Sex myth: Is ejaculation the same as orgasm?

Technically, ejaculation and orgasm are separate physiological processes but for most men, both often happen simultaneously

ejaculation

1. Of course

2. Nope

3. Yes, for me

If you picked the first option, you would be wrong! But, the other two options are both kinda sorta right. Technically, ejaculation and orgasm are separate physiological processes but for most men, both often happen simultaneously. They are accustomed to feeling satisfied only when they experience it together. So you are not alone if you picked the third option.

And coming back to the right answer, it may be shocking but it is true—men can orgasm without ejaculating! The intense peak or climax that brings sexual pleasure is a separate experience and the expulsion of semen is separate. This type of orgasm is known as a dry orgasm. The are many reasons for lack of ejaculation at the end of the sexual activity and we’ll get to these reasons in just a minute.

Before that, you need to know that many people may not even be aware that such a condition is possible and sometimes even desired by some!

Shock Vs Understanding

Since dry orgasms in men are not commonly spoken about, it may come as a complete surprise to someone experiencing it for the first time. Especially, when it happens to someone who is dating a new partner in their 40s.

Maithili Iyer, a 40-something writer from Mumbai had enjoyed great sex with her almost 50-year-old Tinder match on a few occasions. However, one day she felt that he wasn’t enjoying the act as much. When she quizzed him, he said that he was on medication for kidney stones and couldn’t ejaculate. So he couldn’t exactly feel the same pleasure when he had an orgasm!

dry ejaculation

“Sometimes I felt him orgasm and he told me that he did not ejaculate. But, there were times when he was simply thrusting for a while before giving up! During those moments, I felt very confused and even guilty because I could climax and he couldn’t. I didn’t know if there was anything I could do to help and seemed withdrawn and unwilling to discuss it further.”

Since kidney stones were a recurring issue in her partner’s life, this happened on more than one occasion. Maithili had great fun but her partner apparently didn’t enjoy it as much. Things went from bad to worse as he decided it was not even worth meeting up whenever he was on medication.

Medicine A Vs Medicine B

Dr Vinit Shah, Urologist and Andrologist, Mumbai explains some of the common causes of a dry orgasm. “The technical term for a dry orgasm is anejaculation. There are many reasons why a person cannot ejaculate. Sometimes there is an obstruction in the ejaculatory ducts and these are blocked. Or, there may be a congenital absence, which means the person is not born with these ducts. Sometimes certain medications, which are typically used to treat prostate issues can cause anejaculation. The third most common reason is prostate surgery. Post surgery, the person may experience anejaculation or retrograde ejaculation, which means the semen flows back into the bladder.”

So the good news is that the ejaculatory issues, which are related to medication, automatically stop when the medicine is discontinued! Given the different causes, it is important to educate yourself about the condition and discuss the same with your doctor before starting any medication or undergoing any procedure.

Dr Vinit Shah underscores the importance of discussing potential side effects with patients beforehand. “There is a group of medications called alpha-blockers that are known to cause ejaculatory disturbances, especially the older generation alpha-blockers. That is why we always prescribe medicines depending on the age and sexual expectations of the patient. If someone is very concerned about not being able to ejaculate as a potential side effect, we prescribe drugs that have the least side effects on their sexual performance as far as ejaculation is concerned.”

In fact, he adds, “The company that makes these drugs markets it as a drug for Sexy SAM, where SAM stands for Sexually Active Male.”

Him Vs Her

“I didn’t think of it as a big deal because it was sex as usual for me. Sometimes, he would orgasm while at other times he couldn’t. And that was that. But, apparently it was an issue for him,” recalls Maithili.

According to Dr Vijayasarathi Ramanathan, Consultant in Sexual Medicine, Bloom Chennai, “It is very important to recognise that it can be incredibly frustrating for someone who has always experienced an orgasm and ejaculation together.” If someone has always ejaculated during a climax for 30-40 years, this situation can clearly have a negative impact.

In Maithili’s partner’s case, it was a temporary condition brought on by medication so it was automatically reversed when he went off the medication. But, it did impact their relationship because she didn’t know how to respond to long gaps when they wouldn’t even meet, let alone have sex.

“When a couple talks about dry orgasm, it is important to understand what semen means to them. If procreation is not the issue then semen is not needed at all,” says Dr Vijayasarathi Ramanathan. However, he explains that it can spiral when people equate ejaculation with orgasm and go on to think that no orgasm equals no satisfaction during sex, which leads them to have no sex, which in turn makes them question their partner’s love.

He recommends education and counselling, not as a way to reverse the dry orgasm, but to significantly reduce the distress. He affirms that counselling can dramatically change how the person feels about the condition.

Semen Retention Vs Ejaculation

Not all men who experience dry orgasms do so as a side effect of medication or surgery. Some men follow the sexual practice of semen retention. This is a conscious choice and it is not a side effect of any medication. Retaining semen is believed to have many health benefits. So some abstain from sex or even masturbation to preserve semen while others try techniques to stop ejaculation during penetrative sex. The idea is to stop their life energy from flowing out and to keep it within their own body to enhance their stamina and for spiritual reasons.

Another big reason for training to orgasm without ejaculating is to experience multiple orgasms or back to back orgasms. After ejaculation, the erection is lost and there is usually a refractory period or a break before the penis becomes erect again. Orgasm without ejaculation allows one to maintain an erection for a longer period, both to satisfy one’s partner and to experience pleasure over and over again. So they try to delay ejaculation to prolong penetrative intercourse.

To achieve this, some practice Kegel exercises for better control over the pelvic floor muscles. Others try the stop-start method where they stop all sexual activity, just before they are about to ejaculate and wait for a while before resuming. Some try breathing exercises or other methods for edging or stopping just before climaxing. Some apply pressure in the area between the anus and the scrotum so that they experience retrograde ejaculation to prevent the semen from flowing out.

There are sex coaches and therapists who help people train for sex without ejaculation as a part of certain tantric sex rituals or other sexual practices. However, there is not enough scientific research to support the theory that semen retention has many advantages, nor is there enough understanding of the risks, if any.

According to Dr Vijayasarathi Ramanathan, if someone has been programmed to experience a dry orgasm without ejaculation by practice, it may become an issue later on if they have to ejaculate inside the vagina.

Condom Vs No Protection

According to Dr Vinit Shah, if you are worried about conceiving then it is best to wear a condom because you don’t need 5ml of semen, just a couple of drops is also sufficient.

Dr Vijayasarathi Ramanathan feels that if it is proven that no semen is ejaculated at all, then there may not be a need to use condoms to prevent pregnancy.

But, of course, one needs to use a condom for protection against STIs.

If you and your partner are used to sex with condoms, then the lack of ejaculation will have no impact on her pleasure because she is used to the feeling. Also, if you are sexually active with multiple partners, using a condom is a safer bet.

Bottomline: Whether it is by choice or circumstance, dry orgasms can lead to a shift in the way you perceive or experience sex and sexual pleasure. So open communication with both your doctor and partner is important to set your expectations straight and avoid any misunderstanding.

* A dry orgasm or even retrograde ejaculation does not have any impact on your partner’s sexual pleasure, especially if you have always been using a condom during penetrative intercourse. Your partner may not experience any difference and you can continue to satisfy her just as you did before starting your medication!

* A dry orgasm, or anejaculation, means little or no semen is discharged on climax. So the person does not ejaculate. Sometimes, the semen flows back into the bladder instead of being released from the penis. This is known as retrograde ejaculation. According to Dr Vinit Shah, anejaculation is more common on medication and retrograde ejaculation is more common post surgery

Disclaimer

The comments posted here/below/in the given space are not on behalf of The Man. The person posting the comment will be in sole ownership of its responsibility. According to the central government's IT rules, obscene or offensive statement made against a person, religion, community or nation is a punishable offense, and legal action would be taken against people who indulge in such activities.