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Psychologically this might be a tough question, but in means of biology, what are the effects of total celibacy on the gonads and the nervous system concerning both man and woman in short and long term? Has there any research made in medical terms and as a bonus question, is there anything similar on other animal kingdom like deliberate celibacy?

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  • $\begingroup$ What kinds of effects are you asking about? Changes in hormones, nervous system, organs,...? $\endgroup$
    – Armatus
    Commented Jun 13, 2012 at 8:17
  • $\begingroup$ Good point. Any effects known are on my interest. Do you think it is too wide topic then? $\endgroup$
    – MarkokraM
    Commented Jun 13, 2012 at 8:35
  • $\begingroup$ Possibly... most of all though I can't really imagine how celibacy would have any effect on the body apart from the brain :) $\endgroup$
    – Armatus
    Commented Jun 13, 2012 at 8:55
  • $\begingroup$ Well as far as I know, testicles are producing spermatogenesis all the time for men. What happens to that in normal sexual life compared to celibatic life for example. Maybe effects reaches also brain. I suppose there must be some implications on body. $\endgroup$
    – MarkokraM
    Commented Jun 13, 2012 at 9:11
  • $\begingroup$ You could rephrase the question to "effects on the gonads and the nervous system" in that case, though I'm not sure there would be any effect at all. Gonads don't normally become deficient from not being used as far as I know. $\endgroup$
    – Armatus
    Commented Jun 13, 2012 at 9:20

2 Answers 2

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I was told in my undergraduate degree that males produce sperm all the time, and that under conditions of no sexual stimulation, that sperm is excreted involuntarily every 15-16 days, at night, while dreaming. I was also told that the renewal rate of sperm is higher under regular sexual stimulation, which increases the fertility of the sperm that is excreted.

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    $\begingroup$ This is very interesting if true. It means that for thousands of years, monks and other ascetics who abstain from sex/masturbation have still been having fairly regular ejaculations, making the whole thing much more bearable. I always thought it seemed an inhuman feat! $\endgroup$ Commented Jun 13, 2012 at 18:50
  • $\begingroup$ If there is any research papers on public, I'd like to see them. I also happen to have opportunity to ask this question from several decades being Indian brahmacarya meaning celibate monk in few days I think. Let's see how it correlates with teachings on schools. Also this is male specific, is there counter part for similar organ behavior for females? $\endgroup$
    – MarkokraM
    Commented Jun 13, 2012 at 19:57
  • $\begingroup$ @Richard “monks and other ascetics” – note that the former doesn’t imply the latter. I’m suspecting that the representation of monks in The Name of the Rose is more than a little true, both now and then. $\endgroup$ Commented Jun 14, 2012 at 16:01
  • $\begingroup$ @PHPGAE: it is what is usually called a wet dream. The scientific name is Nocturnal emission and it happens in both sexes. $\endgroup$
    – nico
    Commented Jun 15, 2012 at 11:48
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    $\begingroup$ Site says, involuntary excretion cycle was averaged from three weeks to 5,5 weeks. High testosterone increased cycle, supposedly low testosterone decreases the cycle. Depending on that and age natural emission occurs for celibates, which can be also interpreted, that there is nothing unnatural on celibacy, because nature handles things anyway. However Indian yogi I met today said, that normally it happens about once per month if energy is not cultivated by psycho-physical exercises. He claimed full-time monks can be without ejaculating months after months, years after years no problem. $\endgroup$
    – MarkokraM
    Commented Jun 16, 2012 at 18:25
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Not entirely on your question but I think sufficiently relevant:

This paper (freely available) identified a non-causal link between ejaculatory frequency and incidence of prostate cancer.

Men were asked their age at first ejaculation, the maximum number of ejaculations ever experienced in 24 h, and to estimate the average number of times that they had ejaculated per week in their most sexually active year in each of three decades of age (i.e. third, fourth and fifth).

Leading to results indicating that:

Greater ejaculatory frequency in the most sexually active year in each of the three decades was associated with a significantly lower risk, with men in the upper quartile of ejaculatory frequency having about two-thirds the risk of those in the lower quartile for the third and fourth decade, and four-fifths the risk for the fifth. Ejaculatory frequencies in each of the decades were correlated with one another (r = 0.5–0.7). A similar finding related to the total number of ejaculations over the three decades. Those who reported an average of four to five or more ejaculations per week had two-thirds the risk compared with those who, on average, ejaculated less than three times per week.


Giles, G.G., Severi, G., English, D.R., McCredie, M.R.E., Borland, R., Boyle, P. and Hopper, J.L. (2003), Sexual factors and prostate cancer. BJU International, 92: 211–216. doi: 10.1046/j.1464-410X.2003.04319.x

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    $\begingroup$ This was worth of mentioning I think. $\endgroup$
    – MarkokraM
    Commented Jun 16, 2012 at 18:07

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