Semen loss typically occurs during ejaculation, whether that ejaculation is the result of masturbation, intercourse, or nocturnal emissions. Historically, the loss of semen through any means other than heterosexual intercourse for reproductive purposes has been considered medically dangerous. These attitudes about semen loss continue to persist in some cultures, especially in traditional Indian culture. Modern medicine has determined, however, that there are no negative psychological or physical ramifications to be feared from semen loss.
Throughout history, various doctors, psychiatrists and other experts have believed that semen is one of the most crucial of the bodily fluids. Many have espoused that all physical and mental strength and health originates from the semen. In former times, men of European and other cultures were advised to retain their semen within their bodies as much as possible, in order to optimize physical and mental health. The more ejaculate a man secreted, it was thought, the more he made himself vulnerable to sickness, weakness, mental illness, and even permanent cognitive impairment. These fears probably stemmed from the belief that men possessed a limited amount of semen, and that excreting it indiscriminately could cause them to deplete their supply to dangerously low levels.
Modern medical professionals now believe that men produce new sperm and seminal fluids regularly, and that there is therefore no reasons to fear the permanent depletion of semen within the body. While ejaculation is no longer regarded as potentially harmful by the medical community, fears about semen loss persist in some cultures. Many believe that frequent ejaculation can lead to decreased fertility, erectile dysfunction, or damage to the genital organs later in life. Others believe that frequent ejaculation can cause impaired cognitive function, overall loss of physical strength, or insanity.
While semen loss is not dangerous, some experts have identified a neurosis known as Dhat syndrome, which can afflict those who fear the possible medical consequences of semen loss. The symptoms of Dhat syndrome are believed to occur due to the stress of experiencing anxiety about the loss of semen, rather than from the actual loss itself. Victims of this psychological disturbance often experience psychosomatic symptoms, including muscle weakness, trouble sleeping, weight loss and pain. Many cases of Dhat syndrome have been successfully treated by educating victims about the facts surrounding semen production and ejaculation.