Not releasing sperm is usually harmless, but it can affect sexual pleasure and intimate relationships. If a person is unable to release sperm, they may have a health issue, such as an infection. It can also cause side effects and affect fertility.

Some people choose to delay ejaculation. However, if a person is unable to ejaculate, they may wish to contact a doctor for advice. The doctor can help determine if there is an underlying cause, and advise on suitable symptoms.

Keep reading to learn more about the importance of ejaculating, possible issues, and some treatment options for underlying causes.

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It may not be harmful for a person to not ejaculate, but it depends on the cause.

Ejaculation refers to the expulsion of semen from the body. Typically, sexual stimulation causes the central nervous system to build arousal to the point of orgasm.

During this process, sperm from the testicles travel through the epididymis and into the vas deferens. From here, it enters the urethra through the prostate’s ejaculatory ducts, mixing with seminal fluid, which comes from the seminal vesicles, and prostate secretions. The contraction of the pelvic muscles expels this fluid, now called semen, from the tip of the penis.

Several factors can prevent stimulation leading to ejaculation. Ejaculation usually occurs with an orgasm, but not always. The causes of preventing ejaculation can be intentional or unintentional.

Intentionally preventing ejaculation

Some people choose to delay ejaculation, such as during edging. Edging is when a person builds sexual stimulation almost to the point of orgasm but stops just before it occurs.

Edging is unlikely to cause health problems. In rare cases, preventing ejaculation can cause epididymal hypertension, or “blue balls.” Other people intentionally prevent ejaculation entirely, such as those practicing Taoism.

Delayed ejaculation

Males with delayed ejaculation experience difficulty or inability to ejaculate in a reasonable time.

This can happen for a number of reasons, including:

  • psychosocial and psychosexual factors, such as:
    • fear of pregnancy
    • fear of intimacy
    • performance anxiety
  • endocrine issues, such as:
    • hypogonadism
    • hypothyroidism
    • hyperprolactinemia
  • some medications
  • genetics
  • congenital anatomical factors
  • neurogenic conditions such as multiple sclerosis
  • aging
  • infections or inflammation

As there are many possible causes of delayed ejaculation, it is best to contact a doctor for advice. The doctor can help determine the cause and advise on a suitable treatment plan.

Retrograde ejaculation

severe nerve or muscle damage can cause retrograde ejaculation. This is when semen enters the bladder instead of out of the penis.

The condition can lead to infertility, but further issues are unlikely. Retrograde ejaculation is sometimes due to side effects from certain medications.


Anejaculation is when people are completely unable to ejaculate semen. People with this condition can still produce sperm and experience orgasms. However, they cannot ejaculate.

Anejaculation has a range of triggers, from pelvic injuries to acquiring infections. The condition can lead to infertility without treatment.

Learn about what can cause weak ejaculation.

The side effects of not ejaculating can depend on the cause and the individual.

People who choose not to ejaculate are unlikely to experience harmful side effects. The body breaks down unused sperm, which does not build up to trigger further problems.

Psychological problems

Over time, not ejaculating can trigger psychological problems in some people.

For example, people with sexual dysfunctions that affect their ability to ejaculate may experience distress or embarrassment. It can also lead to relationship problems. For example, partners may become frustrated with a person with sexual dysfunction.

These psychological problems could lead to mental health conditions, such as depression or anxiety disorders. A doctor may refer a person to a sex therapist or counselor.


If a person is unable to ejaculate due to an underlying condition such as retrograde ejaculation, it can affect fertility.

Treatments can depend on the cause, but may include switching medications or taking pseudoephedrine. It may not be possible to treat the condition if it occurs due to severe nerve or muscle damage.

A person’s doctor can provide more information about any treatments they recommend.

Not everyone needs treatment for not ejaculating. For example, people who practice edging choose to delay ejaculation.

There are several treatments for people with sexual dysfunctions that prevent ejaculation, depending on their cause.

Many triggers are psychological, and people may benefit from psychotherapy or counseling. These sessions may involve the individual alone or with their partner.

Other causes are physical. For example, people with an infection can experience anejaculation or retrograde ejaculation. In these cases, a doctor may prescribe antibiotics or antiviral medications.

Some medications or drugs can also cause sexual dysfunction as a side effect. Antidepressants or excessive alcohol consumption could cause delayed ejaculation. Changing medications and reducing alcohol consumption can help in these situations.

It is best to contact a doctor if a person has concerns about not ejaculating. Their doctor can help identify the underlying cause. They can then advise on treatments that may help.

Some people may also benefit from sex therapy. Sex therapists use a variety of techniques to help people with sexual dysfunction, including psychotherapy and mindfulness.

Other general tips that can help include:

  • avoiding excessive alcohol consumption before intercourse
  • being aware of medication side effects, which may include sexual dysfunction
  • talking with a partner about the problem
  • practicing stress management techniques
  • seeking help from a professional for mental health problems

People who regularly experience issues with ejaculation or who are unable to ejaculate at all should consult a healthcare professional.

In some cases, the doctor may be able to diagnose the cause based on the individual’s symptoms and circumstances. However, they may also order laboratory tests to determine the underlying condition.

Here are some frequently asked questions.

How often should a person release sperm?

There is no medical guidance on how frequently a person should release sperm. Factors such as a person’s age may also affect how frequently they ejaculate.

If a person has concerns about how frequently they ejaculate or release sperm, it is best to contact a doctor.

What happens after 7 days of not ejaculating?

If a person does not ejaculate, the unreleased sperm breaks down and absorbs back into the body. Not releasing sperm should not cause any health problems.

However, if a person tries to ejaculate and is unable to, this could be a sign of an underlying medical condition.

Not ejaculating is rarely harmful, but it can depend on the cause. Some people choose not to ejaculate, such as those practicing edging. Others cannot ejaculate due to sexual dysfunction.

People should contact a doctor if they consistently experience issues with ejaculation. Healthcare professionals can help determine the underlying cause and advise on treatments that may help.