Male masturbation jokes always get laughs in buddy movies and comedy routines. But a new study actually has something serious to say about the typical dude's favorite shower activity: Masturbating frequently could significantly reduce a man's risk of prostate cancer.

What qualifies as frequently? According to recent research from Harvard University, men who have 21 or more orgasms per month could cut their odds by 33%.

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To reach these findings, researchers surveyed 31,925 men, sending them questionnaires about how often they engaged in self-love. The study team then tracked the participants for 18 years, recording which men developed prostate cancer in that time period. The men were assessed at three different points: the year before the questionnaire was distributed, in their 20s, and again in their 40s.

The study conclusion? More frequent rates of masturbation were associated with lower rates of prostate cancer. 

Granted, this isn’t the first study to find that regular climaxes can help keep things healthy down there. But it is the first time researchers came up with an actual solo sex quota.

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Despite this study and other research, experts still aren’t entirely sure why orgasms are a key to better health. Many doctors, including Ian Kerner, PhD, a psychotherapist and sexuality counselor in New York City, believe that ejaculation might flush out harmful toxins and bacteria, which would otherwise build up in the prostate.

But masturbation isn't the only way to do that, Kerner points out. “There isn't a difference in whether the ejaculation happens via masturbation or with a partner,” he says. “So making sex a priority is also helpful."

 

Beyond the prostate flush, Dr. Kerner says masturbation comes with a whole slew of benefits, such as giving a dude the chance to experience pleasure and relaxation. “It's an opportunity to engage in self-care,” he explains. “Masturbation can also be a healthy distraction mechanism and a natural way of regulating anxiety.” 

Of course, masturbating at least 21 times a month certainly isn’t a surefire way to avoid prostate cancer. Kerner also recommends sticking with a plant-based diet, incorporating plenty of fish rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, and “consuming red foods such as tomatoes that are rich in lycopene, as well as soy products that contain isoflavones.” He also advises getting regular physicals that include a prostate exam, and plenty of exercise.