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Weak Ejaculation: Causes & Treatment Options

Kelly Brown MD, MBA

Reviewed by Kelly Brown, MD

Written by Geoffrey C. Whittaker

Published 02/19/2021

Updated 05/06/2024

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 more common. One sexual problem many men notice is weaker ejaculation, such as a reduced level of pressure or a lower semen volume when they ejaculate.

Semen volume and 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 about what weak ejaculation is and why it might be occurring.

We’ve answered those questions below, along with questions about treatment options for improving your orgasms and the strength, volume and sperm count of your ejaculation.

Ejaculation is the expulsion of semen from your body 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.

Weak ejaculation is a term that’s typically used to refer to ejaculation that’s lower in volume than expected or that’s expelled from your body without significant pressure.

People may use the term for delayed ejaculation, infertility or any number of ejaculatory issues, although it typically refers either to the force or volume of ejaculation.

Your ejaculatory volume and strength constantly vary, so it’s important to remember the following facts:

  • 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 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 well-being to your hormone levels.

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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 clear diagnostic criteria.

Still, many men report a range of symptoms related to ejaculation as they get older, including:

  • Reduced ejaculation volume. You may notice that you don’t ejaculate as much as you used to. It’s pretty 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 usual. It might come out in weaker or fewer spurts with low 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, or even impossible, to reach orgasm or experience orgasms that aren’t as pleasurable as normal.

A diverse range of factors can 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.

But to explain what might be causing weak ejaculation, we need to talk about what happens when you ejaculate.

As you start to reach orgasm, your vasa deferentia (the pair of tubes that connect your testes to your ejaculatory ducts) contract to move your sperm to the base of your penis. At the same time, your prostate gland and seminal vesicles produce semen, which helps your sperm travel into your partner effectively.

Then during the second phase of ejaculation, muscles around the base of your penis contract to push the semen out of your penis.

These different parts of the process can be interrupted by a number of biological factors. In addition, psychological factors may stop the process from happening at all.

Theoretically, anything that affects your sexual pleasure, prostate gland, testes, nervous system or the muscles involved in the process of ejaculating can have an impact on your ability to ejaculate normally.

Aging

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 that, semen production may start to decline.

This aging-related decline in semen production could result in a reduced ejaculatory volume, as well as weaker ejaculation.

Daily Habits and Overall Health

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.

And don’t forget your general health. Research has even found that recent COVID-19 infection can contribute to anorgasmia — a condition that involves infrequent or absent orgasms.

Prostate Conditions and Surgical Procedures

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, usually because this type of operation can cause bladder neck muscle contraction issues.

Other surgical procedures that affect your pelvis and surrounding area may also damage the nerves that allow for proper sexual function, which can affect your ability to ejaculate.

However, we should note that ED after a vasectomy isn't a typical example of how surgery can lead to erectile and ejaculation problems.

Alcohol Use and Alcohol Abuse

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.

Sexual Factors

In some cases, factors related to sexual arousal or attraction 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, you could ejaculate less or with a reduced level of intensity. It’s also normal to release a smaller amount of 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.

Retrograde Ejaculation

Sometimes, weak ejaculation can occur due to retrograde ejaculation —  a clinically recognized ejaculation disorder in which semen flows backward 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.

A variety of factors can cause or contribute to retrograde ejaculation, including damage to the muscle of the bladder neck from prostate or bladder surgery, nerve damage caused by injury 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, certain medications for prostate enlargement, and medicines for managing hypertension (high blood pressure).

  • Diabetes can damage the nerves and vasculature supplying the penis, bladder, 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 mechanics of semen transport and cause retrograde ejaculation.

Our complete 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.

Psychological Factors

Research suggests that approximately 31 percent of men have 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.

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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. Another is perceived ejaculate volume reduction (PEVR).

PEVR is a noticeable change in the overall trend of your ejaculatory volume. It can be caused by testicular problems, diabetes, cancer treatments or medications for a number of conditions.

It’s normal to expel between 1.25 and 5.00 mL of semen each time you ejaculate. However, the National Institutes of Health defines hypospermia, a condition that involves an unusually low ejaculate volume, as a semen volume that’s consistently below 2 ml.

If you’re affected by PEVR, speak to a urology expert or another healthcare professional for medical advice.

In many cases, a slight 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.

Lifestyle Changes

Sometimes, making a few simple changes to your habits and daily life can have a significant impact on your sexual function. Many of these changes also help promote a normal sperm count, which may be an issue if you often have weak ejaculation.

For more consistent ejaculation and better sexual satisfaction, try to:

  • Exercise regularly. Being overweight or obese is associated with an elevated risk of sexual dysfunction in both men and women. Staying active can make it easier to maintain a healthy weight, plus it promotes better blood flow, which is key to erections. 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 sexual 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 reduce your risk of experiencing sexual performance issues. 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. If that wasn’t all enough, 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.

Pelvic Floor Exercises

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 train your pelvic muscles, follow the steps below:

  1. Make yourself comfortable sitting or lying down.

  2. Take a moment to identify your pelvic floor muscles by squeezing the muscles you use to stop the flow of urine or the passing of gas.

  3. Keeping the muscles in your legs, buttocks, and stomach relaxed, tense the pelvic floor muscles.

  4. Imagine you are trying to lift the base of your scrotum, drawing the muscles into your pelvis.

  5. Squeeze and hold those muscles for 10 seconds, then relax while counting to 10.

  6. Repeat the process three to five times each day.

Over time, you may notice an improvement in your ability to control ejaculation. Our complete 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.

Medication for Improving Sexual Function

Although there’s no FDA-approved medication specifically for treating weak ejaculation, several medications used to treat other sexual performance issues might help you feel more comfortable in bed and improve your ability to reach orgasm and ejaculate.

For example, erectile dysfunction medications likeViagra® (sildenafil), Cialis® (tadalafil), Levitra® (vardenafil) and Stendra® (avanafil) can potentially boost your confidence, helping 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 before and during sex.

Other medications used to treat ejaculation disorders include antidepressants like selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), which are often used to treat premature ejaculation.

Common SSRIs used to delay ejaculation and improve sexual stamina includePaxil® (paroxetine) andZoloft® (sertraline).

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 certain medications, your healthcare provider may suggest adjusting your dosage, taking your medication at a different time of day or switching to a different medication that’s less likely to cause sexual side effects.

Psychotherapy

Sexual function is a complex process involving multiple systems in the body, including your brain and nervous system. Along with physical health conditions, psychological issues can play a significant role in your ability to engage in sexual activity successfully.

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.

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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 usual, 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 and premature ejaculation.

20 Sources

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  2. Erection Ejaculation: How It Occurs. (2020, November 27). Retrieved from https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/articles/10036-erection-ejaculation-how-it-occurs
  3. Parnham, A. & Serefoglu, E.C. (2016, August). Retrograde ejaculation, painful ejaculation and hematospermia. Translational Andrology and Urology. 5 (4), 592-601. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5002007/
  4. Pasqualotto, F.F., et al. (2006, February). Cigarette smoking is related to a decrease in semen volume in a population of fertile men. BJU International. 97 (2), 324-326. Retrieved from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16430638/
  5. How might men with a history of COVID-19 infection be affected sexually? (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.issm.info/sexual-health-qa/how-might-men-with-a-history-of-covid-19-infection-be-affected-sexually
  6. Koren, G. & Koren, D. (2020). Retrograde Ejaculation—a Commonly Unspoken Aspect of Prostatectomy for Benign Prostatic Hypertrophy. American Journal of Men’s Health. 14 (2), 1557988320910870. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7065283/
  7. Delayed ejaculation. (2020, January 15). Retrieved from https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/001954.htm
  8. Arackal, B.S. & Benegal, V. (2007). Prevalence of sexual dysfunction in male subjects with alcohol dependence. Indian Journal of Psychiatry. 49 (2), 109-112. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2917074/
  9. Retrograde ejaculation. (2021, January 10). Retrieved from https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/001282.htm
  10. Kam, J., Tsang, V.H. & Chalasani, V. (2017, January). Retrograde Ejaculation: A Rare Presenting Symptom of Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus. Urology Case Reports. 10, 9-10. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5090193/
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  14. How much physical activity do adults need? (2022, June 2). Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/basics/adults/index.htm
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Editorial Standards

Hims & Hers has strict sourcing guidelines to ensure our content is accurate and current. We rely on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and medical associations. We strive to use primary sources and refrain from using tertiary references. See a mistake? Let us know at [email protected]!

This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. The information contained herein is not a substitute for and should never be relied upon for professional medical advice. Always talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of any treatment. Learn more about our editorial standards here.

Kelly Brown MD, MBA
Kelly Brown, MD

Dr. Kelly Brown is a board certified Urologist and fellowship trained in Andrology. She is an accomplished men’s health expert with a robust background in healthcare innovation, clinical medicine, and academic research. Dr. Brown was previously Medical Director of a male fertility startup where she lead strategy and design of their digital health platform, an innovative education and telehealth model for delivering expert male fertility care.

She completed her undergraduate studies at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (go Heels!) with a Bachelor of Science in Radiologic Science and a Minor in Chemistry. She took a position at University of California Los Angeles as a radiologic technologist in the department of Interventional Cardiology, further solidifying her passion for medicine. She also pursued the unique opportunity to lead departmental design and operational development at the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, sparking her passion for the business of healthcare.

Dr. Brown then went on to obtain her doctorate in medicine from the prestigious Northwestern University - Feinberg School of Medicine and Masters in Business Administration from Northwestern University - Kellogg School of Management, with a concentration in Healthcare Management. During her surgical residency in Urology at University of California San Francisco, she utilized her research year to focus on innovations in telemedicine and then served as chief resident with significant contributions to clinical quality improvement. Dr. Brown then completed her Andrology Fellowship at Medical College of Wisconsin, furthering her expertise in male fertility, microsurgery, and sexual function.

Her dedication to caring for patients with compassion, understanding, as well as a unique ability to make guys instantly comfortable discussing anything from sex to sperm makes her a renowned clinician. In addition, her passion for innovation in healthcare combined with her business acumen makes her a formidable leader in the field of men’s health.

Dr. Brown is an avid adventurer; summiting Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania (twice!) and hiking the incredible Torres del Paine Trek in Patagonia, Chile. She deeply appreciates new challenges and diverse cultures on her travels. She lives in Denver with her husband, two children, and beloved Bernese Mountain Dog. You can find Dr. Brown on LinkedIn for more information.

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