without draining one’s energy leads to a feeling of frustration — of bottled up energy or tension that needs to be released. That normally does not happen with tantric practices (the exception may be in early learning stages before the student has progressed to the point where things are smooth).
But I have another caveat to offer. Notice the “Daily life…” label in Figure 5. We are used to going through much of our daily life without the “distraction” of sexual arousal. When we feel horny, we feel it as a distraction, like the feeling of hunger that needs to be resolved as soon as possible.
Notice that the tantric practices leave us with a much higher level of sensuality, of blissful energy (Qi) in daily life. For the first few months, this can be disconcerting (for some people). However, as one learns to draw the energy up into the body, one finds profound changes happening. Food tastes better. Music feels more seductive. Everyone looks more attractive (e.g., we are less judgmental, less harsh in our opinions of others). Nature looks more beautiful. A sunset, for example, can literally take our breath away in a much more powerful way than we ordinarily experience. When we exercise, we can get into the zone more easily. This is all related to the experience of Qi circulating more freely in our bodies. We would feel very dull in comparison. This higher level of comfortable sensuality becomes normal and we feel very alive. Once we adjust to this, ejaculation feel undesirable because we clearly feel the loss of energy and the loss of aliveness. Feeling dull (which was our normal state before tantra) is no longer acceptable. In future articles I can discuss Qi and meditation in more detail.
I’ll end this article with a personal story. A few months ago, during the short days of Winter, I was sitting in evening rush hour traffic and it was after dark. While sitting at a stop light at a busy intersection behind a lot of traffic. I was feeling pulsations of Qi at my heart chakra. This happens spontaneously and naturally as a result of my tantra practice. It is always there now, I just have to let my attention go there. The pulsations of Qi had me in a natural state of bliss. I was looking around at all the beautiful lights and colors. These were just car tail lights, traffic lights and street lights. However, everything looked really beautiful and I felt very peaceful. I feel this way a lot. I happened to look over at the car next to me and it was two associates from the meeting I just left. They saw me and began to smile broadly. They told me the next time we met that I looked really happy and was full of smiles and they could feel my bliss. In contrast, most people around us were very unhappy to be stuck in traffic. I was simply in the present moment feeling the bliss of pleasure in my body as a result of my tantra practice. Life can be good when one knows the secrets of true happiness.
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