Thursday, November 14, 2013

Multiple Orgasms for Men: Some History

[Note:  this is the second of a five part series on male multiple orgasms]   

For many men, the hardest thing about learning to have multiple orgasms is believing that it’s possible. The link between orgasm and ejaculation is so strong in our culture that it’s hard to believe that it’s arbitrary and that it can be broken with a bit of effort. For this reason, I’m going to take a detour and walk you through a bit of the research and the process by which a few people managed to document the real situation and dispel some of the myths.

If the subject were anything but sex, a public demonstration or two would have done the trick long ago. If the textbooks say (as they once did) that there’s no such thing as a black swan, all that was needed to disprove it was for the first Australian explorers to bring back a black swan. And if someone said, “It’s impossible to lick your own nose,” then all that was needed to disprove it was for a few people to show off their nose-licking abilities on David Letterman. Unfortunately, the equivalent demonstration for male multiple orgasms would have been classed as porn, and there would still have been skepticism about whether any video had been doctored.

The Pioneering Research

For a very long time, all Western writers about sex stated unequivocally that a man could not have an orgasm without an ejaculation, and that every man had to wait through a recovery (or “refractory”) period after one orgasm before he could get another erection and have another orgasm. A few dabblers in Eastern religion and sexual practices came across clues that this wasn’t necessarily true, but it wasn’t until Alfred Kinsey’s pioneering study, Sexual Behavior in the Human Male, in 1948, that there was a hint that some normal men didn’t follow the supposed rules.

Kinsey noted that, out of the thousands of American men he studied, a few reported experiencing orgasm without ejaculation, and being able to have multiple orgasms in a row as a result. Because “everyone knew” that this was impossible, it was largely ignored, or dismissed either as a reporting error or as men simply exaggerating their sexual prowess. The same thing happened in 1966 when Masters and Johnson mentioned the possibility of male orgasms without ejaculation in their landmark book, Human Sexual Response, even though they were relying on laboratory studies, not self-reports or surveys.

In 1978, two researchers published a paper describing interviews with several multi-orgasmic men (M. Robbins, G. Jensen; "Multiple Orgasm in Males," Journal of Sex Research, vol. 14, no. 1; 1978), but again there was little attention paid to it. It was not until 1984, when William Hartman and Marilyn Fithian published their how-to guide, Any Man Can: The Multiple Orgasmic Technique For Every Loving Man, that members of the general public became aware that the conventional wisdom was wrong.

Hartman and Fithian were among the most respected sex researchers of their era. They recorded extraordinary amounts of data during more than 10,000 hours of observation and recordings of more than 750 subjects masturbating and having sex in their Los Angeles lab, still a record in the field.

Among their 282 male subjects, they found 33 who could have anywhere from 2 to 16 orgasms in a row without losing their erections. (Orgasms were defined and determined by recording and measuring the rapid increases in the heart rate and the involuntary contractions of the anal sphincter and pelvic muscles.) These 33 men averaged four orgasms per session, which was typically 20-30 minutes, with the record held by a young man who had 16 consecutive orgasms in less than an hour, an average of less than 4 minutes for each one! The subjects also included one man who could have multiple ejaculations in a row without loss of erection.

Modern Confirmation

In 1989, Marion Dunn and Jan Trost, researchers in New York, published a study of 21 multiply orgasmic men. They found “that detumescence does not always follow an orgasm, that a nonejaculatory orgasm can occur prior to as well as after an ejaculatory orgasm, and that it is possible to have a series of orgasms. Some of the men reported always having been multiply orgasmic, whereas others experienced it relatively late in life. Others have actively learned to become multiply orgasmic.” Of these, eight were men who learned to become multi-orgasmic after age 35.  ("Male multiple orgasms: a descriptive study." Dunn,  Marion E; Trost,  Jan E, Arch Sex Behav. 1989 Oct;18(5):377-87.)

In her 1994 book, How to Make Love All Night (see below), Barbara Keesling described four male sex surrogates who were multi-orgasmic, including one, whom she called “Bob,” with the ability to have successive orgasms with ejaculation and no loss of erection. (It’s impossible to tell, but this may have been the same man described by Hartman and Fithian.)

In 1995, researchers at Rutgers University published an account of a laboratory observation of a single subject, also coincidentally called “Bob,” who had six natural, ejaculatory orgasms in 36 minutes without losing his erection and without using any artificial techniques to inhibit ejaculation or maintain his erection, establishing that some men do not have a natural refractory period. The subject, incidentally, said that he had had this ability since puberty and could easily have continued for more than six orgasms if it had not been for the stifling heat in the lab cubicle used for the study.

In 2002, a team of German scientists published a report on a male subject who also had the ability to have multiple ejaculatory orgasms without losing his erection. The scientists were particularly interested in the possible relationship between his abnormal sexual ability and his equally unusual non-production of the hormone prolactin, which normally spikes in the blood after ejaculation:
[W]e investigated the prolactin response of a healthy multi-orgasmic male subject. Blood was drawn continuously during masturbation-induced orgasm. The prolactin response of the case-subject was compared with that of nine healthy adult men with a normal refractory period. The case-subject showed no prolactin response to three orgasms. Data from this multi-orgasmic subject support the hypothesized role of plasma prolactin in contributing to sexual-satiation mechanisms.
Translation: Since, unlike almost all men, this guy doesn’t produce prolactin when he ejaculates and also doesn’t lose his erection when he ejaculates, there’s a pretty good chance that the normal surge of prolactin after ejaculation plays some sort of a role in the normal loss of the male erection.

Finally, a reader has pointed out a video on the Internet that shows a French man having two ejaculatory orgasms within about 90 seconds of each other, again without losing his erection.  Although it’s impossible to authenticate it, it does not appear to have been doctored, and the amount of ejaculate from the second orgasm is about half of what it is for the first, a pattern also reported by the Rutgers researchers.

Multiple Orgasms for Men: Two Books

Meanwhile, several books emerged that essentially echoed Hartman and Fithian’s Any Man Can. Most of the men who have successfully learned to have multiple orgasms since that time, seem to have learned from one of the next two.

In 1994, Barbara Keesling wrote the first, and still one of the best, of the books that followed Any Man Can:

How to Make Love All Night (And Drive a Woman Wild): Male Multiple Orgasm and Other Secrets for Prolonged Lovemaking

Prior to earning her PhD in psychology, Keesling worked as a sex surrogate and then as a sex counselor with a clinic that treated sexual disorders. According to her description, several of the male surrogates who worked at the clinic were multi-orgasmic and she learned from them how to teach other men the same ability. In all, she claims to have taught more than 200 men this multiple orgasm technique.

Two years later, Mantak Chia & Douglas Abrams published:

The Multi-Orgasmic Man: Sexual Secrets Every Man Should Know

Chia and Abrams follow Keesling’s step-by-step process and use her terminology with almost no modification. This book strikes many people as a straight rewrite (or ripoff) of How to Make Love All Night, with a great deal of Taoist and other New Age verbiage added to it. Moreover, there are many completely false assertions and an enormous amount of really bad pseudo-science in this added material, which detracts from its value.

IF you can ignore all of the New Age/mystical/reflexology/anti-ejaculation/bad science stuff, Multi-Orgasmic Man is a very decent introduction to Kegel control and the technique Keesling (and everyone after her) calls “edging.” Moreover, it has the best illustrations I’ve found in any of these books.

If you don’t need the illustrations, I’ve been told Keesling’s book is available as a free e-book on the Web, which may decide you in her favor. It’s also shorter and has much less misinformation. Otherwise, either book will do as a guide. Get both if you can. It helps to have two perspectives on the same step-by-step process.

Is Ejaculation Bad for You?

Having given The Multi-Orgasmic Man a qualified endorsement, I need to point out its worst feature. As with most Taoist texts, Multi-Orgasmic Man is radically hostile to ejaculation, calling it a drain on male energy, health, and well-being, and it calls for men to ejaculate as seldom as possible, or ideally, not at all. Here's a quote from page 45:
The Taoist ideal is to ejaculate as infrequently as you can, but every man can and should refrain from ejaculating for a period of time suited to him. In the words of Su Nü, "One must measure one's own strength and ejaculate accordingly. Anything else is simply force and foolishness." Your strength depends on your age, your health, your state of mind, and your willpower.
Sun Ssu-miao, one of the leading physicians of ancient China recommended that men attain good health and longevity by ejaculating twice a month, as long as they ate healthily and exercised. He also offered the following more specific guidelines.
A man at twenty can ejaculate once every four days.
A man at thirty can ejaculate once every eight days.
A man at forty can ejaculate once every ten days.
A man at fifty can ejaculate once every twenty days.
A man at sixty should no long ejaculate.
This is nonsense. Not only is there no scientific evidence to support this theory, there’s a fair amount of evidence for exactly the opposite point:  that regular, frequent ejaculations reduce prostate cancer, increase sperm motility, and are essential to male reproductive health.

Many animals masturbate frequently, and it involves considerable physical effort, especially for large mammals like horses, elephants, and whales, so there needs to be a balancing evolutionary benefit or the behavior would not be so widespread. The prevalence of wet dreams in male humans who don't masturbate or have sex also argues that regular discharge and replenishment of semen is essential for reproductive health. For most men, avoiding ejaculation for extended periods is pointless or impossible, as well as harmful, and just leads to messy pajamas or messy sheets.

The Taoist religious doctrine on ejaculation is as dysfunctional and sex-hostile as the Catholic condemnation of masturbation.  Taoist Tantra is based on an extremely sexist approach to "sexual magic," in which the man is instructed to use intercourse to steal "sexual energy" from the woman without giving anything back.  If he should succumb to temptation and ejaculate, in this view, he would lose all that "energy" back to her, plus his own.

I find it astonishing that anyone who got past second grade can believe such garbage, but it is a fairly popular theory among New Age mystics, and you can find it repeated in many places on the web.

A Live, Wriggling Eel???

Tomorrow we'll look at a number of different ways men can experience multiple orgasms, but for now I can't resist closing with one of my favorite animal facts, from one of my favorite science writers, David Linden, professor of neuroscience at Johns Hopkins University:
...perhaps the most creative form of animal masturbation is that of the male bottlenose dolphin, which has been observed to wrap a live, wriggling eel around its penis.
(From Pleasure: How Our Brains Make Junk Food, Exercise, Marijuana, Generosity, and Gambling Feel So Good, a fascinating book that explains a lot about how Tantra works its magic. BTW, the link is to a much longer title:  The Compass of Pleasure: How Our Brains Make Fatty Foods, Orgasm, Exercise, Marijuana, Generosity, Vodka, Learning, and Gambling Feel So Good.  It's the same book.

Linden's other book, The Accidental Mind: How Brain Evolution Has Given Us Love, Memory, Dreams, and God is also must reading for anyone who wants to understand the weird, wonderful, bizarre, kludge of a system that we think with.  Linden is particularly good at explaining how evolutionary accidents lead to things like transcendental experiences during sex and why we tend to interpret them in "spiritual" ways.)

I love science!  It's so much fun!  :D

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