What Are the Health Benefits of Ejaculation?

With or without a partner, male masturbation may have several health benefits.

An orgasm is a pleasurable experience. For a short time, your pelvic muscles contract, your consciousness changes, and the blood levels of two hormones (oxytocin and prolactin), which promote social bonding, increase. 

All in all, an orgasm causes feelings of well-being and contentment. And afterward, according to a study published in 2016 in Socioaffective Neuroscience & Psychology, you may feel calm, satisfied, and relieved.

In men, ejaculation is typically associated with an orgasm. Though, it's possible to ejaculate without an orgasm and vice versa.

But is ejaculation good for you? And how often should it happen? Ethical restrictions and privacy concerns make it a challenging topic to study. But here's what you should know about the health benefits of ejaculation.

Benefits of Ejaculation

Some evidence suggests that frequent ejaculation may have a host of health benefits. Researchers have linked ejaculation to lowering the risk of prostate cancer, affecting sperm quality, and improving sleep outcomes.

Ejaculation Can Lower Prostate Cancer Risk

Some evidence suggests that frequent ejaculation lowers the risk of prostate cancer. Still, not all researchers agree.

One of the most extensive studies on the link between ejaculation frequency and prostate cancer was published in 2016 in European Urology. The study followed more than 31,000 men for almost 20 years. 

First, the researchers asked participants between the ages of 40–75 to report how often, on average, they ejaculated at different points in their life. Eighteen years later, the researchers recorded who developed prostate cancer.  

The researchers found lower rates of prostate cancer among the men who frequently ejaculated than others. Specifically, participants who reported ejaculating 21 or more times per month had a significantly lower risk of prostate cancer than those who reported ejaculating four to seven times monthly.

Does that mean men should ejaculate at least 21 times monthly? Well, as of January 2023, there's no definitive evidence to recommend that.

For one, the men in the study were asked to remember how often they ejaculated at ages 20–29 when they were between 40–75 years old. So, the quality of memory may have impacted the men's responses. Also, the study didn't ask how the men achieved ejaculation—with partnered sex or masturbation.

In contrast, one study published in 2017 in Urologic Oncology looked at more than 2,000 men. The researchers found "weak evidence" that frequent ejaculation lowers the risk of prostate cancer.

Ejaculation Affects Sperm Quality

Does frequent ejaculation improve sperm quality? Researchers aren't necessarily in agreement. But some evidence suggests that sperm quality changes after different periods of abstinence.

For example, a review published in 2017 in the Journal of Assisted Reproduction and Genetics described a complex relationship: Longer abstinence improves sperm count and volume. But shorter abstinence may improve the following:

  • Sperm motility (movement ability)
  • Morphology (size and shape)
  • DNA fragmentation (breakages in the chromosomes' genetic material). 

The researchers concluded that they couldn't recommend "ideal abstinence" because of conflicting evidence.

Another review published in 2017 in the International Journal of Fertility & Sterility drew similar conclusions about sperm count, volume, and motility. But the researchers stressed shortening abstinence periods. Per the review, short abstinence periods improved the ability of sperm to move properly through the female reproductive tract.

Additionally, a study published in 2015 in Reproductive Biology and Endocrinology found that ejaculating daily for two weeks decreases sperm count and volume.

Also, some evidence suggests that sperm quality differs between at-home and in-clinic masturbation. Ejaculation achieved through masturbation or vaginal sex may affect sperm quality, as well.

For example, in the case of assisted reproductive technologies (like in vitro fertilization or intrauterine insemination), the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends abstaining from ejaculating for two to seven days before semen analysis.

But in a review published in 2020 in Reproduction and Fertility, researchers found that men who did not ejaculate for four days before semen analysis had high volumes and sperm concentrations. But participants who did not ejaculate for one day had increased sperm motility and function.

Ejaculation Improves Sleep Quality

Orgasms with or without a partner may improve sleep quality. In one study published in 2019 in Frontiers in Public Health, more than 700 men responded about their sleep outcomes after sex with a partner and masturbation, with or without an orgasm.  

The study found that having an orgasm improved sleep quality and the time it takes to fall asleep. More than half of all men who had an orgasm, especially with a partner, reported increased sleep quality.

Following an orgasm, your body releases oxytocin, a hormone that lowers stress, and blocks cortisol, a stress hormone.

Based on the results, the researchers suggested safe sexual activity before bed to improve sleep.

A Quick Review

Ethical and privacy concerns and researchers' biases complicate studies on the effects of frequent ejaculation. Samples may not be fully representative, skewing the behaviors studied to heterosexual intercourse in monogamous couples.

But as of January 2023, studies on the benefits of ejaculation are inconclusive. Frequent ejaculation may reduce the risk of prostate cancer and improve sperm motility. However, more research is needed to confirm that.

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