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Should you be concerned if you haven’t come in a while?

The short answer is no.

Let’s get into the physiology and processes behind ejaculation, what science says about the benefits and risks, and what to do if you want to try avoiding ejaculation.

There’s not really a straightforward answer to this. It all depends on your particular hormones and overall health.

You might be able to ejaculate during masturbation or sexual intercourse up to five times in a row (and possibly much more) during a single solo session or with a partner.

You don’t need to worry that you’re running out of sperm or semen. Your body constantly produces sperm and stores them in your testicles. This is called spermatogenesis. A full cycle takes about 64 days. But your testicles produce several million sperm per day. That’s about 1,500 per second.

Ejaculation isn’t a simple process. There are several moving parts that all have to work together after you get an erection to tee up semen and then push it out of the penis. Here’s a quick breakdown:

  1. The physical stimulation of sexual contact sends signals through the central nervous system to the spinal cord and brain.
  2. This stimulation continues until you reach the plateau phase in the sexual cycle, which leads up to orgasm.
  3. Tubes in the testicles that store and move sperm (the vas deferens) squeeze sperm out of the testicles into the urethra at the bottom of the penis.
  4. The prostate gland and seminal vesicles produce fluid that will carry the sperm out of the shaft as semen. This then gets rapidly ejaculated out of the penis.
  5. Muscles near the bottom of the penis continue to squeeze the penis tissues another five times or so to keep pushing semen out.

Another thing to keep in mind about ejaculation is the refractory period.

The refractory period happens right after you orgasm. It lasts until you’re able to get sexually aroused again. If you have a penis, this means that you won’t be able to get hard again, or perhaps even feel sexually excited.

The refractory period varies from person to person. A variety of factors affects it, such as your age and overall health.

No need to worry if you feel like yours is too long (or even too short). For some, it may only be a few minutes. For others, it can last days or more.

Several factors can affect ejaculation and your sexual function in general.

Age

As you age, it may take longer to get aroused and ejaculate. It may take up to 12 to 24 hours between arousal and ejaculation. This timing differs for everyone.

A 2005 analysis indicates sexual function changes most drastically around 40 years old.

Diet

A diet rich in foods that help blood flow, such as salmon, citrus, and nuts, can help you ejaculate more frequently and consistently. A diet lacking in vitamins and minerals may make it more difficult to ejaculate.

Physical health

Staying active can lower your blood pressure and cholesterol. Both of these things can affect ejaculation.

Aim to do moderate to heavy activity at least 20 to 30 minutes every day.

Mental health

Stress, anxiety, depression, and other mental health conditions can affect your sexual function. As a result, that can affect your ability (or inability) to ejaculate.

Sexual tastes

Masturbation and sexual activity are just as much about enjoying yourself as ensuring that your body’s physiologically ready for ejaculation. All of the following can affect ejaculation:

  • experimenting with different positions and parts of the body
  • being sexually active at different times of the day
  • setting different moods with lighting, scents, and music
  • trying role-playing

There isn’t conclusive evidence regarding how ejaculation frequency is tied to health.

Here’s where the research currently stands.

A 2018 survey of research papers on this subject found that limiting the time between ejaculations may improve sperm quality. However, the study authors caution there’s not enough evidence to say for sure.

A well-known 2016 study of almost 32,000 males that lasted from 1992 to 2010 suggests that ejaculating often (about 21 times a month) might lower the risk of prostate cancer.

But this study used self-reported data. It’s hard to know for sure whether people’s answers are truly accurate, since they weren’t observed in a controlled lab setting. People don’t always remember things with 100 percent accuracy.

A 2004 study with this same group of males didn’t find any significant link between ejaculation and risk of prostate cancer.

So, even though the 2016 study gained more than 12 years of extra data, the study didn’t change at all. Don’t take these kinds of results at face value.

And a 2003 study of more than 1,000 males with a diagnosis of prostate cancer also used self-report methods. Researchers asked a few questions that most people probably don’t know the exact answers to, like when they first ejaculated and how many partners they’d had up to that point.

Here are some ways you can try to control how often you ejaculate.

How to last longer in bed

Try the squeeze method. Right before you orgasm, gently squeeze the area where your penis head and shaft meet to stop yourself from coming.

A more involved method is edging: When you get really close to ejaculating, you stop right when you’re about to come.

Edging has origins as medical treatment for people who experience premature ejaculation. Today, many people practice it and advocate its benefits.

How to ejaculate less frequently at other times

Want to ejaculate less in general?

Try Kegel exercises. They can get you better control of your pelvic floor muscles so you can keep yourself from ejaculating.

Not ejaculating much these days? No worries — sperm that aren’t ejaculated simply get reabsorbed into your body, or ejaculated out of your body during a nocturnal emission.

You may think of “wet dreams” as something that happens when you’re a teenager. They can happen at any time during your life.

And ejaculating also doesn’t affect your sexual function, fertility, or desire.

Planning not to ejaculate for a while? That’s fine! Avoiding ejaculation isn’t unhealthy.

Despite what the research suggests, there’s very little evidence that ejaculating a lot helps prevent prostate cancer.

Feel free to go as long as you want, no matter what your end game is.