Young man and woman meditating in bed

I’m curious about semen retention. It’s been widely promoted by YouTubers recently. Can you please share your thoughts about this? Is it as strongly beneficial as they promote it to be?


  • Michael Castleman says:

    Semen retention involves lovemaking without ejaculation/orgasm. It’s an ancient practice known by many names: coitus reservatus, seminal conservation, sexual continence, and karezza. It’s an element in many forms of Tantric sexuality.

    Those who tout it say it boosts vitality, increases self-confidence, fights anxiety and depression, improves cognition and memory, and increases happiness.

    My take on it: In sex, self-fulfilling prophecies are common. If you really believe some move enhances sex, it just might. So people who deeply believe that not climaxing confers the benefits just listed may feel they’ve received those benefits. As far as I know, no study has explored the impact of semen retention, but if such research were conducted, I seriously doubt that it would live up to the hype.

    Semen retention began in ancient Asia. Chinese and Indian physicians, and later Arab doctors, noticed that after ejaculating, men feel fatigued. As age increases, post-coital fatigue often increases. Ancient Asians considered semen a “life force.” They believed that depleting it during orgasm/ejaculation left men weakened. They viewed post-coital fatigue as the proof and advocated not coming to deal with it. Over the centuries, benefits claimed for semen retention extended it to assertions that alieviatated anxiety and depression.

    One belief about semen retention is clearly mistaken, the idea that not ejaculating relieves anxiety. Actually, the opposite is more true. Many men soothe their anxieties by ejaculating, either solo or partnered. In surveys many men say they self-sex largely for stress relief. Not coming may make some men less anxious and depressed, but to my way of thinking semen retention is more likely to make men feel anxious and out of sorts, and coming is more likely to relieve these feelings.

    I hasten to add that there’s nothing harmful about practicing semen retention. Feel free to experiment and see how it makes you feel. But personally, I’m not persuaded by the many claims in favor of it.

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