You Definitely Don’t Need to Go on a Celebrity Sex Fast

Forgoing sex during a cleanse is the recent celebrity trend among stars like Kourtney Kardashian. Here's why it might be a bad idea.

Travis Barker and Kourtney Kardashian attend the 2021 MTV Video Music Awards at Barclays Center on September 12, 2021. They recently announced that they had done a sex fast as part of a cleanse — but you don't need to copy them.
Hollywood's second horniest couple just went on a sex fast.
Rob Kim/FilmMagic

In case you haven’t heard, celebrity sex fasts are in for spring 2022. Last week, Kourtney Kardashian made headlines after revealing she and fiancé Travis Barker recently put their usually PDA-heavy sex life on hold as part of an Ayurvedic cleanse, echoing comments controversial NFL star Aaron Rodgers made just a week earlier. During an appearance on the Pat McAfee Show, Rodgers said he did a 12-day Panchakarma cleanse, which involved abstaining from sugar, alcohol and sex.

According to Kardashian, forgoing orgasms for a (presumably brief, but unspecified) period of time did wonders for her sex life. “Actually it made everything better,” she told Bustle. “Like, if you can’t have caffeine, when you have your first matcha, it’s so good.” There certainly seems to be some underlying logic here. Food tastes better when you’re really hungry, the effects of alcohol and other substances are usually more pronounced when your body isn’t used to them, so why wouldn’t sex be better if you’ve given yourself plenty of time off to get good and horny?

However, there are a number of both physical and ideological reasons a sex fast might not actually be such a good idea. For one thing, sex fasts are often rooted in (or at least reflective of) harmful, antiquated notions of sex as a vice, one that inhibits moral or physical health and distracts from one’s higher purpose. These shame-based undertones are more obvious in sex fasts based in Western cultures, such as when Catholics choose to give up sex for Lent, but are still reflected in the ancient Eastern practices Kardashian and Rodgers have adopted. Going on a sex fast in order to level up spiritually or attain a superior state of mind and body still seems to imply that sex is a vice standing between man and fulfillment, that the sexual appetite is a temptation or distraction that should be curbed.

Moreover, while temporary abstinence may seem like it will give your sex life a boost, experts argue that forgoing sex can actually decrease your sex drive. As Dr. David J. Ley previously told InsideHook, “Our sexuality is like a muscle, and failing to exercise it actually weakens it, it doesn’t make it stronger.” In men, specifically, “abstinence and refraining from ejaculation appears to decrease testosterone,” Ley added.

Meanwhile, the mental health benefits of sex (whether partnered or solo) are well documented. According to certified sex educator Gigi Engle, forgoing orgasms can make you more vulnerable to stress and anxiety, and can actually harm your relationship. “It isn’t a thing you ever have to give up or fast from,” she wrote in a recent tweet. “Orgasms are good for you.”

Still, it’s your body, you can do whatever you want with it. If you don’t want to have sex, by all means, don’t have sex. But intentionally denying yourself pleasure in order to achieve some illusory level of higher mental, physical or spiritual wellness is mostly a bunch of nonsense that will probably just leave you horny, irritable and sexually frustrated.

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