I know this will certainly be a very contrarian opinion to most of the rebooting community.
Cold showers are widely recommended and praised as the urge killer out there, and certainly they are. There is no denying that blasting your body with water pumped straight from the antarctic will kill your boner faster than you can say “relapse”.
But there are other reasons to avoid them during a reboot that often go unheard.
Cold showers and urges
There is no denying that a cold shower is the bane of urges. The discomfort kills all arousal and brings you out of your head and into your body.
So the main issue I see as planning to use cold showers to deal with your urges is whether or not you actually take one.
Uncomfortable at best, hellish at worst, taking that plunge is quite a step for most people.
And that’s a problem when you are already taxed for willpower, resisting an urge. I for one would certainly never end up under that water.
So make sure that taking a cold shower is not just on a theoretical level. The irrational process that works is infinitely better than the logical one that doesn’t.
Scientific research into willpower show that it acts like a muscle. It fatigues in use and eventually fails if taxed too much in a short period of time.
Keeping that in mind, recovery takes a lot of willpower.
Not actively, if you are going the smart way about it. But any serious rebooter would want to have all the willpower they have in reserve to deal with those urges and dangerous relapse-able situations.
Which is the main reason I am not up in arms shouting hooraah’s for cold showers.
It’s damnably uncomfortable to stand under that water. Before doing it has been deeply ingrained into a habit over a matter of months, it all comes down to willpower.
That willpower spent on that shower is away from resisting that streak killer of an urge that suddenly rolls into town.
I know that’s a rather excessive and paranoid way to think about it, but I’m not one for half-measures. Reboot for a full year, and then you can focus on all the cold showers you want for the rest of your lives.
Effects on libido
Scienctific literature concerning various cold therapies’ effect on the sex hormones is still very much in its research and peer review fisticuffs phase.
In other words, there is no clear consensus for both the short-term and long-term effects of cold therapy.
However, there are plausible mechanisms. The cold affects the hypothalamus, which would get the hormonal dominoes falling, leading to more lutenizing hormone and testosterone.
But my understanding of biomechanics of the human body extends only to this conclusion:
While the libido enhancing effect of cold therapies is still unclear, plausible mechanisms for it do exist, possibly making cold showers a poor choice for rebooters.
So no easy answers here, just something to keep in mind.
I will keep an eye out for the research and keep you updated of any scientific developments.
- If you take regular cold showers; reflect on whether they excessively tax your willpower
- If you take regular cold showers; take a break and reflect if it affects your urges.
PS: I would love to hear about your experiences in the comments! Do you feel cold showers to help or hinder you? Have you felt an increase or decrease in your urges?