Author Topic: Let's discuss the "anti-POIS" theories of Marnia Robinson and Dr. Newman Lin  (Read 5412 times)

mattlambertson

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 5
Hi,
I just registered but I've been lurking for a few weeks and am familiar with most of the main POIS information.

I am 26 and have suffered from a form of POIS for most of my life, worsening in the last few years. My symptoms are mostly mental, and by that I don't mean "POIS is a psychological problem", but that my symptoms are mostly in the mental/emotional realm rather than the physical realm: brain fog, depression tending towards near-suicidal thoughts, fatigue, irritability, bad social skills, timidity, compulsive behavior.

I was raised in a strict religious environment and until I became an adult I associated the POIS symptoms with "guilt" because I thought that masturbation was sinful.

Then, a few years ago, I encountered the work of Marnia Robinson (reuniting.info, yourbrainonporn.com, etc). She and her husband and their followers (sometimes it seems like a cult lol) believe that both porn and orgasms "overstimulate dopamine" (bit of an oversimplification) and that abstinence is and always will be the only solution. Her theories were/are very convincing and for several years I tried (mostly unsuccessfully) to be abstinent. Now I have a girlfriend (for the first time in my life lol) and that makes abstinence even harder (not only the sex itself but she approves of my taste in porn so I am able to enjoy it without the slightest lingering religious anxiety). So I don't want to "believe in" Marnia's theories anymore. I would rather think of the problem as being physical, being an actual "syndrome", i.e. POIS.

I am quite sure that her theory is partially correct. For me, everything I do that helps me relieve POIS symptoms is related to dopamine...junk food binging, competitive video games, buying things, and caffeine are the major ones. It's like sexual activity burns out all the dopamine and my body takes days or weeks to make more. I've felt temporarily somewhat better using herbs that affect dopamine such as St John's Wort or Vitex, but the long term effects of such things make me hesitant to continue their use, and using them for more than a little while seems to reverse the positive effects just like seems to happen with prescription SSRIs with some of the members of this forum. So I think they are just bandaids and not addressing the root problem, which in my "type" of POIS seems to be a lack of neurotransmitters, not just dopamine but surely serotonin as well, if we had low dopamine but high serotonin we should just feel  happily chilled out. The dull, "everything is colorless" stupor of my type of POIS suggests to me that all the "happy chemicals" are burned out, not just dopamine.

If Marnia's theories are true, there is no such thing as POIS, but rather no one may have orgasms (male or female) without burning themselves out sooner or later. Essentially a science-driven retake on the old religious story that orgasms are only for procreation and not for entertainment. I wish not to believe this, for obvious reasons, lol.

A big problem with Marnia's theory is that many people seem to happily have as many orgasms as they want with no side-effects. This implies that we are the exception rather than the rule, and that everyone who find happiness in abstinence (and there are many!) are undiagnosed POIS sufferers. However, my paranoid side argues with this by positing that perhaps everyone who engages in frequent orgasm or porn use has these symptoms, and the ones that seem not to are just better at hiding it, better at coping with it, and perhaps too unobservant to notice that their symptoms are related to sexual activity. What if the majority of sufferers from modern diseases like chronic fatigue syndrome are actually just having too many orgasms? Marnia's people might very well say so. And, while I think that's ridiculous, the lingering religious paranoia towards sexuality makes me hesitate, and go, "but what if they were right all along???"

And here my thought processes tend to get a bit philosophical. Maybe we're not supposed to be able to frequently experience intense pleasure. Maybe sex really is supposed to be just for procreation. Maybe you only get so many neurotransmitters and that's that. Maybe the down-regulation of dopamine receptors that occurs after drug use occurs for every pleasurable thing frequently engaged in means that we're biologically programmed to not exceed a certain allotment of pleasure...maybe our brains are our enemies and simply refuse to allow us to have these pleasures unrestricted and without consequence.

But I don't want to believe all that stuff. I would rather believe that this is a reversible syndrome caused by some combination of stress, lack of nutrition, environmental toxins and, possibly, genetic factors. So there's this constant argument going on inside my brain...who is right...the POIS people or the abstinence people?

I add Dr. Lin to the title because his theories are similar but slightly different to Marnia's. He is another person who is (from my current pro-POIS perspective) profiting from "treating" hoards of undiagnosed POIS sufferers. Look at the symptomatology of all the cases (both male and female) on his rather dense and confusing website, actionlove.com, and see how familiar they sound. He's a Chinese self-appointed-expert who's also into Taoism, doesn't write English all that well so his explanations are very confusing and convoluted fusions of science and Taoist metaphysical concepts. He has some legitimately good info but it's very hard to figure out what's legit and what's nonsense. Most disturbingly, all his advice-giving is corrupted by sales pitches for the ridiculously expensive supplements he sells, which he claims will cure people of their POIS-like conditions...but the supplements seem to be nothing more than common vitamins and herbs at shockingly high prices, and reports from other forums indicate that they may be completely useless.

I think it's fascinating how Marnia and Dr. Lin have such a completely different take on what is essentially the same condition as POIS, just not labeled as such. The funny thing is, the people on the other side essentially believe that everyone in the world suffers from POIS, and those that don't are more or less abstinent. That kind of black and white thinking is what makes me pro-POIS...I think it's silly to assume that just because sex burns me out, that everyone else must suffer from the same condition or else are too stupid to realize it.

In conclusion, I wonder how much cross-talk there is between the POIS camp and the "other side"? I know Marnia's people know we exist, because I first heard of POIS from them, a few years ago. But I've tried to avoid reading much of their stuff recently because it depresses and confuses me. Did most of you here know about Marnia's theories already?

Nightingale

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 362
Hi Matt,

Glad to hear from you.  You've clearly been at this recovery thing for some time.  I can relate to your life history, I felt guilty and didn't have a girlfriend for a long time.  I was also attracted to these kinds of theories you brought up because they seemed to make so much sense.

Unfortunately, what makes a lot of sense to us may have no basis in reality.  This is the difference from philosophy and science.  You can be an expert philosopher without leaving your room, but to be a good scientist you have to test your presumptions.  These theories are interesting, but they are just that: theories.  There is serious scientific effort and experimentation behind Dr. Waldinger's studies, but these two people you've mentioned have not put that same type of effort in.  They definitely seem to care and want to help, but they may be fooling themselves without testing their ideas.

I'd highly suggest reading up on the philosophy behind the scientific method.  While there is a practice of the method, there is important philosophy behind it, about aknowledging biases and testing your presumptions.  It's quite satisfying to know that these dry, wordy science papers and serious scientists have a real understandable connection to our world, but know that philosophizing by yourself is flawed.  You need peer review and multiple trials to check if you are fooling yourself or not.

Welcome!
Turmeric and Rosemary 30-45 minutes before orgasm for anti-inflammatory and immune support has helped me a lot. Faster and easier than niacin approach.

mattlambertson

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 5
Thank you for your response and welcome :)

I'd highly suggest reading up on the philosophy behind the scientific method.  While there is a practice of the method, there is important philosophy behind it, about aknowledging biases and testing your presumptions.  It's quite satisfying to know that these dry, wordy science papers and serious scientists have a real understandable connection to our world, but know that philosophizing by yourself is flawed.  You need peer review and multiple trials to check if you are fooling yourself or not.

Forgive me for sounding cynical (I'm sort of playing devil's advocate here since I am on the pro-POIS side now but am somewhat schizophrenic (a PIOS symptom too?? lol))...but modern allopathic medicine has given the scientific method an awful reputation in my opinion. Peer review is a joke because peer review only works if your peers are intelligent and honest and not motivated by the fear of losing their luxurious lifestyle should they fail to continue to tow the party line.

I'm not saying there's anything wrong with the scientific method, far from it, but the way it tends to be used in the modern world is often dubious, precisely because biases and presumptions are allowed to infest the thought processes of the status quo. I am sure this does not apply to the good doctors who are working in our little field...but that's mainly because it is little enough to not be worthy of the profit-driven exploitation that runs rampant in mainstream medical science. Do we really want a "POIS pill" that bandaids our problem without fixing the core issue, paving the way for potentially even worse side-effects than POIS later in life? I don't. But that's what we'll get if mainstream medicine recognizes this as a real condition.

That being said, I tend to put science and philosophy on equal footing. Science without philosophy and philosophy without science appear equally aimless to me. You can only use science to solve POIS if your philosophy agrees that POIS is bad and should be solved and can be solved. And I can sit around and philosophize about how everyone deserves to feel much better on a daily basis than I currently do, and have absolutely no way to translate my philosophy into real-world action without science.

Part of the problem with science is that it tends to break down when faced with questions about subjective experiences like pleasure and pain. There are many scientists who don't even acknowledge the existence of things like "brain fog" as a real, non-psychological problem. There are scientists who don't think caffeine addiction is a real thing because many people's bodies work hum along so smoothly that they don't experience withdrawal symptoms.

And lastly, there is good legitimate science behind the work of Robinson and Lin. Neurotransmitter burnout is a real condition (though not by that name) related to adrenal fatigue, hypothyroidism, glucose control, and many other things we also consider when looking at POIS. We could all be united, if not for philosophical differences between the POIS camp and the abstinence camp.

To put it most simply (perhaps too simply?) the difference between POIS-believers and abstinence-believers lies within the answers to the following questions...

-Is there such a thing as too much pleasure?

-If so, where is the line where pleasure becomes "too much"?

-Is that line at the same place for every human, or can it change?

-Can an individual human change where their line is drawn, or is it hard-wired into their genetics?
« Last Edit: April 17, 2012, 05:04:43 PM by mattlambertson »

Daveman

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1631
Welcome Matlambertson,

Hopefully we can help each other. You seem like an open person, I think our problem requires this.

I think I understand where Marnia et al are coming from. I can understand how it is possible that excessive sexual activity can unbalance the hormonal and neurotransmitter system, and I can understand how it is possible that POIS sufferers can even be skewed to one side and have an imbalance with less than "excessive sex".

I have been "cured" by niacin, although it isn't a cure ofr everyone, and given that the rules for taking niacin to "cure" POIS are quite strict, it's not perfect. BUT, it has shown me, that abstention is NOT the only way out.

Niacin points very strongly in favor of a common ground. It shows that "some of the theories" of Marnia's crowd may be correct, but it shows equally that the "broken system" has a key to recovery.

I feel that niacin provides "food"/material for the reconstruction of pre-cursors to the neurotransmitters that are damaged as a result of an imbalanced consumption of similar materials, or imbalanced capacity of the system that produces them, and therefore eliminates the depletion of important neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin, which otherwise makes us feel like crap.

Rather than telling the world that we have to suffer more by abstaining than we do with POIS, and dropping any intent to find a realistic solution, we are driven to find out how to fix the broken system.

We don't believe that it isn't fixable, we are betting our money on it ($7700 worth and climbing)! And we ourselves, are pointing the straining researchers in potential directions for relief.

I am NOT going to believe that our only hope is abstenance. Since niacin, I have gotten back to a normal life, with my wife, and family.

Normal! Wouldn't you like to see that??

Don't take any other option. We will be normal!!






WITHOUT RESEARCH THERE WILL BE NO CURE!
Sessions 5 to 9 days, mostly Flu-like, joints, digestion problems, light cognitive.
Niacin has changed my lif though, now 1 day MAX.
Somewhere in this interaction with Niacin is the answer!

mattlambertson

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 5
I don't want to be normal (who decides what normal is?) so much as I simply want to be in control of how I feel.
Of course, maybe that's what you meant by normal.
If I want to spend several hours a day in sexual activity, then I want to do it without my body trollishly rebelling.
POIS makes it very hard or impossible to have a productive life. I want to have a very productive life. I want to write books and make music and do social work and help the environment and all this stuff that I need energy to do that POIS robs.
Some people think the sexual activity itself is what robs you of that energy. But, I don't think it should be that way.
I want to be sexual and be creative. Why should I have to choose between one or the other?

Nightingale

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 362
Hey Matt,

I feel pretty helpless in trying to persuade you to change your opinions on this, as it seems like your reasons for believing what you do have more to do with your emotions than reality.  Not to say your emotions are not real, but I fear that they may be misplaced.  It is my hope that you believe I'm saying this out of desire to help a fellow human being, not something more sinister.  I can empathize with you in another sense now, too.  I have schizo-affective disorder and know fighting symptoms of psychosis and delusions can be really hard.  I feel for you!

Broad generalizations (implying researchers are not intelligent/honest, are motivated by greed), conspiracies ("biases and presumptions are allowed to infest the thought processes of the status quo"), and using exceptions to implicate an entire group ("There are many scientists who don't...") are all poor arguments that are attractive to us for their ability to satisfy us emotionally.  But that's so hard not to do!  I do it all the time, so I need others to provide their feedback to keep it in check.  I really trust my intuitions strongly, and I almost always do, but I have found it can get me into trouble when I get very passionate and seek the answers I would want most.  Our intuitions can got us far, but when everything seems to fit "just so perfectly, this has to be it and I see it," that's when one should take a courageous and humble step back to open ourselves to honest examination.

There are many enemies of honest examination, and I can tell you have a strong intuition to pick them out.  But you are just like the rest of us, flawed to convince ourselves of falsehoods because we really wanted these things to be true.

And again I do hope you have support with all that you are going through, POIS and all.  Friends are some of the best medicine.  I don't need research to tell me that :)

Final thoughts:

-Is there such a thing as too much pleasure? - I don't know, and I have not seen evidence or heard of someone credible who can answer that.  Pleasure is a poor term when looking for a quantitative answer.  Pleasure is measurable in an imperfect way, as I've had the education in psychology/neuropsychology to find out.  I'll link you something useful in addressing this if I come across it soon.

-If so, where is the line where pleasure becomes "too much"? - This again is looking for a quantity.  Having an orgasm with two women at the same time in comparison to one woman might have higher "pleasure points" or something, but it is really vague/imperfect to quantify.  Cascades of hormones (oxytocin, dopamine) though are possible to quantify.  I would start with studying those.  (I, personally, would likely see a stronger hormone cascade for an orgasm during a threesome!)

-Is that line at the same place for every human, or can it change? - if there is a line, then almost surely

-Can an individual human change where their line is drawn, or is it hard-wired into their genetics? - as with most broad spectrum questions of human psychology/experience, it's probably a mix of nature and nurture as they say, with probably a strong genetic component.  I've heard of practitioners of Karma Sutra being able to manage their feelings of pleasure so as to stay at that point just before orgasm for long times.  They are most likely proof that this is also changeable through mental effort
Turmeric and Rosemary 30-45 minutes before orgasm for anti-inflammatory and immune support has helped me a lot. Faster and easier than niacin approach.

mattlambertson

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 5
Well ok then.
Obviously those who do not think within a Scientific Materialist framework are not wanted here.
Thank you for your time.

Nightingale

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 362
Sorry you feel that way =/
Turmeric and Rosemary 30-45 minutes before orgasm for anti-inflammatory and immune support has helped me a lot. Faster and easier than niacin approach.

Daveman

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1631
I don't want to be normal (who decides what normal is?) so much as I simply want to be in control of how I feel.
Of course, maybe that's what you meant by normal.
If I want to spend several hours a day in sexual activity, then I want to do it without my body trollishly rebelling.
POIS makes it very hard or impossible to have a productive life. I want to have a very productive life. I want to write books and make music and do social work and help the environment and all this stuff that I need energy to do that POIS robs.
Some people think the sexual activity itself is what robs you of that energy. But, I don't think it should be that way.
I want to be sexual and be creative. Why should I have to choose between one or the other?

Actually I don't see much conflict between what you are saying and what I am saying.

As a matter of fact, I was saying that "some propose that we cut our sex back or even abstain completely, and THAT is the only cure". I and a good percentage of us here say BULLSH..!

The idea is to find a cure, one that sets our system straight. So we can have the sex of a normal person.

If you want to be extra normal, well that's something between you and God or the state, and not something that I think anyone (or most) here want to interfere with.

Sometimes in these types of conversations where there has been complications in the past, it's typical that there is a lot of knee.jerk reaction.

I love a good debate, and there are opinions on BOTH sides (or it wouldn't be a debate).

So sit back. Look at what's being said and let's get into it calmly.

WITHOUT RESEARCH THERE WILL BE NO CURE!
Sessions 5 to 9 days, mostly Flu-like, joints, digestion problems, light cognitive.
Niacin has changed my lif though, now 1 day MAX.
Somewhere in this interaction with Niacin is the answer!