Reviewed by Jill Johnson, FNP
Written by Our Editorial Team
As you get older, it’s normal to experience some changes in your sexual function. You may find that you’re less interested in sex than you used to be, or that problems like erectile dysfunction (ED) are becoming more common for you.
One issue that many men notice as they age is weaker ejaculation, including a reduced level of pressure and a lower semen volume when they ejaculate.
Things like your semen volume or the strength of ejaculation can vary from one man to another, but if you’ve recently noticed a reduction in the volume or force of your ejaculate, you likely have a few questions.
Below, we’ve explained what weak ejaculation is, as well as why it may occur at certain points in your life.
We’ve also a few treatment options for improving your orgasms and ejaculation, both in terms of strength, volume and sperm count.
Before we go into more detail about weak ejaculation and its causes, let’s get a few basics out of the way:
Weak ejaculation itself isn’t a recognized medical condition. However, there are several ejaculation disorders, such as retrograde ejaculation, which may cause you to ejaculate very little semen or have weak ejaculations during sex.
The total volume of semen you ejaculate can vary hugely. According to the International Society for Sexual Medicine, men expel between 1.25 and 5.00 mL of semen each time they ejaculate.
It’s normal for your semen volume to vary from one day to another. For example, if you have recently had sex or masturbated, you may ejaculate a smaller volume of semen if you reach orgasm and ejaculate again within the next few hours.
A variety of factors may play a role in your ejaculation strength and volume, from your age and general wellbeing to your hormone levels.
Ejaculation is the expulsion of semen from your body that occurs when you reach orgasm and experience sexual climax. It’s a reflex action that occurs in response to sexual stimulation, and is controlled by your central nervous system.
The process of ejaculation happens in two phases. In the first phase, your vasa deferentia (the pair of tubes that connect your testes to your ejaculatory ducts) contract, moving your sperm to the base of your penis.
At the same time, your prostate gland and seminal vesicles produce semen, allowing the sperm to effectively travel into your partner.
During the second phase of ejaculation, muscles around the base of your penis contract to push the semen out from your penis. It’s normal for this process to occur several times, resulting in a series of spurts in which semen is expelled from your penis as you orgasm.
Weak ejaculation is a term that’s typically used to refer to ejaculation that’s lower in volume than expected or expelled from your body without significant pressure.
Like many other sexual performance concerns, weak ejaculation is largely a subjective issue, as ejaculation volume and orgasm intensity can vary from one man to another.
In many cases, weak ejaculation is more a matter of perception and preferences than a medical issue with a clear diagnostic criteria.
It’s normal to expel between 1.25 and 5.00 mL of semen each time you ejaculate. However, the National Institutes of Health generally defines a semen volume that’s consistently below 2 mL as hypospermia -- a condition that involves an unusually low ejaculate volume.
Although there’s no specific diagnostic criteria for weak ejaculation, many men report a range of related symptoms related to ejaculation as they get older. These include:
Reduced ejaculation volume. You may notice that you don’t ejaculate as much as you used to. It’s fairly common for your ejaculation volume to decline gradually as you enter your mid to late 30s.
Reduced force of ejaculation. In addition to ejaculating less semen, you may feel like your semen isn’t expelled with as much force as normal. It might come out in weaker or fewer spurts without significant pressure.
Difficulty ejaculating. In some cases, weak ejaculation or low ejaculation volume may be accompanied by delayed orgasm or anorgasmia -- a condition in which you may find it difficult to reach orgasm, or experience orgasms that aren’t as pleasurable as normal.
A diverse range of factors can all play a role in your sexual function and performance, including your ability to reach orgasm and ejaculate. Often, the underlying cause of weak ejaculation can be difficult to pinpoint, especially when it isn’t related to a medical problem.
Sex is both psychological and physical. Theoretically, anything that affects your sexual pleasure, prostate gland, testes, nervous system or the muscles involved in the process of ejaculating can potentially have an impact on your ability to ejaculate normally.
It’s normal to release slightly less semen as you get older. According to the International Society for Sexual Medicine, men usually produce the most semen when they’re in their early 30s, after which your semen production may decline with age.
This aging-related decline in semen production could result in a reduced ejaculatory volume, as well as weaker ejaculation.
Your general health and daily habits can have a significant impact on your sexual performance, including your ability to ejaculate.
Research suggests that smoking can contribute to weak ejaculation. For example, a 2006 study published in the journal BJU International found that fertile men who smoked cigarettes released less semen during ejaculation than men who didn’t smoke.
However, the study didn’t identify any significant differences in sperm concentration, motility or levels of sex hormones between smokers and non-smokers.
Other factors, such as your diet, sleep habits and levels of stress, may also affect your ability to ejaculate and overall sexual function. Research has even found that recent COVID-19 infection can contribute to anorgasmia -- a condition that involves infrequent or absent orgasms.
Some prostate conditions, as well as surgical procedures used to treat prostate issues, can play a role in weak ejaculation.
For example, many men who undergo surgery to treat benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) find it difficult to ejaculate normally after the procedure, often due to muscle contraction issues caused by this type of operation.
Other surgical procedures that affect your pelvis and surrounding area may also damage to the nerves that allow for proper sexual function and affect your ability to ejaculate. However, we should note, ED after vasectomy isn't typical. You might also wonder if the combination of Viagra and a varicocele could be the reason for weak ejaculation.
Although alcohol consumption isn’t directly related to weak ejaculation, research shows a clear link between chronic alcohol use and an increased risk of sexual dysfunction, including certain ejaculation disorders.
You may notice that it’s more difficult to ejaculate or control your ejaculation if you drink alcohol often, or if you’re intoxicated while having sex.
In some cases, sexual factors may have an impact on your ability to ejaculate and the volume of semen you release during ejaculation.
Sex is all about arousal, and if you aren’t feeling entirely in the mood, it’s possible that you could ejaculate less or with a reduced level of intensity. It’s also normal to release less semen if you’ve already had sex earlier in the day.
Your level of attraction for your sexual partner may also affect ejaculation. You may find it harder to ejaculate, or notice that you have weaker ejaculations, if you don’t feel highly attracted to your partner.
Sometimes, weak ejaculation can occur due to retrograde ejaculation -- a clinically recognized ejaculation disorder in which semen flows backwards into your bladder instead of forwards and out from your urethra.
While many ejaculatory disorders are caused by both physiological and psychological factors, retrograde ejaculation is almost exclusively physiological in nature.
A variety of factors can cause or contribute to retrograde ejaculation, including damage to the tissue around your penis from prostate or bladder surgery, nerve damage caused by illness or side effects from certain types of medication:
Medications that may cause retrograde ejaculation include mood-altering drugs used to treat certain mental health disorders, as well as drugs for managing hypertension (high blood pressure).
Diabetes can damage the nerves and vasculature around the penis and urethra, which may result in retrograde ejaculation.
Certain surgical procedures, such as surgery for prostate enlargement, prostate cancer or urethra issues, can affect the nerves in and around your penis and cause retrograde ejaculation.
Our full guide to retrograde ejaculation goes into more detail about how retrograde ejaculation differs from other ejaculation issues, as well as how it may affect your sexual performance.
Research suggests that approximately 31 percent of men are affected by some form of sexual dysfunction. Many forms of sexual dysfunction are at least partly psychological, meaning they can develop as a result of mental and emotional factors.
For example, erectile dysfunction often occurs due to psychological issues, such as depression or fear of sexual failure.
Although research on the potential link between mental health disorders and weak ejaculation is limited, some conditions -- such as performance anxiety or lack of confidence -- may affect your ability to relax during sex and reach orgasm.
This could make orgasm and ejaculation less pleasurable or prevent you from properly reaching orgasm when you have sex with your partner.
In many cases, a small decrease in your average ejaculation volume or the strength with which you release semen is a normal part of aging and not something to panic about.
However, if you’ve noticed a sudden, severe decrease in your ejaculatory volume, or if you find it difficult to enjoy sex because of weak orgasms and/or ejaculation, it’s important to talk to your healthcare provider.
Weak ejaculation can often be treated by making changes to your lifestyle, using medication to improve your sexual function, taking part in therapy or performing exercises to strengthen your pelvic floor muscles.
Sometimes, making a few simple changes to your habits and daily life can have a big impact on your sexual function. Many of these changes also help to promote a normal sperm count, which may be an issue if you often suffer from weak ejaculation.
For more consistent ejaculation and better sexual satisfaction, try to:
Exercise on a regular basis. Being overweight or obese is associated with an elevated risk of sexual dysfunction in both men and women. Not only can staying active make it easier to maintain a healthy weight -- it can also promote better blood flow.
Try to exercise regularly, even if it’s just a moderate-intensity workout. Aim for the CDC’s recommendation of 150 minutes of moderate intensity-aerobic exercise each week, plus two muscle-strengthening workouts.
Make healthy sleep a priority. Sleep deprivation is a common cause of fertility issues in men and women. Try to get at least seven hours of sleep per night. If you often find falling asleep difficult, try using our sleep hygiene tips to make drifting off easier.
Follow a balanced diet. Eating a healthy, balanced diet may help to reduce your risk of experiencing sexual performance issues. Try to prioritize whole grains, fruits, vegetables and lean protein sources while minimizing excessively fatty or salty foods.
If you smoke, quit. As we mentioned above, smoking can reduce your semen volume and affect your ability to ejaculate. Research also suggests that smoking has an overall negative effect on your fertility, including on your sperm count.
Smoking can also cause erectile dysfunction. If you smoke and want to improve almost every aspect of your sexual health, make an effort to quit.
During ejaculation, muscles in your pelvic floor -- a space beneath your penis and at the bottom of your torso -- contract to expel ejaculate from your penis. Performing exercises to strengthen these muscles, commonly referred to as kegel exercises, may help with ejaculation disorders.
You can feel your pelvic floor muscles in action by tensing your muscles during urination to stop the stream. As your muscles tighten, you’ll feel your pelvic floor lift to stop the flow of urine from your urethra.
To train your pelvic muscles, follow the steps below:
Make yourself comfortable sitting or lying down.
Take a moment to identify your pelvic floor muscles by squeezing the muscles you use to stop the flow or urine or the passing of gas.
Keeping the muscles in your legs, buttocks, and stomach relaxed, tense the pelvic floor muscles.
Imagine you are trying to lift the base of your scrotum, drawing the muscles up into your pelvis.
Squeeze and hold those muscles for a count of 10, then relax while counting to 10.
Repeat the process three to five times each day, such as in the morning, afternoon and before you go to bed.
Over time, you may notice an improvement in your ability to control ejaculation. Our full guide to pelvic floor muscle exercises for men goes into more detail about how you can strengthen your pelvic floor muscles for better sexual function and bladder control.
Although there’s no FDA-approved medication specifically for treating weak ejaculation, several drugs used to treat other sexual performance issues might help you to feel more comfortable in bed and improve your ability to reach orgasm and ejaculate.
For example, erectile dysfunction medications like sildenafil (the active ingredient in Viagra®), tadalafil (Cialis®), vardenafil (Levitra®) and avanafil (Stendra®) can potentially give a boost to your confidence that may help you to relax and avoid performance anxiety during sex.
These medications don’t increase sexual arousal or promote ejaculation on their own. Instead, they work by stimulating blood flow to your penis prior to and during sex.
Other medications used to treat ejaculation disorders include antidepressants such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), which are often used to treat premature ejaculation.
Sometimes, issues such as anorgasmia and retrograde ejaculation can occur as a side effect of medication you already use.
If your ejaculation problems are linked to your use of medication, your healthcare provider may suggest adjusting your dosage, taking your medication at a different time to day or switching to a different medication that’s less likely to cause sexual side effects.
Sexual function is a complex process that involves multiple systems in the body, including your brain and nervous system. As well as physical health conditions, psychological issues can also play a significant role in your ability to successfully engage in sexual activity.
Although there’s limited research on the effectiveness of psychotherapy for sexual performance issues, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and variations of it seem to be the most popular and widely practiced forms of treatment.
If weak ejaculation or other sexual health concerns are taking a toll on your mental health, you may want to consider taking part in online counseling to learn more about your options.
Sexual health concerns such as weak ejaculation can be difficult to talk about, even with your healthcare provider.
However, if you’ve noticed that your orgasms and/or ejaculation feel weaker than normal, or if you find it difficult to ejaculate at all during sex, it’s important to talk to your healthcare provider about your situation.
Weak ejaculation is often a symptom of another health condition. By talking to an expert, you’ll be able to identify the potential cause and learn more about the treatment options that you can use to improve your ability to ejaculate and general sexual health.
Interested in learning more about improving your sexual wellbeing? We offer a range of sexual health treatment products for men, including medications for treating erectile dysfunction (ED) and premature ejaculation (PE).
Dr. Jill Johnson is a board-certified Family Nurse Practitioner and board-certified in Aesthetic Medicine. She has clinical and leadership experience in emergency services, Family Practice, and Aesthetics.
Jill graduated with honors from Frontier Nursing University School of Midwifery and Family Practice, where she received a Master of Science in Nursing with a specialty in Family Nursing. She completed her doctoral degree at Case Western Reserve University.
Jill is a national speaker on various topics involving critical care, emergency and air medical topics. She has authored and reviewed for numerous publications. You can find Jill on Linkedin for more information.