Perceived Ejaculate Volume Reduction: Myths & Misconceptions
As men age, their sexual response changes, just as their eyesight declines and metabolism slows and the horniness of youth mellows. Along with it, ejaculation lessens, much to many a man's chagrin.
And since sexual response has as much to do with psychology as it does physiology, some men find it upsetting to see their mighty river of semen reduced to a drought-level trickle. From that physiological lessening, the term perceived ejaculate volume reduction (PEVR) was coined.
It's important to note that PEVR is generally a self-assessed condition based on the man's subjective observations—the word perceived is right there in the name, after all. But that doesn't make PEVR any less important as an obstacle to some men having a healthy, happy sex life. However, misunderstandings about what PEVR is and how it works persist, so we're going to debunk those myths here.
Myth: Age is the only cause of PEVR.
Reality: PEVR can be caused or exacerbated by a number of factors. While there is a natural decline in sexual response in men as they age, other factors can also cause or exacerbate PEVR, including:
- Cancer treatment, especially prostate cancer treatment
- Medications for enlarged prostate, high blood pressure and depression
- Dramatically lower testosterone production
- Testicular issues such as injury or another condition leading to reduced hormone production
Myth: PEVR is all about the man's ego and nothing more.
Reality: PEVR can be a canary in the coal mine, indicating other graver problems.
Human sexual response relies on a variety of factors, including hormones, blood flow, physical stimulation, mental stimulation and much more. Two of the most crucial components have to do with the mind: psychology and emotional response.
Anything that messes with your psychology—maybe feelings of anxiety about not being able to perform adequately in whatever sense that has for you—can cause real issues, such as erectile dysfunction (ED) and more.
What's more, while PEVR is indeed based on the man's observations, can anyone better monitor the health of his own orgasms than the man having them?
PEVR can be a leading indicator of deeper problems, such as lower testosterone production, retrograde ejaculation, undiagnosed prostate issues or undiagnosed testicle conditions, so it's about more than just enjoying the show.
Myth: Since PEVR occurs naturally, I can't do anything about it.
Reality: You can make several lifestyle and diet changes to mitigate the effects of PEVR.
If you research ways to increase semen volume, you'll find sites that conflate increasing sperm count with increased semen volume. While they're obviously not the same thing, healthy sperm are certainly a component of healthy semen. Here are a few lifestyle aspects that studies have shown can have a positive effect on sperm and semen quality:
- Exercise. Studies show that exercise improves semen quality and reproductive hormone levels.
- Vitamins and minerals. Researchers have demonstrated that zinc and antioxidants such as vitamins C and E, selenium and lycopene can improve sperm health. Also, anecdotal evidence supports the notion that zinc supplements can increase semen volume (although there aren't many studies to back this claim). Remember, most supplements are not tested or approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)—it is a "buyer beware" situation. Many supplements are also contraindicated for prescription drugs; always consult a medical professional regarding any supplements you want to take so you don't get hit with unwanted side effects.
- Sleep, but not too much or too little. Men who sleep significantly more (or less) than seven to nine hours a night have lower sperm counts and less healthy sperm.
- Cut out smoking. It's long been known that smoking reduces sperm quality and count.
- Eat healthy. Specifically, stay away from trans fats like those found in highly refined baked foods and prepackaged food, as well as anything deep fried.
Being aware of changes in your body's sexual response can be the first step toward doing something about them, or even identifying a symptom of a broader, more serious underlying condition. Meanwhile, if you have concerns about a reduction in your ejaculate volume, see your physician.