Frequent Ejaculation Lowers Prostate Cancer Risk

If you want to reduce your risk of prostate cancer, research suggests that you may want to make more frequent date nights in bed, or simply engage in more self-pleasure. A study from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health found that more frequent ejaculation correlated with a lower incidence of a prostate cancer diagnosis.

A man talking to his doctor
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Specifically, the study spanned 18 years and looked at men between the ages of 20—29 years as well as 40—49 years. Men in the younger group who ejaculated 21 or more times per month dropped their risk of prostate cancer by 19% compared to those who ejaculated between four and seven times per month. And men in the older group received, even more, benefit from more regular orgasms: Those who ejaculated at least 21 times per month reduced their risk by 22%.

Study authors concluded that even if you're not able to have that many orgasms each month, ejaculation seems to have a protective effect on the prostate—so simply having more orgasms can lower your risk of prostate cancer.

In the past, there was a suggested link between greater sexual activity and increased incidents of prostate cancer because of higher levels of the male hormone testosterone and its effect on promoting cancer cell growth. However, enough studies have shown the opposite relationship—that sex lowers your risk—that many experts believe the more sex you have, the better.

What Is Prostate Cancer?

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer among American men, right behind skin cancer. Prostate cancer is also the second most deadly cancer in American men. Prostate cancer is more frequent among African American men than it is among white men. Furthermore, African American men are more likely to die of prostate cancer than are white men.

The vast majority of prostate cancers are a type of cancer called adenocarcinoma. Adenocarcinomas arise from cells that produce fluids like mucus.


Many people who are otherwise healthy and have prostate cancer exhibit no symptoms. Eventually, when it grows large enough or spreads, prostate cancer can cause a variety of symptoms including the following:

  • Problems urinating due to obstruction (slow or weak stream)
  • Frequent nighttime urination (nocturia)
  • Blood in the urine
  • Erectile dysfunction (trouble getting an erection)
  • Pain in the hips, back and other bones (once cancer has spread or metastasized)
  • Weakness in the legs and feet (due to metastatic tumors pressing on the spinal cord) 

Please note that if you have a weakened urinary stream or you're peeing a lot at night (nocturia), this doesn't automatically mean that you have prostate cancer. In fact, a much more common cause of weak urine stream is benign prostatic hypertrophy (BPH), a condition which isn't cancerous. Nevertheless, if you're experiencing any of the above symptoms, you must see your physician as soon as possible.


Here's the thing about prostate cancer: Not everybody who has it goes on to die of it. Many older men die of other causes before the cancer becomes severe. Although it's imperative that anybody who is suspected of having prostate cancer is screened and, if needed, staged for the disease, a physician may decide to forego treatment in lieu of "watchful waiting."

However, certain people—like those with advanced disease that has spread or metastasized—require treatment.

Here are some treatments for prostate cancer:

  • Watchful waiting
  • Surgery
  • Chemotherapy
  • Radiation therapy
  • Hormone therapy
  • Vaccine therapy (there exists a prostate cancer vaccine called Provenge that induces the body to attack prostate cancer cells)
  • Cryotherapy (cryosurgery)
  • Bone-directed therapy
5 Sources
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  1. Rider JR, Wilson KM, Sinnott JA, Kelly RS, Mucci LA, Giovannucci EL. Ejaculation Frequency and Risk of Prostate Cancer: Updated Results with an Additional Decade of Follow-up. Eur Urol. 2016;70(6):974-982.  doi:10.1016/j.eururo.2016.03.027

  2. Key Statistics for Prostate Cancer. American Cancer Society.

  3. Who Is at Risk for Prostate Cancer?. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

  4. What Are the Symptoms of Prostate Cancer?. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

  5. Prostate Cancer Treatment (PDQ®)–Patient Version. National Cancer Institute.

Additional Reading
  • Ejaculation Frequency and Risk of Prostate Cancer: Updated Results of an Additional Decade of Follow-up. Rider, Jennifer R., Wilson, Kathryn M., Sinnott, Jennifer A., Kelly, Rachel S., Mucci, Lorelei A., Giovannucci, Edward L. European Urology.

By Jerry Kennard
 Jerry Kennard, PhD, is a psychologist and associate fellow of the British Psychological Society.