Frequent ejaculation during masturbation or sex, a new study has found, isn't associated with an increased risk for prostate cancer, laying to rest a popular misconception. In fact, it may even decrease the risks for certain people.
The research, published Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association, is based on surveys of nearly 30,000 men from 1992 to 2000. The mostly white males ages 46 to 81 provided histories of sexual intercourse, nocturnal emission, and masturbation during their twenties, forties, and within the previous year.
Results showed no relationship between ejaculation frequency and prostate cancer for most categories.
In fact, men who reported frequent ejaculation over their lifetime - that's more than four to seven times per month, in case you're counting - had fewer overall cases of prostate cancer than those who ejaculated less often.
And those tireless individuals averaging 21 or more ejaculations a month over their lifetime showed only half the risk for developing the disease.
The researchers noted 38 percent of married people over 60 in the United States have sex one-to-four times per month, while 15 percent are sexually active at least five times per month, report abcnews.go.com
The popular misconception that masturbation leads to prostate cancer has been disproved, (that it doesn't lead to blindness has long been disproved). New research shows that regular ejaculation may even decrease the risk for some men, informs shortnews.com
According to theglobeandmail.com researchers aren't sure why ejaculation might protect men against prostate cancer. It is possible that frequent ejaculation flushes the prostate of potentially harmful cancer-causing chemicals that might normally build up in the gland, said Dr. Leitzmann.
The prostate, a walnut-sized gland, comprises a series of ducts that produce the fluid used to transport sperm on its way. The prostate can develop tiny crystal deposits that obstruct some of its ducts. "We believe a rapid turnover of the prostatic fluid may help alleviate the obstruction or lack of drainage of the secretions."
Some researchers have also pointed out that "ejaculation seems to be accompanied by a release of psychological tension," which may calm the nervous system and dampen the production of growth factors that could spur cancerous growth, said Dr. Leitzmann. But he said this theory is still "highly speculative."
Prostate cancer is the most frequently diagnosed cancer in men. According to the latest figures from Statistics Canada, an estimated 18,800 Canadian men were diagnosed with the disease in 2003, and 4,200 died from it.