"The generative energy, which, when we are loose, dissipates and makes us unclean, when we are continent, invigorates and inspires us. Chastity is the flowering of man; and what are called Genius, Heroism, Holiness, and the like, are but various fruits which succeed it." -Henry David Thoreau
By Dr. R. W. Bernard, A.B., M.A., Ph.D.
HEALTH RESEARCH, MOKELUMNE HILL, CALIFORNIA 95245
An opinion has gained ground in modern times, not only among the general public, but also among physicians, that the belief in the physiological value of continence belongs to the dark ages of religious superstitions and scientific ignorance and is incompatible with physiological knowledge. Certain pseudosexologists, have exploited this idea to their commercial advantage and have created in the public mind a phobia in regards to continence, which is regarded as a cause of nervous and mental diseases and a positive health danger...
A careful reading should, however, convince any open-minded reader that the above view is false, and that continence per se can never do harm, but is always beneficial...
...and that when trouble occurs in an individual not practicing normal sex relations, the fault is not continence but some vicarious means of sex expression, excessive nocturnal emissions, etc.
In view of the richness of the semen in lecithin, cholesterol, phosphorus and other constituents of nervous and brain tissue it is clear that it is incontinence, or loss of these valuable nerve- nourishing substances which, by promoting undernutrition, is responsible for disturbed functioning of the nervous system and brain and never true continence, contrary to the unscientific views of the psychoanalysts.
We have seen that the internal secretions of the sex glands stand at the basis of the individual's physical and mental vitality...
...and that sex hormones are present in the external as well as in the internal secretions of the gonads. Many of the effects attributed to such hormones, as we have seen, are due to the physiological effect of resorbed semen...
...Conservation of semen means conservation of sex hormones and increased vigor, while loss of semen means loss of hormones and diminished vitality...
...also chronic deficiency of such hormones leads to the symptoms of senility, which Voronoff and Steinach strove to overcome by increasing the amount of sex hormones in the blood.
The semen is a viscid albuminous fluid, alkaline in reaction, which is very rich in calcium and phosphorus, also in lecithin, cholesterol, albumen, nucleoproteins, iron, vitamin E, etc.
In the ejaculation of the normal man, about 226 million spermatozoa are given off; these are rich in phosphorized fats (lecithin), cholesterol (the parent-source of sex hormones), nucleoproteins and iron.
An ounce of semen is considered to be equal in value to sixty ounces of blood...
...of which it constitutes an extract of some of its most valuable of constituents, as far as its vitalizing power is concerned.
...Dr. Frederick McCann remarks on this point, "From what has been stated it must be admitted that the spermatic fluid does possess potentialities justifying the belief of ancient writers concerning its vital properties.
The semen contains substances of high physiological value especially in relation to the nutrition of the brain and nervous system. If resorption of semen through the wall of the female genital tract has a vitalizing effect on the female organism the same should be the case in the body of the male in which it is formed and conserved.
And conversely, loss of semen must deprive the organism of vitality and valuable substances necessary for the nutrition of nervous tissue, such as lecithin, which has been used therapeutically with great success for the cure of neurasthenia resulting from sexual excess.
The following are among the many physiological evidences which demonstrate the value of continence:
1. There is a remarkable similarity of chemical composition between the semen and the central nervous system, both being especially rich in lecithin, cholesterin and phosphorus compounds, which would indicate that seminal emissions withdraw from the body substances necessary for the nutrition of nervous tissues.
2. Excessive voluntary seminal losses (through masturbation, coitus, coitus interruptus, and contraceptive practices) are debilitating and harmful to the body and brain.
3. Excessive involuntary seminal losses (through nocturnal emissions, diurnal emissions, spermatorrhea, etc.) are debilitating to the nervous system and may cause neurasthenia.
4. Observations of the immediate effects of the sexual orgasm indicate that it temporarily exhausts the nervous system, and when repeated too frequently leads to chronic nerve- weakness (sexual neurasthenia).
5. Continence is beneficial to the brain (for conserved lecithin from retained semen is a true brain food.)
Hence some of the greatest intellectual geniuses in ancient and modern times led continent lives. These include:
Leonardo da Vinci,
Herbert Spencer, etc.
6. Recent physiological evidence, pointing to the fact that the seminal fluid contains substances of great physiological value (such as Poehl's Spermine, which is a nerve-stimulant, lecithin, cholesterin, vitamin E, male sex hormones, etc.) supports the idea that continence is beneficial to health...
...as do the experiments of Prof. Brown-Sequard on the vitalizing effects of testicular extracts and those of Prof. Steinach on the rejuvenation that follows the enforced conservation of semen through ligature of the efferent testicular duct.
7. Leading physiologists, urologists, genito-urinary specialists, neurologists, psychiatrists, sexologists, gynecologists and endocrinologists endorse the physiological value of continence. Among such authorities are Moll, Kraepelin, Marshall, Lydston, Talmey and others.