The practice of semen retention has recently gained ground among the male population. Semen retention is preserving one’s semen by not deliberately ejaculating when awake, and taking measures to prevent it while asleep. Semen retention has been said to bring various health benefits based on anecdotal evidence from its practitioners. Let us see Islam’s take on semen retention. Does it allow it? Is it encouraged or discouraged? Keep reading to find out.
The Theory Behind Semen Retention
Semen is a fluid that has the power to create human beings. This fluid contains all kinds of proteins, minerals such as zinc, vitamins, and other substances that a male body constantly produces and stores in the body. The theory behind semen retention is that upon ejaculation, much of that energy and life force is released, causing the body to go through the trouble of producing it again. If ejaculation is constantly repeated, the body and the mind will go through a great deal of stress in order to reproduce the lost semen. With semen retention, the fluid is preserved and recycled, allowing the body and mind to perform other functions without the burden of constantly producing the lost semen. Those who practice semen retention do not masturbate at all and never watch pornography, as masturbation and pornography are a waste of energy that serves no purpose, whereas when semen is released during sexual intercourse, it has the purpose of procreation. Dedicated semen retention practitioners only release their semen for procreation.
Is Semen Retention a Form of Contraception?
Even though it seems that the end result of semen retention is the prevention of conception, those who practice semen retention do occasionally release their seed during intercourse, either for procreation or otherwise. The goal of semen retention is much higher than preventing conception. Semen retention is a way of self-control that strengthens the body and the mind. It is a transcendent form of self-discipline. Those who practice it usually do not see it as a contraceptive tool, but rather as a way of attaining greater spirituality and awareness.
What Are the Benefits of Semen Retention
Perhaps no study has been conducted on prolonged semen retention. In fact, science nowadays views abstinence and semen retention as harmful practices that could cause prostate issues. The truth is that such things have never been proven based on empirical scientific evidence and there have been many people who have retained for years without any problems. Nevertheless, one specific study shows that men who abstain from ejaculation for seven days have a 145.7% increase in testosterone on the seventh day.1 This study was limited and with few participants. More studies need to be conducted to shed more light on this subject.
Meanwhile, anecdotal evidence has shown multiple benefits for practicing semen retention. Note that some of these benefits might happen in some and not in others. Here is a list of them:
1. Increased self-confidence
2. Higher motivation in life
3. Improved posture
4. Improved eye-contact
5. Deeper voice
6. Greater creativity
7. Increased muscle mass and strength
8. Increased and thicker scalp, facial, and body hair
9. Decreased body fat
10. Better sleep
11. Increased verbal fluency
12. Increased assertiveness and dominance
13. Attraction of the opposite sex
14. Less social anxiety
15. More charisma
16. Greater mental clarity
17. Better memory
These were just some of the benefits of semen retention. Benefits may vary from person to person. Some may have benefits that are unique — others may not have those benefits. There may be some reasons for these reported benefits. Some say that although the male sex hormone testosterone is not affected by semen retention in terms of it not being increased or decreased, the androgen receptors that testosterone binds to in order to perform its functions become more sensitive, thus bringing the said benefits. The same has been said about the neurotransmitter dopamine (aka the pleasure hormone), and how they also increase in number and their receptors become more sensitive, leading to a greater sense of joy.
Can One Have Intercourse While Retaining?
Strict practitioners of semen retention try not to emit their fluid even during sexual intercourse. They either practice karezza, a form of non-orgasmic intercourse where the goal is to connect intimately with one’s partner without ejaculation or orgasm from both sides, or they have intercourse with non-ejaculatory orgasm. It is possible for men to orgasm without ejaculating. Of course, it is a technique that must be learned and requires a great deal of practice as well as trial and error. As a result, sexual intercourse is still permitted even while retaining one’s semen.
A nocturnal emission, or in layman’s terms wet dream, occurs when a person is sexually aroused during sleep and as a result, releases semen. It is a natural phenomenon that those who abstain from sexual activity may experience after days, weeks, or even months of abstinence. Those who practice semen retention are of two opinions. A group of them says that there is nothing one can do about it because it is a natural reaction of the body to get rid of excess and old semen. The other group says that there are certain factors that lead to it that if avoided, nocturnal emissions can also be avoided. This group believes that nocturnal emissions have the same negative effects as releasing semen while awake.
Some of the guidelines they offer to prevent them include not fantasizing about sexual activities during the day, avoiding any kind of visual, physical, and auditory sexual arousal and excitement, not drinking too much water or fluids before bed, avoiding certain food that could cause them such as fried and processed food, emptying one’s bladder before going to bed, and trying not to sleep on one’s stomach.
What Is Islam’s Stance on Semen Retention?
In general, Islam is not against semen retention. In fact, it is a proponent of semen retention especially if a person is single. A person who is single must not masturbate, have illegitimate sex, or expose themself to any form of Islamically prohibited sexual arousal and pleasure. Islam emphasizes the importance of not looking at non-mahram women for sexual pleasure. Non-mahram means women to whom one is not related and whom one can marry. Therefore, if there is a woman whom one can marry but to whom one is not married, one must not have lustful looks at her. Singles who practice semen retention become more assertive and confident. They become more social, productive, and motivated to find a job, get married, and start a family. On the other hand, a person who constantly “spills his seed” will become weak, depressed, socially detached, lazy, shy, unmotivated, and unable to pave the way for his marriage.
What About After Marriage?
When a man is married, there is no prohibition on how many times they can engage in sexual activities that result in the release of semen. This is because it is a halal way of sexual gratification, which is even recommended in moderation. Moderation is the key to all halal acts in Islam. Islam discourages excessive sexual behavior such that it becomes an addiction, such that one’s life is consumed by it. To answer the question of whether Islam is for or against semen retention after marriage, the answer is that one has the choice to do it if one likes to. Islam is not against semen retention even after marriage. If one wants to enjoy all the benefits of semen retention after one is married, it is totally fine.
At the end of the day, the act of sexual intercourse is for procreation. There are narrations from the Prophet (s) in which he advises against practicing coitus interruptus (withdrawal method of contraception). It is not haram, but the Prophet (s) does not recommend it. This further shows that the goal of sexual intercourse is not solely deriving pleasure from it but also the act of procreation.
Islam has also said that one must have intercourse with one’s wife at least once every four months. Although some have questioned the authenticity of narrations that issue such a ruling, even if that is the case, one can have sexual intercourse and at the same time retain one’s semen even after four months. In this way, the once every four months ruling will be upheld.
What Is Islam’s View on Celibacy?
Semen retention and celibacy are two completely different issues. Celibacy means a person never gets married and never engages in any form of sexual activity. Islam is totally against such a mindset. Celibacy has been very much ill-advised in Islam. The Prophet (s) has said that marriage is his Sunnah (way of life) and whoever turns away from his Sunnah is not one of his followers. Marriage has many blessings and rewards. Two human beings get together, love each other, have children, and live a life of both comfort and hardship. Semen retention is nothing like celibacy. It allows the release of semen based on how the retainer feels and whether or not he wants to have children. As a result, the goal of semen retention that Islam approves is not celibacy but rather a successful married life accompanied by all the benefits of semen retention.
How to Practice Semen Retention
For starters, it is necessary that one forgo all kinds of sexual activities where semen is released whether they are permissible (intercourse with one’s wife) or impermissible (such as masturbation and fornication). Of course, if one can retain one’s semen while having intercourse, there is no objection. This might seem rather radical, especially for married individuals, but to enjoy the benefits of semen retention, one must do it. The first few days may not be so difficult, but as days pass, urges start to appear. Now here is where it gets a little tricky. When one starts to have feelings of sexual excitement, one must not entertain them. Instead, one must find other productive activities that one can do in order to “transmute” that sexual energy. Remember, the idea is not about suppressing one’s sexual desire. In fact, suppression of sexual desire can be very harmful psychologically and physically speaking.
The sexual energy must be transmuted into other activities. You can pursue your hobbies, go to the gym, visit family and friends, engage in artistic activities of your liking, meditate, read interesting books, and the list goes on. This sexual transmutation is what brings the benefits of semen retention to light. After retaining for a while, your perception of the world around you will change for the better. Life will be more colorful and enjoyable. Your perception of women will change. You will no longer view them as objects of lust, but rather human beings just like yourself.
Semen retention is a practice that encompasses both physiological and spiritual dimensions. By preserving and recycling the essential fluid responsible for human procreation, semen retention can harness the latent energy within, leading to various reported benefits for both the body and the mind. Anecdotal evidence highlights advantages such as increased self-confidence, motivation, and overall well-being. Semen retention also holds a unique place within certain cultural and religious contexts, including Islam, where it is seen as a means of self-discipline and maintaining a balanced life. The practice of semen retention is not synonymous with celibacy; it allows for sexual activity within appropriate boundaries, emphasizing moderation and the pursuit of a fulfilling marital life. The intricate balance between sexual energy and self-control, as advocated by semen retention, involves redirecting impulses into constructive activities, leading to personal growth and transformation.