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Does Masturbating Lower Testosterone?

When you’re training to become the best athlete, everything has to be on point; your workout is barbaric, your diet is immaculate and your consistency is unbreakable. And there’s one theme that ties all these factors together; sacrifice.

It’s the ability to resist temptation, denying yourself something now, so you can risk your sanity for something bigger later on.

But what about masturbation? We’ve all heard the story of boxers being told to take up abstinence in the build up to a fight, but does this method actually work?

And does masturbation actually damage your testosterone levels?

It’s an interesting question and one that we get asked a lot by our customers – and we can see why. Considering the amount of testosterone that’s produced in your testes, and the fact that you ’empty the contents’ upon ejaculation, it’s not a far leap to think that this might negatively effect your T-levels.

And scientists have wondered the same question. In this short article we look at the studies and results regarding testosterone and masturbation and how its effecting your training.

Testosterone and Masturbation: The Science

There are a range of studies on both humans and animals that highlight what happens when you indulge (or not) in masturbation.

These are the main areas we’ll be looking at:

  • Abstinence – No sexual stimulation
  • Ejaculation – How it directly affects testosterone
  • Masturbating and Frequency – How much is too much?
  • Sex – How a partner makes a difference

This is what you need to know:


Does Abstinence Increase Testosterone?

This is by far the most common question guys ask – and it’s a common theory among boxers. It’s the idea of channeling your sexual energy into focused aggression and give your body that edge over your opponent.

So rather than thinking does masturbating lower testosterone, does strictly not masturbating increase it?

Well according to research, this might be the case – but it all depends on the amount of time you spend resisting temptation, and short term breaks seem to be more effective than long term.

Study #1: 3 Weeks of Abstinence

A study by Exton et al. followed the readings of subjects who took up sexual abstinence for a period of 3 weeks, how their testosterone levels changed and how their endocrine system would respond to orgasm after a 21-day hiatus.

Exton and his team notice no considerable difference to the endocrine system after the subjects achieved orgasm. But it wasn’t a total waste, levels of testosterone in participants rose shortly after the abstinence to higher T-levels than when the study started.

Study #2: 1 Week of Abstinence

This study’s aim was a lot more deliberate, focusing entirely on the relationship between serum testosterone levels and ejaculation [2] – and it has some incredibly interesting findings.

The study involved 28 men, and between days 2 and 5, there was no significant change in testosterone levels. It was only on day 7 when things really got interesting.

After a week of abstaining, subjects experienced an average rise of 145.7% in testosterone levels from their standard baseline, with it returning to normal a few days after. Scientists still can’t prove exactly why this happens, but they speculate that this is your body’s way of nudging you to reproduce.

Whatever the reason, it’s useful knowledge if you have competition

Study #3: 3 Months of Abstinence

If abstinence is starting to look like a good idea, then you need to read this study. Apparently restraining yourself for too long can actually do more harm than good, according to this study from Jannini.

However, that said, this study was carried out on men suffering from erectile dysfunction, which makes the results of this study not entirely representative of everyone in terms of their starting hormonal balances.

Unlike the other shorter term studies, this longer period of abstinence led to significant reductions in overall testosterone levels. Definitely what you don’t want to be aiming towards.does masturbating lower testosterone


Testosterone and Ejaculation – Does climaxing reduce testosterone levels?

This is a more direct question, but still a valid one. Does climaxing cause an instant drop in your testosterone levels? Scientists have looked into this issue in both humans and animals for a clear answer.

Unlike the abstaining studies, the answer has been pretty clear cut, with numerous studies for both humans and animals to experience no drop in T-levels after masturbation. [4] [5] [6]

From a clinical point of view it appears that ejaculation doesn’t directly affect testosterone levels.

However, these studies only involved cases of how a single ejaculation affected testosterone levels – multiple sessions in the same day are a different story.


Ejaculating More Than Once a Day – Is there a limit?

This is where it gets interesting. Repeated ejaculation doesn’t lower your body’s testosterone levels, but it can effect how your body uses testosterone.

Studies have shown if you masturbate more than twice in a day, there becomes a decline in androgen receptors in your brain. These are what allows your body to use testosterone by binding to it – with less of these, the less your body can use and lower your active testosterone levels will be. [7]

And to make matters worse it’s been seen to make estrogen levels increase. [8] While your androgen receptors are on the decline, estrogen receptors are on the rise, meaning they’re binding to more of the female hormone in your body and increasing your risk of lower testosterone.

How much is too much?

A study on rats [9] found that ejaculating once or twice in a short period of time may actually improve androgen receptor activity, whereas going for over 4 times led to the drop that was seen in the other studies.

Considering the evidence, those that masturbate multiple times a day may benefit from lowering their sessions to once or twice for increased testosterone uptake and keeping their estrogen levels at a minimum.


So what about Sex and Testosterone?

Although ejaculation is still involved, sex with someone else affects your body’s testosterone levels differently.

In a study put together by Escasa, Casey and Gray, [10] the team analysed the testosterone levels of visitors to a sex club. Researchers looked at the levels of testosterone of two groups of men – the men having sex, and the men watching and masturbating.

The men having sex, saw their testosterone levels rise by a whopping 72% on average, while the men watching only got an 11% increase.

It seems like the human body can detect the difference between manual stimulation and relations with a partner, with the benefits being far greater with the latter.

Be it hormones, pheromones or just the extra excitement of having someone else involved, it seems your body gets higher testosterone levels from sex with another person.sex-and-testosterone


Does Masturbating Lower Testosterone – What does all this mean?

As you can see there’s a lot of mixed results when it comes to masturbation and testosterone, but there does seem to be a link between them.

Here’s what you need to know:

Abstinence in moderation is key. Short-term sessions of abstinence, be it a week or 3 weeks has shown to be the most effective for booting testosterone. It’s speculated that this is your body’s way of telling you to go back to ‘breeding’.

Long term abstinence on the other hand isn’t great. In longer studies of around 3 months, studies have shown T-levels start to decline without any stimulation.

That being said, ejaculation has been noted to not have a direct effect on testosterone levels. In fact, in moderation, it can actually increase how much your body uses – but overdoing it has the opposite effect and can lead to a rise in estrogen as well.

For the best results, studies seem to suggest sex with another person is the way to go – that, or making sure you’re only masturbating once a week.

If you want to pack on as much muscle mass as possible, it makes sense to want every advantage. The question is how far you’re willing to go for it…


Want a Safe Bet?

If you want to make sure you’re getting enough testosterone in your system, you need to diet hard and train harder – and TestoFuel is a great way to support your progress.

TestoFuel is an all natural anabolic support complex that provides your body with clinically-backed nutrients that continually raise testosterone and boost your progress.


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References

[1] Exton M.S., Kruger T.H., Bursch N. Endocrine response to masturbation-induced orgasm in healthy men following a 3-week sexual abstinence. World J Urol. 2001;19:377.
[2] Jiang M, Xin J, Zou Q, Shen JW. A research on the relationship between ejaculation and serum testosterone level in men. J Zhejiang Univ Sci. 2003;4:236–240.
[3] Jannini E.A., Screponi E., Carosa E., Pepe M., Lo Giudice F., Trimarchi F. Lack of sexual activity from erectile dysfunction is associated with a reversible reduction in serum testosterone. Int J Androl.1999;22:385–392
[4] Fox CA, Ismail AAA, Love DN, Kirkham KE, Loraine JA. Studies on the relationship between plasma testosterone levels and human sexual activity. J Endocrinol. 1972;52:51–58.
[5] Batty J. Acute changes in plasma testosterone levels and their relation to measures of sexual behaviour in the male house mouse (Mus musculus) Anim. Behav. 1978;26:349–357.
[6] Phoenix CH, Dixson AF, Resko JA. Effects of ejaculation on levels of testosterone, cortisol, and luteinizing hormone in peripheral plasma of rhesus monkeys. J Comp Physiol Psychol. 1977;91:120–127.
[7] Romano-Torres M, Phillips-Farfan BV, Chavira R, Rodriguez-Manzo G, Fernandez-Guasti A. Relationship between sexual satiety and brain androgen receptors. Neuroendocrinology. 2007;85:16–26.
[8] Phillips-Farfan BV, Lemus AE, Fernandez-Guasti A. Increased estrogen receptor alpha immunoreactivity in the forebrain of sexually satiated rats. Horm. Behav. 2007;51:328–334.
[9] Hernandez ME, Soto-Cid A, Aranda-Abreu GE, et al. A study of the prostate, androgens and sexual activity of male rats. Reproductive Biology and Endocrinology. 2007;5:11. doi:10.1186/1477-7827-5-11.
[10] Escasa MJ, Casey JF, Gray PB. Salivary testosterone levels in men at a U.S. sex club. Arch Sex Behav. 2011;40:921–926.