A Guide to Prostate Massage

Prostate massage is a procedure in which a finger is inserted into the rectum to stimulate the prostate gland. The goal is to release excess seminal fluid—the fluid that mixes with sperm to create semen—from the ducts of the prostate gland.

Alternative medical practitioners claim that prostate massage can ease prostate inflammation while alleviating pressure on the urinary tract. Among the conditions prostate massage is said to treat are:

  • Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH): enlargement of the prostate
  • Prostatitis: inflammation of the prostate
  • Urinary hesitancy: difficulty urinating
  • Erectile dysfunction: difficulty getting or keeping an erection

Prostate massage is also used for sexual stimulation to help achieve arousal, enhance an erection, or relax the rectum in advance of anal sex.

This article will discuss the medical and sexual purposes of prostate massage. It also covers how the procedure is done, along with the risks and side effects that may come with it.


Click Play to Learn How to Give a Prostate Massage

This video has been medically reviewed by Rochelle Collins, DO.

About the Prostate

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Sebastian Kaulitzki / Science Photo Library

The prostate gland is about the size and shape of a walnut, located between the bladder and the root of the penis. The urethra (the tube through which urine and semen leave the body) runs through the center of the prostate.

As a man ages, the prostate tends to grow. For men in their 60s, 70s, and older, the prostate can reach the size of a plum or even larger. As it grows, it can narrow the urethra, causing urinary symptoms of BPH such as:

  • Frequent need to urinate, especially at night
  • Difficulty starting urination
  • Weak urine stream
  • Dribbling at the end of urination
  • Inability to completely empty the bladder

In some cases, BPH can lead to incontinence (loss of bladder control), sexual dysfunction, prostatitis, bladder stones, cystitis (bladder infection), and reduced kidney function.

BPH does not increase the risk of prostate cancer, however.

Beyond its role in men's health, the prostate gland is also involved in the sexual response cycle in men. Prostate massage can stimulate the production of seminal fluid just prior to ejaculation.

Possible Benefits

Few studies have shown any therapeutic benefit from prostate massage. One study published in the journal Open Urology and Nephrology reported that 115 men with BPH experienced an improvement in symptoms after using a prostate massage device.

However, the significance of the findings was limited by the lack of a control group, medical tests, or exams of any kind. The researchers instead relied on questionnaires filled out by the participants.

Although prostate massage may enhance the intensity of ejaculation, there is no evidence it can overcome problems like erectile dysfunction.

Side Effects and Risks

The tissues lining the prostate and rectum are delicate and vulnerable to cuts, tears, and abrasions. Massaging the prostate too intensely can easily lead to soreness. In the study described above, for example, 8.3% of participants reported discomfort after prostate massage.

Overly aggressive prostate massage can also cause rectal bleeding, creating a risk of bacterial infection or aggravating hemorrhoids.

Furthermore, manual prostate massage is discouraged for men with acute bacterial prostatitis. The massage increases inflammation and may promote the spread of bacteria to the urethra, other parts of the urinary tract, and the bloodstream.

That said, a few small studies of the effects of prostate massage performed by a physician have shown it to be beneficial as a therapy for chronic prostatitis when paired with antibiotics.

Prostate Massage and Cancer

Men suspected of having prostate cancer should not be treated with (or engage in) prostate massage, as this may cause tumor cells to break off and spread to nearby tissues.

There's some evidence that prostate massage, prior to certain tests for prostate cancer, may increase the sensitivity of the test, making it more likely the cancer will be detected.

However, a prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood test should not be conducted immediately after a prostate massage, as this could lead to false-positive results.

Even if cancer is not an issue, it's important to avoid injuring the prostate. The thin, pliable membrane covering the prostate—the prostatic plexus—is full of nerves that serve the sponge-like corpora cavernosa of the penis.

Massaging the prostate too intensely can damage nerves in the corpora cavernosa—two chambers composed of erectile tissue that run the length of the penis. Damage to the corpora cavernosa can result in pain and erectile dysfunction.


Prostate massage is considered a pleasurable sexual practice by some men. If you try it, to prevent injury or discomfort, you should:

  • Trim and file fingernails to prevent scratches, cuts, or tears to the rectum or prostate.
  • Wash and dry hands thoroughly prior to performing prostate massage.
  • Apply generous amounts of silicone or water-based lubricant (ideally fragrance-free) to help prevent rectal damage or discomfort.
  • Consider wearing latex or nitrile gloves for added protection.
  • Before receiving a prostate massage, perform a light douching to remove fecal matter from the rectum.

Never engage in a prostate massage if you or your partner has fissures or hemorrhoids. Doing so can cause bleeding and may increase the risk of infection.

How to Do a Prostate Massage

If performing prostate massage for sexual purposes, it often helps to achieve a state of arousal first. Doing so moves the gland into a slightly upward and backward position as the penis becomes erect.

At that point:

  1. Apply lube liberally around the anus.
  2. Insert an index finger slowly to the first knuckle and start masturbating.
  3. Pull the finger out and re-apply lube.
  4. As you continue to masturbate, replace your finger back into the anus, this time to the second knuckle.
  5. Repeat steps 3 and 4 until you reach the third knuckle.
  6. Once the finger is fully inserted, search for a rounded lump roughly 4 inches inside the rectum and up towards the root of the penis. This is the prostate.
  7. Gently massage the prostate in a circular or back-and-forth motion using the pad of a finger. You can also apply gentle pressure for seven to 10 seconds, again with the pad of a finger rather than the tip.


There is very little evidence to support the claims that prostate massage is an effective therapy for prostatitis, enlarged prostate, or other conditions that affect the prostate. It is clear, however, that prostatic massage comes with risks for men who have bacterial prostatitis, prostate cancer, fissures, or hemorrhoids. For them, prostate massage should be avoided, as it can worsen their condition.

A Word From Verywell

Prostate massage should never be used as a substitute for the diagnosis or treatment of an enlarged prostate or prostate cancer. The United States Preventive Services Task Force currently recommends regular prostate cancer screening for all men between the ages of 55 and 69.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is a prostate?

    The prostate is a walnut-sized gland that helps make semen. It is located below the bladder and surrounds the urethra, a tube which carries urine and semen.

  • Do women have a prostate?

    Not exactly, but women do have glands that are considered a counterpart to the male prostate. They are called Skene's glands and are located on either side of the urethra. It is believed that the glands secrete a substance that acts as both an antimicrobial to prevent a urinary tract infection (UTI) as well as a lubricant for the urethra.

  • Does an enlarged prostate affect a man sexually?

    It can. An enlarged prostate can cause urinary symptoms that are associated with sexual problems including reduced libido, difficulties with erections, and less sexual satisfaction. In general, the worse the prostate symptoms, the worse the sexual dysfunction.

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