Medically reviewed on January 12, 2018
Dry orgasm occurs when a man reaches sexual climax but doesn't release (ejaculate) semen from the penis — or releases very little semen. Semen is the thick, white fluid that carries sperm.
Dry orgasm usually isn't harmful, but it can interfere with a man's ability to father a child. Over time, many men say a dry orgasm feels normal.
A dry orgasm can occur as a result of surgery to remove the prostate gland and surrounding lymph nodes (radical prostatectomy) or surgery to remove the bladder (cystectomy). After either of these procedures, a man will no longer produce semen. Dry orgasm can occur after some surgeries for testicular cancer, such as retroperitoneal lymph node dissection, which can affect the nerves that control orgasm.
In some cases of dry orgasm, semen is produced but goes into the bladder instead of out through the penis during sexual climax. This is known as retrograde ejaculation and is most often a consequence of medical procedures, particularly some prostate surgeries. It can also be caused by certain medications and health conditions.
In other cases of dry orgasm, men don't produce enough semen to ejaculate because of genetic abnormalities of the reproductive system.
Repeated orgasms use up all of the body's fresh semen and sperm. As a result, an orgasm that occurs after repeated orgasms might be dry. This is not a cause for alarm and generally improves after a few hours of rest.
Underlying causes of dry orgasm include:
- Bladder removal surgery (cystectomy)
- Blocked sperm duct (ejaculatory duct obstruction)
- Certain medications used to treat high blood pressure, enlarged prostate and mood disorders
- Genetic abnormalities of the reproductive system
- Male hypogonadism (testosterone deficiency)
- Multiple sclerosis
- Open prostatectomy
- Prostatectomy (radical)
- Prostate laser surgery
- Radiation therapy
- Retrograde ejaculation
- Retroperitoneal lymph node dissection
- Spinal cord injury
- TUIP (transurethral incision of the prostate)
- TUMT (transurethral microwave therapy)
- TURP (transurethral resection of the prostate)
When to see a doctor
In most cases, dry orgasm isn't harmful. But talk to your doctor about it to be sure your condition isn't caused by an underlying medical condition that needs attention. If you have dry orgasms and are attempting to father a child, you might need treatment to get your partner pregnant.