Does Masturbation Increase or Decrease Testosterone Levels?

OK sure, the stigma around self-pleasure is shrinking by the day, but talking about masturbation freely is still a big no-no. While we understand that self-love may be a taboo issue for some, the less we talk about it, the more questions we have, and that’s pretty much how myths and misconceptions are born.

One of the biggest questions/misconceptions surrounding masturbation revolves around testosterone. So, while some believe that bringing yourself to orgasm time after time increases T levels, others disagree and support that frequent masturbation is all types of wrong for the male hormone. But, which side makes a solid point? Let’s see what science has to say.

The Case Against Masturbation and Testosterone

Misconceptions aside, the logic behind self-love abstinence does make some sense. But, let’s break it down a bit. Since most of the male hormone is produced in the testes, masturbation, ejaculation and having sex could potentially lower testosterone. Why? Every time you masturbate, you get rid of the contents along with a significant amount of testosterone. However, whether this argument complies with science is another issue.

Despite that, athletes have been supporting this approach for decades now, believing abstinence can make them more aggressive and, thus, competitive. Boxing legends such as Mike Tyson and Muhammad Ali are just two of the athletes who sacrificed their pleasure for a “greater cause.” The idea behind this practice is that you reserve all testosterone and the sexual tension that comes with it and use it as a fuel for other things. But, is there really a connection between (not) masturbating and testosterone?

The Case For Masturbation and Testosterone

However, not everyone thinks that masturbating can take a toll on testosterone levels. Masturbation proponents support that ejaculating often enough helps them “keep the juices flowing.” That means that they force the body to produce more and more testosterone every time they empty the contents upon ejaculation. In theory, this approach makes sense as well. But, does science agree?

Masturbation and Testosterone – The Scientific Truth

  • Abstinence and Testosterone

One of the most common questions out there is whether self-love abstinence can help increase a guy’s T levels. In 2001, a panel of scientists studied the effects of a 3-week abstinence on the male endocrine system and its reaction to a masturbation-induced orgasm after a 21-day sexual hiatus. While experts marked no considerable changes to the endocrine system, they accidentally found out that abstaining from self-pleasure can increase testosterone levels.

But, this was just the beginning. In 2003, experts decided to focus entirely on the relationship between masturbation and testosterone. So, they examined the effect of a 7-day abstinence on T levels. While there were no fluctuations between days 2 and 5, things took a different course on day 7. Specifically, they rose about 145.7%, proving once again the connection between abstinence, masturbation, and testosterone.

If abstinence is starting to look like a sustainable way to spike your T levels, wait before you hear about the following study. According to experts, abstaining for too long can do more harm than good as it significantly reduces testosterone. However, keep in mind that the said study included men with erectile dysfunction, so the results may not be that accurate.

  • Ejaculation and Testosterone

But, what’s the deal with testosterone when you DO masturbate? Both human and animal studies show that there is not really a connection between your sexual activity and the male hormone. So, contrary to popular belief, masturbating doesn’t hurt T levels.

However, these studies focused on the effects of a single ejaculation on the male hormone concentration. So, what happens when you climax repeatedly? According to research, masturbating often enough (more than twice a day) doesn’t lower your testosterone levels per se but urges the body to use the hormone much differently. That means that while T levels remain the same, there is a distinct decline in androgen receptor activity in your brain. As a result, your body utilizes less testosterone than before.

But, that’s not the only side effect. Ejaculating more than twice a day also increases estrogen levels. So, as T levels take a nosedive and estrogen levels are on the rise, your body gravitates towards the second hormone and instinctively promotes its activity. That can only make things worse for T levels, in general.

Considering all of the above, it’s obvious that masturbating multiple times throughout the day is bad news for your testosterone levels. However, that doesn’t mean that you have to give up on this pleasure altogether. Instead, you can minimize your self-love sessions to one or two a day and actually increase the hormone’s receptor activity.

  • Sex and Testosterone

By now, you know that masturbation-induced ejaculations don’t influence your T levels that much. But, this is not the case with sex, even though ejaculation is involved. According to one study, men who visited a sex club and engaged themselves in intercourse saw their T levels rise to 72%. However, that didn’t happen with patrons who watched the act as their testosterone increased just about 11%.

Another relevant study shows that couples that got busy between the sheets had increased T levels across the evening when there was intercourse. These concentrations took a nosedive during nights when the couples didn’t engage in any sexual activities.

But, why sex-induced and manual ejaculation don’t have the same results? Some speculate this is due to a variety of factors such as the female pheromones, skin-to-skin touch or the feelings of dominance and power that stem from such act.

The Takeaway

Considering all of the above, it’s evident that testosterone and masturbation have something special going on. The bad news is that there are a lot of variables that may interfere with this relationship such as frequency and abstinence. So, here is what you need to know about testosterone and masturbation:

  • Short-term abstinence (up to 3 weeks) can slightly increase your T levels.

  • Abstaining from masturbation for months at a time is bound to plummet testosterone.

  • Single sporadic ejaculations don’t affect T levels.

  • Masturbating more than twice a day doesn’t allow your body to utilize testosterone as efficiently as before.

  • Unlike masturbation-induced ejaculations, sex-induced ejaculations increase testosterone levels like crazy.

PS: Even though science provides us with some valuable info, masturbation is a personal matter, and only YOU can decide when and how you should indulge in it.