Dear Dr G,
I read with interest your views on the benefit of frequent ejaculations. From your article, I can sense you advocate for frequent ejaculations for the feel-good factor.
I am in my late twenties and have been married for two years and of course, my wife and I are still very much in the "honeymoon" period.
We are also hoping to start a family as soon as possible.
I'd love to follow your advice to engage in as much sex as possible but my wife has a differing opinion, in keeping with our conservative Asian culture.
As I understand, Eastern teachings highlight the value of abstinence to preserve Chi and energy. Does this hold water as it has since endured the test of time over centuries and civilisations?
I would like to put Dr. G on the spot on the true advantages of frequent ejaculations?
What exactly would be its impact on sperm quality?
If I am to abstain to improve this, what is the interval that is advisable?
The scientific basis of the benefits of ejaculation is well-documented in medical journals. It is generally associated with the elevation of certain feel-good neurotransmitters in the brain during orgasm.
These are mainly oxytocin and dopamine that generate positive emotions in the intimate environment. The feel-good factor is believed have the impact of stress reduction, some even associate frequent ejaculation with increase in motivation and productive attitude.
Apart from the emotional well-being, frequent ejaculations is even noted to help with sleep, improve sperm quality, boosting the immune system and slight reduction of death from cardiac disease.
There is no hard and fast rule about the advisable frequency of ejaculation. Some men may ejaculate several times per day and have no impact on daily life, while others may ejaculate once a month and the guilt of self-pleasure may cause anxiety and impair functional life.
The key to the optimal frequency is moderation. If the frequency has caused tiredness and anxiety and this has a negative impact on daily life, then the individual has exceeded a desirable frequency.
The Taoism philosophy says exceeding the desired frequency of ejaculation will drain bodily energy. Hence, the preservation and retention of semen can enhance inner strength and longevity.
Abstaining from ejaculation is thought to allow the energy to return to the brain and retain the energy. In fact, the teaching recommends 24 times a year as optimal.
There is no hard data to support the thinking, as the level of testosterone and quality of sperms will not be positively influenced by prolonged abstinence.
The World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines recommend an abstinence period of two to seven days prior to semen collection for standard seminal evaluation to maximise quality but the impact of sexual abstinence on conventional sperm parameters is still controversial.
There is general agreement that semen volume and sperm concentration will increase with prolonged sexual abstinence, but it can simultaneously have a negative impact on sperm motility and viability.
Recent studies highlight the correlation of sperm motility and viability with frequent ejaculations. More than 100 men whose sperm had a higher than normal level of DNA damage were recruited for the study.
The participants were asked to ejaculate daily for seven consecutive days; the repeated analysis demonstrated a drop in the sperm damage by 26%. About 80% of men also saw an increase in sperm quality including the mobility.
Early Christian theologian and philosopher, Saint Augustine of Hippo famously said: "Too many, total abstinence is easier than perfect moderation."
When it comes to sex, it is often a dilemma for men worrying ejaculating too frequently, or conversely avoid intimacy for benefit of abstinence.
In reality, men should really focus more on factors such as exercise and healthy lifestyle, rather than getting hung up with the number of ejaculations that is good for health.
When Dr G is put on the spot for that optimal frequency of intercourse or ejaculation for the benefit of health and healthy gametes. His response is: "Many opportunities to exercise, abstinence from smoking is the easiest path to that perfect moderation of sexual health!"
Dr George Lee is a consultant Urologist and Clinical Associate Professor whose professional interest is in men’s health. The column “Ask Dr G” is a forum to help men debunk the myths and taboos on men’s issues that may be too “hard” to mention. You can send him questions at email@example.com