OLD wives' tales are assortment of superstition, misinformation and perception that are passed down from generations to generations.
Some of such beliefs are rooted in the concept that sex is bad. This practice stems from the days when sexual health and reproductive functions are subjects of unknown entity.
In the 21st century, sex myths are still causing confusion and guilt. Such thoughts are often hard to erase completely out of our culture and belief.
The question now is whether too much sex is putting your life at risk of cancer.
We put this important question through the scrutiny of modern science, and hope it clarifies matters for boys in the generations to come.
Dear Dr G,
I am a great admirer and love your sense of humour in dealing with taboo subjects of sexual health.
I am hoping you can clear my doubts about the potential harm or protective effects of frequent ejaculations.
I am 41 years old and sexually “very” active. Sadly, I often have the guilt after engaging in sexual activities, as my parents used to tell me the harmful effects of too much sex.
As I am a father now, and about to tell my teenage sons how to differentiate facts and old wives' tales about sex, I suddenly realised I am also a bit clueless about certain facts when it comes to sexual education.
I read with interest a recent article about the protective effects of frequent ejaculations against prostate cancer. Is this true? What exactly was the basis of this scientific study? I often thought too much sex may cause cancer.
As my father actually had prostate cancer, do you think he did not ejaculate enough?
How many ejaculations per week are considered protective? Is it too late for me?
And finally, what exactly should I tell my 15- and 16-year-old sons?
Looking forward to your views.
Prostate cancer is a common cancer affecting more men nowadays.
Many believe such increase is associated with men living longer, more access to screening diagnostic tests and sedentary lifestyle.
In previous studies, the increase of prostate cancer was also associated with frequent sexual activities resulting in higher risk of cancer.
In a recent study, the opposite was noted to be true. It was found that frequent ejaculation is protective against the risk of prostate cancer, except for high-risk disease.
In fact, men who ejaculated most often actually had one-third lower lifetime risk of prostate cancer.
“How many times is considered frequent ejaculation?” I hear most of you shouting out.
In this study, men who ejaculated 21 times or more per month in their 40s had 32% lower risk of prostate cancer in life, compared to those who ejaculated four ejaculations per month.
In addition, men who reported more than 21 ejaculations a month had 51% lower risk of cancer.
But seriously, we are talking about men who ejaculate at least five times a week in their 40s. Do they even exist?
The study was published in the Journal of American Medical Association, which collected data from 30,000 predominantly white men aged 46 to 81.
The ejaculation frequency included sexual intercourse, masturbation and wet dreams.
It also noted an increase of three ejaculations per week during a man’s lifetime was associated with 15% reduction in prostate cancer risk.
Can this all be too good to be true? Would all doctors now prescribe “more ejaculations” for cancer prevention? Not quite!
The critics of the study pointed out the increase frequency of sexual activities is a marker of healthier men, who are more likely to have healthier diet and exercise more.
Although such counter argument may be valid, many researchers are taking the findings of the protective effects of ejaculation seriously.
Clinicians who supported the study argued the protective effects of ejaculation may be due to frequent discharge, flushing out potential cancer-causing substances in the semen.
The ejaculatory climax is also known to reduce psychological tension that can slow the growth of potential cancerous cells in the prostate.
Lastly, some even believe the rapid turnover of ejaculatory fluids can prevent the occlusions of the sperm ducts within the prostate and reducing the risk of cancer.
Although the latest study appears to favour frequent ejaculations for cancer prevention, the same study also identified high ejaculatory frequency is associated with the development of advanced cancer.
However, the number is too small to draw any conclusions.
According to old wives' tales, the over indulgence of sexual activities is inevitably associated with bad consequences like blindness, impotency and hairy palms.
Dr G's advice to the parents who are guiding their teenage kids about sexual health is: “All things in moderation is healthy, including sex. The real key in life is to work out what is moderation!”
With that in mind, don't hold back those ejaculations, after all, science tells us it is for cancer prevention!