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ABSTINENCE: THE IDEAL OF ABSTINENCE

The sex impulse is capable of sublimation. That is, when its direct and immediate gratification is blocked, it tends to seek indirect, symbolic expression. Even though sublimation is a blind alley from the standpoint of the complete realization of the sex urge, nevertheless sexual energy may develop the habit of flowing into these blind alleys instead of following a direct outlet. Hence when one has inhibited direct expression of the sex urge a number of times in succession, the suggestion of an immediate outlet may practically cease to occur and he will find that he is freed from the necessity of struggling and exerting will power, or that, if occasionally a dangerous suggestion should occur, he can nip it in the bud quite easily and almost automatically.

The ideal of abstinence is realized when one reaches this stage of assimilation, at which sublimation is spontaneous and inhibition is automatic, when one feels that he is not sacrificing anything in leading an ascetic life or at any rate that the possibility of his leading any other life is at least for the time being not even to be considered. If one allows himself to long for the other mode of life, or to feel that he is missing something to which he is entitled, then he is likely to find himself beset with temptations. The easiest and perhaps the only wholesome form of sexual abstinence is that in which one completely renounces worldly pleasures of this type and defines the aims and possibilities of life in other terms. This is illustrated by Will Durant's statement in Transition, that while he was in the seminary studying for the priesthood, sexual interests simply faded away and presented no problem at all, but when he came out and entered the world the old sexual imagery and temptations began to flood in upon him again.

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Men's Health-Erectile Dysfunction