Male Continence

The importance of saving your sperm

John Humphrey Noyes came up with the idea of Male Continence back in the 1840's as a means of preventing unwanted conception, without injury to either husband or wife and ended up with some 250 people living a communal lifestyle where all men and women of the community were married to each other which stirred up a lot of negative criticism at the time which one would expect as the US is a fairly puritanical country.

However he had a great many enquiries from intelligent men and women in ordinary married life seeking information about Male Continence after seeing and suffering the miseries of involuntary propagation which at the time was remarkable for its horrors of both infant and mothers mortality as there was no method of natural contraception back then.

Noyes was years ahead of his time as the concepts of Tantra were not yet translated into English. In searching the web, Noyes had something of a reputation as did the community for how they lived and arranged their sexual practices, but he introduces some very good arguments as summarised:

Noyes saw two main sides to sexual intercourse; firstly a spiritual union, social intercourse/exchange and sharing of pleasure, secondly for procreation and babies. He said that man should not waste his seed (sperm), rather only ejaculate in order to procreate.

He argues that by controlling ejaculation, birth control is achieved, the woman can relax and enjoy the union without fear of pregnancy,

The separation of the amative from the propagative, places amative sexual intercourse on the same footing with other ordinary forms of social interchange. So long as the amative and propagative are confounded, sexual intercourse carries with it physical consequences which necessarily take it out of the category of mere social acts. If a man under the cover of a mere social call upon a woman, should leave in her apartments a child for her to breed and provide for, he would do a mean wrong.

The call might be made without previous negotiation or agreement, but the sequel of the call - the leaving of the child - is a matter so serious that it is to be treated as a business affair, and not be done without good reason and agreement of the parties. But the man who under the cover of social intercourse commits the propagative act, leaves his child with the woman in a more oppressive way than if he should leave it full born in her apartment; for he imposes upon her not only the task of breeding and providing for it, but the sorrows and pains of pregnancy and childbirth.

It is right that law, or at least public opinion, should frown on such proceedings even more than it does; and it is not to be wondered at that women, to a considerable extent, look upon ordinary sexual intercourse with more dread than pleasure, regarding it as a stab at their life, rather than a joyful act of fellowship. But separate the amative from the propagative - let the act of fellowship stand by itself - and sexual intercourse becomes a purely social affair, the same in kind with other modes of kindly communion, differing only by its superior intensity and beauty. Thus the most popular, if not the most serious objection, to communistic love is removed. The difficulty so often urged, of knowing to whom children belong in complex-marriage, will have no place in a Community trained to keep the amative distinct from the propagative. Thus also the only plausible objection to amative intercourse between near relatives, founded on the supposed law of nature that "breeding in and in" deteriorates offspring (which law, however, was not recognized in Adam's family) is removed; since science may dictate in this case as in all others, in regard to propagation, and yet amativeness may be free.

In society trained to these principles, as propagation will become a science, so amative intercourse will have place among the "fine arts." Indeed, it will take rank above music, painting, sculpture, etc.; for it combines the charms and benefits of them all. There is as much room for cultivation of taste and skill in this department as in any.

The practice which we propose will give new speed to the advance of civilization and refinement. The self-control, retention of life, and ascent out of sensualism, which must result from making freedom of love a bounty on the chastening of physical indulgence, will raise the race to new vigor and beauty, moral and physical. And the refining effects of sexual love (which are recognized more or less in the world) will be increased a thousand-fold, when sexual intercourse becomes an honored method of innocent and useful communion, and each is married to all.


4 comments to Male Continence

  • Nola Corell

    Wonderful article. I guessing from this if men learned to control ejaculation and retain their sperm, that’d be a great form of birth control and would this be classified as some kind of Tantra?

  • Morgan

    Hi, it’s a challenge not to come and that’s helped by meditation and intense yoga practise. The euphoria and confidence is astounding and orgasm becomes a full or even out of body event.

  • Sigrid

    Hi, apparently Alice Stockham coined the term karezza, derived from the Italian word “carezza” meaning “caress”, to describe coitus reservatus, but the idea was already in practice at the Oneida Community. Alan Watts believed, in error, that karezza was a Persian word. The concept of karezza is loosely akin to maithuna in Hindu Tantra and Sahaja in Hindu Yoga. But the penetrative partner tries to achieve an orgasmic high or plateau yet to avoid ejaculation.

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