What can cause orgasm problems in men?

There are several things that can affect a man’s ability to have an orgasm. These are often associated with ejaculation problems, but not always. These include:

  • erectile dysfunction
  • retrograde ejaculation
  • premature ejaculation
  • delayed ejaculation
  • anejaculation

For more information about any of these conditions, read about male sexual problems and erectile dysfunction.

You can also read information about ejaculation problems from the Sexual Advice Association.

What happens during an orgasm?

Semen is made up of sperm produced in the testicles, as well as fluid from the prostate gland and seminal vesicles (two glands behind a man’s bladder). When a man has an orgasm, he usually ejaculates at the same time. The semen produced is squirted out of the penis (ejaculation).

The male orgasm lasts from just before the semen first spurts out until the last semen is ejaculated. Occasionally, some men experience orgasm without ejaculating (called anejaculation). 

Can I increase how much semen I produce?

If there’s no obvious cause for the reduced amount of semen, you may be able to increase it by:

  • stopping smoking – it was found in a 2003 survey that, on average, non-smokers ejaculated 3.2ml of semen, but smokers ejaculated just 1.9ml
  • avoiding sex or masturbation for a few days at a time
  • delaying ejaculation during sex
  • drinking plenty of fluids

Read the answers to more questions about men's health.

Further information


Video: premature ejaculation

We ask members of the public about premature ejaculation and an expert explains what it is.

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Page last reviewed: 26/11/2012

Next review due: 25/11/2014