What Exactly Is Semen Retention?
Semen retention means when a person intentionally avoids or is withholding ejaculation. There are many ways in which someone can practice semen retention. This is either done by practicing abstinence or refraining for any foreplay, stopping sexual intercourse before ejaculating, or teaching themselves to only have a non-ejaculatory orgasm. Semen retention is an ancient practice with roots in Taoism, and it has started to gain popularity in the West (for its purported sexual benefits for men). Ejaculatory abstinence is touted as a way to boost testosterone and sex drive, improve erections and increase mental clarity. While scientific research on the subject is poorly represented and inconclusive, semen retention is becoming a more popular facet of sexual health. And so far, it appears there’s no harm in trying it ejaculation control.
How it works
According to ancient Taoist belief, semen is a source of vitality for men, providing essential nourishment to the male body—nourishment lost when not retained consistently—so its retention is essential. The Taoist tradition claims semen's retention allows the body to absorb nutrients provided by it and boosts the overall health of the practitioner. People in the West might find such beliefs and practices unorthodox.
How to try semen retention
It’s true ejaculation and orgasm are separate events, but typically they occur simultaneously unless a man diverts conscious effort toward recognizing both. The rationale for this is biological: Sex is, at its base, a reproductive function that feels good, so while climaxing activates reward centers in the brain, ejaculation passes on the sperm needed for new life. A man who practices retention does not release seminal fluid. This means the semen is not passed through the urethra and out of the body as normal; rather, it is diverted to the bladder.
- To have an orgasm without ejaculating, pay close attention as you approach climax.
- When you arrive near the peak of sexual arousa, firmly contract your pelvic floor muscles at the base of the penis and take deep, regular breaths.
- If it is done correctly, the orgasm occurs as normal but the pelvic muscles will create contractions which will prevent ejaculation.
- This may require a bit of practice and muscle control in an area of the body some men are not accustomed to using.
Possible Semen Retention benefits
The potential benefits practitioners ascribe to semen retention are increased sex drive, boosted concentration and testosterone and energy levels.
There’s little scientific evidence to support these claims, although it was noted in a 2003 small study from Zhejiang University in China that refraining from ejaculating for seven days can increase a man’s testosterone levels from baseline by 45 percent. For people with low testosterone levels, this may create noticeable improvements in energy or mood, and sufferers of ED could possibly benefit from a seven-day ejaculation cycle, too. On the other side of that, research has found that men who have frequent ejaculation (at least 21) times a month are much less likely to develop prostate cancer than men who ejaculate less frequently.
One of the more popular semen retention benefits is being able to stay erect after an orgasm. Semen retention practice allows for men and their partner to have multiple orgasms, and to continue to keep pleasuring their partner in sexual activity. Most men aren’t able to stay hard after ejaculating which is called the “refractory period.” Sperm retention lets the good time last longer and allows everyone to cross the finish line.
Other possible benefits to consider when practicing sperm retention:
- Sexual stamina may go up making you last longer during sexual intercourse
- Opportunity for multiple orgasms & sexual pleasure (for you & your partner!)
- Able to practice more mindful body awareness, mental clarity, and self-control
- Possible increase in sperm quantity and quality
- Potentially increases testosterone level
Feeling like you should give semen retention a try? Go for it. Ultimately, sex and ejaculation are highly subjective experiences, so go with what feels best. Semen retention isn’t yet a scientifically proven way to gain the benefits it purports to provide, but there's no evidence it's dangerous either. Diet, exercise and a healthy lifestyle are safer bets, but semen retention just might be a healthy supplement to those activities.