Health & Lifestyle

Ask Lue: November 15, 2018

Luena Maillard is a junior who is passionate about holistic health and education. In high school, she was employed by Planned Parenthood as a Peer Health Educator to teach sex ed classes to high school health classes. She is currently working as a PHE here on campus, and you can find her during her office hours at Tiernan Field House for one-on-one conversations!

Dear Lue,
What defines cheating in a relationship?

Dear Anonymous,

It’s hard to create one definition of cheating since relationships can be very different, what could be cheating for one couple could not be for another. If I had to whittle it down to one definition, I would say that cheating involves betraying your partner’s expectations about what kind of contact you have with others outside of the relationship.

That can encapsulate a variety of actions, but the emotional outcome is usually always the same- the person who has been cheated on feels rejected and betrayed.
Since interpretations of cheating vary from person to person, it is important to discuss what the expectations are in the relationship with your partner early on. This will eliminate gray zones that could result in someone being hurt, and the more communication the better in my opinion!

Dear Lue,
What’s the deal with No Nut November?

Dear Anonymous,

Okay maybe I’m old because I had to urban dictionary this one. I found this definition:
“Abstaining from masturbating or sexual activities of any kind during the month of November as a true test of willpower as well as totally boosting your testosterone to get some sick gains, again no you cannot bang your wife or girlfriend that defeats the whole purpose.”

First of all, the phrasing of the definition is gross. Second, I can’t quite understand the point of No Nut November. It seems like an unnecessary and excessive form of proving your masculinity to your fellow bros. Abstain from masturbating or sexual activities if you want, but to do so purely as a means of competition that is linked to perceived levels of machismo is frankly toxic.

Now, to address the notion that refraining from masturbating will give you ‘sick gains’: while it is true that the testosterone hormone does help muscles to synthesize proteins, masturbation only affects testosterone levels in minor, short-term ways. Generally, while engaging in sexual activity or masturbating t-levels go up until ejaculation, after which they return to normal levels. Not enough research has been done on the effects of abstinence on t-levels, (in fact there have been about four studies done total on about 39 people all of which argue that t-levels actually decrease and the other half that argues the opposite) and it is absolutely safe to say that t-values would only fluctuate within normal levels. This is an important distinction, as I believe the pseudoscientific link being claimed during No Nut November originated from a poor understanding of the mechanisms of testosterone, as well as a false equivalence of supplemental testosterone to naturally produced testosterone.

Of course, there are a variety of reasons for taking supplemental testosterone. However, I am speaking specifically to those who take it for muscle-building purposes, for example, taking supplemental testosterone is popular within body-building communities. Adding more testosterone than what would naturally be in your body might result in increasing muscle mass (of course there are side effects as well) however these results cannot be compared to the naturally fluctuating t-levels that exist in the body. In short, abstaining from sexual activity or masturbation cannot alter your t-levels enough to build any more muscle than if you were not abstaining.

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