Whether or not sex is good for prostate problems is a question many men wonder. However, they rarely vocalize their concerns. A taboo still exists around sexual activity. Talking about sexual activity is still relatively uncommon amongst older men.
But the prostate plays an active role during sexual activity.
The prostate is a walnut-sized gland located below your bladder and wraps around part of your urethra. It is responsible for making fluid in semen, which helps transport your sperm when you ejaculate.
The effect regular ejaculations have on the prostate should become a significant talking point, especially amongst men who are experiencing prostate problems.
The consensus is that sex is beneficial for prostate health. The more often the prostate is called into service, the more likely it is that toxins will be cleared out of the body through ejaculations.
Frequent sexual activity may reduce the chance of prostate cancer or other prostate problems developing.
However, some studies have been conducted which suggest that a high level of sexual activity, especially during younger years, may increase your risk of developing prostate cancer.
So the question remains: is sex good for prostate health? Moreover, if it is, how much sexual activity is enough? Is there such a thing as too much?
Sexual activity & its effect on Prostate Health
Experts suggest that in addition to clearing toxins through ejaculation, sex may also reduce the development of tiny crystals that are associated with some cancers. Regular ejaculation enhances the immune system’s response to the presence of cancer cells.
Sexual activity also reduces stress. It calms the central nervous system, which may reduce cancer cell division and growth.
A research team at Ohio State University found a link between stress and the spread of cancer cells in many types of cancer. This includes prostate cancer.
Their research shows that stress triggers a “master switch” gene in the body known as ATF3, which is expressed in all types of cells as a response to stressful conditions.
According to a report published in JAMA, men who reported having more than 20 ejaculations per month were 33% less likely to develop prostate cancer.
These measured ejaculations included sexual intercourse, nocturnal emissions, and masturbation. Researchers evaluated nearly 30,000 patients, of whom 1,449 developed prostate cancer. Assuming the men answered the survey questions honestly, the results indicated that an active sex life is not associated with higher cancer risk in most men.
An Australian study of 2,338 men also came to a similar conclusion. This study found that men who averaged 4.6 to seven ejaculations a week were 36% less likely to be diagnosed with prostate cancer before the age of 70 compared to men who ejaculated less than 2.3 times a week on average.
The study found no connection between prostate cancer and the number of sex partners. (An earlier study, however, found that men who had sex with 30 or more women were two to three times more likely to develop prostate cancer than men with only one partner).
The University Of Nottingham Study
A University of Nottingham-Medical School study also attempted to address whether sex is good for the prostate. Researchers noted that frequent sexual activity (more than ten encounters per month) gives men a “small” amount of protection against prostate cancer.
However, the same study also found that men who are highly sexually active (more than 20 times per month) in their 20s and 30s are more likely to develop prostate cancer, especially if they masturbate often.
On the other hand, the researchers in this study did also discover that regular sexual activity by men in their 40’s does not seem to have the same effect (Dimitropoulou 2009).
The investigators evaluated the sexual practices of more than 431 men who had been diagnosed with prostate cancer before age 60, and 409 cancer-free controls.
Among the men with prostate cancer, 34% admitted they had masturbated frequently in their 20’s, compared to 24% of controls. The results were similar for men in their 30’s. Men with prostate cancer also were more likely to have had an STD than those who were cancer-free.
STD’s and sexual enjoyment
Prostatitis is a prostate illness caused by a bacterial infection. This infection is sometimes caused by a sexually transmitted diseases (STD).
If you have an STD, you should avoid unprotected sex until you see your Doctor and are treated for the infection. If your prostatitis is not associated with an STD, it’s generally safe to have sex. Overall, regular safe sexual activity seems to be healthy for the prostate and prostatitis.
If you are receiving treatment for prostatitis with antibiotics, it is recommended that you ejaculate two to three times a week.
Some men experience pain during or after ejaculation that interferes with sexual enjoyment until they get prostatitis symptoms under control.
If this happens to you, you should communicate openly with your partner to find ways to have mutually satisfying sex. If you involve your partner in your prostatitis treatment program, sexual challenges can be easier to handle.
Does sexual activity maintain erectile function?
Apart from the potential decrease in prostate cancer risk, sexual activity also helps to maintain erectile function.
One study found this to be true. The study, published in the July 2008 issue of the American Journal of Medicine, tracked 989 men in their 50s, 60s, and 70s over five years. They found that men who reported having sexual intercourse less than once a week were twice as likely to develop erectile dysfunction.
Sexual activity seems to protect nerve fibers and blood vessels responsible for erectile function and prevent scarring of the chambers inside the penis that fill with blood to form an erection.
BPH (Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia) and Sexual Health
As men get older, their prostates tend to become enlarged. This is usually from a lifetime of bad habits. However, prostate enlargement does not equate to prostate cancer. Having an enlarged prostate does not inevitably mean you will get cancer.
Once diagnosed, doctors usually recommend medication. It is essential you know that some of the drugs used to treat BPH (benign prostatic hyperplasia) have known side-effects.
Some of these include ED and a diminished sex drive. Men who take alpha-blockers (Flomax, Tamsulosin) and alpha reductase (Finasteride, Dutasteride) are prone to develop erectile dysfunction.
Studies show that approximately 3% of men who took Dutasteride and 6.4% of men who took Finasteride experienced a loss of libido.
The active component of the prostate plays a crucial role in generating libido and sustaining erectile rigidity. Therefore, it common for men to experience flagging sexual desire and compromised erectile after initiation of treatment.
Prostate Cancer and Sexual Health
Sudden onset of erectile dysfunction may be a sign that a man has prostate cancer. Therefore, your Doctor is likely to order a prostate-specific antigen (PSA test) and do a digital rectal exam to assess this possibility.
A prostate cancer diagnosis can leave you feeling anxious, frustrated, and depressed.
It may also leave you wondering about your ability to have sex. You may also be questioning how prostate cancer treatment can affect your sex life. Prostate cancer rarely causes problems with sex, but the treatments for prostate cancer often affect penile function and reproduction.
Prostate surgery and radiation are the two most common treatments for prostate cancer. Both of these can affect the nerves in your penis and could cause sexual problems like erectile dysfunction (ED).
Cryotherapy and ultrasound therapy can also cause ED. Your doctor may recommend hormone therapy or radiation therapy, as well. This therapy can lower your sex drive.
Radical prostatectomy is the most effective nerve-sparing surgery for prostate cancer. It can substantially limit the duration of post-surgical ED but requires a surgeon to be highly skilled and trained in the process.
In this type of procedure, the surgeon takes care not to damage the erectile nerves that surround the prostate as it is removed.
However, if cancer has infiltrated these nerves, it may not be possible to save them. Preventing injury to these nerves dramatically improves the chances of a man recovering erectile function within two years of the surgery.
In addition to ED, you may also find that your orgasms are different after undergoing treatment for prostate cancer. They may not feel as strong, and you will not see as much ejaculate. As a result, you may also be unable to father children naturally because of the lack of semen produced by the prostate.
You will still be able to ejaculate, but they will be “dry.” If you want to have children later in life, you can use a sperm bank to store your sperm until you and your partner are ready to conceive.
Tips for a healthy sex life after Prostate Cancer Treatment
It is natural to be worried about sex after prostate surgery, as all the treatments discussed can change your body. This can cause you to feel differently about yourself and your relationship with your partner. However, many men can have a happy, fulfilling sex life after prostate cancer. Here is how.
The first thing to consider is that sex is about more than your sex organs. Your brain also plays a significant role in your sex life!
When you are diagnosed with cancer, you may have feelings of anxiety or experience depression. Both of these will lower your sex drive.
You may also be scared to have sex or fear that you are no longer attractive to your partner or potential partners.
If you are in a relationship, it is very important to communicate with your partner how you are feeling. Let them know what concerns you have and that your change in sex drive has nothing to do with them.
If you are unable to have erections at first, remember that you can still feel close to your partner while cuddling, kissing, and using other stimulation.
You can focus on your partner’s pleasure and enjoy being intimate without penetrative sex.
It is also important to communicate your feelings, thoughts, and needs to your doctor. It may be embarrassing to talk about sex with your doctor, but there are a variety of medications and procedures they can use to help you.
Be open about what issues are you having and answer their questions honestly.
If talking to your partner and doctor have not helped with sexual issues, then you can seek therapy. A licensed sex therapist can help you overcome any anxiety you may have about the act.
They can also help you talk through any feelings of doubt, guilt, or sadness that you may feel. Couples counseling is also a great option.
Your partner can support you during sessions, and you can come up with other activities to promote intimacy.
Many men have trouble getting an erection after surgery and radiation; however, most will be able to have erections again.
Sometimes, ED is more permanent. When this happens, there are a variety of options to help. You can take medications, like Viagra, to help you get an erection. However, it should be noted that ED drugs can have a number of side effects.
Penile injections are also an option if the oral medication does not work. These require you to inject yourself before a sexual encounter. However, these treatments do have side effects that you should be aware of.
The side effects related to the injected alprostadil include bleeding from the injection site, thickening of the skin (fibrous tissue) and the injection site, and a prolonged erection (priapism).
Side effects of the suppository include bleeding from the urethra, development of fibrous tissue inside the urethra and pain when urinating.
There is also a non-medication option available. A vacuum constriction device can be used to help get your penis erect without worrying about side effects from medications. Some couples have found that incorporating this process into their sex life works as foreplay.
Finally, penile implant surgery is possible. Once the device is installed, a button is pushed that will cause the penis to erect. This option is usually saved for last after other options have not proved successful.
Several studies have also shown natural supplements to offer a natural and safe way to help treat ED without the need for medical intervention and side effects.
For example, Ben’s Testo-Booster contains a herb that has been proven to help increase the body’s testosterone levels and help to produce stronger erections naturally.
As good blood flow is essential to getting and maintaining an erection. Taking a 100% natural and organic treatment can make capillaries open and blood flow easier. Ben’s Organic Concentrated Garlic Extract, can help treat ED effectively and safely.
With no side effects to note for any of these natural supplements, they are an option to be strongly considered when looking for a treatment for erection problems.
Sex after prostate cancer might not seem possible, but it is. It is important to be patient with yourself and understand that your body is going through a lot. Once treatments have been completed, take your time getting back into sex.
So to answer the question is sex good for your men’s health, the answer appears to be yes. In later life, regular sexual activity seems to have a positive effect on the prostate and prostate health.
Overall, regular safe sexual activity seems to be healthy for the prostate and have benefits for a range of prostate problems.
Some prostatitis symptoms can be relieved by frequent sexual activity and, in older men, regular ejaculation has protective effects against prostate cancer. A higher frequency of ejaculation is associated with a decreased risk of developing prostate cancer.