Social Question

CuriousLoner's avatar

Do you believe practicing abstinence makes a person "better"?

Asked by CuriousLoner (1808 points ) October 23rd, 2012

I was thinking do you believe someone who decides not to have sex, or give in to desires or what have you a “better” person?

Would they be able to do more? See things in a different view? Appreciate certain things?

Or does it not really matter?

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

102 Answers

deni's avatar

Hahahahahah no! I see no correlation between whether or not a person is having sex, and how good of intentions they have in life! I think that’s a ridiculous thought.

CuriousLoner's avatar

@deni I would agree, I was just wondering after watching documentary on taboo things.

ragingloli's avatar

No. Just look at priests.

Unbroken's avatar

Short term it might be good. For people who always need the noise or codependency etc.
Healing, emotionally or physically it can be counter productive.

But the sex urge is a genetic imperative. It is required not as a basic need, oh where was it on the pyramid… Hmm. Get back to you on that. It is hardwired, pleasurable and important.
As far as morally better, well that depends on your morals. Let me ask you this, why would it make you a better person?

YARNLADY's avatar

I think the idea behind abstinence is that it allows the practitioner more freedom to focus all their energy toward a specific goal without any distractions.

Nullo's avatar

The unmarried have a responsibility to abstain from sex, in order to avoid (among other things) STDs, unwanted pregnancy, and the degradation of sex to a form of entertainment. I generally have more respect for responsible people than for irresponsible people.

rooeytoo's avatar

I think the answer to this sort of question is simple, there is no birth control that is 100% effective 100% of the time. So unless you are prepared to deal with the consequences of heterosexual non abstinence then abstinence is a good idea. I don’t know if that makes you a better person, but it could possibly make you a smarter person.

augustlan's avatar

Not unless sex has taken on an overly important position in your life.

jca's avatar

Would this question not be better off in Social?

I am still shaking my head at @Nullo‘s response that the unmarried have a responsibility to abstain from sex.

Nullo's avatar

@jca I’ll add you to my list of sexually irresponsible people, then.

ninjacolin's avatar

The unmarried have no such obligation, @Nullo. Not unless you’re following a specific philosophy that dictates that as a responsibility for unmarried people.

And no, @CuriousLoner, I don’t think there has ever been any evidence to suggest that abstinence does anything magical for a person’s character or abilities. It would give you a specific set of experience to be abstinent for X-long. But if it’s not something you really want to be doing without.. then you’re simply doing without.

I suppose since there are people like @Nullo on the planet, it would increase your chances of impressing these kinds of people who have decided that it is a healthy-peacock-like display to remain abstinent before marriage. But that’s about it.

ninjacolin's avatar

oooh, on that note.. I think there’s definitely a large number of people who value lack of promiscuity. So, even if you aren’t completely abstinent, if you simply show restraint in who/what you sex over the years, you never know how much mystery person in the future might delight in your low (or possibly high) numbers.

flutherother's avatar

I don’t think abstinence makes people better but having control over your sexual urges isn’t a bad thing.

ragingloli's avatar

@Nullo
I think that people that are intentionally abstinent are suffering from a sexual behavioural disorder.

Shippy's avatar

Nope, never understood this concept never will.

janbb's avatar

Gee – then I must be really great by now!

kess's avatar

It all about Identity, when a desire control the person, the desire become the person.
When a person chases after their desire, then they can only see within the context of that desire.

So chasing sex (or whatever controlling desires) limits your outlook onlife.

Remember desires are never fulfill , it just traps you into want more and more….

With sex the ones who are trapped may not even be having sex at all…

Seek's avatar

I have absolutely no opinion on the actions of consenting adults to do (or not do) as they choose with or without a consenting partner.

Now, if they’re remaining abstinent because they are being threatened by their spiritual advisers, I’ll take issue with the spiritual adviser.

SuperMouse's avatar

I do not think abstaining from sex makes one a better person. On the flip side I do not believe engaging in sex makes one a worse person. I do not believe anyone has the “responsibility” to abstain from sex. I do not believe that what two consenting adults do or do not do with regard to their sexual activity is any of my business. That being said, abstaining from sex was very beneficial for George Costanza – not so much for Elaine.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

If abstinence and being a better person have any correlation I’m totally fucked. And so is anyone around me.

dabbler's avatar

Married and unmarried people have some responsibility to “avoid (among other things) STDs, unwanted pregnancy” but in modern times there’s no reason to avoid sex to accomplish that.

If one has the capacity for it, abstinence can help “focus all their energy” as @YARNLADY mentions. But for folks who aren’t ready for that discipline it can be a terrible perversion.

bookish1's avatar

I feel like people here are ignoring the sense of the OP… @CuriousLoner was not asking if abstinence made someone morally better, but if it improved their perspectives or abilities. And I think that is an interesting question. My first thought in response to that is that certain kinds of Hindu philosophy (I was going to write “Hinduism teaches,” but that’s really not how it works!) emphasize the vital energy that you disperse if you have sex. Instead of losing it, you can in fact channel and train that energy, and redirect it toward enlightenment/reunion with the Godhead (which is, ya know, the purpose of tantra and yoga, which have both been horribly misappropriated. Have you heard of the Communion diet? Works wonders for your waistline.)

I hate watching these manifestations of the culture war where everyone’s just circling the wagons. Abstinence only for the straights non-straights should just off themselves. VS If you’re not chasing ‘sexual expression’, something is wrong with you. Just shouting past each other.

syz's avatar

No, I do not believe that abstinence makes a person “better”. I suppose it could be a tool used for good (someone who needs to minimize distractions or break a habit of poor decision making, for example) or for ‘evil’ (“Look how pure I am, I’m clearly a better person than you.”)

Generally, I believe that moderation is a healthy lifestyle, and self-determination and freedom of choice; do what works for you.

@Nullo The unmarried have a responsibility to abstain from sex, in order to avoid (among other things) STDs, unwanted pregnancy, and the degradation of sex to a form of entertainment

So those unmarried individuals that are sexually active are somehow too intellectually compromised to use a condom, peruse a medical history, or use any form of birth control? And married people use sex only to procreate? What a bizarre and rigid world view you have.

Coloma's avatar

Has nothing to do with making one a better person, but controlling ones desires is an exercise in discipline. Yep, moderation is the ticket. If we employ zero self control we would all be 300 lb. junkies with STDs. lol

glacial's avatar

Um, what? No. I can’t imagine why anyone would make that leap in logic… we are sexual creatures. That has nothing to do with right or wrong.

glacial's avatar

@Nullo “The unmarried have a responsibility to abstain from sex, in order to avoid (among other things) STDs, unwanted pregnancy, and the degradation of sex to a form of entertainment. I generally have more respect for responsible people than for irresponsible people.”

I find this hilarious! Being married does not magically protect anyone from STDs, unwanted pregnancy OR the degradation of sex to a form of entertainment. Nor does marriage make people responsible. Why would you assume all of these things are true?

wundayatta's avatar

If by better, you mean depressed, unhappy, lonely and verging on suicidal, then yes, abstinence makes me better.

Perhaps there are a few people in the world who do better without sex. What I find laughable is that a virgin would feel like they have adequate information to decide whether abstinence is beneficial. I don’t think you have sufficient data to make a judgment if you have no experience.

rojo's avatar

Nope, abstinence makes me cranky.

jca's avatar

I like how @Nullo came out with his opinion, and then added his snarky remark about me and then disappeared into the wild blue yonder.

deni's avatar

I would be uninterested in someone who abstains from sex for @Nullo ‘s reason. So the door swings both ways. Where the hell is it written that adults have that responsibility? Sounds like a heap of dung to me. I would snort, laugh, and say “OK, have fun with that” :)

ragingloli's avatar

@deni
“Where the hell is it written that adults have that responsibility?”
The bible. Right before it says you deserve to be killed if you dare to have sex outside marriage.

wundayatta's avatar

The Bible is a pretty cultish document, methinks.

tom_g's avatar

@jca: “I like how @Nullo came out with his opinion, and then added his snarky remark about me and then disappeared into the wild blue yonder.”

He is busy working on his list. It’s very long.

Shippy's avatar

@wundayatta Maybe I have lost the thread, or didn’t read a lot of drivel in-between, but a lot of reference was made to the bible and priests and so on. Loads of “Belief Systems” promote abstinence. Sports men do it before a game. Hindu’s fast the list is endless.

wundayatta's avatar

@Shippy If they aren’t virgins, then maybe they have experience to help them prove their point.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@Shippy Yup, in the words of the immortal Leslie Neilsen, “No sax before a fight”.

Shippy's avatar

@wundayatta I doubt it as how can a virgin abstain from something they have never had.

wundayatta's avatar

@Shippy Hmmm. I never thought of it that way. So you’re saying a virgin can not abstain? Oh dear. Those poor Christians who wanted to abstain before marriage. How disappointed will they be to discover that they couldn’t and didn’t abstain? Maybe they will have to rewrite the Bibble.

Shippy's avatar

@wundayatta Just goes to show how this question although simple has been interpreted much like an ink blot. And a lot of answers say a lot about how the answerer thinks, which is not related to the question. I think you meant to write “Babble” not Bibble”?

TheProfoundPorcupine's avatar

I don’t think it makes the person better than others and I don’t believe it lets them see things in a different way as any abstinance should be done for a personal reason such as the sports person example that Shippy mentioned earlier.

In regard to the virgin point I agree that they are unable to abstain because that is like me saying I’ve never tried cannabis so I abstain from it…I don’t abstain from it I have just never tried it so there is a difference as you need to have given something a go to then abstain in my book.

tinyfaery's avatar

No. Personally, I think elevating a human act, or lack there of, to a spiritual superiority is just stoopid. And when people get to a certain age and still have yet to have sex they are bordering on mental and emotional problems. I have seen this in every virgin I have met over the age of 25.

Unbroken's avatar

@taenyfairy how many virgins have you met over 25? Or even under for that matter. But largely I agree it either encourages people to marry too quickly based on lust. Which according to dogma binds you too that partner forever. Or the person becomes obsessed with it. Emotionally immature because of the lack of intimate relationships.

syz's avatar

Sex is sex; every sexually reproducing species on the planet does it, from microorganism and fungi to humans. Only humans are arrogant enough to think there’s something special about it when we do it.

rojo's avatar

@Nullo Personally, I feel that sex can be a variety of emotions and pleasures depending upon the circumstance and that it is perfectly legitimate to have sex as a form of entertainment. I cannot see how enjoying it as such in no way degrades it. does that put me on the list too?

flutherother's avatar

How do I get on this list??

rojo's avatar

@flutherother , @jca got on by shaking her head evidently. I am trying to get on by expressing the opinion that sex can be creative without having to be procreative.

jonsblond's avatar

I think you gave a great answer @bookish1. (I also agree with your last paragraph. Too many people want to say there is something wrong with you for not having enough (or any) sex or for having what they feel is too much sex. ugh. What I do or don’t do with my vagina does not define who I am or what I’m capable of doing.)

tom_g's avatar

@rojo, @flutherother – Don’t worry. You’re on the list.

jca's avatar

@tom_g: I love that list (your version) and I’m proud to be on it!

ragingloli's avatar

@tom_g
That is terrible handwriting. Even worse than mine.

wundayatta's avatar

One day, perhaps I, too, can be on a list like the one @jca is on. Congratulations, @jca. You are among exalted company, indeed!

flutherother's avatar

Thank you @tom_g I feel better already.

jca's avatar

@wundayatta: (blowing kisses) “Thank you, Thank you. You like me! You really, really like me!”

I’m feeling warm and fuzzy now.

wundayatta's avatar

And you’re a dead ringer for Sally Field! Be still my beating heart!

jca's avatar

@wundayatta: Yes, but I’m no Sister Bertrille!

janbb's avatar

@tom_g Can I be on the list? Kin I, kin I, kin I?

rojo's avatar

@janbb try saying something sexy to him

bookish1's avatar

Wow, this is in general and nothing has been flagged yet? O_o

wundayatta's avatar

Thanks a lot, @bookish1. So much for this conversation now.

I fucking hate general!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Had I noticed, I never would have replied.

janbb's avatar

@rojo How do you know I haven’t?

jca's avatar

Just for the record I asked Augie to ask the OP if he would move it to Social (last night so almost 24 hours ago).

wundayatta's avatar

If he doesn’t move it, which moderator gets to commit slaughter on the poor innocent thread? Oh how I wish we could have every moderator make up their slaughter list independently, and see how much overlap their is. Also learn which ones are the most blood thirsty.

Did I mention that I HATE general?

jonsblond's avatar

Yes you did @wundayatta. You never fail to remind us about the things you don’t like about this site. :P

Blondesjon's avatar

Better at masturbating perhaps.

CuriousLoner's avatar

I messaged the mod back to move this to Social section. I never really pay attention to the difference.

I’m also not looking for a particular or exact answer. Anything is fine just give me your thoughts.

bookish1's avatar

@wundayatta : Talk about shooting the messenger. I did nothing but point out the obvious.

wundayatta's avatar

Sorry @bookish1. Message was not aimed at you. Unless you love general. In which case it was aimed at you, too.

Actually, my point is that it is a shame we have to think about these things, instead of just allowing discussion to go where it wants to go. I feel that is much more productive and entertaining. I have never had trouble getting serious answers on social, and I don’t understand why anyone would have trouble. But people start thinking about whether they are allowed to say something or not, and if that thought enters their head, the whole point of fluther has been missed.

augustlan's avatar

[mod says] Question has been moved to Social.

bookish1's avatar

@wundayatta : Thank you, I appreciate that. And now that this is in Social, I’ll respond to you! I agree there’s a value in allowing discussion to go where it wants to go, most of the time. But I think there is a value in having the ‘general’ box because sometimes people are really in trouble, have a personal problem or something they find embarrassing, for instance, and would rather cut right to the chase and receive advice rather than having to sort through jokes, bullying, and tangents. I believe my first question on here was about going through airport security being a transsexual person, and I received some derision and flippantly dismissive replies on there even though it was in general; I can’t imagine how bad it could have gotten if it had been in social, or if ‘general’ did not exist. I definitely put thought into whether I want to post a question in social or general.

jca's avatar

What I find happens in Social is that people start whispering private jokes to each other sometimes, and it totally derails the thread from what the original question was. When it’s my question and I am looking for some real answers or some thoughtful discussion, I find that tends to be annoying. That’s just me.

YARNLADY's avatar

@jca No, not just you. I ask nearly all my questions in General because of that very thing.

tinyfaery's avatar

Canned corn.

wundayatta's avatar

I don’t understand why that happens to you. I find that if I write a serious question (which does occasionally happen), even though I put it in social, people are, with the exception of one or two people, mostly respectful of it. And we all know who those one or two are.

jca's avatar

@wundayatta: If I weren’t around for so long and have so many questions asked, I would search and pull up some examples. Obviously, since @YARNLADY agrees and I’ve gotten so many good answers on this one and so has she, others agree with us on this.

wundayatta's avatar

@jca It is true that others agree. It is also true that it puts a serious negative affect on my experience here.

jonsblond's avatar

And this is a great example. With the exception of one answer, the last 20 or so answers are not relevant to the original question that was asked. This is why some of us prefer to ask in general when we are looking for a specific answer. :)

wundayatta's avatar

This question got many on point answers.

But the subsequent conversation is also relevant. This obsession with being only interested in things that are directly on point really disturbs me. I think it shows a lack of willingness to consider ideas that may or may not turn out to be important. It shuts off avenues of thought and investigation and is very short sighted.

rojo's avatar

why is everybody whispering?

Seek's avatar

PANCAKES!

dabbler's avatar

I agree with @wunda, especially when a question is in ‘social’ it’s time for a conversation. Let it wander, why not?

syz's avatar

Oh, for God’s sake! Wah, wah. If you don’t like General, don’t peruse it; that horse is dead, stop beating it.

Shippy's avatar

I like both, as both serve a purpose. I admit often though I don’t check and can make a ‘tit’ of myself if I am having a ‘loll’ conversation on General. But some questions I want to post, I do not want jokes and fun comments (if they are serious ones!),

wundayatta's avatar

I don’t post questions on General. However, Fluther does feed me questions from everywhere, and I don’t notice what board they are on until I get modded for doing the wrong thing. Honest. I simply don’t look. I don’t care. Questions are questions. I don’t care what the asker meant. I care about what the question says. If it’s a stupid question, it gets a stupid answer whether or not it is on General. If it is a good question, it gets a good answer even if it is on Social. If people want to flag my answers and the mods want to mod them, then I will complain because I think the system is wrong and stupid and ineffective, and impossible to ajudicate in a fair way.

The way I get modded really seems to have to do with who is doing the modding more than it has to do with principle. I go along for ages with no problems, and then, out of nowhere, for no explicable reason, a post will get tossed. It sucks. Especially when it is on target, but the mod thinks it isn’t, and there’s no recourse.

This system creates a distinction without a difference. Why not be honest and say that in general, the asker gets to eliminate answers. And is social, the question belongs to everyone. That’s what this amounts to.

Let’s be real, anyway. Every question needs an @ucme answer. At least one. I say that, and I don’t even think he’s funny. How’s that for irony?

augustlan's avatar

@wundayatta It’s a shame that you don’t care enough to pay attention to what section you’re in, or to what the asker wants. But that is on you. You know what the rules are here, and if you break them (and a mod sees it), you get modded. That really is all there is to it! It has nothing to do with who you are or who is doing the modding.

The asker doesn’t get to eliminate answers, by the way – even in the general section. They can flag an answer, but only the mods get to decide whether or not it should be removed according to our guidelines, and we often decide it shouldn’t be. There are plenty of flags we don’t act on. (Oftentimes it isn’t even the asker who’s doing the flagging… it’s another answerer.)

And you know, getting modded is not the end of the world.

Seek's avatar

@wundayatta Query: “The way I get modded really seems to have to do with who is doing the modding more than it has to do with principle” Modded posts do not list which mod has dropped the Hammer… so what’s your basis for this statement? Just wondering.

wundayatta's avatar

@Seek_Kolinahr Sometimes the mods tell you who they are. Maybe they aren’t supposed to, but I’ve had them tell me things, “as a favor.” Then when I get mad at them (what did they expect), they tell me not to ever talk to them again, but to write to Auggie. Whatever.

We’re an awfully small community, and you can tell who is who. People make different decisions. If you complain, they’ll review it as a group. Once they did reverse a decision they made on me, but just the once.

It’s all so stupid, though. Moderation should only be on the really obvious questions. Everything else should get the benefit of the doubt. There are decisions I haven’t disagreed with. I might have complained about it, anyway, because they do affect me emotionally. And in those days, I was not really in any shape to deal with it like it didn’t matter. It did matter. Enormously. Call me stupid. But I cared a lot about this place.

I still do, but I’ve learned that most people don’t see the problems I see. And I don’t see the problems they see. Oh, I see what they are talking about, but it doesn’t seem like a problem to me.

I don’t pay attention to the section for many reasons. For one, my “just for you” links don’t tell me which questions are in which section. If they did, or better yet, if I could filter out general questions from my ‘just for you” stream, then I would never have to think about it.

It’s kind of weird, since the vast majority of my answers are serious. But if people are unwilling to take the risk of my humor, then they aren’t interested in my answers. So I guess General is not for me. What can I say? I have a feeling that some people would miss some good answers if they did enforce this distinction. ANd of course, it is pretty absured to take some of these General questions seriously. I have no idea how mods sort out the serious from the humorous answers when the question is absurd in the first place. But they make up in their own heads that they can do it. I think it’s a foolish exercise. No one cares. So I’ll go on saying it’s stupid and willworkforchoc will keep telling me to get over it. Bonk.

SuperMouse's avatar

@wundayatta my goodness, isn’t this horse dead enough for you yet? Come on, either suck it up and deal with the moderation guidelines or just leave already. At this point it is feeling like your only reason for being here is to bitch about the moderators. Stop. Please just stop.

jca's avatar

I know that @wundayatta bitches a lot, but I think he is a valuable member of the Community and I don’t think it’s helpful to suggest he leave.

Seek's avatar

^ Agreed. I like Wundy, even if he categorically hates my modness.

glacial's avatar

@SuperMouse “At this point it is feeling like your only reason for being here is to bitch about the moderators. ”

That is really not fair. Nor is it true.

wundayatta's avatar

Thanks, guys! ;-)

rooeytoo's avatar

The pack mentality is alive and well in fluther. It is readily visible when people gang up on anyone who criticizes or complains about moderation or really anything about the site. Nothing is perfect and amazingly that includes fluther and its mods. So if no one makes constructive criticism nothing ever changes. I like it here but this sanctimoniousness (wow I spelled that correctly on the first try!) is tiresome.

augustlan's avatar

In @SuperMouse‘s defense, it really does get tiring to address one person’s complaints over, and over, and over. We all have our breaking point.

rooeytoo's avatar

@augustlan – I’m sure that is true, but is the answer telling people to leave? Is that proper behaviour for a mod? To me, if you take the job, you are like a cop or any other professional, you are not supposed to break or get overwhelmed or lose your temper. And ideally if you feel yourself reaching that point, you should back out and let someone else take over before it happens.

augustlan's avatar

I’m definitely not saying we should tell people to leave, just pointing out that she was probably very frustrated when she posted that.

rooeytoo's avatar

Well that’s a relief, I figured I would be shown the door any day now if it were sop!

wundayatta's avatar

If I were an owner of a product, I would listen to people’s complaints, and try to understand them. There is no good in being defensive all the time. It just creates antagonism. This is especially true if the thing you are trying to defend is indefensible, but even if there are good defenses, that’s not how you make customers happy.

Of course, mods are not owners. They are hired by the owner, and in this case, we have an absentee owner. That makes things very difficult, because the mods can’t actually change anything. Their job is to enforce the rules. But that does not mean their job is to defend the rules. There’s just nothing to be done.

I wouldn’t bother to defend them, if I were a mod. It really doesn’t do anything, except make the people who are pissed off even more pissed off, and it makes the people who aren’t pissed off pissed off when they see someone attacking something they happen to like.

If I were you, every time I criticize something, I’d say, “That’s nice, W. I can understand where you’re coming from. I wish I could do something about it.” You know, something patronising that sounds sympathetic.

Or, if I actually cared, I’d try to understand my concerns.

Or, I might try to explain the real reasons for the policies, whatever they might be, but that’s just the defense trap, all over again.

All in all, I’d probably just not rise to the bait, whenever I make a criticism. You know this stuff bothers me and I think it’s hurting the place. If you really think my views are so far out, just ignore them.

But then, that’s why you run it (if not making the big bucks), and I am just shooting off my fingers. So to speak.

jonsblond's avatar

What was the topic of this discussion again? Oh, that’s right, Does practicing abstinence make a person better? I think anyone still interested in that discussion has left the building. :/ (and it was a good question too. too bad it got sidetracked)

rooeytoo's avatar

At least no one is talking about food or pancakes (yet!).

rojo's avatar

You know, this could be take a different way as in does abstinence make you better as in “During Sex”!!

augustlan's avatar

@wundayatta We have listened to you. We understand fully that you don’t like the system. What you don’t seem to understand is that the majority of our members do like the system, as do we. We have been more than kind in dealing with your complaints, for a very long time. But we are human, and have our limits, you know?

You are literally the only one who brings it up over and over and over, in many unrelated threads. Which, in my opinion, is disrespectful to the asker. As you say, nothing is likely to change…so what good do you think you are doing at this point?

I respectfully ask that you limit your moderation complaints to threads that are specifically about moderation.

SuperMouse's avatar

I apologize for offending @wundayatta or anyone else. It was out of line and as @augustlan said, born of frustration.

@wundayatta the word “hire” does not fit in this case. The mods are all volunteers who do it because they love this site. Not one of the mods is in it for money, power, glory, or to harass other members. We do our best to moderate according to the Fluther guidelines and I’ll tell you what, it gets really old listening to the same complaints over and over and over again, especially after this has been discussed ad naseum.

All in all, I’d probably just not rise to the bait, whenever I make a criticism. Is this to say that all of the complaining is just a way to bait the mods? Because that would be unfair.

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