JackinWorld takes a closer look at a controversial technique.
By Bruce McFarland
[Bruce McFarland is an Assistant Editor at JackinWorld.]
Here at JackinWorld, we take our readers' safety very seriously and do not advocate the practice of masturbation techniques that may be unsafe. Some readers have questioned the application of this policy to a technique sometimes called "injaculation" or the "finger lock," in which external pressure is used to prevent expulsion of semen from the penis. We've researched the matter and present here our findings so you can make your own informed decision. If you think you want to try this technique, please be sure to read this entire article before making up your mind.
How It Works
During ejaculation, semen passes through the urethra, a tube leading from the prostate into the penis. This tube expands just before ejaculation and can be felt through the perineum, the area between the scrotum and the anus. The urethra can be closed by applying firm pressure to the perineum, preventing semen from flowing through it. In the finger lock technique, 3 fingertips apply this pressure just before one reaches the point of ejaculatory inevitability (the point at which nothing can prevent you from proceeding to ejaculation). The tips of the ring and middle fingers are laid across the tip of the index finger, forming a small triangle. The tip of the index finger then presses directly on the urethra while the other two fingers hold it in place. The fingers are kept in place until ejaculatory contractions cease. Erection subsides as usual, but no semen emerges.
Some Taoist teachers in the Western world call the location to be pressed during the finger lock the "million-dollar point," a term that conveys the value of avoiding ejaculation. The "million-dollar point" is said to be on the perineum just in front of the anus, a location you can detect by the way it yields slightly to pressure. Pressing there also squeezes the inner end of the corpus spongiosum, a long internal chamber that runs through the entire length of the penile shaft and swells at the outer tip to form the penis head. [For more, see Penis Anatomy & Erection in JackinWorld Science Corner.] Pressing the million-dollar point while you are erect will push a bit more blood into the penis, causing it to swell slightly or to bounce in place.
Some finger-lock practitioners report it produces intensified orgasm. Whether you close the urethra or not, rubbing the perineum during masturbation can be extremely pleasurable. In addition to externally stimulating the prostate gland, rubbing the perineum massages the PC (pubococcygeus) muscle, which runs through the perineum and connects to both the anus and the scrotum.
Good Or Bad?
Taoist teachers who advocate the finger lock or similar techniques believe every expulsion of semen from the body weakens the person and endangers his health. Although this assertion is said to be based on centuries of accumulated experience, there is no available scientific or medical evidence to support it.
Moreover, preventing ejaculation may have bad effects. Of some concern is retrograde ejaculation, or "injaculation," in which semen backs up into the bladder. One way to determine if this has happened is to collect a sample from your next urination. If the urine is cloudy, it probably includes semen. You may be able to prevent this from happening the next time by moving your fingertips closer to your anus, stopping the semen before it reaches the point where the bladder feeds into the urethra. This adjustment requires very fine tuning. However, even if you prevent semen from entering the bladder, seminal fluids will still be forced back through internal valves designed to control flow in the opposite direction, with the full explosive power of ejaculatory contractions. Study of prostate problems among men of all ages suggests that retaining too much unexpelled semen or "necrotic fluid" inside the body may contribute to serious health problems. And the famous Dr. Drew Pinsky of MTV's "Loveline" has said injaculation is a bad idea and can possibly lead to fertility problems, though we have no idea where he got that information.
Furthermore, a great deal of evidence has accumulated to indicate that the perineum is quite vulnerable to damage. Both nerves and blood vessels crucial to sexual functioning are found within this area, as long-distance bike riders have discovered to their dismay – the regular pounding the perineum receives from a traditional bicycle seat can contribute to impotence. This problem is now taken seriously enough that bicycle manufacturers are developing alternative designs that put the pressure on the inner thighs instead. For further information see the article "Spokes Man for a Hard Problem" by Steve Mirsky in Scientific American Presents, Volume 10, Number 2, Summer 1999. While the finger lock may not necessarily do such damage, the perineum is clearly not designed to withstand high pressures regularly.
Our initial consultation with a Taoist expert on male sexual function indicated there should be "no problem" with the finger lock – he compared the technique with the results of a vasectomy. But this comparison does not hold up under scrutiny. Vasectomy involves surgical excision of the vas deferens, the tube that carries sperm from the testes to the ejaculatory duct. A vasectomy therefore prevents only the small fraction of seminal fluid that contains sperm cells from being ejaculated, whereas the finger lock prevents any semen at all from being expelled. A vasectomy is a birth-control procedure, and it has no effect at all upon either sexual function or masturbatory pleasure. Of course, the finger lock should never be considered a means of birth control – it simply won't work for that purpose.
When we approached the American Urological Association for an expert opinion, we were told they do not answer questions and exist only to serve their members. We then found a medical Web site that discussed retrograde ejaculation, but only from accidental trauma or as a side effect of surgery. Eventually, we made contact with an Australian physician whose responses proved far more helpful. Evidently retrograde ejaculation in itself – that is, the forcing of semen into the bladder – usually does not cause any particular harm. The doctor cautioned, however, that traumatic pressure to the urethra should be avoided. While admitting that very little research exists on the subject, he further cautioned that "any interference with the discharge of either semen or urine is a big 'no-no' in the presence of infection, since infection must be encouraged to be flushed out." Any kind of infection can become much worse if it spreads into the bladder. Lastly, "if it hurts, then don't do it!" We thank this source for his valuable assistance.
Is It Worth It?
Personally, I value the good condition of my body. For example, for the last year I have been learning the Japanese Tea Ceremony, and I often spend several hours at a time sitting on a tiny one-legged stool to avoid getting numb feet. As much as I love the Tea Ceremony, however, I don't like the feeling of such prolonged pressure on my perineum, so I alternate sitting on the stool with periods of sitting on my feet. To me, the health of my perineum is worth more than a million dollars, because it plays an important role in my ability to experience sexual pleasure.
The claim that manually preventing ejaculation is good for the health seems suspect. While many males experience lassitude or even a state of mild depression following masturbation – especially after a "quickie" in which one doesn't take the time to fully enjoy masturbation – something as natural as ejaculation couldn't possible be harmful to you. Besides, whether or not your semen leaves your body, the physiological changes that accompany orgasm and which produce this lassitude or depression will occur regardless.
The finger lock technique, which can produce injaculation or retrograde ejaculation, may not be particularly dangerous when done "properly." But is it worth a risk just to prevent a mess? For such a purpose, why not go to the minor trouble of using tissue or a sock? Furthermore, there are plenty of safer ways to enhance your enjoyment of masturbation, many of them described in detail here on JackinWorld. We provide the information and inspiration – it's up to you to make the best decisions for yourself.