Rumors abound as to whether masturbation can affect your testosterone (T) levels.
The short answer to this question? No. Masturbation and ejaculation haven’t been shown to have any long-term or negative effects on T levels.
But the long answer isn’t quite that simple. Masturbation, whether solo or with a partner, can have a variety of effects — although mostly short term — on T levels.
Why Optimize Testosterone for Attraction
Aside from the physical elements you typically think of (height, weight, muscle mass, cleanliness, outfit, etc.) there are a number of subconscious factors at play in how attractive you are as a man, or at least how successful you are in the mating game.
While there isn’t a direct causal link between attractiveness and testosterone levels, there is a link between mating success and testosterone level.
The relationship isn’t necessarily causal: we can’t prove that high testosterone results in higher mating success, but there are a few things that come with that elevated testosterone that suggest it might be affecting your attractiveness.
Effects of Masturbation on Testosterone
When it comes to masturbation, myths and old wives’ tales abound as they have for millennia. A common myth erroneously states that frequent masturbation lowers a man’s testosterone level. But that’s simply not true!
For both men and women, masturbation does not trigger any significant changes in your sex hormone levels and typically poses no threat to other aspects of your physical and emotional well-being either.
Read on to learn about some of the general effects of abstinence, sex and masturbation on testosterone levels, as well as other factors that can influence the level of this important sex hormone.
Ejaculation, Masturbation and Testosterone
So, does masturbation increase testosterone? Numerous medical researchers have wondered about the possible effects of male ejaculation (solo or with a partner) on testosterone levels, particularly the short-term effects. But this isn’t the easiest thing to study for a variety of reasons. For starters, a medical laboratory is a far cry from the circumstances and environment in which men typically masturbate.
Because of this, studies from the late 1970s through the early 2000s showed conflicting results. Some found ejaculation had no short-term effect on testosterone levels while at least one study found sexual activity led to a small, short-lived increase in testosterone levels among both men and women.
More recently, an innovative group of researchers took their work to a more real-world site — a U.S. sex club. They found that testosterone levels increased in 72 percent of men who participated in sexual activity at the club but in only 11 percent of those who just observed, as reported in the October 2011 issue of the Archives of Sexual Behavior.
Signs of low or high testosterone
Low testosterone levels can cause many different signs and symptoms in men, including:
- low muscle mass
- decreased strength or endurance
- reduced facial or body hair
- mood disturbances
- erectile dysfunction
- memory loss or difficulty concentrating
- difficulty sleeping
Doctors can treat men with low testosterone levels using extra testosterone that they deliver via a patch, gel, or injection into a muscle.
While testosterone replacement may help with some of the symptoms of low testosterone, research has not shown that it consistently improves cardiovascular risk, mood, and sexual function. It does appear to improve muscle strength, though.
It is uncommon for an adult male to have a disorder that causes high testosterone levels.
In young children, high levels of testosterone can lead to early puberty and possibly infertility.
Women with high testosterone levels may have a condition called polycystic ovary syndrome, particularly if they have these symptoms:
- abnormal hair growth on the face or chest
- male-pattern hair loss on the scalp
- irregular periods
- a deepening voice
Masturbation does not seem to have any harmful effects on a person’s testosterone levels or general health.
Research on the relationship between masturbation and testosterone is somewhat limited, especially regarding the long-term effects. However, masturbation or other sexual activity may lead to a short-term increase in testosterone.
It would also appear that short-term abstinence from sexual activity can increase testosterone levels.
People can treat low testosterone with replacement therapy. If a person has concerns about their testosterone levels, they should speak with their doctor.
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