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Self Service?

Dear Lucy: I’ve heard more than once that frequent masturbation/ejaculation helps promote prostate health. Is this true? And if so, how often should I, you know…? —Jackin’ the Beanstalk
 


Dear Jack: What a fascinating topic! This is not a theory Lucy has heard before, but as a strong promoter of all kinds of health—including prostate health—she wasted no time in tracking down an answer for you. 
 
In fact—and, admittedly, much to Lucy’s surprise—what you’ve heard is true, confirms Dr. Leigh Firn, a primary care provider here at MIT Medical. “High ejaculatory frequency does seem to protect against prostate cancer,” he says. “This includes sexual intercourse, nocturnal emissions, and masturbation.”
 
According to Firn, the Harvard Health Professionals Study, which followed almost 30,000 men aged 46–81 for more than eight years, found that men who ejaculated 21 or more times a month reduced their risk of prostate cancer by 33 percent compared with men who reported just 4–7 ejaculations a month. A smaller study in Australia obtained similar results. “How this protective mechanism works is unknown,” Firn continues. “In theory, emptying the prostate of potentially irritating or harmful substances might be one such mechanism.”
 
So, there you have it: Not only do researchers and experts in sexuality agree that masturbation is part of normal, healthy, sexual behavior; it’s actually good for you! Lucy thanks you again for an interesting and entertaining question and wishes you the best of health from head to, uh, toe. —Lucy

Back to Ask Lucy Information contained in Ask Lucy is intended solely for general educational purposes and is not intended as professional medical advice related to individual situations. Always obtain the advice of a qualified healthcare professional if you need medical diagnosis, advice, or treatment. Never disregard medical advice you have received, nor delay getting such advice, because of something you read in this column.