Fact Check: Study Does NOT Find Men Should Masturbate 21 Times A Day To Reduce Risk Of Prostate Cancer

Fact Check

  • by: Ed Payne
Fact Check: Study Does NOT Find Men Should Masturbate 21 Times A Day To Reduce Risk Of Prostate Cancer Not Endorsed

Did a study find that men should masturbate 21 times a day to "significantly" reduce the risk of prostate cancer? No, that's not true: A 2016 study that looked into the relationship between ejaculation frequency and prostate cancer made no specific mention of masturbation. It did say its findings show more frequent ejaculations throughout adult life can play a beneficial role when it comes to the disease. That 2016 study specifically mentions a rate of at least 21 times a month, not 21 times a day.

The claim appeared in a post on Instagram on March 14, 2023, under the title "STUDY FINDS THAT MEN SHOULD MASTURBATE 21 TIMES A DAY." The subtext for the meme says:

Scientists conclude that masturbating 21 times daily can reduce the risk of prostate cancer significantly.

This is what the post looked like on Instagram at the time of writing:

Screen Shot 2023-03-15 at 8.56.27 AM.png

(Source: Instagram screenshot taken on Wed Mar 15 16:06:42 2023 UTC)

The post provides no information on any such purported study nor does it identify study authors or "scientists."

Lead Stories was not able to find a study that recommends masturbation 21 times a day. However, a March 28, 2016, study in the journal European Urology, titled "Ejaculation Frequency and Risk of Prostate Cancer: Updated Results with an Additional Decade of Follow-up," did look at the relationship between ejaculation frequency and the risk of prostate cancer (PCa). It did note a particular benefit to an ejaculation rate of at least 21 times a month. The study of nearly 32,000 men closed with these observations:


These findings provide additional evidence of a beneficial role of more frequent ejaculation throughout adult life in the etiology of PCa, particularly for low-risk disease.

Patient summary

We evaluated whether ejaculation frequency throughout adulthood is related to prostate cancer risk in a large US-based study. We found that men reporting higher compared to lower ejaculatory frequency in adulthood were less likely to be subsequently diagnosed with prostate cancer.
Lead Stories debunked a related claim in 2020 that refers to the same study.

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  Ed Payne

Ed Payne is a staff writer at Lead Stories. He is an Emmy Award-winning journalist as part of CNN’s coverage of 9/11. Ed worked at CNN for nearly 24 years with the CNN Radio Network and CNN Digital. Most recently, he was a Digital Senior Producer for Gray Television’s Digital Content Center, the company’s digital news hub for 100+ TV stations. Ed also worked as a writer and editor for WebMD. In addition to his journalistic endeavors, Ed is the author of two children’s book series: “The Daily Rounds of a Hound” and “Vail’s Tales.” 

Read more about or contact Ed Payne

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