Semen Retention: Pros, Cons, And More

Our bodies are a hormonal hot pot, and men are constantly looking for that special edge. 

They seek new opportunities to take their sex life to the next level. 

For many, that’s where semen retention comes into play. 

Semen retention is about cultivating and putting your creative sexual energy to use. 

It is said to increase sexual, emotional, physical, and spiritual well-being by leaps and bounds. But how much of it is actually true? 

Are there any substantial semen retention studies that can support these claims? Here is a closer look at the pros and cons of semen retention.

What Is Semen Retention?

According to a study, 58% of men between the ages of 20 and 29 reported ejaculating over 3 times a week. In comparison, the proportion of 3 ejaculations a week dropped to 32% among 40- to 49-year-olds. The frequency continued to decline among older individuals. (1)

Semen retention means avoiding ejaculating. However, it can be different from abstinence. Even if you try semen retention, you can still have an orgasm – you just won’t ejaculate. 

Ejaculation releases semen from the penis, whereas orgasm is linked with sexual climax. It is when your feelings of relaxation and pleasure are in high gear. 

In other words, ejaculation is what happens in the pelvis, and orgasm is what occurs in the mind. To experience the semen retention effects, you would intentionally avoid ejaculating.

Benefits of retrograde ejaculation

How Is It Done?

There are a couple of ways to achieve semen retention. You can have sex and stop before you ejaculate. You can abstain from intercourse completely or teach yourself to orgasm without having to ejaculate. All in all, it takes an ample amount of self-control. 

A masturbation aid device (such as personal lubricants and masturbators) combined with some behavioral techniques can help. Like the pause and squeeze technique. 

Have your partner squeeze the end of the penis and keep the squeeze for a couple of seconds. Wait for a bit until the urge dissipates. 

This practice is not something new. On the contrary, it has deep roots in Taoist sexual practices. It exists in other cultures as well. But, under different names, such as sexual continence, maithuna (Hindu Tantra), coitus reservatus (Latin), sahaja (Hindu Yoga), and others. There aren’t many semen retention books and studies that offer some insight into this practice. 

However, you shouldn’t confuse semen retention with today’s practices such as “Orgasm control” and “NoFap.” Orgasm control means delaying ejaculation and orgasm up to the hilt and then allowing both of them at the end of the intercourse. 

The NoFap term means avoiding solo sex (masturbating and watching porn). But, people can have sex with a partner, ejaculate, and orgasm. 

Semen retention is also different from retrograde ejaculation. This condition occurs when the semen enters the bladder, rather than exiting through the penis. As a result, little to no semen comes out. 

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Is It Healthy to Retain Sperm?

There isn’t enough semen retention science to know for sure whether this practice can be beneficial in the long run. But, experts say it may have potential benefits. 

When men try to hold in their semen for an extended period of time, this practice could help them enhance their:

  • Physical health
  • Mental health
  • Spiritual well-being

2018 research indicates that shorter abstinence (less than 24h) substantially improved sperm motility. This semen retention timeline proved particularly beneficial for progressive velocity and motility. It might also amplify physical rejuvenation and increase testosterone levels and muscle mass. (2)

With that in mind, semen retention and testosterone are important to talk about. When the body doesn’t expel the sperm, it absorbs it back into the system. This is where the idea of semen retention and testosterone boost came into the picture. 

Studies show that men had higher testosterone concentrations after 3 weeks of sexual abstinence. So, even if acute abstinence won’t change the relationship between the nervous and endocrine systems for orgasms, it can create higher serum testosterone levels. (3)

But, semen retention effects could go beyond the physical benefits. It could boost motivation, self-confidence, focus, and energy. Those with better self-confidence may be less likely to struggle with anxiety. 

By focusing less on sex and various sexual practices, men can improve their concentration and pursue other achievements and goals. 

The semen retention power may have spiritual benefits as well. You can use the time to build a deeper and stronger emotional bond with your partner while you aren’t focusing on the physical side of the relationship. It’s about getting a stronger sense of purpose and overall harmony. 

Benefits of retrograde ejaculation

Does Sperm Build Up if Not Released?

No. Avoiding ejaculating won’t cause any harm to the body, as the sperm won’t build up if you don’t release it. The body will reabsorb it, without causing any adverse events on fertility or sex drive. But, there could be some side effects in men who avoid or prolong ejaculating when sexually aroused.

Epididymal hypertension, a condition people know as “blue balls,” can happen. This occurs when sexual arousal in men doesn’t end in ejaculation or orgasm. 

The extra blood that remains in the testicles and penis during an erection, stays there for a long time. This is causing some scrotal pain. 

How Long Can Sperm Retention Last?

There is a lot of gratification online for semen retention. People are praising this process for helping them alleviate their memory problems, depression, anxiety, overall fatigue, and other minor health problems. And many men swear by it.

Some do the sperm retention techniques for days, others do it for weeks at a time. It is different for everyone. 

The problem is that there is not enough evidence to support these claims. What we do know is that avoiding masturbating can help with sperm motility. 

Although masturbation won’t trigger infertility, it could slightly reduce the sperm count. And when trying to conceive, every little thing matters. 

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This is why men might have to avoid masturbating for 4 to 5 days before sperm collection for IVF (In-Vitro Fertilization) and IUI (Intrauterine Insemination) procedures. 

Benefits of retrograde ejaculation

How Often Should a Man Release Sperm?

How many times a month should a man release sperm? This is a question that often pops up among those interested in ejaculation problems. 

There is no exact frequency as to how often you should ejaculate. There isn’t any full-proof evidence either as to whether failing to ejaculate will cause health issues.

But, a plethora of studies found that higher ejaculation frequency reduces the odds of prostate cancer. A 2016 report indicates that ejecting semen from the male body over 20 times a month decreased prostate cancer risk by roughly 20%. This is a sizable amount. 

With that in mind, some Taoist teachers suggest men ejaculate 20% to 30% of the time they have intercourse. In other words, 2-3 times out of every 10 sessions. Ideally, you should pay attention to your personal interests, emotions, and needs. 

You can try any movement or pose that feels comfortable to you. If not ejaculating feels refreshing for you, then you can enjoy the intercourse. But, if semen retention sounds downright taxing, then you can go ahead and skip it. 

What Happens if You Hold Your Sperm for Too Long?

The concept of semen retention is not harmful. There aren’t any recorded side effects. 

So, if you like to do it, there is no harm in it. But, it might depend on how low you squeeze it. If you hold the penis at the glans (the tip or head), most of the semen can be held in the urethra. Some of the semen could back up into the bladder as well. 

If most of it goes to the bladder, this is retrograde ejaculation. The semen then comes out the next time you urinate. 

Are There Any Benefits to Not Ejaculating?

There is very little scientific evidence to support the benefits of not ejaculating. Despite the lack of data, experts claim that abstaining from masturbation can be a practical strategy for improving sexual self-regulation. And self-regulation can be empowering. 

The same thing applies to semen retention. It can encourage better control over the senses, awareness, physical, and mental growth. (4)

Since semen retention can increase T-levels, it may also help you get thicker hair, more energy, and muscle growth. 

This makes it an enticing possibility for reaping some physical benefits. Now, it may feel like a burden from time to time. But, if you master different techniques to a point where you feel comfortable with the whole idea, then you might find it beneficial. 

However, if you want to try semen retention to manage an underlying health condition, like erectile dysfunction, then, it’s important to talk to a specialist and ask for advice. It’s crucial that you get proper treatment so that you can alleviate the problem.

Are Any Risks?

There don’t seem to be any risks with this practice. If you feel like it, then you can do it. 

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But, if you struggle with problems like retrograde ejaculation, delayed ejaculation, and premature ejaculation, talk to your healthcare provider. They can refer you to a specialist that can help get to the root of the problem and alleviate the issue. 

Some experts might suggest edging, as it can prolong the duration of sexual activity and offer better orgasm. But, it depends on what is causing the problem and whether you need treatment. 

When to Stop Preventing Ejaculation

Rarely do any men experience a problem with semen retention. Most of the time, this process is simple and seems comfortable. But, everyone’s body is different. So, you should pay attention to anything that seems out of the ordinary. 

For instance, if you develop any aches, discomfort, or pain, when trying to retain semen, stop doing it. You should also refrain from the practice if you can’t ejaculate when you want. 

Consult a specialist if you have trouble ejaculating and you want to father a child. There could be something else causing your problems. 

Benefits of Ejaculating

There is a wide range of physiological and psychological health benefits associated with penetration and ejaculation. There is no exact number as to how often a man should ejaculate to obtain these results. But, ejaculation can: (5)

  • Ease symptoms of migraine
  • Enhance sperm quality
  • Help with sleep
  • Improve the immune system

Sex and ejaculation are beneficial for overall happiness and health. Intercourse is a form of physical activity that gets the blood pumping and releases oxytocin. Most importantly, it helps you connect with your partner on a much deeper level, thus offering contentment. 

Right after ejaculating, many people experience a better mood. Ejaculation could also come in handy for relieving chronic pain. 

While sex can be a good option for relieving stress. This is very important when you are trying to sleep with a chronic condition. 

But, when ejaculation comes with pain and discomfort, that’s when you need to book an appointment with a specialist. Painful ejaculation could be a red flag for inflammation, infection, or any type of blockage in the lower urinary tract. Whether that is in the urethra, seminal vesicles, prostate, or bladder. Your doctor can help pinpoint the symptoms and offer adequate treatment.


There is a strong belief that semen retention could promote spiritual and physical energy. When you control your ejaculation, you are preserving what seems to be an ample amount of energy. 

By stopping the penis from ejaculating, the energy found in sperm, could return to the central nervous system and supply it with energy. Plus, a lot of men claim that it is a panacea capable of helping them with a range of issues. Predominantly with anxiety, bad mood, and low testosterone. 

Although there isn’t enough research to support these claims, semen retention shouldn’t negatively affect your overall physical or emotional health. Whether you should try semen retention depends on your endgame. 

Do you like to abstain from ejaculating because it feels more comfortable or enjoyable? If so, you can try it. There are no serious adverse reactions that could come with it.

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About the Author: Tung Chi