Chocolate, hugs, flowers, puppies—the list of life’s delicious pleasures goes on and on and on. There are few things sweeter, however, than finding out something you love is actually healthy for you too. Like, er, sex, masturbation, and orgasms, to name a few.
While you may already know about the health benefits of orgasms (better sleep, increased brainpower, and even longevity), science has one more benefit to add to that list: a decreased risk of prostate cancer, the second most common cancer in men worldwide.
Yep: Research has shown that men who ejaculate more often, from sex, mastrubation, or even while asleep, may have a lower risk of prostate cancer compared with men who do so less often.
One Harvard Medical School study of about 32,000 men found that those who ejaculated about 21 times per month had a 20 to 26 percent decreased chance of developing prostate cancer. The older the men were, the lower their risk.
In a different study conducted by the Cancer Council Victoria in Australia, researchers found that men who ejaculated five to seven times per week on average (20 to 28 times per month) had a 36 percent decreased risk of developing prostate cancer.
Researchers aren’t exactly sure why there’s a link, but frequent finishing may relieve chronic stress, which could affect cancer cell division. Also, more frequent ejaculation may help flush out cancer-causing substances, like prostatic crystalloids, which have been associated with higher risk of prostate cancer.
Even though it isn’t clear why frequent ejaculation lowers prostate cancer odds, with the current lifetime risk of prostate cancer for men being one in six, it doesn’t hurt to add it to your list of preventative measures (along with eating a produce-rich diet that’s low in animal fat and maintaining a healthy weight).
Masturbation is safe and healthy, so if you’re looking to add little more “you time” to your week, and the habit just so happens to also help prevent prostate cancer, go for it.