How Does Sex Affect Your Prostate?

Although many men enjoy sexual intercourse, others refrain from it for one reason or another. 

It’s helpful to be informed and learn about the effects of sex and what happens when you’re abstaining from it. 

It is particularly crucial to learn how both situations affect your prostate.

So, read on to see how refraining from sex affects your prostate. 

How sex affects your prostate

The prostate is a reproductive organ whose main function is to produce fluid for ejaculate. For that reason, scientists have always wondered how sexual functioning influences the prostate gland and vice versa. At the same time, research on this subject is still limited, but not nonexistent. 

The Urology journal published a study in 2003 that found that men who reported ejaculating at least once a week had a lower risk of moderate to severe lower urinary tract symptoms than their counterparts without ejaculations. 

The relationship between the two was dose-dependent. In other words, a higher number of ejaculations meant a man was less likely to experience these symptoms. 

The most common causes of these symptoms are urinary tract infection, bacterial prostatitis, chronic prostatitis, and benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), i.e., enlarged prostate. 

Similar associations were observed for other parameters such as prostate volume, peak urinary flow rate, and quality of life. These effects on BPH symptoms didn’t exist within the age decade.

More recent studies show sexual activity exhibits protective effects on the prostate. For instance, a study from 2017 confirmed sexual function was linked to a reduced risk of overall prostate cancer and high-grade or advanced prostate cancer. This relationship persisted even when scientists ruled out other factors such as BMI. 

Research also shows that men who ejaculate 21 times a month have a lower risk of prostate cancer than men who ejaculate seven times a month.

One interesting study from 2018 looked into sexual behavior, the number of sexual partners, and other factors in relation to localized prostate cancer risk. 

The most important discovery is that ejaculation frequency was associated with a lower risk of developing prostate cancer. This severe prostate disease affects millions of men across the globe, and it occurs when prostate cancer cells start multiplying rapidly. 


The exact reason behind the protective effects of sexual intercourse on prostate health is still unclear. It could be down to ejaculation removing cancer-causing materials, infection, and inflammation-causing compounds from the prostate. 

A lot more research on the prostate orgasms subject is necessary. But, what we can see here is that sexual activity can protect your prostate. 

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Does celibacy harm your prostate?

Celibacy is defined as a voluntary practice of being sexually abstinent, unmarried, or both for religious or other personal reasons. Even though scientists have been involved in studies regarding sexual activity and its impact on the prostate, there isn’t much evidence on celibacy. 

A study published decades ago found that clerics had lower mortality of various cancers, including prostate cancer, than noncelibate men. However, we can’t and shouldn’t take those results as a fact. 

Why? Many studies have shown that sexual activity is important for prostate health and may even protect this gland from severe diseases such as prostate cancer. 

Bearing that in mind, celibacy may not be able to protect the prostate gland. This is particularly important if we consider that ejaculation could be the key here. 

Still, it is probably not the only factor through which sexual activity protects the prostate gland. 

Other health effects of abstinence in men

Men choose to abstain from sex for various reasons, but in some cases, abstinence is involuntary. Although a person doesn’t really notice the effects of sexual abstinence on their health, they could still be there. 

Potential benefits of sex

It is important to keep in mind regular sex has a wide range of health benefits. For example, sexual activity can strengthen the immune system, decrease stress levels, normalize blood pressure, and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. 

Some effects of sexual activity, such as stress management, can be obtained from masturbation. But, that doesn’t apply to all the benefits of sex. 

Abstinence could, therefore, lead to increased stress levels and may have a significant impact on a man’s emotional wellbeing. For example, men whose sexual abstinence is involuntary may end up feeling insecure, anxious, and uncomfortable. 

One of the most common reasons for involuntary abstinence is erectile dysfunction due to several causes, including medical procedures such as prostate cancer treatment, nerve-sparing surgery, radiation therapy, or even radical prostatectomy

Hormone therapy, such as androgen deprivation therapy, and prostate enlargement, can also decrease sex drive in men and lead to abstinence. It is also worth mentioning that many prostate cancer patients do not have erection problems.

Potential benefits of abstinence

On the other hand, men who abstain from sex voluntarily could experience different effects – they may find it beneficial for their mental health and wellbeing. That’s why the whole subject of sexual side effects and the role of abstinence is a broad area where not everything is simply black or white.

Sexual abstinence strongly impacts different aspects of a man’s life. Besides the inability to experience the physical and emotional effects of sexual activity, men who abstain from sex may also have relationship problems. 

If you are in a relationship and don’t have sex, the quality and wellbeing of your relationship could suffer. Reasons for lack of sex in relationships range from sexual dysfunction to unsolved problems between the two people.


The role of sexual abstinence in prostate health is insufficiently explored. However, current evidence shows that regular sexual activity is beneficial for the prostate and could help reduce the risk of enlarged prostate symptoms. 

In fact, it can reduce the risk of prostate cancer too. For that reason, celibacy or prostate abstinence may not be the best practice for prostate health. 

They could have other effects as well. For instance, sex is good for many aspects of physical health. More research is necessary to uncover all mechanisms that connect prostate tissue and sex beyond ejaculation. 

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  1. Jacobsen SJ, Jacobson DJ, Rohe DE, Girman CJ, Roberts RO, Lieber MM. Frequency of sexual activity and prostatic health: fact or fairy tale? Urology. 2003.
  2. Zapata DF, Howard LE, Frank J, et al. The association between sexual function and prostate cancer risk in US veterans. Asian J Androl. 2017.
  3. Rider JR, Wilson KM, Sinnott JA, Kelly RS, Mucci LA, Giovannucci EL. Ejaculation Frequency and Risk of Prostate Cancer: Updated Results with an Additional Decade of Follow-up. Eur Urol. 2016. 
  4. Jian Z, Ye D, Chen Y, Li H, Wang K. Sexual Activity and Risk of Prostate Cancer: A Dose-Response Meta-Analysis. J Sex Med. 2018.
  5. Michalek AM, Mettlin C, Priore RL. Prostate cancer mortality among Catholic priests. J Surg Oncol. 1981.

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