Daily wanking

Can ejaculating every day improve a man's fertility?

Published October 16, 2007 6:01PM (EDT)

What's the best part about Tuesday? That you get two -- count them, two -- updates about ejaculation.

First off, the Times Online (U.K.) reports that having sex -- or at least ejaculating -- every day may help improve men's sperm quality. Yes, yes, most would-be parents know that couples who are trying to have a baby are often told not to let the guy ejaculate too often in order to protect his sperm count. And it's true that if you let the boys out every day, you're going to have, on average, fewer boys to let out (you've got to give them a little time to build up). But researchers from Australia are now suggesting that in cases where the guy's got fertility problems to begin with -- as defined by having sperm with DNA damage -- daily ejaculation is a good thing.

The pilot study only looked at 42 men whose sperm showed "significant" DNA damage -- but when those men were encouraged to ejaculate daily, their sperm's DNA damage was reduced by 12 percent. (The hypothesis is that the longer the sperm spends sitting around, the more damage it can suffer from exposure to free radicals.) The bottom line? If a couple's just started to try for a baby (i.e., they don't yet have a history of failed attempts), it could be useful to have sex every two or three days. But if a guy has a decent sperm count and high DNA damage, it could behoove him to empty his reservoir daily.

And speaking of emptying the reservoir, here's a link to what appears to be a highly unscientific study about men and women's masturbation habits. (I mention this mostly because I am amused by the accompanying stock art: one photo of a man with his hand down his pants, another of a box of tissues.) According to Britain's Metro, a poll by CupidBay revealed that on average English men wank off eight times a week, compared with Scottish and Welsh men, who masturbate daily. At this point I need to pause so that you might think about what I just typed. Eight times a week. On average.

Yes, my friends, that means that on average, the British men who took this poll masturbate more often than the moon revolves around the Earth. What's more, unless the results were thrown off by one guy who masturbates around the clock, this means there are a good number of British guys who masturbate as often as they sit down for a meal (13 percent of the guys participating in the poll admitted to jerking off in the bathroom at work).

Among many other reasons to doubt the poll's science, however, is that the participants were volunteers, which means that they were already surfing the Internet to begin with. When you consider the fact that 69 percent of the men reported getting off in front of a computer, the results begin to make a bit more sense.

By Catherine Price

Catherine Price is an award-winning journalist and author of Vitamania: How Vitamins Revolutionized the Way We Think About Food. Her written and multimedia work has appeared in publications including The Best American Science Writing, The New York Times, Popular Science, O: The Oprah Magazine, the Los Angeles Times, The San Francisco Chronicle, The Washington Post Magazine, Salon, Slate, Men’s Journal, Mother Jones, PARADE, Health Magazine, and Outside. Price lives in Philadelphia.

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