Does frequent ejaculation help ward off prostate cancer?

Marc B. Garnick, M.D.

Editor in Chief, HarvardProstateKnowledge.org

Does frequent ejaculation help ward off prostate cancer?

Marc Garnick, M.D., Editor in Chief of Harvard Medical School’s Annual Report on Prostate Diseases, says:

Two relatively large studies of this question, reported in 2003 and 2004, yielded good news for sexually active men: high ejaculation frequency seemed to protect against prostate cancer.

As part of Harvard’s Health Professionals Follow-up Study, 29,342 men between the ages of 46 and 81 reported their average number of ejaculations per month in young adulthood (ages 20–29), in mid-life (ages 40–49), and in the most recent year. Ejaculations included sexual intercourse, nocturnal emissions, and masturbation. Study participants also provided comprehensive health and lifestyle data every two years from 1992 to 2000. The scientists found that men who ejaculated 21 or more times a month enjoyed a 33% lower risk of prostate cancer compared with men who reported four to seven ejaculations a month throughout their lifetimes.

An Australian study of 2,338 men came to a similar conclusion. In all, men who averaged 4.6 to seven ejaculations a week were 36% less likely to be diagnosed with prostate cancer before the age of 70 than men who ejaculated less than 2.3 times a week on average. The study found no connection between prostate cancer and the number of sex partners. (An earlier study, however, found that men who had sex with 30 or more women were two to three times more likely to develop prostate cancer than men with only one partner.)

Further study is needed to investigate possible protective mechanisms. In theory, emptying the prostate of potentially irritating or harmful substances might be one such mechanism. Regardless of the reason why, take comfort in the fact that ejaculation is not only pleasurable, but also may convey health benefits.

SOURCES: Leitzmann MF, Platz EA, Stampfer MJ, et al. Ejaculation Frequency and Subsequent Risk of Prostate Cancer. Journal of the American Medical Association 2004;291:1578–86. PMID: 15069045.

Giles GG, Severi G, English ER, et al. Sexual Factors and Prostate Cancer. BJU International 2003;92:211–16. PMID: 12887469.

Originally published April 2009; last reviewed February 24, 2011.

Comments:

  1. peter

    Excess of
    masturbation is definitely harmful for you and it is
    necessary to know its side effects. These are as
    follows:-1. Masturbation makes you weak, it
    spends more energy and burns your calorie 2.
    Masturbation creates nervousness and
    neurological problems 3.Masturbation is a main
    cause for erectile dysfunction. 4. Masturbation
    addicts you even if you taste it for one time.
    Controlling it is a very big menace. 5.
    Masturbation creates drowsiness; you will be
    sleeping most of the time after ejaculation of your
    sperm. You will experience a damn tired.
    6.Masturbation causes stress and strain in your
    mind and soul. 7. Masturbation also affects us
    psychologically; it creates depression after
    ejaculation and makes one to feel bad on his
    own.

  2. Marc

    I am 79 and still masturbate about 2 or 3 times per week.
    Married but wife has lost interest in sex.
    I found that keeping the pubic hair shaved has made my penis more responsive to getting erect.
    I do get smaller cum loads which I presume comes with age but the contraction when I cum is amazing!!

  3. Frank

    Well, I am now being directed to get a prostate biopsy, but the doctor has not done a DRE since October 2017, and at that point my PSA was around 2.1, now has climbed to 4.7 with a mid point of 3.1
    Read up on this current GOLD STANDARD METHOD, 2 men die within 120 days of the procedure out of a 1000 – probably sepsis but not enough info to discern actual causes. But again my GP and now the Urologist want this test without any other tests — not going to happen without MRI and DRE and Prostate Massage and Urine sample!!

  4. Hello my friend I have prostate cancer what I should do
    On my mind I think he need more sexual
    3 Times a week

  5. Chuckie

    On and sin was in refusing to impregnate his sister in law after god killed his brother for reasons unspecified. i.e. it was basically a political thing. In the end she dressed up as a prostitute and seduced her father in law which did apparently appease the deity.

    For masturbation and/or wet dreams god actually recomends washing the sheets.

    Ejaculation reduces the pressure of semen buildup in the prostate which can and often will tear internally and lead to a nasty and difficult to treat infection as well as the other symptoms cited.

    Sperm motility drops something on the order of 50% after three days anyway so 3 times a week should actually increase fertility.

    An ordinary zinc supplement should address and electrolyte issues as well as curing certain infections.

    Suppressing ejaculation as some have suggested will actually exacerbate the situation as it is associated with retrograde ejaculation.

    Similarly, prostate massage or milking, is not recommended as even more pressure is being applied to the already strained organ.

    It’s too bad we have so many superstitions about what is a common, pleasurable, and healthy activity, and with all the nasty stds out there mutual masturbation would seem to be a no brainer.

    Perhaps it is, in some sense, more intimate and personal than coitus – go figure.

  6. Frank

    I should have prefaced this last post with the fact that I have been married 3 times, 4 children and now have 2 young sons 17 and 19. My current masturbation sessions do not include full ejaculation which allows only that one session that day but the next day I am ready for multiple small sessions. This has been my normal for 10 plus years. Thank you for listening.

  7. Frank

    I am 65 years old and have been masturbating several times a day since I was very young. My PSA has always been very low 2.2 or 2.1 and then had it checked and it was 3.1 My GP was a bit concerned and will be in this see for more tests. I currently try to only small ejaculations which allow me several per day. This might be the reason for the sudden elevation. Thanks for listening.

  8. kevin cook

    Masturbation doing more times in a day or week will increase the chance of the premature ejaculation problem.
    Thanks & Regards
    MedsColony.Com

  9. Ever since my wife’s hysterectomy, she has had no interest in sex with me at all. We’re empty nesters now. I have suggested HRT , but seems to have no interest in that either, so you might say I have now become a master at masturbation!

  10. Min3X PerDay

    “… men who ejaculated 21 or more times a month enjoyed a 33% lower risk of prostate cancer …”

    In ^that^ case, I have a 100% lower risk of prostate cancer ;o)

  11. Wayne

    I enjoy masturbating, as it is healthy obviously, as you may masturbate when you have sex with women.

    It might be of interest to people here is that tomatoes may help to prevent prostate cancer as they contain lycopene which is what makes them red. I have read this on the internet. The problem is that there may be no symptoms associated with prostate cancer so it will mean going to get checked. Also, you can’t stop sexual pleasure if you enjoy it.

  12. Johnny Tugginsocks

    I yank it thinking about words with friends. I’m healthier because of it.

  13. Titiahonjo Nelson nduonihgfuh

    So if I have understood clearly,ithe means as much as a man ejaculates it prevents him from prostate cancer. And what becomes of the Catholic priest who acording to them,do not get married? Does it mean they always manstibat or are they keeping the sisters in convent as their sex partners?

  14. Shawn

    Im 18 and i masturbate very frequent .. some articles say that frequent jacking off increases risk of prostate cancer for young men while healthy for older .. Uhh sooo uhh what should i believe?? For the meantime im gonna stop mastubating till i get answers

  15. Masturbation is sinful and harmful. Don’t believe these lies that masturbation lowers your risk of prostate cancer. Many traditional and tribal peoples in Asia and Africa don’t masturbate and they end up healthy. People go without any sexual activity their whole lives and end up fine. Think about it. The highest rates of cancer is in western countries. Its isn’t because of “natural” causes. Look into it deeper and research. Look at the food you’re eating and all the chemicals and toxins in them, the environment you’re living in where the skies are sprayed through chemtrails, the lifestyle you are conditioned to live, the vaccines you are forced to take, and so much more. Stop accepting the lies and seek the truth. They are killing you slowly.

  16. Joh

    I’m a young chap of 76 and all my life kept sexually regular (2-3x p.w.), but then after my wife died I built myself a DIY (Venus 2000 type of) machine, which allowed me to continue enjoying sexual regularity. (See my DIY trials/errors on Youtube: Venus 2000 DIY )
    A blood test result showed that my PSA is high (6.1ug/L), thus my doctor recommended a prostate biopsy and now I’m waiting for the result. I don’t fear a negative result, for I urinate like a young chap and feel otherwise great in every way. The doctor suggested a diet change and regular exercise, but since I already enjoy healthy diet, I only modified the latter to regular sexercise. – Since my good doctor disapproved my “use it or lose it” theory, I’m afraid he himself might well end up with a positive biopsy result.

  17. Lew

    I read where masturbation is not the only thing a guy can do to protect his prostate, he also needs to do a prostate massage, either with a finger or vibrator. This allows the prostate to get rid of substances that don’t release from masturbation only. This is something else I read on-line.
    I think doctors need to get the word out better about emptying the prostate and the importance of it, instead of us having to get this info on line. Think of the older guys that don’t even have a pc.

  18. Servant of God

    Most temple priests and Buddhist who live a life of ccelibacy don’t have prostate cancer. Frequent spilling of your man seed unnecessarily is bad to your prostate , mind , body and soul.

  19. Shreyas

    Does prostate cancer occur at the age of 18 ?

  20. Lew

    Doctors, which orgasm is more beneficial to males, one through intercourse or one through masturbation ? Or would each provide the same health benefit ?

  21. John

    Does masturbation in your 10s increase your chance of prostate cancer?

  22. Rhys

    Is masturbation a sin or spilling the seed the sin? The Taoists believe that it is a sin to waste the most metabolically expensive fluid in the body. If you press on your prostate when you orgasm you can prevent ejaculation. So I find a huge hole in the methodology of this study. Is it the physical act of orgasm or is it ejaculation that had the preventative effects?

  23. Mellow

    Jeez I have two good friends who have had horrible experiences with prostate cancer treatment! Both had surgery, and one had months and months of catheterization and infections. The other got the surgery too late and the cancer in the prostate spread to his bladder. After his bladder was removed he had a tube sticking out of his abdomen which “attached” to a bag. He couldn’t get it to stay on and got urine all over. He got a bad infection and because the infection became systemic, he had a stroke. Now he is unable to do anything except walk slowly. He has speech and language problems. He is obviously not the same person mentally either. Both were just in their mid 60’s. The first guy lives in fear of the cancer coming back. He has problems with incontinence and infections. Neither one of them has sex. My wife had surgery and sex became painful for her. I started taking a couple medications that made it impossible to maintain erections. About that time I read about these studies. You tell me what you would do in my situation. If masturbation can protect me, or anyone from what my friends have had to go through, it seems like a very smart thing to do. Life isn’t ever neat and perfect. There are always negatives with many preventative treatments, but man, I can tell you, don’t hesitate to protect yourself any way you can, and see the doctor regularly, and ask for a blood test and a digital exam, if that is what it takes. My friend was really smart, and an excellent athlete, and now he is broken, cognitively impaired and unable to communicate. Plus, he still has to take care of that tube and the bag that made his life so difficult before the stroke. Let your wife know, but don’t feel guilty about caring for yourself. Your wife may not love it, but she most likely loves you, and wants you around as long as possible.

  24. Sin

    Uh, what about the countless people who’ve gone blind from ejaculating? Countless cuz zero people. Lol

  25. Michael

    Thank you for this study. For many years, I had deprived myself from ejaculation and masturbation because of guilt and religious facts I learned. Now I understand how helpful it is for my health and well being. Again, thank you so much.

  26. Calvin

    I think it’s more than just about ejaculation but also about good sex and especially good relationship which is vital to a healthy life. Good mental and emotional health would help lower cancer. I hope there will be a more comprehensive finding in the future.

  27. Preacher jeff

    Dude lust is a sin. But the blind thug is from a zink deficiency but it’s not true. But I agree about lust but wanker whacking if not looking at pornographic material is ok for health reasons

  28. Adrian

    Adrian Very informative. Hv been masturbating from 11 years.still masturbate at 68 since wife not keen on sex. Diagnosed with prostate
    sheer pleasure and fight s possible PC in future. But it def helps to keep the tool and prostate ingood condition.

  29. canceroz.blogspot.com

    Masturbation can prevent prostate cancer – Two studies in 2003 and 2004 which is often taken as evidence that men who ejaculate more have a lower risk of developing prostate cancer. How often should a man masturbate?

  30. rdmercer

    I am a married male 63 years young. I have ed from my diabites, so i am on testrone replacemnt thearpy, and it has changed my life. my wife and i have sex at least 5five times a week and i also masterbate at least five times a week.

  31. I truly believe prostate cancer has a lot to do with what types of food you put in your body and your genetic make up also the lack of exercise also smoking and drinking alcohol and as far as religion goes we was born with a damb penuis doesn’t mean your gonna burn in hell for doing what’s a natural reaction to how were made and how are bodies funtion it’s the natural thing to do

  32. Osborne

    How often is good? That must vary with age. While men in their 30s should ejaculate often, can masturbation more than the recommended frequency cause other health problems in older men, say in their 70s?
    So, what is the recommended frequency of masturbation for men in their 70s?

  33. Please please help the man kind to come out of this ailment and put away the gene theory saying it to be cause of prostate cancer.

  34. Dear men, I am to share why prostate enlarges ?
    Please help me to put men out of this serious problem.
    Do you agree that maximum men try to urinate immediate after ejaculation ? Day by day no. of cases are increasing due to attached bathrooms in houses.
    This is the only cause of enlargement of prostate. There is no immediate switch over of urine and semen path after ejaculation. One has to wait for a few minutes after ejaculation to noarmal switch over. You might have felt very difficult to urinate immediate after ejaculation. This is the major cause of UTI or you can say chronic UTI. This fact needs proper investigation as even the urologist are not aware of the fact. This causes the malfunctioning of prostat and ultimate enlarging of prostate due to entry of urine in gland. UTI affects your life parterner and ultimate resulting into the ill physical and mental health of men and due to mental strain ultimatly cases of azhimers are increasing and we are blaming our zene for this illfated diesese.
    I am layman in field of medicine.. but I want to tell every man in this world to not to urinate immediately after ejaculation which is painful activity also. I hope my this msg will be spread by all who read this to maximum extent so that we may save men catagory from illfated UTI and Alzimers diesease. Please try this you will feel very calmness in your brain. If some scientist or doctor reads it please tell to patients or public in general and also spread awareness to reduce mental and physical strain in men. Feel happy and also save your life partner from these two dieseases.

  35. phil

    My brother was just diagnosed with prostate cancer and after reading this report including the erudite and pithy comments, I will be “pulling my pud” more frequently

  36. Jeff

    Maybe frequent ejaculation helps prevent cancer and maybe it doesn’t. If I wasn’t having sex I was masturbating. From the day I discovered masturbation at age 12, I was doing anywhere from once to five times a day. Even as an adult sometimes twice a day, occasionally three times a day, and rarely less than once a day, even up to now. I’m a sex addict. What can I say? So, infrequent ejaculation was not an issue for me. I doubt few other men (relatively speaking) could say they had as many ejaculations as I did. For my fiftieth birthday I got prostate cancer for a gift. I am fortunate that I have only slight incontinence and only mild ED after having had both nerve-sparing laparoscopic prostatectomy and external beam radiation, and that my disease was caught reasonably early and of low grade. Although, of course, I am still not necessarily out of the woods. I am better off than most men post-prostatectomy and I am happy that I can still have sex, and I can orgasm, but its not quite as good as it used to be, and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t miss my load.

  37. Lew

    I’m not a doctor but guys September is Prostate Cancer Awareness month so please go to your doctor’s office and get an annual physical. Get a blood test, be sure he does a digital exam of your prostate, I know this is uncomfortable, but it just takes a few seconds. Ask for a
    printout of your blood test and keep up with your psa number each year you have a physical. Also, be sure and empty your prostate regularly to protect against prostate cancer. Thanks guys.

  38. Alexander

    I am 54 year old and I recently had a physical and my doctor stated the PSA was elevated and to see a urologist asap…..I am so scared now that I may have prostate cancer and I sooo worried….Especially with all the testimonials stated here….So what would you give for advice for a very healthy and definitely sexually active man

  39. Smseelig

    My understanding is …seamen has a lot of protean in it. Protean rots and goes bad with bacteria…unless yu change the seamen by expelling old seamen it will stay trapped in the male system rotting like any protean does and causes health problems and the prostrate to form cansers.

  40. Tom

    This is a request for the ladies. Why not wear some blue in
    September as this is prostate cancer awareness month.
    I certainly wear pink in October for breast cancer awareness month. why don’t we support each other ?
    Thanks.

  41. Ramey

    The answer is a resounding NO! Throughout human life, cells are always sloughed off of every part of our bodies. Prostate cancer cells obviously would as well. Studies have shown (2003, 2006 and more recently), as well as personal experience, that no prostate cancer cells that are ejaculated will cause cancer in a partner. I will also add that it is in your best interest to REALLY consider EVERY treatment option and the less aggressive, the better. The best thing a man can do for his body in this day and age is eat well, don’t drink a lot, quit smoking and finally, ejaculate as much as you wish. Exercize seems to benefit every part of our bodies, so…to stay healthy, go for it!

  42. Rob

    It seems to me that a prostate has a less likely chance to become enlarged if it emptied of seminal fluid a few times weekly. How it is released is up to the man.

  43. Billy Bob

    Prostrate cancer – cancer you get from lying around too much.

  44. Billy Bob

    Whoo-hoo! Some good health news at last!

  45. dave

    Well looking over the net I found out that there is no conclusive evidence to that many factors are involved and we do not know whether the ejaculation itself or other factors indirectly related are responsible. Other studies I found either say not significant relation or a negative relation actually.

    Bear in mind that surveys are the lowest form of data people may provide inaccurate or biased information about their habits add to that the fact that cancer incidence depends on diet for example so how is it possible to completely rule out the effect of diet?

    personally I am confused about this one as evidence is conflicting may be further research is needed and it is too early to conclude

  46. Lew

    What year was it discovered that emptying the prostate gland could help prevent prostate cancer?

  47. Dave

    I’m 64, married, and had sex with my wife and masturbated regularly – 2-3 times a week. If I would have known having more frequent sex may prevent prostate cancer, I would done done it every day. 6 years ago I was diagnosed with stage 1 prostate cancer. Up to then I had no issues getting a good erection, had sex regularly, i went for my visit with my urologist last year and was advised my cancer spread. My only option was to have my prostate removed. If I would have known the benefits of more frequent sex, I would have done it. I’ve read studies that diet, heredity, and ethnicity is a factor of prostate cancer.
    If you have a healthy prostate, and can get a good erection, you are blessed! With my prostate gone I am partly incontinent and have ed. Cialis and Viagra is a joke—it is bad,for you and can cause heart attacks. I can tale l-arginine or Damiana, but that doesn’t make up for what I lost. I don’t have to worry about a high psa level and a rectal exam, but I miss my prostate.

  48. Tom

    Could prolonged masturbation lead to the formation of
    hemmorhoids ? If so, if a person shortened his session, would that lessen his chances of developing them ?
    Thanks doctors.
    Tom

  49. Marcos Elrod

    I am considering a prostate biopsy. One of the things that scare me is the Cipro antibiotic because of possible tendon tears ( I am 68 years old ). Do you recommend an alternative drug without this side effect ?

  50. Ollie

    These studies suggest that masturbation and sex can be beneficial to your prostate. However many other studies I have read say otherwise. Is this study any more comprehensive than thoughs completed by other researchers?

  51. Tom

    Doctors, what percentage of men could prolong their lives by regularly emptying their prostate rather than not doing so ? Thanks.

  52. Nils

    I think it is interesting that the Harvard Medical School study proposes that frequent ejaculations will lower the risk of developing prostate cancer in older men; however, any ejaculation tends to raise at least temporarily the PSA SCORE. In fact, urologists urge male patients to avoid masturbating or sex at least 3 days prior to having the PSA tests to avoid skewing results.
    Does anyone have a comment on these facts?

  53. ballard

    The likely explanation for lower prostate cancer incidence is that semen accumulating with the prostate slowly begins to decay, and over time those decay products can lead to cancer.
    So Move OUT the old batch of semen as often as you can (ejaculation), and keep new stuff moving IN.

  54. Tom

    Why is there not more info from doctors to patients about the importance of ejaculation to protect prostate health ?
    I found this information on the internet but a lot of older men don’t even know how to get on the internet or even have a computer. Many older men’s wives have lost their labito and the husbands are not going to go to some bar to pick up a strange woman for sex. That only leaves one alternative and that is to do what these men did when they were teenagers and by themselves with a sexy magazine.
    Is this information not put out because of religious reasons or is it controversial. I think many men need to have this important medical news. It could save their lives.

  55. bob fistojoy

    Really come on guys it’s all in the geens, we are all born with cancer cells just a particular event triggers it to start growing. Just live a healthy life it’s all a lottery if you get cancer or not just have regular checks and tests all the above is utter crap honestly.

  56. Ana

    Oops I forgot one thing to mention that it is not easy to get ejaculate..he is forcing himself for dat.. giving pain for dat
    Thank for considering..Ill wait for ur response ASAP

  57. Theoty

    I’m agree what Mr Gordan Brown Mentioned about his theory.The ways and ideas he’s giving is exactly brilliant and logic.

  58. gallant

    i had psa screening number was 4 for some time. 2yrs later having being screened every 6 months my count went down every time 3.9 3.6 3.2 now it is 3.0 ..i put this down to
    changing frequency of ejaculation to at least 6 times a week
    my dad died of p.c. he got his first screening at 70yrs but it was too late,hadnt had any symptoms, but past away 3 yrs later…figured it had been with him for at least 15 yrs
    didnt need to die,
    early detection is the key . GET SCREENED, I started at
    40 yrs of age, now 56

  59. john doe

    Calling out a couple of posts here.

    Best advice by Nurse Marie, thank you.

    And Gordon Brown, you have made a great point in your post.

  60. Kasanai

    Some good report.

  61. Jacques Cousteau

    I’m so sorry to hear about your father.

    I hope he’s fighting it hand and fist. I hope we all are

  62. hamed

    my fathder diagnosed with prostate cancer and now he fight

  63. hamed

    i diagnosed with chronic prostatitise in 2009 still i suffered and struggle with symtomse i am only 27 and i hade symtomse from my teenage age low sex drive erectil dysfunction and low sperm is my symtom anuse pain frequent urination

    • Mike

      Have your hormones checked you might have a pituitary problem. Checking tsh, testosterone, and prolactin.

    • John

      I hear ya! I’ve been having pain for a year now. It all started after an in injury to my penis during sex. I had sex with a different partner for the first time and she almost broke my dick ( I might have fractured it, still not sure). I develope a small amount of scar tissue the looks like an enlarged vein. My penis hurts the most when flaccid, expesialy the veins. Lots of Turtling, which seems to be the worst part.

      Now it seems as if I have prostate issues. Curantly on antibiotics and antiinflamitories . Lots of anal pressure- every time I do a bowel movement feels like my insides are going to come out.

      Thanks for listening to my rant lol.

    • SchmeGma Cohen

      How are your teeth? I had an abscessed tooth that had been given a root canal. It did not hurt. After it was pulled my prostatitis went away. Look it up, there’s a connection between tooh abcess and prostate.

      • Amar

        Most unlikely. But there is merit in regualar ejaculation .Anything not used debilitated. So is the seen system.Old seen better get out.Even better if you can swallow it coz it will help build antibodies and prevent may be even prostrate cancer

  64. Nurse Marie

    All you have to do is google prostate health and ejaculation frequency” and you will have lots of article to “convince” you. It makes sense that men should masturbate to empty their testicles of old semen. Just be sure you are getting enough zinc in your diet because each ejaculation lowers that mineral which is essential to many functions in the body, including your sexual health.

  65. Billy I he nacho Ernest

    I ve gone through your write up on prostrate cancer. Please I still wsnt to be convinced that constant sex or ejaculations can cause prostrate cancer

  66. Richmond Goodwin

    Frequent ejaculations prevent and safeguard against prostrate cancer.

    • Chase

      Thank you for sharing your story. It takes a lot more courage than you think to open up like that.

    • Pogba

      Was this one of those ‘interesting points’?
      “my swing so we’ve been majorly affected by this they have never taken this into consideration for their marriages to help bring them back into place or they need to be especially for the sake of their own children.”

    • Angel

      I know, right? Maybe those kids need to masturbate and get rid of some of that anger which will also help prevent prostate cancer later down the road!

    • Juan

      I’m confused I’m only 12 and I masurbate but I heard that if I do it I might get prostate cancer and I don’t want that can someone please tell me an answer if I can get prostate cancer or cannot

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