A new study has revealed that being a virgin puts a man at risk of prostrate cancer, while men who have had sex with more than 20 women were 19 per cent less likely to develop the disease. In contrast, men who slept with 20 men doubled their risk of developing prostate cancer compared with men who have never had sex with another man.
The research by the University of Montreal followed more than 3,000 men over a four-year period between 2005 and 2009. According to the research led by Marie-Elise Parent, intercourse protects men, and men who are more licentious have more sex than those in faithful relationships. However, for homosexual men the benefit is adrift because of the augmented jeopardy of picking up a sexually transmitted disease, and the damage to their bodies from intercourse. But homosexuals with just one partner are at no greater risk.
Generally, men with prostate cancer were twice as likely to have a relative with cancer. However, the researchers were surprised to find that the number of sexual partners also affected the development of their cancer. Men who said they had never had sexual intercourse were almost twice as likely to be diagnosed with prostate cancer as those who said they had. When a man had slept with more than 20 women during his lifetime there was a 28 per cent reduction in the risk of having prostate cancer, and a 19 per cent reduction for aggressive types of cancer.
On the other hand, those who have slept with more than 20 men are twice as likely to be diagnosed with prostate cancer of all types compared to those who have never slept with a man. And their risk of having a less aggressive prostate cancer increases by 500 per cent compared to those who have had only one male partner.
Previous studies have also revealed that sexual intercourse may be a protective shield against prostate cancer because it reduces the concentration of carcinogenic crystal-like substances in the fluid of the prostate. The study, which was published in the Journal Cancer Epidemiology, was the first to find a link between the number of sexual companions and the risk of cancer.
Parent, who explained that it has nothing to do with the number of partners in itself but the frequency of ejaculation, said, “We were fortunate to have participants from Montreal who were comfortable talking about their sexuality, no matter what sexual experiences they have had, and this openness would probably not have been the same 20 or 30 years ago. Indeed, thanks to them, we now know that the number and type of partners must be taken into account to better understand the causes of prostate cancer. It is possible that having many female sexual partners results in a higher frequency of ejaculations, whose protective effect against prostate cancer has been previously observed in cohort studies.”
However, some doubt the veracity of the study. Mieke Van Hemelrijck, lecturer in cancer epidemiology at King’s College London, who has doubts about the methodology of the study said: “Sexual activity was assessed with an interview, so we can’t be sure that men with prostate cancer didn’t reply in a different way to men without prostate cancer.” Hemelrijck, who is against the impression that frequency of ejaculation makes you healthier, suggests it could just be that having a lot of voluptuous cohorts correlates with health-seeking behaviour; that is, people who seek out sexual variety also generally take better care of themselves.
Owen Sharp, chief executive of Prostate Cancer disease, who agrees with Hemelrijck, said: “If I’m being generous, I think the research is very limited and the headlines are borderline dangerous,” he says. However on the question of whether promiscuity might now be recommended for men, “We’re not there yet,” Parent said.
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