Wednesday, 20 September 2017

The Intertwining of Music and Sexuality ― A Djembefola’s Tale

I have been religiously drumming for the last three years and began noticing some patterns. One peculiar observation is that after playing for a few hours, mainly at a Drum Circle, my orgasms become visibly enhanced, in terms of volume and trajectory of the ejaculation. Another more apparent observation is how drumming, or music in general, gets women in the mood and turns them on. I wanted to know more details about why this occurs, so basing the search on a balanced mix of scriptures and experimentalism I started digging.

Since ancient times music has been an essential part of history throughout almost all cultures and  civilisations. Before the invention of language it may have allowed our ancestors to communicate. As a cognitive structure, music could then be considered as a predecessor of language. There was a good reason why Plato regarded it as one of the fundamental principles of education.

Also since back then, music has been widely compatible with sex. Darwin was one of the first to note that for humans, music is connected to sexual selection and its benefits were primarily reproductive. As a means of expression and communication, music is fairly comparable to the songs and mating calls of animals — which are sometimes associated with courtship dances. Those are the sounds made by birds among other species in order to attract a sexual partner. Cockatoos and Woodpeckers, for instance, have been observed rhythm drumming to attract mates. Some birds use their feet to tap dance while others use sticks they craft themselves. How remarkable.

Likewise, chimps are known to use distinctive ‘signature’ drum solos to communicate and self-express, sometimes accompanied by vocalisation; while the gorillas’ version is through beating their chest. 
Just like us, each animal drummer has its own unique style.

Then there are other mammals likes rodents and rabbits who drum with their feet. Though not as a courtship or mating ritual but as warning calls.

More musical examples from the animal world include Blue whales and humpback whales who sing by producing loud, haunting melodic notes and tunes. Apart from engaging in it during mating seasons, they also sing when they have lost a loved one or when feeling lonely; the songs differ, however. It is suggested that they equally do it to navigate.

This behaviour has not just been widely perceived within the scientific field, but it is also abundant in legends, myths, and arts.

One notable ancient legend relating to the origin of the djembe can be found in the 1997 book African Percussion by Serge Blanc. It tells the tale of how many hundreds of years ago way before humans learned to drum, it was the chimpanzees that played it in the trees. One day a skilled hunter trapped the drumming chimp and took his instrument away to present it to the village’s chief who awarded him by giving him his daughter to marry. According to the myth, this was how humans were introduced to the djembe and that’s why the drum-less apes now pound their chests. 

Being cousins to all those species, we evidently couldn’t fall far away from the family tree. And we didn’t. In fact, flutes made from bird bone and mammoth ivory dating back to over 40,000 years old were discovered in a cave in southern Germany. So music goes way back into the annals of mankind. In the modern world, a look at how male, and female, stars like Jim Morrison, Jimi Hendrix, Elvis, Sinatra, Stevie Nicks, and Joan Jett are considered sexy by a large number of the population shows how humans are nothing but animals with developed brains.

This thin bird-bone flute is the oldest hand-crafted instrument ever found.

In Evolution of Human Music Through Sexual Selection, evolutionary psychologist Geoffrey F. Miller explains that as a biological function it may be conceived that music doesn’t have a practical evolutionary purpose or a necessary survival value. However, the genetic composition which allowed some of our ancestors tens of thousands of years ago to venture and paint their hunts and nightly visions on cave walls — or come up with a humming tune while hitting a stone with a stick — lived on.

Said colourful “wit gene” differentiated between those who were a bit more intelligent and creative than the rest of the pack; as it catalysed a cognitive, intellectual, perhaps also an emotional and artistic breakthrough. Over time, it became a sign for the opposite sex that a man has the time and luxury to create, instead of having to work all day to survive and feed himself. 

In addition to time and luxury, to be skilful in music requires effort, strength, and energy. To be skilful in hunting and foraging for food requires just the same. Thus, from a sexual selection point of view, the extra energy, precision and sensitivity displayed by a man playing an instrument — as well as a dancing woman — are visual clues that allow separating the strong potential mates from the weak. As such, music ability among other creative endeavours evolved to become an advertisement of health, fertility, and even status.

The phenomenon is more notable in males since just like the animal world, when it comes to the domain of flirting and sex it is usually the man who makes the first move while the woman is the one who gets to choose.

 As an evolutionary trait, it’s how things work since women invest more in their offspring.

In the same paper, Miller noted how Miles Davis among other male musicians and athletes avoided having sex before important performances, because they need the sexual “edge” to play well. Coming across this bit of info was amusing since I found that out myself some time ago and adhere to it. In fact, not just when it comes to drumming, but writing as well. I remarked before that I know I’m writing about a heavy topic whenever I don’t think of sex as much as I normally do. It seems that it’s all about prioritising where our creative juices will be spilled.

Now before proceeding, let me first share that after a much needed lifestyle change during my mid-30s, there was a noticeable increase in the ejaculation as well as the sex drive. Cleaning up from a toxic decade, changing to a healthier and more natural diet, and going back to regular exercise all contributed to the equation; as well as working on some fantasies I’ve had for a long time.

What I am raising herein is a further step into inquiring why drumming has improved my sexual performance. Sometimes I hit my eyes and the bed’s headboard behind with my own cum. And the eye hurts and gets red, just like the women have said. But seriously, we’re talking here about one-meter porno-like kind of ejaculation — 3.2 feet or 39 inches. According to the average, this is quite something, even compared to my own previous average. This has been occurring repeatedly in recent times. And I’m 40 now, you see. It is certainly a topic worthy of investigation.

Dancing Wild Art by Gaia Orion

So, what is ejaculation made of?

t is common knowledge that semen contains sperms, which the male body can produce at a staggering rate of 1500 every second. But that is just five percent of the total; as it also contains proteins that have an antimicrobial effect that gives it this chlorine scent. Ta-Da, now you know. It can also smell and taste like arugula if you ate some. Check out this earlier piece for more: Arugula: The Healthy Ancient Aphrodisiac.

In addition to all the baby yous, semen include 200 separate proteins as well as vitamins and minerals such as Vitamin C, Calcium, Chlorine, Fructose, Sodium, Phosphorus, Potassium, Magnesium, Nitrogen, Lactic Acid, Uric Acid, Citric Acid, Vitamin B12 and Zink.

One major component related to the load and force of an ejaculation is the testosterone level. This chemical messenger is the male hormone responsible for the development of male sexual characteristics. From vigour, stamina, to sex drive, bone mass, and muscle size and strength, testosterone affects a whole lot about the male body. 

It is significant to note that females naturally produce testosterone as well, though usually in smaller amounts. In fact, according to a 2009 Study from the University of Michigan, those who do have elevated levels report having more sex, are more likely to achieve orgasms, and generally have more positive sexual experiences.

It was equally found that high testosterone is associated with the creative musical behaviour in female musicians — but only those who are considered talented. As for male musicians, it is linked to decreased testosterone. It has often been held that musicians of both sexes are psychologically androgynous with testosterone levels that differ from the average sex-typed males and females. Proficient musicians may even have different brain structures than the rest of the populace.

Further digging led me to find out that high levels of testosterone also increase your sense of pride and competition while boosting your self image. The other way round, sex with new or multiple partners equally sends the T-levels to volcanic levels. 

In a different study from Wayne State University, researchers compared two groups of men competing to win the attention of an attractive woman. They found that men with lower testosterone couldn’t compete with the high T-level; the latter have shown to be more assertive, controlled the conversation, and clicked better with women.

Another function of testosterone is that it stimulates the release of dopamine in the brain while low testosterone can inhibit it. Dopamine is our “feel good” neurochemical involved in the experience of pleasure and reward — when we satisfy our desire to eat, sleep, or reproduce. We’ll talk more about it further.

Apart from sexuality, low T-levels have also been linked to type 2 diabetes and obesity, as well as greater chance of heart diseases.

After knowing what semen is comprised of and what testosterone is, let me shed some light on what music does to the brain before moving on to the correlation between music and sexuality.

As mentioned in my earlier piece, How Drumming Changed The Way My Brain Processes Music, music is one of the few activities that practically uses and stimulates the entire brain. It literally “lights it up” as it activates areas responsible for motor actions, emotions, and creativity. However, when it comes to playing music rather than just listening, the benefits tend to increase.

The changes in the brain music catalyses occur due to Neuroplasticity. In Cognitive Neuroscience, neuroplasticity is the ability of the brain to change in response to learning and experience. Playing music is one of those activities that have shown to alter the neural pathways in the brain and create new ones. It also has soothing effects, reduces tension and anxiety, and releases emotions.

Additionally, researchers at McGill University in Canada have uncovered another thing music does to the brain: Releasing dopamine. This Study was the first to show that an abstract reward such as listening to music, as opposed to a tangible reward such as eating and sleeping, can arouse feelings of euphoria and cravings. As we listen to music, the dopamine is released when we first anticipate then actually experience the pleasurable response. The experience itself is processed by our brain as an aesthetic reward.

Interestingly, there is a whole new field now called the Cognitive Neuroscience of Music, which is is the scientific study of brain-based mechanisms involved in the cognitive processes underlying music.   

The "orchestra" of the Chief of Abetifi c. 1890

Now to the essence of this piece: The correlation between music and enhanced sexuality — stronger orgasms and increased ejaculation. 

Despite the limited literature on this particular topic, there is an abundance of telling findings.

I think it’s logical to note that when we feel good we perform better — and have more fun doing it. This goes for sex, sports, and arts including music. Now, if music can evoke powerful emotions and makes us feel good as it does, then it must have some positive effect on our hanky panky... by inspiring our performance. I actually hold that the whole essence of being sexy lies in the confidence which comes from knowing that you are sexy. So it starts with yourself then it is picked up by others.

The following is more science demonstrating the role genders play when it comes to the effects of music.

One Study published in Human Nature showed that music contributes to women’s sensory experiences while not so much in the case of men. Both genders said that (consensual) touching — tactile stimuli — was the most important sensory experience causing them to get aroused. 

But, when the participants had to rate the importance of what they heard, the results differed.

Men apparently were totally unaffected by music. Quoting from the study “Music was the least arousing sensory experience for males in the context of sex.” However, men did report getting highly aroused by sexual sounds. Surprise!

By contrast, music as an arousing experience ranked quite high for women — as high as sexual sounds and imagined scenarios. 

This clearly shows that the effect of music on men and women is different. Hence their brains and nervous systems must process it differently. 

Nevertheless, another Study published in Archives on Human Behaviour revealed that exposure to sad or happy music can help or hinder male sexual performance. Men who listened to “happy” music were aroused faster and more easily than the guys who listened to “sad” music. This was done by measuring the blood flow to the genital. Ah, Science. When you come to think about it, such findings may not seem surprising as it goes back to our mood. And I think anyone who has had enough sex knows this already.

Orgasmic in The Zone — Photo credit: Oliver Rossberg

Let us finally review what drumming in particular does to us.

We all have an inner beat — think of the heart and the breath; some simply learn how to express it outwards and possibly make a melody out of the different tunes. Just like a Cockatoo.

The benefits of drumming have been known all over the globe for eons. Yet they have only been recently verified by western science. Now many publications are there to explore. Findings indicate that drumming boosts the immune system and produces feelings of well-being, accelerates physical healing, releases emotional trauma, and helps the reintegration of self.

In Composite effects of group drumming music therapy on modulation of neuroendocrine-immune parameters in normal subjects, Barry Bitman sets to show how drum circles have healing, therapeutic effects. 

Other studies demonstrated how drumming can help calm and sooth Alzheimer’s patients, autistic children, recovering addicts, trauma patients/veterans, emotionally disturbed teens, and prison and homeless populations. It is likewise a valuable treatment for stress, fatigue, anxiety, hypertension, asthma, chronic pain, arthritis, mental illness, migraines, cancer, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, stroke, paralysis, emotional disorders among a wide range of ailments and physical disabilities.  

Drumming equally catalyses harmony between the logical left hemisphere and the intuitive right hemisphere. Hence the transfusion of the inner intuitive guidance can flow unobstructed into our conscious awareness. The ability to access unconscious information through symbols and imagery facilitates psychological integration and a reintegration of the self, which has a mammoth effect on channeling our creative, and sexual, energy in an efficient way. No wonder that right after drumming I sometimes get some seemingly random, illuminating Aha-Moments about a certain piece I would be working on at the time. The same happens while of after running and meditating.

Other times, I find myself tearing up while playing — either because I see a dog around the Drum Circle and remember my own late Caramella, as a repressed emotion. Or I could remember my drug addiction years and feel grateful that I made it out alive and thankful for where I ended up today. Or, it could be just like that, as a general burst. 
Whether they are tears of joy or not really, they are always cleansing, which shows that my inner being must be comfortable enough in such element to freely shed a few — whether in private or public.

On that same note, recent Research conducted by the clinical psychologist Barry Quinn demonstrates that a drumming session can double Alpha brain wave activity, dramatically reducing stress. The brain changes from Beta waves (focused concentration and activity) to Alpha waves (calm and relaxed), producing feelings of euphoria and well-being.

Quin explains that Alpha activity is the one associated with meditation, shamanic trance, and integrative modes of consciousness. This ease of induction seems more convenient than the long periods of isolation and rigorous practice required by most meditative disciplines before reaching significant results. Rhythmic stimulation is a simple yet effective technique for inducing altered states of consciousness.

Just like sex, drumming does induce higher states of consciousness. I can attest to that as well. For me, it’s like a psychedelic experience during which all of my senses mix. The high actually gets so satisfying, I often choose to close my eyes rather than watch a beautiful woman or three dance to my tunes a few feet away. In one way, I’d love to watch, especially after a few smiles and eye-contacts; but in another, I know that I’ll probably enjoy it more if I kept my focus on playing on me djembe instead of going to talk or dance with them. And I love women.

Another thing is that I can see how entranced they already are, just like myself — remember how more sensitive they are to music. So it’s a win-win situation for all of us if I keep drumming. In order to limit the distractions, I then close my eyes again and remain in The Zone, drumming even wilder. Such self-control gives me a certain kind of joy, I dare saying. 

Speaking of which, drumming is a somewhat easy mode to step into The Zone, or Flow State. Getting into The Zone teaches us how to be Here Now; how to be in-tune with the rhythm of life and in-sync with the entire cosmos. Truly. Fully. Authentically. This was another thing I came to find out for myself when I began drumming as a meditative, and almost spiritual practice. And boy does one fly high.

You see, during Flow the inner world beats any outer distraction. Time stops and nothing else matters. One forgets to eat and sleep as if blessed with a certain superhuman power, allowing us to focus for hours on whatever we’re working on. Absolutely no pain is felt then. This ‘high’ actually stays for quite a while after stopping. That’s because natural highs don’t have lows.

Life is very much like a drum circle; those who drum, those who dance
to the beat of the drum, and the audience who watches them both

Venice Beach Drum Circle

When a fellow drummer, David Joseph, found out that I’m writing a piece about the topic he wrote an eloquent comment based on firsthand experience — which you cannot buy or study.

Allow me to suggest two shallow observations: One, a drum is typically played between the legs. Vibration and such may have cleared out any blockage or build up in the affected region. Shook it loose so to speak, giving a clear path.

Two, there is joy in drumming. Ecstatic joy. I at times have had, during and after drumming, my entire body vibrating. As your body and mind realizes another source of joy, other than sex, is it possible that it knocks up the level of the joy in sex? Just some thoughts from an old drummer, and lover.

Amusingly, there is an entire website called Cumming or Drumming where you take a test to try to find out if the face you’re seeing is of a drummer mid action or of a porn star mid cumming. Gotta love the Internet.

A final reflection is that perhaps long ago creativity in males was looked upon as competition by females — also by other creative and non-creative males. A man spending his time and energy on something other than feeding himself and/or family or mating may not seem that desperate to just barely survive, which makes him attractive in the eyes of the woman and compels her to better from her own skills to match him. The same goes for creative females as well. 
I recall when I first took writing as a vocation and would lock myself in for five-six days, my ex would get sort of jealous. She couldn
’t understand that this passion and isolation bring me joy, and hence began thinking that I did not like or love her enough. The joy is actually intensified exponentially whenever the work has been finalised. What a rewarding experience that is. 

That said, maybe it was the
“wit gene” that helped us evolve and better from ourselves in more than one way. Just an evolutionary snack for thought after this lengthy exposé. 

As we have seen, music has a direct effect on the brain, nervous system, body, and overall psyche. In terms of chemicals, it makes the brain release dopamine which is precisely why we feel good when playing, listening, or dancing to it. With testosterone in the equation, music is also biologically linked to our sexual stamina and performance.

Men and women process music differently, possibly because they had been hardwired for thousands of years since our male ancestors used music playing as a sort of mating call. Just like our animal cousins, if the females fancy the tunes they may respond by dancing and joining in — by showing off their own energy, agility, and sensuality.

Evolutionary speaking, over the thousands of years, playing music — as well as dancing to it — came to serve as an advertisement of health and well-being, which remains essential to mating. This is all in addition to the intrinsic benefits and communicative properties of music.   

However, despite the lack of scriptures, as well as lack of measurement of the blood flow to the genitals, I couldnt find conclusive evidence of a correlation between playing drums and stronger orgasms or enhanced ejaculation in particular as I have hypothesised. Then again, my intention was not to conduct a study or prove anything. But rather, to learn more about something I am personally involved in, then share what was learned with my readers as a raconteur. And based on all what has been compiled herein plus the personal anecdotes — mine and others — playing a musical instrument for fun and/or as a meditative practice has shown that it does enhance our virility and sexual behaviour among a plethora of other benefits.

At the very end, beyond all the scientific research, studies, publications and big words, we know for certain that in whatever we do, when we feel good on the inside we perform better. As simple as that. This is a universal truth which currently does not require any evidence. Man, woman or in-between, music is one of those magical and liberating activities that help lift us up while taking us there... wherever there is. Playing it or dancing to it, or even just listening can indeed take us places.

Music has always been, is, and will likely always be intimately intertwined with sex. Now get your groove on to play on and play on to get your groove on, and on and on and on. Keep the beat alive.

“Music is a moral law. It gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight
to the imagination, and charm and gaiety to life and to everything.”
― Plato


Effects of gendered behavior on testosterone in women and men

Nature Neuroscience: Anatomically distinct dopamine release during anticipation and experience of peak emotion to music

Testosterone and Dopamine 

Human Nature: Differential use of sensory information in sexual behavior as a function of gender 

Archives of Sexual Behavior: Effects of Positive and Negative Mood on Sexual Arousal in Sexually Functional Males

Ancient Healing Approach: Drum Therapy (with more sources included therein)

Composite effects of group drumming music therapy on modulation of neuroendocrine-immune parameters in normal subjects

African Percussion by Serge Blanc

Shamanic Drumming: Calling the Spirits by Michael Drake


How Drumming Changed The Way My Brain Processes Music

Drum Circle Etiquette — The Do’s and Don’ts
A Year at the Venice Beach Drum Circle in Photos & Videos

Another Year at the Venice Beach Drum Circle in Photos & Videos

My Journey Towards Self-Transcendence

When Choosy Men Reject Women
How Do We Know We Are Good at Something?

The Intertwining of Genius and Insanity

Different Shades of Passion

Who Are We? 

Arugula: The Healthy Ancient Aphrodisiac

How I Dropped Two Waist Sizes in a Few Months

Kicking That Sweet Habit


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