What’s The Frequency, Man?

A look at how often men should ejaculate

Credit: henri meilhac / Unsplash  

The word “should” can be problematic. It evokes some kind of moral high-ground, suggesting there is a way things ought to be done and a way they ought not. Most men though would probably welcome some kind of guidelines for how often they should ejaculate — assuming the recommendation is more than never. 

Research on the topic has produced some mixed results. One study, conducted by researchers from Harvard University, included survey results from nearly 32,000 men who answered questions about ejaculation frequency over a ten-year period. Specifically, the goal was to see if a higher frequency of ejaculation was associated with lower rates of prostate cancer — one of the top three most common cancers in men worldwide. 

The results? Men who ejaculated more than 21 times in a month (about 5 times per week) had a 31% lower risk of prostate cancer than those who ejaculated 4-7 times per month. The study’s authors concluded that this supports the theory that more ejaculations is good for men’s health — at least, as it pertains to prostate cancer. 

Another large study, featuring 918 middle-aged men from Great Britain, showed that having more orgasms might help men live longer lives. Men in the study who ejaculated two or more times per week (at least 100 per year) reduced their mortality risk by as much as 50 percent, compared to those who had sex less often. The study suggests that death from coronary heart disease — another common killer of men — was most positively impacted (lowered) as a result of more frequent orgasms. 

But the jury might still be out regarding whether or not more ejaculations is a good thing. A 2008 study published in BJU International — an academic publication considered the “official journal” of several urological organizations around the world — found that more ejaculations might actually increase the risk of prostate cancer. For those in their 20s and 30s, sexual activity and masturbation appeared to raise the chances of developing prostate cancer later in life. However, once men got to their 50s, sex and maturbation may actually have a protective effect on prostate cancer. 

Obviously, if the question of how many ejaculations is normal or ideal is hard to answer based on scientific research featuring hundreds of thousands of men, it’s probably a question to which there is no neat and tidy answer. It is safe to say, however, that a healthy sex life is an important part of overall sexual health. So don’t fret too much about the quantity of orgasms and think more about the quality. 

If you’ve developed a healthy relationship with a partner that includes safe and enjoyable sex, you’re probably on the right track to reap the health benefits of sexual activity. If you’re flying solo, masturbation can bring with it many of the stress-release and sleep benefits associated with sexual intercourse. 

When it comes to prostate health, make sure to get regular checkups starting in your 40s at the latest. When it comes to heart health and diabetes, make sure you’re eating a balanced diet, getting lots of exercise, and limiting bad habits like smoking and drinking. When it comes to how many ejaculations you should have, have as many as you’d like.