It’s day three of No-Nut November. If you’re all aboard the abstinence train, here’s hoping you don’t Kramer it.
If, however, the thought of not ejaculating for one whole month sounds like straight lunacy, please know science is on your side.
Sure, semen retention advocates tout physical and mental benefits, but urologist Joshua Calvert, M.D. previously told The Edge that there isn’t medical evidence to support not masturbating. But to each their own.
Still, what happens to the body during abstinence is pretty interesting. Our favorite social media doc and UK surgeon Karan Raj, M.D., breaks it down on Instagram:
You’ll Have Wet Dreams
Yep, puberty’s back. “These nocturnal emissions aren’t always about sexual arousal,” Raj says. “It’s a chance for your body to clear out old sperm.”
Your sperm have an expiration date and, without sex or masturbation, your body needs to clean house, allowing room for fresh ones. Accordingly, you’ll need fresh sheets.
Your Body Does Absorb the Sperm
Your swimmers don’t wait around. Any unused sperm gets broken down and reabsorbed by your body,” Raj says.
“This is especially important if you’ve had a vasectomy,” says Raj. Vasectomies block sperm from reaching your semen, so while you still ejaculate, it doesn’t contain sperm.
If you didn’t absorb sperm, your testicles would swell up, and according to The Open University, soon “drag on the ground.” Okay, then.
You’ll Sleep Worse
After you ejaculate, your prolactin levels rise, Raj says. This hormone promotes rapid eye movement (REM) sleep—your deepest stage of sleep—and by abstaining you miss out on prolactin’s benefits.
This might also explain why you fall asleep after sex, Raj says.
Need proof for more sleep? Dr. Raj previously discussed how five hours of sleep or less per night can cause testicular atrophy. Seriously: don’t skimp on sleep or your balls can shrink.