There are plenty of myths about the harm of sexual abstinence, especially among men. Some say it may cause infertility. One group claims men cannot live without having regular sexual interactions, while another one believes that everything depends on a man’s body type. MedPulse.ru talked to sexual health specialists Rostislav Beleda, Irina Gumennikova and Yuri Prokopenko to find out the truth.
Rostislav Beleda: "As of now, there is no unified opinion regarding the effect of abstinence on human body. Some believe that it causes both psychical and somatic abnormalities, others stress that it is harmless, while some think it is actually good for your body. Obviously, the truth is somewhere in the middle.
"There is a great deal of evidence showing that sexual life positively affects human health. Medical professionals claim that sexual activity reduces the risk of heart diseases, rejuvenates, burns extra calories, helps the body to produce natural pain killers and substances that improve teeth condition, strengthen the immune system, train prostate, and improve sense of smell. At the same time, sexual abstinence negatively affects sperm motility; increases risk of prostatitis and may cause problems with erection.
"If we look at the effect of sexual abstinence in its entirety, we can notice that along with positive effect of using extra energy for something else, it can be harmful. There are certain changes that cause various neurotic disorders explained by a heightened sex drive, as well as a possibility of developing an inclination for perversion," Beleda explains.
The doctor believes that the statement “men cannot live without “it” is a mere myth: "Generally, abstinence is very individual and depends on the intensity of a person’s sex drive.
Adults with weak sex drive and moderate excitability can easily survive even long periods of abstinence without any visible negative consequences.
At the same time, people with a strong sex drive and high excitability can abstain from sex for a limited time only. They may develop emotional and sexual disorders, mostly sexual neurosis."
Sexual health specialist Irina Gumennikova: "In addition to psychological consequences of sexual abstinence, sexual function suffers. Men practicing abstinence may develop problems with erection and ejaculation. The level of consequences depends on a person’s age and length of abstinence. A 25-year old man with a strong sexual drive may experience difficulties practicing abstinence for two weeks, but it will not affect his sexual function. At age 30-35 a few months of abstinence may cause premature ejaculation and problems with erection.
"Usually these problems go away once sexual activity becomes regular. Men over 40 may require treatment. Men over 50 who abstain from sex for two to three months may lose their sexual function for good."
Does this mean that men should use any opportunity to have sex?
According to recent research, men who have one partner are able to preserve their sexual function longer than those with several partners.
"Abstinence can be harmful, but don’t think that you have to have sex all day long for “health” reasons. You should have sex as often as you want,” says Yuri Prokopenko.
“If you have sex less frequently than you want, you can ruin your hormonal balance and develop blood congestion in small pelvis area. If you try to make yourself have sex when you do not want to, you may develop psychological problems. Do not make sex a “mandatory activity.”