(Guest Post Written By Jasmine Raymore)
Is There A Connection Between Masturbation and Low Testosterone Levels?
Masturbation is a normal part of a healthy sex life – be it alone or with your partner.
Despite that, it’s a practice that’s been demonized or denounced, especially by people in the religious community.
Some of the rampant masturbation fallacies include:
- You’ll go blind
- You’ll Grow Hairy palms
- It’s a Sin to Masturbate
- It’s a public health threat
None of these are true!
You can’t go blind, you won’t get hairy palms, and it’s not a public health threat. As for being a sin, that’s between you and your religion.
Are There Any Benefits To Masturbation?
Masturbation helps you feel sexually satisfied, whether you are with a person or on your own.
It helps in all kinds of ways, including but not limited to:
- Stress relief
- Decrease in sexual tension
- Mood enhancer
- Alleviates anxiety
- Better sleep
- Better sex life
What About Excessive Masturbation?
Excessive masturbation is a totally different story.
This can lead to physical and mental effects on the body, which is something to be mindful of.
If you are concerned you are an excessive masturbator, speak to a therapist (such as a sex therapist) about the practice.
How To Know If You’re An Excessive Masturbator
If you’re not sure if your masturbation is normal or excessive, there are several signs to watch out for.
These signs include:
- Self-injury (from continuous masturbation sessions)
- Compulsive need to masturbate
- Would rather have sex with yourself instead of a partner
- Inability to get an erection
- Unsatisfied with sex with partners
- Daily masturbation sessions
- Multiple masturbation sessions a night
Does Excessive Masturbation Affect Hormone Levels?
Testosterone & Masturbation
Although the hormone testosterone is found in both the male and female body, it’s more aligned with the male body.
Because of its many roles, such as building muscle mass, body hair growth and development of male sexual organs.
Testosterone is tied to sexual appetite and the drive to reproduce and spread your seed as well.
Testosterone levels are never consistent, changing hour by hour.
The highest levels are experienced in the morning, with the lowest levels seen in the nighttime hours.
The pituitary gland and brain are responsible for the control of testosterone, but it is the testes that produce the hormone.
As such, it’s not a far-fetched theory that excessive masturbation could lead to low testosterone levels.
According to an array of studies, masturbation actually causes the body to increase its testosterone level.
Once you have ejaculated, the levels return to normal.
This is undoubtedly something anti-masturbators would not want excessive masturbators to know.
Excessive masturbation actually doesn’t affect testosterone levels (not in the way you think) but how the body uses the hormone.
Numerous Internet articles claim masturbation has no effect on testosterone, but they only give readers a partial story.
Research using rodents has shown that excessive ejaculating can lower the amount of the hypothalamus’ active androgen receptors while increasing the number of estrogen receptors.
Simply put, excessive masturbation leading to orgasms can cause an overabundance of testosterone the body doesn’t use while getting better at using the estrogen already in your system.
Regardless of how much testosterone your body produces, if it can’t use it, it does you no good.
It’s as if your body wasn’t producing much testosterone in the first place.
Masturbation and Dopamine
The hormone that is most affected by masturbation is dopamine, especially if you watch pornography while you masturbate.
When you watch pornography often, it can lead to dopamine resistance. This is similar to insulin resistance or alcohol tolerance.
The more you use porn to masturbate, the more dopamine your body will need to feel sexually satisfied.
The amount of dopamine produced during porn masturbation will surpass how much is produced when you have sex with a partner.
This causes an imbalance in the dopamine pathways, lower sex drive, anxiety, depression and less sensation seeking behavior.
This lack of sensation seeking occurs because dopamine…
Is the hormone / brain neurotransmitter that funds your motivation to seek pleasure, excitement and novelty.
And monitoring your desire to pursue these things is an excellent way monitor your masturbation behavior.
If you’re couch locked, uninterested in socializing, unwilling to take risks and find yourself saying No more often than Yes to opportunities in life..
You need to take a close look at your masturbation and your porn consumption habits (especially the porn).
Side Effects of Excessive Masturbation
Despite all the studies on how masturbation doesn’t have a real impact on testosterone levels, there are side effects to masturbating excessively.
If you are compulsively masturbating, you could experience some of the following problems:
- Absence of morning wood
- Mood issues
- Higher body fat
- Low ejaculation volume
- Low muscle mass
- Low sex drive
- Reduction in motivation
If you notice any of these signs, it’s best to reduce your masturbation frequency.
Masturbation Effects vs. Sex Effects On Testosterone
Various studies have shown that masturbation ejaculations will reduce how well the body uses serum testosterone…
While ejaculating during sex will improve how well the body uses it.
A 1992 research study measured men’s and women’s salivary testosterone levels 11 times before and after sex in the evening (source).
Then they measured again a 11 times after they abstained from sexual contact in the evenings.
Researchers learned that both partners had a higher testosterone level after they had sex.
In a 2010 research study, researchers gauged the testosterone levels of men who went to a Las Vegas sex club.
They learned men who partook in sexual activities at the club had a 72 percent increase in testosterone levels.
In a 1982 study, older men who had sex often were seen with higher serum testosterone levels then men who had sex less frequently.
Although masturbation can increase testosterone levels in the body, sex has a greater impact on how much testosterone is produced.
Researchers are unsure as to why, but a few thoughts are:
- Exposure to pheromones
- More satisfying sex
- Sense of accomplishment after getting laid
Will Testosterone Levels Rise With Abstinence?
Many men wonder if they abstain from sex if it has an impact on their testosterone levels.
Athletes tend to abstain from sex and masturbation in order to ready themselves for their “job.”
For them, taking all that sexual energy and desire and focusing it on their competition gives them an edge to do better than their challenger.
Sports training techniques promote orgasm-abstinence, so players are focused and attentive to their sport.
With abstention such a big thing with athletes, it would stand to reason that it would help increase the levels of testosterone in the body.
In 2003, researchers in Hangzhou, China conducted a study and looked at serum testosterone in 28 men who abstained from ejaculation altogether.
For the first six days, they found that abstaining from sex has no impact on testosterone levels.
But on day 7, the majority of them had an average of 145.7 percent of testosterone more than they were first tested (source).
In another study, researchers saw a rise in testosterone in men who did not ejaculate for three weeks.
The Exton study looked at the readings of people who participated in a three-week abstinence program.
They looked at the change in testosterone levels and how the endocrine system would handle an orgasm after the 21 days.
Exton, along with his team, found no discernable difference in the endocrine system after the men ejaculated.
They also noted that the levels of testosterone levels did increase more than initially after the abstinence period.
A continuation of the study found that too long of abstinence (no ejaculation) actually reduced the levels of testosterone.
More Research On Masturbation and Testosterone
A 2001 study involving male participants asked to abstain from masturbation, then and asked to masturbate looked at whether or not testosterone levels were affected.
Researchers asked them not to ejaculate for three weeks. After three weeks, the men were asked to masturbate.
They discovered that there was a minute decline in testosterone before the men started masturbating.
After 21 days of not ejaculating, the levels were nearly the same as the 10-minute baseline when they did ejaculate.
Based on all this research, it’s been found that testosterone doesn’t leave the body when an ejaculation occurs.
Many are under the assumption that testosterone and orgasm are tied to each other, but that’s not the case.
Instead, testosterone, in conjunction with dopamine, is merely a regulator for the desire to have sex.
Higher dopamine levels impact the number of ejaculations men have.
However, it is oxytocin, prolactin, thyroid hormones and serotonin that have the biggest impact on male orgasm.
Masturbation and Your Relationship
Despite the commonality of masturbation, it’s a subject many couples often avoid.
This avoidance is usually the result of numerous misconceptions people have about the act.
Some people may feel masturbation is only acceptable when they are single and feel it’s a slight against them if their partner engages in the act.
The reality is that masturbation and marriage/dating are not exclusive. You can have a healthy sex life and still masturbate.
The best thing to do is talk it out with your other half to overcome the misconceptions.
Go a step further by masturbating in front of each other during a sex act.
You can even use it as foreplay prior to sex if it turns both of you on.
Masturbation and Low Testosterone – Conclusion:
The truth is that masturbation will not have a detrimental effect on your level of testosterone.
However, excessive masturbation can lower the body’s ability to use testosterone and negatively impact your dopamine pathway, especially if you masturbate to porn.
If you suffer from low testosterone already, excessive masturbation can backfire on you.
How do you know if you have low testosterone levels?
- Bone density reduction
- Low blood count
- Low sperm volume
- Muscle mass loss
- Poor memory
- Problems getting an erection
- Reduced zest for life
Bear in mind that excessive masturbation may be a sign of a psychological or physiological problem – something you should not ignore.
If you feel you’re a compulsive masturbator, reach out to a therapist to find techniques to help you overcome your “problem.”