Twenty-one times every month, right?

It’s not that simple. There isn’t a specific number of times you need to ejaculate each day, week, or month to achieve any particular result.

Read on to find out where that number came from, how ejaculation affects your prostate cancer risk, what happens to your sperm, and more.

A Daily Mail headline from 2017 reads, “Ejaculating at least 21 times a month significantly reduces a man’s risk of prostate cancer.”

The article details the results of a study of 31,925 men published in the December 2016 issue of European Urology.

Although the study’s findings do suggest that there’s a direct relationship between ejaculation frequency and prostate cancer risk, additional research is needed to fully explore this possibility.

The study in question relied on self-reported answers — once in 1992 and once in 2010 — about how often they ejaculated each month and whether they developed prostate cancer.

This means that the results could be skewed by the subject’s memories or awareness of their habits.

It’s also important to note that the study didn’t specify whether ejaculation resulted from sex with a partner or masturbation. The reason for emission may play a role in any potential benefits.

The evidence isn’t conclusive. Here’s a quick snapshot of what you need to know.

A comprehensive 2016 study — the one that launched all the headlines — of nearly 32,000 males between 1992 and 2010 suggests that frequent ejaculation may lower the risk of prostate cancer.

However, more research is needed before we can know this for sure.

This study relies on data from self-reported surveys — rather than controlled laboratory data — to assess participants’ number of ejaculations and overall physical health.

This means that the results may not be entirely accurate. Memories aren’t perfect. And many people don’t feel comfortable being brutally honest about how many times they’ve ejaculated.

It’s also worth noting that a 2004 study on the same group found no statistical significance between ejaculation and prostate cancer risk.

Although the 2016 study benefited from an extra decade or so of data, not much changed in the studies’ methods. Given this, it may be best to take the results from either study with a grain of salt.

Previous research has also faced some of the same limitations.

For example, a 2003 study of over 1,000 males also relied on self-reported data. The questionnaire posed several detailed questions that participants may not have known the exact answers to.

This includes:

  • how old they were when they first ejaculated
  • how many sexual partners they’ve had before and after they turned 30
  • an estimate of the decade in which they ejaculated with the most frequency

It’s also important to note that the participants had already received a prostate cancer diagnosis. It’s difficult to determine how ejaculation played a role, if at all, without knowing more about their health before diagnosis.

There isn’t any research that clearly ties ejaculation to any specific benefits. But what about arousal? That’s a whole different story. Arousal is linked intimately to elevations in oxytocin and dopamine.

Oxytocin is associated with positive emotions, comfort in social and intimate environments, and reduced stress.

Dopamine is also associated with positive emotions. Simply put, this temporary increase can make you feel good. It may even increase your motivation to do other things that make you feel happy or productive.

There isn’t a ton of research in this area, so it’s hard to say for sure. More research is needed to determine if there are any differences between the two.

Ejaculation is generally thought to:

  • help you sleep
  • improve sperm quality
  • boost your immune system
  • improve migraine symptoms
  • reduce your risk of death from heart disease

There’s an old Taoist belief that controlling how often you ejaculate helps you preserve what’s believed to be a finite amount of energy. Abstaining from ejaculation is thought to allow the energy contained in sperm to return to the brain and supply it with energy.

This practice is the origin of the “24 times a year” idea. In fact, some Taoist teachers recommend that you only ejaculate 20 to 30 percent of the times you have sex. That translates to 2 or 3 times out of every 10 sessions.

But these ideas aren’t backed by any hard science. And many Taoists teachers urge people to focus on personal feelings of strength and refreshment after ejaculation rather than specific figures.

Nope! Your body maintains a surplus of sperm.

In fact, about 1,500 sperm are produced every second. This adds up to be a few million per day — there’s no way you could keep up at that rate!

It depends on what your endgame is.

Feel like abstaining from ejaculation because it feels natural or comfortable for you? Do it! There isn’t any research to suggest that abstaining results in unwanted side effects or other complications.

That said, there isn’t any research to suggest that abstaining offers long-term benefits.

What about “no-fap”? Although many people associate the “no-fap” ideology with masturbation, some people choose to abstain from any form of ejaculation — such as through partner sex — as part of this practice. The overall goal may vary from person to person, but it’s typically seen as a way to “reboot.”

Some people believe that refraining from ejaculation helps keep your testosterone levels balanced, but there isn’t any clinical research to support this.

This misguided belief stems from research on extended periods of low testosterone as a result of an underlying medical condition.

Masturbation alone won’t affect your overall testosterone levels.

Whether or not you ejaculate has zero effect on your overall sex drive or fertility.

Unused sperm cells are simply reabsorbed by your body or released via nocturnal emissions.

Although “wet dreams” are most common during puberty, they can happen at any time.

Not sure whether to ejaculate more or less? Listen to your body. Twenty-one times a month isn’t right (or realistic) for everybody.

Do what feels most natural. Pay close attention to how you feel in the hours and days after you ejaculate and adjust as you see fit.

For example, do you feel better after you ejaculate when you masturbate or have sex? If so, keep it up! You may even want to do it more often.

Or do you feel worse after frequent sex or masturbation? Are you groggier, sore, or sick? If so, try taking things down a notch and see how you feel.