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Semen Retention is Trending

Trends. You either love‘em or you hate‘em. From planking to avocado toast, there’s always something new, tasty, fashionable, dumb or dangerous that everybody and their brother seems to be trying. Enter semen retention. While semen retention has been around in varying forms for many hundreds (if not thousands) of years, it seems to have gotten a serious boost in popularity this year, and frankly, we’re not quite sure what category of trend to file this one under yet. 

First, let’s start out with the basics. Semen retention is exactly what it sounds like. It’s when men purposefully withhold their semen. This unique type of fluid retention can be practiced by bringing oneself close to orgasm but stopping before ejaculation (a practice called edging), training your mind and muscles to achieve a dry orgasm (an orgasm sans semen), practicing ancient forms of tantric sex, or abstaining from sex, orgasms and masturbation altogether.

So why on earth would someone want to willingly deprive themselves of ejaculation? Turns out, there are lots of purported reasons. Rappers like Kodak Black, Joey Bada$$ and Kevin Gates have all been singing the practice’s praises. Another rapper, NLE Choppa, told Charlamagne Tha God that, “…one nut is equivalent to eight miles. You can run eight miles with one nut. It can make a whole life, so you know how powerful it is. You just can’t just keep giving it to everybody.” Let’s take a closer look and see if Choppa’s right. 


The Pros

Many men who practice semen retention report a broad range of physical, mental, emotional and spiritual benefits. They talk in terms of discipline – almost the same way an ultra-marathon runner or a free solo climber might. This form of self-denial takes dedication, focus, commitment and training. But is it worth it? 

Anecdotally, many men say, “Yes!” Let’s disregard the fact that there’s virtually no scientific research that backs these claims and even some that show that semen retention carries possible risks (we’ll get to those shortly). For now, we’ll focus on the positive. 

Physical – The elite-athlete-level health benefits that men attribute to semen retention include weight loss, increased energy, increased muscle mass, less hair loss, higher sperm quality, clearer skin, increased testosterone levels, greater stamina, increased vitality and a deeper voice. 

Mental – Some men say that their minds are clearer when they abstain from ejaculation. They report increased concentration and focus, less anxiety and depression, better memory, more self-confidence, more self-discipline and increased motivation. 

Emotional – It seems wholly counterintuitive that not ejaculating would reduce a person’s stress and anxiety levels, but that’s exactly what semen retention practitioners claim. They also say that their moods are better and that they’re happier in general. Many men say that they feel a greater sense of accomplishment because they were able to successfully exhibit self-control.

Spiritual – In ancient sexual practices and texts, such as tantric sex and the Kama Sutra, sex is elevated to a religious level. Following in their ancestors’ footsteps, modern-day semen retention gurus do so because they say they experience spiritual growth, deeper and more meaningful relationships as well as a stronger connection to the universe and others.  


The Cons

The general narrative around the semen retention trend is that there are many potential upsides with no downsides. But that may not be entirely true. While there is little scientific research to support the benefits of not cumming, there is some supporting evidence that the opposite, ejaculating frequently, is good for you. We posted an article previously that goes into detail about the benefits of orgasms, but we’ll also give you the high-level summary here.

First and foremost, in the pro-cum category, regular ejaculation may reduce the incidence of prostate cancer. Prostate cancer is one of the most common cancers in the U.S. It’s estimated that there will be close to 268,490 new cases of prostate cancer in 2022 with around 34,500 deaths. Statistics show that as many as 1 in 8 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer at some point, and as many as 1 in 41 men will die from the disease.

One oft-cited study by Harvard University followed 32,000 men over the course of 18 years and found that men in their 20s who ejaculated more (at least 21 times per month!) were 19 percent less likely to be diagnosed with prostate cancer than those who ejaculated seven times per month or less. Men in their 40s who ejaculated more often were found to be 22 percent less likely to develop prostate cancer. 

In addition to the lowered cancer risk, ejaculating releases feel-good chemicals like dopamine, serotonin, oxytocin and prolactin. Plus, it’s thought that releasing semen can flush toxins, impurities and carcinogens from the prostate as well as expel sperm with damaged DNA. One study showed that ejaculating once a day for seven days increased sperm quality for 80 percent of the men involved in the research.


Not To Be Confused With NoFap

It’s important to note here that while it’s similar, the practice of semen retention should not be confused with NoFap. NoFap is a trademarked business and website that encourages users to abstain from sex and masturbation in order to recover from porn addiction and treat sexual dysfunction. 

As we’ve discussed before, porn addiction is not recognized as a real disorder according to the Fifth Edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) – the bible that mental health providers use to diagnose patients. There is also no scientific proof that porn causes sexual dysfunction. 

In internet speak, “fap” is the sound that’s made when a man masturbates. NoFap was born of the internet, and as it has in many online communities, toxicity has proliferated on NoFap message boards. The site has received harsh criticism from sex-positive advocates who say that NoFap is guilty of sex-shaming and perpetuating harmful and misogynistic stereotypes.

As you probably know by now, we at Popstar believe that sex is a wonderful, amazing, important and healthy part of an adult human’s life, so if you find yourself in any dark corners of the internet where someone’s trying to tell you that sex is a harmful, shameful act, make sure you take their rhetoric with a giant pink Himalayan block of salt.


Bottle It Up or Let It Flow?

When it comes to semen retention, make sure you do your research first and pay attention to what your body tells you. There’s nothing inherently wrong with ejaculating. On the flip side, it’s probably not going to kill you if you don’t ejaculate for a while. If you’ve decided to abstain out of curiosity, circumstance or a never-ending search for clarity and inner peace, then more power to you. After all, we’ve all been guilty of following dubious trends. (Drop-crotch pants, I’m looking at you!)




 

 

 

References:

https://www.healthline.com/health/healthy-sex/semen-retention#origin

https://www.hotnewhiphop.com/nle-choppa-says-he-practices-semen-retention-and-celibacy-news.146963.html

https://www.out.com/news-opinion/2017/6/21/researchers-want-you-masturbate-more-fight-prostate-cancer

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/semen-retention

https://premiermensmedical.com/blog/benefits-of-not-ejaculating-practicing-semen-retention/

https://www.healthline.com/health/nofap-benefits

https://www.healthline.com/health/healthy-sex/semen-retention#:~:text=Semen%20retention%20is%20the%20practice,probably%20as%20old%20as%20humankind

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-ejaculation-prostate-cancer-idUSKCN0XJ1YC

https://www.popstarlabs.com/blogs/sex-stuff/orgasms-reduce-risk-of-prostate-cancer