Orgasm and immune system

Submitted by fleur_rare on
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a review which I found today about a new book by Marco Rauland

"Orgasm serves to increase the immune system
Do orgasms help the immune system? ... During the sexual act the concentration of the powerhormons Adrenaline and Noradrenaline is significantly increasing. They reach their peak at orgasm - this can be more than 100% higher than the standard value. On the other hand the concentration of the stress hormone Cortisol decreases slightly at climax. Suplementary to this the amount of natural killer cells of the immune system duplicates.
An orgasm therefore is not only a wonderful physical experience but it strengthens the immune system and helps, to metabolize stress. So next time if you worry about catching a cold - you know now what to do."

"Dr. Marco Rauland has worked as a chemist. Today he is consultant in pharmaceutical research. Alongside he writes as a economy journalist." (His book is called "Orgasm increases the immune system - The bizarre world of sexperiments and their findings")

How can he come to this conclusion? Adrenalin and noradrenaline are not "power-hormons" but stress hormons. Stress decreases the ability of the immune system... Fight or flight, therefore: During orgasm the immune system is blocked because not necessary for fast survival. Ejaculation/orgasm is ruled by the sympatical nervous system which is in charge of fast survival reactions. If triggered it blocks immune reactions.

Correct me if I'm wrong.

How is it for those who have a lot of orgasms - up to some per day? Feeling like super-healthy-man? No colds ever?

I didn't orgasm for more than a year (jubelee was 29th of January!!), I should be dead by now! But instead... no colds, no illnesses, just very good health.
How does he come to this conclusion and is it right that the amount of natural killer cells increases during orgasm??


Another of those findings

"Canadian researchers have found in 2006 that after 30 sec of a erotic film the temperature in the genital area starts to rise and reaches it's peak around 12 min - 33,9° C."

I couldn't find the study. How does this affect the prostate? Is higher prostate temperature a benefit or a risk?
Is it true after all?

It's another one of those "Who cares?"

Temperature increases are related to blood flow. Blood flow increases to the prostate, as it does to the penis, and to the pelvic floor muscles - get ready for doing it. I would hope that it would. Blood flow is good for all tissues.

The real question - does not ejaculatiing have a negative effect on the prostate?
Here are our science and comments on the prostate:

I guess the jury is out on the question of prostate health. Lots of studies go both ways.
Keeping it gentle and not getting near the edge is my best suggestion


This is all I can find in English on this book by Marco Rauland:

Orgasms and Immune Systems: The Strange World of Sex Experiments

Scientists are always looking for volunteers for laboratory experiments concerning mankind’s oldest past-time. Notwithstanding the level of insights such experiments actually yield, the variety of methods applied is breathtaking and, at times, comic. Marco Rauland’s book brings together the most entertaining “sexperiments” performed around the world.

Is there a link you recommend to something longer in German that I can translate with Google?


I'll try to find something

the book is very new, but I will try to find more about it and send it to you.

Isn't it interesting that the guy is a consultant for pharma products? Healthy people don't buy pharma products...

first a few studies............

Neuroendocrine and cardiovascular response to sexual arousal and orgasm in men.
Krüger T, Exton MS, Pawlak C, von zur Mühlen A, Hartmann U, Schedlowski M.
Psychoneuroendocrinology. 1998 May;23(4):401-11.
Division of Clinical Psychiatry, Hannover Medical School, Federal Republic of Germany.

Data regarding the neuroendocrine response pattern to sexual arousal and orgasm in man are inconsistent. In this study, ten healthy male volunteers were continuously monitored for their cardiovascular and neuroendocrine response to sexual arousal and orgasm. Blood was continuously drawn before, during and after masturbation-induced orgasm and analyzed for plasma concentrations of adrenaline, noradrenaline, cortisol, luteinizing hormone (LH), follicle stimulating hormone (FSH), prolactin, growth hormone (GH), beta-endorphin and testosterone. Orgasm induced transient increases in heart rate, blood pressure and noradrenaline plasma levels. Prolactin plasma levels increased during orgasm and remained elevated 30 min after orgasm. In contrast, none of the other endocrine variables were significantly affected by sexual arousal and orgasm.

Cardiovascular and endocrine alterations after masturbation-induced orgasm in women.
Exton MS, Bindert A, Krüger T, Scheller F, Hartmann U, Schedlowski M.
Psychosom Med. 1999 May-Jun;61(3):280-9.
Department of Medical Psychology, University Clinic Essen, Germany.

OBJECTIVE: The present study investigated the cardiovascular, genital, and endocrine changes in women after masturbation-induced orgasm because the neuroendocrine response to sexual arousal in humans is equivocal. METHODS: Healthy women (N = 10) completed an experimental session, in which a documentary film was observed for 20 minutes, followed by a pornographic film for 20 minutes, and another documentary for an additional 20 minutes. Subjects also participated in a control session, in which participants watched a documentary film for 60 minutes. After subjects had watched the pornographic film for 10 minutes in the experimental session, they were asked to masturbate until orgasm. Cardiovascular (heart rate and blood pressure) and genital (vaginal pulse amplitude) parameters were monitored continuously throughout testing. Furthermore, blood was drawn continuously for analysis of plasma concentrations of adrenaline, noradrenaline, cortisol, prolactin, luteinizing hormone (LH), beta-endorphin, follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), testosterone, progesterone, and estradiol. RESULTS: Orgasm induced elevations in cardiovascular parameters and levels of plasma adrenaline and noradrenaline. Plasma prolactin substantially increased after orgasm, remained elevated over the remainder of the session, and was still raised 60 minutes after sexual arousal. In addition, sexual arousal also produced small increases in plasma LH and testosterone concentrations. In contrast, plasma concentrations of cortisol, FSH, beta-endorphin, progesterone, and estradiol were unaffected by orgasm. CONCLUSIONS: Sexual arousal and orgasm produce a distinct pattern of neuroendocrine alterations in women, primarily inducing a long-lasting elevation in plasma prolactin concentrations. These results concur with those observed in men, suggesting that prolactin is an endocrine marker of sexual arousal and orgasm.

Effects of sexual arousal on lymphocyte subset circulation and cytokine production in man.
Haake P, Krueger TH, Goebel MU, Heberling KM, Hartmann U, Schedlowski M.
Neuroimmunomodulation. 2004;11(5):293-8.
Department of Medical Psychology, University Clinic of Essen, Essen, Germany.

OBJECTIVE: Sexual arousal and orgasm induce an increase in sympathetic activity as well as in catecholamine and prolactin plasma concentrations. However, the effects of sexual arousal and orgasm on immune functions in man are unknown. Thus, this study investigated the effects of masturbation-induced orgasm on lymphocyte circulation and cytokine production in healthy young males. METHODS: In a crossover design, 11 volunteers completed an experimental condition in which they were asked to masturbate until orgasm and to participate in a control condition without sexual activity. Blood was drawn continuously for determination of endocrine parameters. In addition, leukocyte and lymphocyte subsets were analyzed via flow cytometry, and the production of lipopolysaccharide-induced interleukin 6 and tumor necrosis factor alpha was measured before and then 5 and 45 min after the orgasm.
RESULTS: The results confirmed transient increases in adrenaline and prolactin plasma concentrations. Sexual arousal and orgasm increased the absolute number of leukocytes, in particular natural killer cells (CD3-CD16+CD56+), in the peripheral blood. In contrast, T cell (CD3+) and B cell (CD3-CD20+) subpopulations as well as the production of interleukin 6 and tumor necrosins factor alpha remained unaffected by sexual activity. CONCLUSION: These findings demonstrate that components of the innate immune system are activated by sexual arousal and orgasm


I don't view orgasm as having any negative health effects, unless one is overdoing it (whatever that is). Traditional Chinese Medicine disagrees, stating that for men it is depleting of kidney chi -losing one's life essence.

Many men notice depletion after orgasm, and those with POIS notice significant effects.
I think orgasm can affect ones mental state (which is often hidden), and affect one's perception of one's partner. It also affects one's behavior towards a partner.

I think it's important not to say 'orgasm is bad.' It's not. It's the post-orgasmic neurochemical cycle that can lead to unwanted effects.

What we propose is that orgasm initiates a long cycle (2 weeks) of neurotransmitter changes. That's all. These changes have been conserved by evolution, because they serve a purpose.

From the above and other studies, we can see that only a few changes occur in the BLOOD levels of hormones. Except for prolactin, these changes are transient (rapidly up and down). There are no studies on neurotransmitter changes in humans.

Only a few studies have been done on orgasm and immune cells in humans - a few types of immune cells go up a bit; others don't change. Studies in other animals have shown a decline in certain immune cells. Bottom line - All short term studies on immune functions are completely irrelevant.

Why so?
1) Immune markers change moment to moment depending on your thoughts, physical activities, time of day, stress levels, what you eat, you name it - such as orgasm...or bonding behaviors.

2) Only long-term consistent changes are relevant.

3) It makes perfect sense for certain immune cells (those associated with mouth, genitalia, urethra, vagina) to increase as having sex increases exposure to organisms in those regions. In fact, one study did show that intercourse activated the immune cells of the vagina.

4) It has nothing to do with our premise - that there are 2 weeks of changes in neurotransmitters

5) ALL studies on individuals receiving caring support show a positive change in immune markers. Compare those many studies to just one done on orgasm.

Of course adrenaline (epinephrine, norepinephrine) rises during sex. Heart rate, breathing rate, muscle tension and concentration all rise during intercourse - due to adrenaline. Exercise increases both hormones, as does watching scary movies. Both are called stress hormones, but they have many more functions than 'fight or flight.'

1) Immune - All the stuff you read states that adrenaline inhibits the immune system. Some studies (I'm looking on my computer) suggest adrenaline activates very specific aspects of the immune system, while depressing others. The immune system is more complex than the brain (my opinion). It contains many subdivsions that deal with different types of organisms. So one division (bacterial infections of skin) activity will increase, at the same time another division will decrease (viral infections of the nerves). Take your armies to the main battle.

2) The rise in adrenaline is transient. Its changes are far lower, and for a lesser time-frame, than say a short run. So - these experiments are again irrelevant to true measurements of long-term immune function. Exercise is great for the immune system (long-term), whereas excessive exercise depresses the immune system. So normal rises as falls are a daily occurrence.

3) Adrenaline is not bad. Nor hormone is bad. Abnormally high or low levels of any hormone - over time - are bad.

Hope this helps

What would be really

nice is studies that look at the benefits of sex without orgasm AS COMPARED WITH sex with orgasm. I think many benefits would be seen to be available with a karezza, and that orgasm, which feels like the "gift," is not as big a gift as the exchange of intimacy and affection (and arousal Smile ).

As for the "power hormone" label, as Gary just told me. "Yes adrenaline and high dopamine increase focus and a sense of aliveness- very briefly. However, if you were jacked up on those all the time, you'd soon be dead. You wouldn't digest any food; your blood pressure would be up; and you'd eventually have a heart attack. If the researcher is saying orgasm gives you power, that power only lasts a few seconds, so where's your power then?"

The real issue is that no one is looking at what happens to those "power hormones" out a bit on the time line after orgasm. What's especially needed is to check the levels afterward where a person keeps trying to "power up" by orgasming constantly. (Erectile dysfunction anyone? Insensitivity to sex with real partner instead of vibrator anyone??)

I feel a "Psychology Today" post coming one, Fleur. Thanks. Smile

hey what about the field studies...??

aren't there some guys around who had A LOT of orgasms until recently and could tell us what their experience was?
the real researchers in the real world... could you share please?

how is/was your immune system?

One part the science, the other part the experience.

Well we can use me as a test

Well we can use me as a test subject. Just before coming back here I got the flu. I was having enough Os for anyone. I have not gotten many colds or the flu over the years. Since I have been at me current job though I have been sick 3 times in 2 years. All three times I was having multiple Os a day. Now I have had just a few Os in 2 months. Not been sick yet. Well I am not sure how good a test subject I will be. I have completely redone my diet and supplements over the last couple months as well. So I do not know. I could go without getting sick for a few years and it could be that my diet and supplements make the difference. Will still keep track of whether I get sick or not.

One thing I do know if Orgasm helped the immune system then I should have never been sick ever :). Not the case. Again my diet and stuff were not the best during that time either.

thanks! that's helpful, here some more

(all this found by reuniting Science Page)

Mate like crazy and let the sperm fight it out (sexual activity suppresses immunity in Antechinus stuartii marsupials)

Mating suppresses splenic natural killer cell activity in male golden hamsters (sexual activity suppresses natural killer cell activity)

Sexual behavior suppresses the primary antibody response in the golden hamster (sexual behavior is immunosuppressive and may play a role in the communicability of STDs)

immune system and health

...after all a high number of so called killer cells etc. does not say a lot about your health.

It might as well kill you:
"The influenza of that season, however, was far more than a cold. In the two years that this scourge ravaged the earth, a fifth of the world's population was infected. The flu was most deadly for people ages 20 to 40. This pattern of morbidity was unusual for influenza which is usually a killer of the elderly and young children. " (about the so called spanish flu 1918)

It is said that it killed younger people because it activated their immune system too much, and people aged 20 to 40 tend to have a good one. They were killed by their own immune reactions.

The measure to see if something is good for you should be health and not immune system, I think.