Is Sex Good For Your Prostate?

by Ben Ong

Whether or not sex is good for prostate problems is a question many men wonder. But 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 effect regular ejaculations have on the prostate should become a major talking point, especially amongst men who are experiencing prostate problems.

The general 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, there are studies that 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? And if it is, how much sexual activity is enough? Is there such a thing as too much?

Sexual Activity and 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 contribute to cancer cell division and growth.

JAMA Study

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 health professionals, 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 a higher cancer risk in most men (Leitzmann 2004).

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.)

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 10 encounters per month) gives men a “small” amount of protection against prostate cancer (Dimitropoulou 2009). 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 frequent 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 bacterial infection. This infection is sometimes caused by a sexually transmitted disease (STD). If you have an STD, you should definitely 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 for 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 sex that is mutually satisfying. If you involve your partner in your prostatitis treatment program, sexual challenges can be easier to handle.

Other Benefits

Sex can also have benefits for prostate health in a number of other ways. Apart from the potential decrease in risk of prostate cancer, sexual activity helps to maintain erectile function and healthy penile tissue. Lack of frequent sex can result in penile shortening, in the absence of consistent nocturnal erections, which can cause and contribute to self-esteem issues and lead to further erectile dysfunction problems.

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 regular sexual activity and, in older men, regular ejaculation has protective effects against prostate cancer.  In fact, a higher frequency of ejaculation is associated with a decreased risk of developing prostate cancer.

So to answer the question of whether sex is good for prostate health, the answer appears to be yes. In later life, regular sexual activity appears to have a positive effect on the prostate and prostate health, and there certainly don’t seem to be any negative effects of sexual activity on the prostate in later life if you still enjoy sexual activity but suffer from prostate issues.