Does lifelong celibacy reduce or increase life expectancy?

Ella S.

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I have been looking into this subject for awhile now. I cannot find any decent studies on the health effects of celibacy.

Some people claim that celibacy is unhealthy, linking it to emotional repression. I think this is a misunderstanding of emotional repression since someone who is celibate need not repress anything. In fact, the people I know who practice celibacy religiously tend to promote mindfulness and self-awareness, too, which is the exact opposite of repression.

Some people claim that celibacy is healthy, linking it to discipline or deferred gratification. I think this is just sort of absurd, personally, because celibacy is not really necessary to have discipline or deferred gratification.

As far as I can tell, neither of these claims have any evidence for them. It seems to me that celibacy is more of a neutral lifestyle choice that has no real impact on one's health. One can be perfectly mentally and physically healthy and still have lived a life of celibacy but that celibacy doesn't necessarily make them any healthier.

However, spirituality can have positive health benefits and celibacy is often a part of one's spiritual practice. Celibacy might not directly improve one's health but it might be caused by healthy spirituality.

Does anyone here have any thoughts on the matter or, better yet, peer-reviewed studies published in reputable academic journals on the subject?
 

Ella S.

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I should note that I am not really asking about "purity culture." I think we already understand that "purity culture" is unhealthy but there's a difference between being socially pressured into celibacy through abuse and consciously, and freely, choosing a celibate lifestyle.

I also think there should be a distinction made between people who are voluntarily celibate as a choice and those who are "involuntarily celibate" (commonly called "incels") who are simply unable to find a partner for one reason or another.
 

Craz

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I should note that I am not really asking about "purity culture." I think we already understand that "purity culture" is unhealthy but there's a difference between being socially pressured into celibacy through abuse and consciously, and freely, choosing a celibate lifestyle.

I also think there should be a distinction made between people who are voluntarily celibate as a choice and those who are "involuntarily celibate" (commonly called "incels") who are simply unable to find a partner for one reason or another.

RE: Some people claim that celibacy is healthy, linking it to discipline or deferred gratification. I think this is just sort of absurd, personally, because celibacy is not really necessary to have discipline or deferred gratification.

Hello Ella,
I was once a devotee of a Guru who, I believed, was God-incarnate. In his organisation, one could choose to be a renunciate(chastity, poverty & obedience).
I was 26, divorced and had had a very sexually active life in my teens and early 20s. I had no more desires to have a sexual partner and wanted to completely to focus on 'The Living Lord', so I decided to go for renunciation.
Without going into detail & keeping in line with the OP, I was celibate for about 10 years and cannot say it did me harm in any way.
(I am glad I came out of it and have the joy of a daughter).
 
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Ella S.

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RE: Some people claim that celibacy is healthy, linking it to discipline or deferred gratification. I think this is just sort of absurd, personally, because celibacy is not really necessary to have discipline or deferred gratification.

Hello Ella,
I was once a devotee of a Guru who, I believed, was God-incarnate. In his organisation, one could choose to be a renunciate(chastity, poverty & obedience).
I was 26, divorced and had had a very sexually active life in my teens and early 20s. I had no more desires to have a sexual partner and wanted to completely to focus on 'The Living Lord', so I decided to go for renunciation.
Without going into detail & keeping in line with the OP, I was celibate for about 10 years and cannot say it did me harm in any way.
(I am glad I came out of it and have the joy of a daughter).

I appreciate your input. I am also celibate. It was a lifestyle that I was originally attracted to for the sake of asceticism but I realized somewhere along the way that I'm probably aro-ace and never wanted a partner, anyway.

The inspiration for this thread came from someone I know who is always talking about how they haven't had sex in years and how much they "need" a boyfriend. I told them that they didn't "need" a boyfriend when they came to me asking for help. I just wanted to make sure that my reply was accurate. It seemed like they thought it was because they thought about it for a moment before telling me that I was probably right.

They haven't brought the subject up again since, as far as I know. I just wanted to make sure I didn't harm them. I did make it clear to them that they shouldn't repress their desires or stop pursuing them but that they might benefit from trying to accept the current moment where they don't have the object of their desire.

To be blunt, I was out of my element. I think anyone who comes to me for advice is probably doing themselves no favors. I have this deep, overwhelming apathy that drowns out all of my other emotions and I frequently dissociate when I'm concentrating on something. Even without these, I am moderately alexithymic so I have to manually scrutinize my somatic symptoms to figure out what I'm "feeling."

All in all, I'm not very good with overwhelming emotion or strong desire. When I use emotional language, it's mostly to help with communication but some people have pointed out how that might be misconstrued as dishonest.

ETA: Essentially, I am a being of "pure logic" which is both a good thing and a bad thing. It's earned me nicknames like "robot," "zombie," and "Vulcan," although I don't think these were usually meant as insults.
 
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stranger

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It's a hot button topic given the horrors that can arise from forced or legislated celibacy (i.e. the priest scandals and so forth).
 

Ella S.

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I helped the lady who inspired this thread practice more positive self-talk and she says that she doesn't think about lacking a boyfriend nearly as much now. Hopefully, she remains healthy and eventually finds someone who will make her happy.
 

RJM

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I helped the lady who inspired this thread practice more positive self-talk and she says that she doesn't think about lacking a boyfriend nearly as much now. Hopefully, she remains healthy and eventually finds someone who will make her happy.
Beats me why people want to live together, lol
Why? ;)
 

Ella S.

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Beats me why people want to live together, lol
Why? ;)

I don't quite get it, either, but I suspect that it has something to do with evolution.

In order for our species to continue, we need people who are willing to reproduce and mate for a substantial portion of time since our children have lengthy maturation periods of around 25 years.
 
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RJM

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I don't quite get it, either, but I suspect that it has something to do with evolution.

In order for our species to continue, we need people who are willing to reproduce and mate for a substantial portion of time since our children have lengthy maturation periods of around 25 years.
I know. I'm joking really ... sort of joking ... I know I'm more at peace alone, but people are all different?
 

Ella S.

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I know. I'm joking really ... sort of joking ... I know I'm more at peace alone, but people are all different?

I used to consider myself maladaptive from an evolutionary standpoint until I learned that ant colonies are primarily composed of infertile female ants who not only never mate but were naturally selected to become infertile. Given the similarity of the "castes" of eusocial species like ants with the way human civilizations are divided into roles or careers, this helped me come to terms with the fact that I can be a productive member of society even if I don't reproduce.

This line of reasoning quickly dissolved a lot of my internalized misogyny and acephobia.
 

powessy

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I used to consider myself maladaptive from an evolutionary standpoint until I learned that ant colonies are primarily composed of infertile female ants who not only never mate but were naturally selected to become infertile. Given the similarity of the "castes" of eusocial species like ants with the way human civilizations are divided into roles or careers, this helped me come to terms with the fact that I can be a productive member of society even if I don't reproduce.

This line of reasoning quickly dissolved a lot of my internalized misogyny and acephobia.

You are clearly not an Ant. I would also go as far to say you are fairly good looking and probably take very good care of yourself.

I question our evolution and sexuality all the time as a construct of our adaptability to our current place in time. Did we evolve to fast, what impacts does norms and society play on or sexuality. How much of our evolution has been expedited by our mitochondria. With 8.5 billion people on the planet why do people keep trying to populate. I don’t know if you ever studied the results of the “universe 25 study” of mice by John Calhoun. Are we teaching ourselves things and yet we are unable to see these teachings for what they are.

I for one, would say that sex is only one aspect of our human design, and longevity would depend on how gratifying it is to your entire body system. A happy brain and body is a content brain and body.

The other question would be about orgasms for men versus woman, for men and woman testosterone and estrogen is released in different quantities which makes us, us. Foods we eat can change these levels depending on their content, which can have undesirable effects on us. Most meat we buy today has labels on it, telling us that they are hormone free. Most can foods today have soy free linings, which caused hormone problems. Question is do you experience sexual desires sometimes but not other times this could be food related, or just none of the time? If the body has problems converting these hormones into the necessary quantities needed we can be at a deficit or imbalance.

To see the other side of your question you could read any of 45 books on sex and sexuality by the famed dr Ruth Westheimer.

Just my two cents worth.

Powessy
 

Ella S.

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You are clearly not an Ant. I would also go as far to say you are fairly good looking and probably take very good care of yourself.

Quite correct, I am not an ant. However, ants challenge the notion that every individual organism in a species has an evolutionary imperative to reproduce.

I question our evolution and sexuality all the time as a construct of our adaptability to our current place in time. Did we evolve to fast, what impacts does norms and society play on or sexuality. How much of our evolution has been expedited by our mitochondria. With 8.5 billion people on the planet why do people keep trying to populate. I don’t know if you ever studied the results of the “universe 25 study” of mice by John Calhoun. Are we teaching ourselves things and yet we are unable to see these teachings for what they are.

I am familiar with the mouse utopia experiment. I think it makes a good argument for why we should pursue apatheia as a species. I think that could prevent humanity from a similar grisly fate, given that the mice were the victims of their own unregulated instincts.

I'd also speculate that this is why we evolved morality and why our more selfish ancestors went extinct. What Nietzsche calls the "life-denying nihilism" of most contemporary religions is probably a necessary, regulatory mechanism to keep our society from crumbling. I don't think that's too revolutionary of an idea.

I for one, would say that sex is only one aspect of our human design, and longevity would depend on how gratifying it is to your entire body system. A happy brain and body is a content brain and body.

The other question would be about orgasms for men versus woman, for men and woman testosterone and estrogen is released in different quantities which makes us, us. Foods we eat can change these levels depending on their content, which can have undesirable effects on us. Most meat we buy today has labels on it, telling us that they are hormone free. Question is do you experience sexual desires sometimes but not other times this could be food related, or just none of the time? If the body has problems converting these hormones into the necessary quantities needed we can be at a deficit or imbalance.

I have a libido (although it's very low) but I am incapable of sexual attraction. (ETA: I am also a vegetarian)

To see the other side of your question you could read any of 45 books on sex and sexuality by the famed dr Ruth Westheimer.

Just my two cents worth.

Powessy

I appreciate the recommendation.
 

powessy

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Quite correct, I am not an ant. However, ants challenge the notion that every individual organism in a species has an evolutionary imperative to reproduce.



I am familiar with the mouse utopia experiment. I think it makes a good argument for why we should pursue apatheia as a species. I think that could prevent humanity from a similar grisly fate, given that the mice were the victims of their own unregulated instincts.

I'd also speculate that this is why we evolved morality and why our more selfish ancestors went extinct. What Nietzsche calls the "life-denying nihilism" of most contemporary religions is probably a necessary, regulatory mechanism to keep our society from crumbling. I don't think that's too revolutionary of an idea.



I have a libido (although it's very low) but I am incapable of sexual attraction. (ETA: I am also a vegetarian)



I appreciate the recommendation.

I assumed the vegetarian part. The interesting thing about vegetarians is that there are so many foods high in estrogen but only a few in testosterone. It really depends on your bodies ability to convert these foods into the necessary hormones needed.

here is a link to an interesting read on testosterone for woman. https://theharperclinic.com/boosting-testosterone-naturally-in-women/
I also think that celibacy would be easier for those that have never experienced sex then for those that have experienced it.

I also have spent a large amount of time reading and studying on ants and bees for their unique properties and evolution.


thank you for your time.

powessy
 

Ella S.

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I assumed the vegetarian part. The interesting thing about vegetarians is that there are so many foods high in estrogen but only a few in testosterone. It really depends on your bodies ability to convert these foods into the necessary hormones needed.

here is a link to an interesting read on testosterone for woman. https://theharperclinic.com/boosting-testosterone-naturally-in-women/
I also think that celibacy would be easier for those that have never experienced sex then for those that have experienced it.

I also have spent a large amount of time reading and studying on ants and bees for their unique properties and evolution.


thank you for your time.

powessy

Asexuality isn't a hormone balance. It's an orientation like being heterosexual.
 

powessy

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Waving white flag. When I hear the word celibacy, or anything along those lines, my mind floods with a thousand thoughts. My personal thoughts are “what” then wait a minute and then just a tumble of other rushing memories come storming in.

Sorry just trying to understand, not everyday you meet someone that is ace-aro, only 1% of the population.

powessy
 

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I have been looking into this subject for awhile now. I cannot find any decent studies on the health effects of celibacy.
...........................................................
Does anyone here have any thoughts on the matter or, better yet, peer-reviewed studies published in reputable academic journals on the subject?

I have known naturally celibate people in my lifetime, three men who held good jobs and positions in the community but who were all asexual, but they seemed to be focused upon either gambling or social drinking.

I have known men who have become celibate because previous sexual relationships had upset their lives in some way or other, and so they had resolved to stay celibate for more stability and peace.

I have known men who have become celibate through illness, who were either carriers of sickness or having been ill could not risk any kind of re-infection.

I have known a man who had been so involved in sex trade, having been a rent-boy within the circles of the wealthy and certain celebrities that he became celibate after suicide risks and other attempts.... in fact he was my crew in yacht delivery a long time ago.

I mention men that have been celibate because I've always been able to talk with men and have never asked such questions of women.
 

powessy

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Across the gulf of time, my past adolescent self is disagreeing vehemently.

Prior to losing my virginity, sex was an unknown. Friends, peer pressure and the fact women looked so Damned good created a sense of urgency into the unknown. After I lost my virginity though sex is all that I could think about nothing else filled that void.

Powessy
 

badger

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Across the gulf of time, my past adolescent self is disagreeing vehemently.
True. The demands of nature beat instinct deep in to our every nerve.

The hellfire which is youth .....
 
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