Side Effects of Not Ejaculating (Releasing Sperm)

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Ejaculation refers to semen being released from the penis during orgasm. There are many reasons why someone may not ejaculate for a long time. Some people do it intentionally for personal or religious reasons. Some people abstain to increase their sperm count for fertility purposes. Other people may have a health condition that makes ejaculation difficult or impossible.

The effects of not ejaculating haven’t been studied extensively, but there is no evidence that doing so—even for extensive periods—is harmful. There are no known negative side effects of not ejaculating. That said, if you are unable to ejaculate, or are having trouble ejaculating, it’s important to see a healthcare provider to find out if you have an underlying health condition that may be causing this.

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There are several reasons why someone may not be ejaculating. Sometimes the reasons are intentional, and sometimes they are not.

Intentionally Abstaining

Whether or not to engage in sexual activity or masturbation is a personal choice. Some people make mindful choices not to ejaculate for specific periods or extended periods. For example:

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  • Many religions advise abstention from masturbation or sexual activity.
  • Someone may also choose not to ejaculate for personal reasons or as a part of a spiritual journey.
  • Healthcare providers might recommend abstaining from ejaculating for several days while trying to conceive or before fertility treatments.

Delayed Ejaculation

A sexual disorder called delayed ejaculation can be the cause of not ejaculating. Delayed ejaculation is defined as either a delay in the ability to ejaculate or a complete inability to ejaculate.

Delayed ejaculation is not common and experts aren’t sure what causes it. It used to be believed that relationship issues or psychological issues cause delayed ejaculation. It might be caused by endocrine, genetic, or neurobiological conditions, or it might be a medication side effect. Endocrine conditions are hormone-related, such as low testosterone.

Retrograde Ejaculation

Retrograde ejaculation is when semen is not expelled through the penis during orgasm, but enters the bladder instead. This is often referred to as a “dry orgasm” because you experience an orgasm, but you see a very low volume of semen or no semen at all.

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Conditions like diabetes, previous pelvic surgeries, neurological conditions, and bladder malformations can cause retrograde ejaculation. It may also be a side effect of certain medications.

Anejaculation

Anejaculation is when you don’t ejaculate at all during sexual activity. A person with anejaculation experiences erections without ejaculation. However, they may ejaculate during nocturnal emissions (wet dreams) or while masturbating.

There are various potential causes of anejaculation, including health conditions like spinal cord injuries, diabetes, and multiple sclerosis. Potential psychological causes include a lack of body awareness, guilt or shame about sex, and performance anxiety.

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Aging

People with male reproductive organs can ejaculate and produce sperm for their entire lives—there isn’t a particular age where this ability goes away. However, similarly to people with female reproductive organs, reproductive capacity decreases as they age. As such, it can be more difficult to experience erections and orgasms/ejaculations as they get older.

There is nothing inherently harmful about not ejaculating for a long time. There are no known dangerous physical or psychological side effects. However, some general side effects are possible for certain individuals.

Physical Effects

Testes constantly produce sperm. If you don’t ejaculate it, the sperm becomes reabsorbed into the body. Some people are concerned that you will get “blue balls” if you don’t ejaculate, or pain due to sexual arousal that doesn’t end in orgasm. However, there are no known medical problems associated with this phenomenon, and any discomfort resolves without intervention.

Psychological Effects

The mental health effects of not ejaculating or abstaining from ejaculating aren’t well-researched at this time. However, many people report different emotions when they haven’t ejaculated for a long period of time. Some people might experience clarity or peace of mind, while others may report feeling more irritated or distressed.

People who experience ejaculated-related health problems, such as delayed ejaculation or anejaculation, may experience relationship stress, or anxiety surrounding sexual contact and sexual desire.

There are no reported benefits of not ejaculating, and the benefits of this practice have not been studied. Nevertheless, people who intentionally refrain may report benefits, such as mental and emotional balance, decreased fixation on sex, increased energy, and stress relief.

While many people abstain from ejaculating for several days while trying to conceive, or going through fertility treatments, the effectiveness of this practice is not clear. Research has found that abstaining from ejaculating for several days increases sperm count and semen volume. It’s less clear if this practice is helpful for other sperm aspects, such as motility (movement speed), vitality, and morphology (sperm shape).

Again, the mental health benefits of ejaculating or not ejaculating are not well studied. Still, there are some immediate benefits to experiencing orgasm, including reduced stress, improved mood, and even pain relief.

There is some evidence that ejaculation frequency might be protective against developing prostate cancer. For example, one 2016 study found that participants who reported higher rates of ejaculation were less likely to be diagnosed with prostate cancer.

It’s normal to ejaculate frequently, and ejaculating daily or even several times a day has no known negative side effects. Ejaculating frequently may cause certain side effects, such as chafing of the skin (usually from masturbation specifically) or fatigue.

Some people may be concerned that frequent ejaculation may cause sex addiction or other sexual disorders. While the exact causes of sex addiction haven’t been identified yet, it is not thought to be caused by excessive masturbation or sexual activity. On the other hand, excessive masturbation or sexual activity may be a symptom of a sex addiction.

Masturbating frequently might affect sexual function, leading to issues like sexual desensitization, where you become less sensitive to sexual stimulation. Some people who masturbate frequently experience trouble getting erections or reaching orgasm through other forms of sexual activity.

It’s normal for some people to not ejaculate for a long time. In most cases, it will not cause physical or psychological harm.

See a healthcare provider if you have any concerns about your ejaculation patterns. If you are intentionally not masturbating because of guilt or shame about sex or masturbation, you may want to speak to a therapist about your feelings and concerns.

Conditions like diabetes, multiple sclerosis, and sexual disorders can result in an inability to ejaculate. Endocrine disorders, neurological disorders, and medication side effects may also cause these symptoms. A healthcare provider can evaluate you for any underlying medical conditions and discuss treatment plans.

Not ejaculating for several days, weeks, or even longer, is not damaging to your health. Some people abstain from ejaculating for religious reasons, personal reasons, or to increase sperm count while trying to conceive.

If you are unable to ejaculate, you may have an underlying medical condition causing these symptoms. It’s important to visit your healthcare provider for an evaluation.



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