It’s a question that has puzzled many for years, particularly men. Does masturbation lead to an increase or decrease in testosterone levels?
To better answer this question, it helps to hear what science has to say.
Why Testosterone Matters
Testosterone is not just a sex hormone. It also plays a critical role in various functions throughout the body that affect both your health and manliness. For starters, testosterone plays a role in your bone mass and fat distribution.
It also contributes to your muscle strength and mass. Aside from this, your testosterone levels also affect your body’s ability to produce red blood cells and sperm.In addition, there is also one research which suggest that having low testosterone levels can put you at greater risk for type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. (study)
Hence, it is vital to gain a better understanding of what type of activities boosts or reduces testosterone levels significantly. One of these activities that is of particular concern is masturbation.
The Relationship Between Testosterone and Ejaculation, According to Science
You have probably heard about several famous athletes preferring to abstain from sex or masturbation right before a big game or fight.
There are also some past presidents like Lincoln and Washington who reportedly chose to abstain from sex whenever they are about to make a big decision.
Their reason behind this is that they prefer to use their sexual energy to enhance their focus.
On the other hand, there are also some well-known successful athletes who claim to engage in “as much sex as possible” right before their game.Based on these mere claims alone, it’s quite impossible to figure out who among them is telling the truth. The only way to settle the score is to go over years of research to find out the results of their experiments.
What’s better for your testosterone: sex or masturbation?
From a clinical standpoint, there is no clear evidence to suggest that climaxing can affect the amount of testosterone in your body. In fact, research has found that ejaculation neither increases nor decreases serum testosterone levels significantly. (study, study)
On the other hand, it is also worth noting that there is proof that clearly shows an increase in testosterone levels after sex. In particular, men over the age of 60 that are still sexually active tend to have significantly higher serum testosterone levels. (study)
Similarly, a study conducted by the Georgia State University in Atlanta found that there is a significant increase in testosterone levels following sexual intercourse. (study)
Based on this finding, it is easy to assume that masturbation would produce the same effect. However, it seems that masturbation does the opposite.
In fact, there is evidence to suggest that masturbation can cause you to use up a good amount of your testosterone upon ejaculation. This leads to significantly decreased testosterone levels.
A study published in the Journal of Endocrinology found key differences among testosterone levels after sex and masturbation.
Following their experiment, it was found that testosterone levels of their seen subjects were significantly higher following sexual intercourse.
On the other hand, masturbation did not have any significant on the participants’ plasma testosterone levels. (study)In addition, a study done by the University of Nevada in Las Vegas also yielded similar results.
Measuring salivary testosterone levels of 44 male participants inside a U.S. sex club, it found that those who participated in sexual activity experienced a 72 percent increase in testosterone levels.
In contrast, those who only observed while in the club only experience a testosterone level increase of 11 percent. (study)
Is your testosterone affected by how many times you ejaculate in a day?
Today, there is also a growing number of evidence that links testosterone levels with the number of times you ejaculate in a single day.
This is evidenced by changes observed in your number of androgen receptors or receptors that allow you to utilize testosterone throughout your body.
Hence with lower androgen receptors, you will essentially also have lower active testosterone levels.
According to a study conducted by the Universidad Veracruzana in Mexico, one to two ejaculations for a short period of time can increase androgen receptor activity.
However, when ejaculations are done four or more times during a short period of time, there is a significant reduction in androgen activity.
Specifically, it was observed that androgen receptors returned to its baseline level after the fourth ejaculation. (study)
This finding seems to be supported by another study done by the Centro de Investigación y Estudios Avanzados and Instituto Nacional de Ciencias Médicas y Nutrición 'Salvador Zubirán' in Mexico.
Their experiment revealed that multiple ejaculations resulted in a significant decline in androgen receptors. (study)At the same time, a study conducted by CINVESTAV in Mexico found that while androgen receptors are decreased after multiple ejaculations, there is also a significant increase in estrogen receptors. (study)
What happens to your testosterone levels when you practice abstinence?
As research has found, abstinence can do your testosterone levels some good. In fact, a study conducted by researchers at the Hangzhou Normal College in China found that abstaining for a week led to a 145.7 percent rise in testosterone levels on the seventh day.
Moreover, although the men’s testosterone levels declined during the second to fifth day, these fluctuations were minimal. (study)
Meanwhile, another study done by the Institut für Medizinische Psychologie and Universitätsklinikum Essen in Germany found that men who masturbated following a sexual abstinence of three of weeks also experienced elevated testosterone levels.
In addition, these researchers also noted that although there were higher concentrations of testosterone seen after a period of sexual abstinence, the participants’ plasma testosterone levels remain unchanged by their orgasm. (study)
While these studies indicate that practicing sexual abstinence from time to time may help boost your testosterone level, another study warns against abstaining for too long.
According to a research done at the University of L'Aquila in Italy, those who abstained from sexual activity for three months ended up with reduced overall testosterone levels.
However, it is important to note that the subjects in this study involved males suffering from erectile dysfunction. (study)
Hence, it is possible that lowered testosterone levels were due to the participants’ pre-existing condition instead of the abstinence.Further studies may need to be conducted to determine the effect of prolonged abstinence on the testosterone levels of healthy males.
The Conclusion: How Ejaculation Affects Testosterone
Based on the available scientific evidence, it seems that engaging in sex is more effective in increasing your testosterone levels than masturbation.
In fact, various studies point out that testosterone levels rise significantly following sexual intercourse.
In addition, it was also observed that elder males who practiced sex regularly achieved high testosterone levels.
Moreover, this increase in testosterone following sex is much higher than if you were just to observe a sexual activity.
In contrast, it was found that masturbation did not have any significant effect on plasma testosterone levels.
In addition, it has also become quite evident that practicing sexual abstinence for a period of three weeks or less can help you increase your serum testosterone levels, especially during the seventh day.
Just be warned, however, that prolonging abstinence any further may just end up reducing your testosterone levels significantly.
A study on the effect prolonged sexual abstinence among healthy males is still needed to confirm this.
On the other hand, the number of times you ejaculate in a day can also affect your body’s testosterone levels.
When done in moderation, it can help boost your number of androgen receptors, which your body needs to be able to utilize testosterone properly across several functions.
Moreover, an increase in androgen receptors also leads to an increase in your active testosterone level.
In contrast, when you overdo ejaculation, it triggers an increase in the hormone estrogen. That is the last thing you would want if you are trying to achieve a manlier physique.
What remains unclear is the reason why ejaculating during sex and ejaculating during masturbation affects testosterone differently.
It is possible that the mere act of being physically intimate with a partner during sex affects the way ejaculation changes testosterone levels.
On the other hand, this effect may also be explained by the difference between the neurochemistry of sex and the neurochemistry of masturbation.
However, it is unclear if brain chemical activity during sex and masturbation have any significant effect on testosterone levels. Further studies are needed in this area to be able to make a decisive conclusion.
Testosterone is vital to your overall health, especially since it helps with your bone and muscle growth.
In addition, it helps lower your risk for a number of deadly diseases too. Luckily for you, there are several ways to increase your active testosterone levels naturally.One of the easiest methods is to take a natural supplement that can help give your testosterone a good boost. They are also known to be completely natural so that they are a safe option to consider.