How Masturbation and Testosterone Are Connected
By The Rex MD Editorial TeamJanuary 7, 2021
There's a growing body of men online trumpeting the benefits of abstinence and avoiding .
"Increases ," they say. "Improves performance, better , feel more manly, more assertive, more masculine, more attractive to women..." the list goes on these "nofap" aficionados suggest.
But what does the research say? Does levels? Can abstinence improve ?
The short answer is no: the evidence indicates is unlikely to reduce in the long-term, and it can even increase in the short-term.
Let's take a closer look at the research.
What Does Do?
Let's start with the basics.
(often abbreviated T) is one of the hormones present in both men and women. That's right, women have testosterone too (and guys have !). But in men, levels are about 8 times higher than in women. is the prevailing for males, and it's what drives those traditionally manly traits: more body hair, deeper voice, larger muscles, etc.
is also clearly linked to libido and drive for men and women, though it has a more pronounced effect in men. in men are associated with increased . But higher T is also predictive of infidelity, and worse relationship outcomes!
Do the no-fap fans have it right? Can quitting masturbation improve your sex drive? Does decrease testosterone?
This is the basis of the no-fap movement – that abstaining from boosts your , leading to an improved drive among other myriad benefits. Guys who subscribe to this school of thought claim that more as a result of not masturbating helps them in their sexual conquests: improved confidence, etc. Others claim that abstaining from ejaculation in the lead-up to sporting events can improve athletic performance due to sexual frustration.
is a safe and fun way to experience sexual pleasure, and perhaps eliminating for some guys does motivate them to be more confident in the dating or business world.
But the claims about don't play out in the research.
Besides personal anecdotes, the no--more- claim largely stems from a 2001 study of men who abstained from or for 3 weeks. Their levels were monitored consistently, and sure enough the researchers found that T levels were higher after the abstinence period! They also found, however, that itself had no effect on T levels. Another 2003 study found that guys abstaining from had normal T levels for the first 6 days, but that their rose on the 7th day.
But that's not the end of the story.
Other studies have found the opposite: that actually increases levels in the short-term. A 2006 review paper outlined the body of evidence on and or :
- Guys who had multiple partners or unfamiliar partners had increased T after these encounters
- Penis-to-vagina intercourse increases T in men, according to 2 studies in the review paper
- Just watching sexually explicit movies raised T in 4 out of 5 studies
Another study that included over 600 guys found that men's levels of T were higher with higher levels of , but also that higher T did not necessarily lead to more . Put another way, may increase T, but increased T may not lead to more .
It's not clear precisely which is causal.
The link between abstinence and a resulting increase in is murky, and there's more evidence pointing to as a result of or than otherwise. It's possible that a weeklong abstinence period may temporarily increase levels, but may very well achieve the same thing.
What about athletics? Muhammad Ali famously abstained from sex for 6 weeks before a big boxing match, claiming that it helped him to be more aggressive. There's little evidence to back up the claim that athletes should abstain because they can improve performance through higher T or by taking out their sexual frustration on the court. In fact, researchers have debunked this myth, and there's good evidence that sex or ejaculation leads to higher T, possibly improving aggression.
How Affects Guys
IS a medical condition that affects many men, and prevalence increases with age. In some cases, it's treated with prescription-grade products including gels, patches, and even injections to replace waining testosterone in the body.
A can be associated with:
- a lower drive and limited
- a feeling of tiredness
- losing bone and
- less and lower
- having trouble with , getting, or keeping an erection
- increased body fat or weight gain
Many common health conditions also affect levels, including:
- metabolic conditions
- high blood pressure
- thyroid conditions
- and diabetes
While low T is a real thing, it's not necessarily the driving factor behind "performance" for most guys, and quitting masturbation will likely fall well short of proper treatment.
How Is Measure Measured?
Measuring American Urological Association defines low T as anything less than 300 ng/dL total . happens through a simple blood draw, and T in the blood is measured in nanograms per deciliter (ng/dL). The
Can Increase ?
What do you do with this information? Have a healthy ! Whether that's solo or with a partner, regular intimacy has been traced to far more health benefits than negatives. Regular sexual intimacy can boost your libido, improve your relationship, lower blood pressure, boost mental health, help you sleep better, and more.
Our advice: don't overthink it. Regular is great.
Is it helpful for guys to quit masturbating? Less does not clearly lead to more , which definitely doesn't clearly lead to better "outcomes" for guys. T isn't the only factor. Psychological and psychosocial factors play a role during intentional abstinence, and higher T is likely to damage relationship quality, according to some published research, and it can lead to more infidelity.
If you're struggling with feelings of guilt due to excessive pornography consumption (and porn-induced ED), that's a different story, and may be worth exploring at more length with a physician or mental health professional. or
Has sexual dysfunction happened to you? Get help from a licensed physician at RexMD.com, with treatment shipped right to your door. It's affordable, easy, and fast.
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