The coming cancer scare

One thing you often hear when discussing orgasm denial is the concern, based on a few studies and how they’re amplified through internet discussion, that it’s somehow a risk for the development of prostate cancer in men. This perception is helped along by reports like this one called “Best Evidence Yet!: Ejaculation Reduces Prostate Cancer Risk.”

Good news, men: you may be able to decrease your risk for prostate cancer by ejaculating — frequently, according to research presented here at American Urological Association 2015 Annual Meeting.

The frothy advice is not new but is now backed up by the “strongest evidence to date” on the subject, according to lead author Jennifer Rider, ScD, MPH, an epidemiologist at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston.

Two things off the bat. First, you do not follow an exclamation point with a colon. Ever. Second, the whimsical use of “frothy” is cute but inaccurate (if your ejaculate is “frothy” you many want to get yourself checked out). But I digress.

The study’s money shot:

After potential confounders were controlled for, the risk for prostate cancer was 20% lower in men who ejaculated at least 21 times a month than in men who ejaculated 4 to 7 times a month. The 20% risk reduction was seen at ages 20 to 29 and 40 to 49, and for the lifetime average (P trend < .0001 for all).

Some perspective. First, prostate cancer affects 1 in 7 men in the United States meaning the average man’s chance of getting it is 14.2%. The chances are far lower in young men and much higher in older men. If this study is correct, frequent ejaculation reduces one’s chances of getting it to 11.4%. It’s not a magic shield against getting prostate cancer. Also, there has been no research that I know of into the opposite hypothesis that infrequent ejaculation leads to a higher frequency of prostate cancer development. There is no data that supports the notion that orgasm denial is more dangerous than not denying orgasms. 

For me, this is another discussion of risk vs. reward. There may be a risk in practicing orgasm denial in your relationship. There are benefits to doing so, however. The question is, which are more important to you? Only you can say.