What is Semen Retention?
When it comes to semen, most men are typically concerned about how to ejaculate, more semen volume, and a higher concentration of sperm. However, there has been a rising growth in some men’s circles, where the exact opposite is their concern; how to ejaculate less.
Semen retention is referred to the avoidance of male ejaculation via sexual abstinence, where the act of ejaculation is prohibited to reap the benefits it offers. Semen retention also includes stopping before the point of ejaculation or even teaching yourself to orgasm without actually ejaculating.
This may seem like a fad, something new that shall pass; however, this practice is age-old and ancient. Much of the history of this practice is firmly rooted in Taoist sexual practices. It is believed that by practicing semen retention, the male could maximize their physical and spiritual energy.
It has been referred to and called as several different names such as:
- Coitus reservatus
- Seminal conservation
- Sexual continence
It is also seen in different cultures and practices and is referred to as:
- Karezza (Italian)
- Tantra (Hinduism and Buddhism)
- Sahaja and Maithuna (Hindu Tantra)
- cai Yin pu Yang and cai Yang pu Yin (Taoist)
Is it the same thing as ‘NoFap’?
No, not at all. The word ‘No Fap’ is often used interchangeably and in the same context as semen retention; however, both are from two different schools of thought.
NoFap is an organization, and this website is associated with a community-based porn recovery website. According to the website about page, it is explained that NoFap is not a verb, a principle, or a movement.
It states that the website’s purpose is to provide information and community support to help people who want to recover from compulsive sexual behavior and improve their relationships.
Is there any research to support this?
This is a complicated and multifaceted topic that lacks extensive research. However, it should be noted that not having research doesn’t necessarily mean all the claims about semen retention are false.
These are scientifically- measurable areas of impact of semen retention:
- Increase in Testosterone levels
- Increase in Brain Androgen Receptors (ARs)
- Decrease in dopamine levels
- Decrease in Prolactin levels
Increase in Testosterone Levels
This is one of the most scientifically provable results of semen retention; there is a considerable increase in testosterone levels.
A study conducted on male masturbation determined that when men don’t masturbate for 7 days, their testosterone levels spiked by 45.7% This could explain the number of purported physical benefits, including thicker hair growth, greater strength, deeper voice, power, and weight loss.
Some researchers have said this may also explain the psychological benefits, including increased energy and focus, boosting self-esteem and confidence.
Increase in Brain Androgen Receptors (ARs)
Several studies have been conducted that linked semen retention to intelligence.
A specific study suggests that androgen receptors play a very vital role in the body. A lack of testosterone means that androgen receptors are out of duty. ARs allow the body to use testosterone, which helps develop a deep voice and many other secondary sexual characters linked to men.
In lab mice with overly active sexual activity and satiety, it was also noted that it was linked to the reduced amount of androgen receptors in the body.
Decrease in Prolactin
Prolactin is the hormone released post an orgasm, hence relaxing the body and making the person feel sleepy.
Post an ejaculation; dopamine tends to reduce, whereas the prolactin increases, hence, causing your attention to waver. It takes about 15 days of abstinence to reverse these hormonal changes in the brain.
Once you start semen retention, there is a substantial decrease in prolactin levels, which causes:
- Clarity of mind, no mental clutter
- Increased stamina and power
- Increased hair growth
- Healthier face and skin
- Improved memory and event retention
Some more studies that support semen retention:
In an animal study conducted in 2007, the research found lower androgen receptors in the brain linked with frequent masturbation.
In a 2003 study, researchers found the link between ejaculation and changes in testosterone levels in 28 volunteers. After 7 days of abstinence, it was noted that these volunteers showed a spike in testosterone levels.
In a 2000 study of male athletes, it was found that intercourse didn’t have a detrimental effect on athletic performance; however, intercourse 2 hours before a competition severely impacted their competition results.
However, it would be difficult to conclude that semen retention is extensively beneficial for males. It would require additional research and long-term studies to reach a firm conclusion about these specific claims.
What are the purported Health Benefits of Semen Retention?
There seem to be several benefits of semen retention. However, it should be noted that it would require you to abstain from masturbation for at least 7 days to feel the benefits.
- Increased energy and focus
- Increased motivation
- Increase in self-confidence
- Improved memory
- Reduced in anxiety
- Improved concentration
- Increased testosterone levels
- Increased weight loss
- Increased skin health and clearer skin
- A deeper voice
- Increased muscle mass
- Physical relaxation
- A greater sense of purpose
- A stronger sense of harmony
- More robust engagement in emotional bonds and relationships
- Increased overall happiness
Several people claim that not masturbating had improved their health in many ways and helped them gain confidence, motivation, and cognitive skills. However, there is no extensive research to back this up.
Risks to be considered
At first, it may seem like they are not many risks associated with semen retention. However, there are chances that some complications could occasionally occur.
This is defined as the condition where a sexually aroused person intentionally doesn’t ejaculate or orgasm. This condition is also referred to as blue balls.
Due to the blood build-up during arousal in the testicles, the person may experience aching pain in the testicles after a period of arousal that does not lead to an orgasm.
Most research suggests that this is a harmless condition that is quite common in young male adults, and the treatment usually involves ejaculation and/or reducing arousal.
There are many chances that you could develop ejaculation issues if you are regularly preventing yourself from ejaculation or reaching an orgasm. A person may find themselves unable to ejaculate or orgasm when they want to, or they may experience premature ejaculation,
Premature ejaculation is defined as a form of sexual dysfunction that tends to affect the sex life adversely. Males suffering from this disorder tend to orgasm/climax very soon.
A person practicing semen retention could also develop retrograde ejaculation; in this condition, the semen tends to travel back into the bladder, causing prostate gland issues.
Possible benefits of not Ejaculating
There are some potential benefits of not ejaculating, which may include:
There is an absolute belief that not ejaculating for a period of time may allow the person to experience intense orgasms.
A small-scale study conducted in 2001 suggested that abstaining from ejaculating for 3 weeks may not have the expected physical impact on the person’s nervous system when they ejaculate.
This is the sexual technique where a male is engaged in sexual stimulation to the point of orgasm, and then the stimulation stops, and after a few minutes, it starts again.
According to the International Society for Sexual Medicine, this practice actually helps increase the intensity of orgasm in people.
People who suffer from premature ejaculation use similar techniques such as edging to prolong their sexual activity.
Methods include the start-stop or squeeze technique which involves stimulating the penis until just before orgasm and then stopping or squeezing the penis until the urge to ejaculate goes away.
A few people believe that semen retention could improve sperm quality and thereby cause an increase in fertility as well; however, the research is limited on this subject.
Several contradicting studies conducted about the same suggest various different results and time periods for abstinence. However, in short, abstinence of 2-4 days would produce good results.
As of now, there is only limited evidence to provide a firm conclusion on the potential benefits of semen retention. However, there also isn’t evidence to suggest that this could cause any potential risks.
As a person, it is your choice to abstain from sexual activity (willingly or unwillingly) *wink wink* However, you could also explore different avenues such as tantric sex, edging into your sex life.
There are no rules on how frequently a person should ejaculate. Do what feels right to you and to your body.