“An apple a day keeps the doctor away” – or so the saying goes. But could the same be true of masturbation?
You may have seen the salacious headlines already. ‘Masturbation is good for you…preventing cancer and diabetes’, the Sun, rather prematurely, announced. ‘Men urged to masturbate 21 times a month to lower prostate cancer risk’, TechTimes extrapolated. The evidence behind the attention-grabbing headlines? An article in peer-reviewed medical journal European Urology, reporting the results of an 18-yearlong cohort study, designed to examine the link between ejaculation frequency and prostate cancer.
The Great Ejaculation Review
The study, which was conducted by researchers from several renowned US medical schools (including Harvard Medical School), recruited 31,925 cancer-free American male health professionals in 1986. All were aged 40-75, and up to 91% were Caucasian. These men filled out questionnaires every 2 years, which assessed their health, medical history and lifestyle.
Frequency of ejaculation was addressed in the 1992 questionnaire, with respondents asked how regularly they’d ejaculated per month at various stages in their life (20-29, 40-49 and the last year). No information was obtained as to how ejaculation was achieved (i.e. whether alone, with a partner, or through specific sexual activities). Adjustments were made during analysis for various risk factors such as race, weight and family history, and men with erectile dysfunction were excluded from analysis, to avoid the possibility of associated comorbidities confounding the study’s outcome.
Unpacking the Results
The study’s results appear to indicate a significant reduction of risk associated with ejaculation of 21+ times per month, as compared to those who ejaculated 4-7 times per month. At age 20-29, this frequency of ejaculation decreased the risk of prostate cancer by 20%; at 40-49, 18%; and for men over 50 who ejaculated 21+ per month in the previous year, the risk reduction was a whopping 26%. Similar but smaller risk reductions were present in the 13+ ejaculations per month category.
Does Masturbation Prevent Cancer?
So did the tabloids get it right? Is masturbation the key to a clean bill of prostate health? Well…not necessarily. As previously mentioned, this study was designed to test the rather disturbingly named ‘prostate stagnation hypothesis’, and therefore didn’t distinguish between masturbation and other sexual activities. What the study demonstrates is a clear correlation between ejaculation frequency and decreased risk of prostate cancer.
While the study did have some flaws in that it was a fairly racially and economically homogenous group, and also relied on self-reporting (both of prostate cancer, and of ejaculation frequency during periods of up to forty years previously), it does seem to reinforce what we at the Wellman Clinic have always proudly proclaimed: that sex is good for you, and in more than just the obvious way!
The Wellman Clinic is the UK’s first dedicated private men’s health clinic in London, with over 25 years of experience. From state-of-the-art cPSA prostate cancer screening to testosterone replacement therapy, we offer tailored, professional medical advice to men in a friendly and confidential environment. Please get in touch to arrange a consultation.