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What is Semen Retention and Are There Benefits?

 

In the world of wellness and self-improvement, the concept of semen retention has garnered attention and curiosity. Semen retention, as the term suggests, involves consciously abstaining from ejaculation. This practice has sparked discussions around its potential benefits, effects on testosterone levels, and overall impact on one’s health. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll delve into the meaning of semen retention, its claimed benefits, its relationship with testosterone, its potential effects on health, and practical tips for those who want to explore this practice.

 

Semen Retention Meaning

Semen retention refers to the practice of consciously refraining from ejaculating, whether through abstaining from sexual activity, stopping before the point of ejaculation or by learning to orgasm without ejaculating. This practice has roots in ancient traditions, including Taoist and Ayurvedic teachings, where it’s believed that conserving and redirecting sexual energy can lead to physical, mental, and even spiritual benefits.

 

Benefits of Semen Retention

Semen Retention and Energy

Advocates of semen retention claim that by abstaining from ejaculation, individuals can experience increased energy levels and improved vitality. This stems from the belief that semen contains valuable nutrients and life force that can be preserved and utilized for other bodily functions.

Enhanced Focus and Mental Clarity

Some proponents assert that semen retention can lead to improved focus, enhanced mental clarity, and increased productivity. They believe that redirecting sexual energy can fuel creativity and cognitive abilities.

Confidence and Emotional Balance

Semen retention enthusiasts often highlight the potential for increased confidence and emotional stability. By practicing control over one’s sexual impulses, individuals may experience a heightened sense of self-mastery and emotional equilibrium.

 

Does Semen Retention Increase Testosterone?

There is no scientific evidence to support the claim that semen retention increases testosterone levels. In fact, some studies have shown that semen retention can actually decrease testosterone levels. For example, one study found that men who abstained from ejaculation for 7 days had lower testosterone levels than men who ejaculated regularly. Another study found that men who abstained from ejaculation for 21 days had similar testosterone levels to men who ejaculated regularly. It is important to note that these studies were relatively small and more research is needed to confirm the findings.

There are a few possible explanations for why semen retention might not increase testosterone levels. One possibility is that the body simply doesn’t need to produce as much testosterone when semen is not being ejaculated. Another possibility is that the body actually breaks down testosterone more quickly when semen is not being ejaculated.

It is also important to note that there are many other factors that can affect testosterone levels, such as diet, exercise, and stress levels. If you are concerned about your testosterone levels, it is best to talk to your doctor.

Here are some other things that can affect testosterone levels:

  • Age: Testosterone levels naturally decline with age.
  • Genetics: Some people are simply born with lower testosterone levels than others.
  • Medical conditions: Certain medical conditions, such as obesity, can lead to low testosterone levels.
  • Medications: Some medications, such as steroids, can also affect testosterone levels.
  • Stress: Stress can lead to a decrease in testosterone levels.
  • Sleep deprivation: Not getting enough sleep can also lead to low testosterone levels.

 

If you are concerned about your testosterone levels, it’s wise to get a testosterone test done. Book an appointment with a doctor through organisations such as Alphagenix, where you can get a consultation, hormone screen, and testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) if your levels are low.

 

Is Semen Retention Healthy?

The question of whether semen retention is healthy is complex. While some individuals report positive outcomes, it’s important to approach this practice with caution. The absence of comprehensive scientific studies that support this view makes it challenging to definitively determine its long-term health effects. Prolonged periods of sexual abstinence can lead to discomfort, sexual frustration, and potentially harmful outcomes. It’s crucial to strike a balance between exploring the potential benefits of semen retention and maintaining one’s overall sexual and reproductive health.

 

How Does Semen Retention Affect Male Fertility?

Semen retention is often thought to potentially enhance fertility by improving sperm quality. However, there are not extensive studies conducted on this topic, and the few there are do not seem to confirm this view. One study found that the optimal interval for producing high-quality semen samples involves abstaining from ejaculation for just one day, and recommends not exceeding a 10-day period of sexual abstinence. A 2018 study indicated that ‘prolonged’ ejaculatory abstinence, exceeding just four days, had negative consequences on sperm quality. Along the same lines, a 2015 study suggests that ejaculating daily does not significantly compromise sperm quality.

 

How to Do Semen Retention

You have the choice to either refrain from sexual activity or learn to achieve orgasm without ejaculation. This requires a significant level of muscle control, so it’s recommended to incorporate Kegel exercises into your routine. The key lies in flexing your pelvic muscles just before reaching ejaculation.

Try the exercise techniques below:

  • Identify your pelvic floor muscles by stopping urination midstream or contracting the muscles used to prevent passing gas. This will give you a sense of where these muscles are located.
  • These exercises can be performed while lying down, sitting, standing, or even while walking.
  • Contract your pelvic floor muscles and hold for three seconds, then relax for another three seconds.
  • Concentrate solely on contracting your pelvic floor muscles while keeping the muscles in your buttocks, thighs, and abdomen relaxed. Breathe naturally.
  • Aim for sets of 10 repetitions, at least three times a day, to progressively enhance your muscle control.

 

During vaginal, anal, or oral sexual encounters, maintaining mastery over your muscles becomes crucial. Suggestions include:

  • Release tension in your jaw, buttocks, and legs. Cultivate relaxation and prevent excessive energy buildup in the pelvic region.
  • As orgasm approaches, engage in long, deep breaths. Consider momentarily holding still to bring calmness to your body, focusing your attention on your partner.
  • One approach is to, at this juncture, apply pressure to the area between the anus and scrotum (perineum). This may lead to retrograde ejaculation, a process redirecting ejaculate into the bladder rather than outside the penis. It’s important to note that while this doesn’t halt the orgasm, and retrograde ejaculation might not align with the goal of fostering positive, flowing energy.

 

Achieving a non-ejaculatory orgasm involves squeezing your pelvic floor muscles, akin to performing Kegel exercises, as you approach the “point of no return.” Opening your eyes and ceasing stimulation will help achieve a dry orgasm. Initially, timing might be challenging, requiring practice and patience to perfect this technique.

Understand your motivations and expectations before embarking on this practice. The data certainly points towards extensive semen retention not being advisable when it comes to male fertility, but there may be other benefits such as mental clarity, but evidence for this is anecdotal so listen to your body. Developing a positive outlet for sexual energy is essential, and if you’re in a relationship, communication with your partner is vital. It’s important to strike a balance between your personal exploration and maintaining a healthy sexual connection.

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Wearing tight pants and underwear

Studies show that men who wear looser underwear have higher sperm concentration and total sperm count compared to men who wear tighter underwear. So, lose the tight clothes and wear something loose to give your testicles some air.

CONCLUSION: learn more about how heat can affect sperm quality here.

Stress

Besides higher mortality rate and various diseases, stress is associated with low sperm quality. Stress is known to be associated with lower testosterone levels and oxidative stress with both playing an essential role in producing and maintaining healthy sperm cells.

CONCLUSION: If you feel stressed, we recommend you get some help so you can have a balanced mental health. For a stress management guide, download the ExSeed app for free and start your personalized action plan today.

Physical activity

Scientific studies show that men who are physically active have better semen parameters than men who are inactive. Fertility specialists also state that regular physical activity has beneficial impact on sperm fertility parameters and such a lifestyle can enhance the fertility status of men.

Prioritizing exercise can help improve your overall health and result in healthy, fast swimming sperm cells that have good chances of fertilizing an egg.

CONCLUSION: Try incorporating exercise in your weekly schedule to you ensure exercising at least twice weekly. We recommend a combination of cardio training and strength exercise. Read more about exercise and male fertility on our blog.

Nutrition

Fast Food
Processed foods damage the health of sperm-producing cells and cause oxidative stress, which lead to poorer sperm quality. Heavy consumption of junk food (every week) can increase the likelihood of infertility since men who consume vast amounts of unhealthy food are at risk of having poor sperm quality. Besides harming your fertility, junk food enlarges your waistline, harms your cardiovascular system, kidneys, and more.

Vegetables
Eating more fruit and vegetables can increase your sperm concentration and motility. It’s important that you consume a healthy diet filled with antioxidants and that you eat vegetables every day. Foods such as apricots and red bell peppers are high in vitamin A, which improves male fertility by nurturing healthier sperm. Men who are deficient in this vitamin tend to have slow and sluggish sperm.

Sugary snacks/beverages: several times a week Excessive consumption of high sugar items can lead to oxidative stress, which negatively impacts testosterone levels and sperm motility. Sugary snacks and beverages are also highly associated with obesity and low fertility.
CONCLUSION: To boost sperm quality, stay away from fast food, processed food, and sugary snacks or beverages. You need to implement a healthy prudent diet filled with necessary superfoods needed for good sperm production. Check out our guide to Male Fertility Superfoods. For personalized guidance and support on how you can start improving your sperm health, check out the Bootcamp.

Heat

Direct heat can inhibit optimal sperm production and cause Sperm DNA damage. Sperm cells like environments that are a couple of degrees lower than body temperature. Avoid overheating from warm blankets, seat warmers, heat from your laptop, hot showers, and saunas.

Cigarette smoking

The exposure to tobacco smoke has significant negative effects on semen quality. The damage of cigarettes and nicotine of course depends on how many cigarettes you smoke per day and for how long, but even low usage (up to 10 cigarettes / day) can inhibit healthy sperm production.  

CONCLUSION: Stay as far away from cigarette smoking as possible if you care about your general health and your fertility. Read more here.

Cell phone

When you have your cell phone in your front pocket, your testicles are exposed to electromagnetic radiation, which studies have shown to damage the sperm cells. Put your phone in the back pocket of your pants or in your jacket pocket.

BMI

There is a clear association between obesity and reduced sperm quality. At least part of the reason for this is that obese men may have abnormal reproductive hormonal profiles, which can impair sperm production and lead to infertility. 

A BMI higher than 30 can lead to several processes in the body (overheating, increase in oxidative stress in the testes, sperm DNA damage, erectile dysfunction) that can have a negative impact on male fertility. This can result in problems when trying to conceive.  

CONCLUSION: BMI is one of the risk factors that influence semen quality and, for example, sperm motility.  

Alcohol

A beer or glass of wine now and then do not really harm sperm quality. But excess alcohol drinking (more than 20 units per week) can reduce the production of normally formed sperm needed for a successful pregnancy.

CONCLUSION: If you want to stay safe, stay under 14 units of alcohol per week. For more information on how alcohol can affect male fertility, take a look at our blog: “Alcohol and Sperm Quality”.

Age

Studies show that women younger than 35 and men younger than 40 have a better chance of getting pregnant. Men can produce sperm cells almost through their entire life, but the sperm cell DNA is more fragile and prone to damage after the age of 40.

As men age, their testes tend to get smaller and softer resulting in a decline in sperm quality and production. These changes are partly because of an age-related decrease in testosterone level, which plays a very important role in sperm

production. Higher male age (>40 years) is not only associated with a decline in sperm production but also with increased sperm DNA fragmentation and worsened morphology (shape) and motility (movement). These negative effects make the sperm cells less qualified for egg fertilization.

CONCLUSION: with an age under 40, you shouldn’t have to worry much about age as a factor in itself. However, studies have shown a slow decline after the age of 30-35 years

and if you are above 40 years of age, your sperm quality can be affected due to increased sperm DNA damage resulting in a decrease of sperm motility and concentration. Remember that you cannot evaluate the quality of a sperm sample by just looking at it – this requires a sperm analysis.