Attention men everywhere: You may have a great excuse to get it on in the bedroom. After all, it’s all in the name of science (and potentially your health).
It appears that ejaculating frequently—during sex, masturbation, or while sleeping—may reduce men’s risk of prostate cancer. After surveying 32,000 men from 1992 to 2010, researchers reported in a 2016 study that men who reported ejaculating at least 21 times per month during their 20s had a 19 percent lower risk of prostate cancer than those who ejaculated seven times per month or less. For men in their 40s, more frequent ejaculation was associated with a 22% lower risk of prostate cancer risk. (Here are the signs of prostate cancer you should never ignore.)
“The results of our study suggest that ejaculation and safe sexual activity throughout adulthood could be a beneficial strategy for reducing the risk of prostate cancer,” says Jennifer Rider, ScD, MPH, assistant professor of epidemiology at Boston University, and lead author of the study.
Although the relationship between ejaculation and risk of prostate cancer has been shown, researchers still don’t definitively know why the two are linked. A follow-up study, however, suggested that frequent ejaculation affects the prostate tissue on a molecular level. “Our hypothesis was that carcinogenic substances accumulate in the prostate, and thus, longer intervals between ejaculations provide greater opportunity for tumor production,” says Dr. Rider. “We hypothesized that if this were true, gene expression patterns in the prostate tissue may vary according to ejaculation frequency, and indeed that’s what we found.”
Still, Dr. Rider says, “there’s no magic number of times a person should ejaculate to reduce their risk. What the study findings suggest is a dose-dependent relationship, where the risk becomes lower the more frequently a person ejaculates.”
Next, read about how many times you need to have sex to slow down aging.