Impact of masturbation on testosterone levels in men.
Does Masturbation Decrease Testosterone

We all know just how incredible masturbation can make us feel—the rush of endorphins running through our bodies, causing an intense flood of feel-good sensations.

Despite all the many incredible benefits, there has been frequent curiosity regarding the impact of masturbation on testosterone levels in men.

In this article:

What To Know About Testosterone

testosterone is the primary sex hormone involved in stimulating and maintaining sexual function, including heightening sex drive, regulating sperm production, and aiding in achieving and maintaining erections

Testosterone is a sex steroid hormone that plays a central role in male sexual health and development. It's best known for influencing male libido, which impacts sexual desire and arousal.

Testosterone is also responsible for:

  • Male reproductive system development: during fetal development, testosterone helps stimulate the formation of the male genitalia and prostate gland
  • Stimulates secondary sex characteristics: testosterone contributes to the development of secondary sexual characteristics such as facial and body hair, deepening of the voice, and increased muscle mass
  • Sexual function: testosterone is the primary sex hormone involved in stimulating and maintaining sexual function, including heightening sex drive, regulating sperm production, and aiding in achieving and maintaining erections
  • Muscle and bone health: adequate levels of testosterone are essential for optimal muscle mass development, strength gains, and bone health
  • Metabolic function: testosterone contributes to regulating fat distribution and influencing metabolic health
  • Hormone balance: testosterone is involved in the body's endocrine response, influencing physiological functions and contributing to hormonal balance
  • Cardiovascular health: healthy levels of testosterone may be protective for the heart
  • Energy levels: testosterone can help stimulate energy and contribute to greater vitality in men
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What is Considered "Normal"?

According to a 2014 study, healthy men typically have 350 to 750 ng/dL of testosterone in their blood.

Urologist and sexual health expert Dr. Joshua Gonzalez offers deeper insights into this subject, elaborating on how testosterone levels can vary within a day and across different stages of our lives.

For instance, young men tend to have higher levels of testosterone during adolescence, peaking in their twenties before declining steadily. Additionally, testosterone can rise slightly while having sex or masturbating before falling back to baseline levels after orgasm.

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Why Low Testosterone Levels Matter

Based on recommendations from the American Urological Association, 300 ng/dL is within the 'normal limits' of testosterone for a healthy male.

However, problems may arise if testosterone falls below this value.

Low serum testosterone, also known as hypogonadism, involves having <300 ng/dL combined with the presence of three sexual symptoms:

  1. Decreased frequency of morning erections
  2. Symptoms of erectile dysfunction
  3. Decreased frequency of sexual thoughts

Testosterone deficiency can tremendously impact men's overall health and well-being.

Symptoms of low testosterone include:

  • Reduced sexual arousal
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Loss of muscle mass
  • Increase in body fat
  • Mood disturbances
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Changes in cognition
  • Hair loss
  • Fatigue
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Impact of Masturbation and Sex on Testosterone

However, there is no such evidence that indicates masturbation can lead to lower testosterone levels in the long term.

As mentioned earlier, levels of testosterone can fluctuate throughout the day and may be influenced by masturbation.

Though ejaculation does not have a significant effect on testosterone levels in the body, masturbation may cause some short-term changes.

According to a recent 2021 study, engaging in sexual activity, such as masturbation, foreplay, or sexual intercourse, can transiently elevate testosterone levels in men. This increase is shown either during or immediately after orgasm and can vary from one person to the next.

However, there is no such evidence that indicates masturbation can lead to lower testosterone levels in the long term.

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3 Factors that Affect Testosterone Levels

Chronic stress and elevated cortisol levels can negatively impact testosterone production.

Understanding the factors influencing testosterone levels is essential to knowing how it can impact your health and vitality.

Here are 5 factors that may be influencing your testosterone.

1. Age

If there is one thing we cannot control, it is getting older. Unfortunately, with age comes with a steady decline in our testosterone levels.

Once you hit your late twenties or early thirties, it's natural to experience a 0.4% decline in total testosterone yearly.

Research also notes that sex hormone-binding globulin levels increase by 1.2% every year due to age, causing a greater decline in free testosterone (which is available and active in the body) compared to serum testosterone.

2. Lifestyle

Several lifestyle factors are shown to contribute to decreased testosterone levels, including lack of physical activity, poor diet, alcohol consumption, stress levels, and quality of sleep.

Research exploring the relationship between testosterone and obesity found that males with higher BMI had lower levels of serum testosterone compared to those in age-matched 'nonobese' males.

Chronic stress and elevated cortisol levels can negatively impact testosterone production. Stress is also shown to play a role in erectile function and sexual arousal. It is often associated with performance anxiety issues.

Similarly, sleep quality is closely linked to hormone production, including testosterone. Poor sleep patterns, such as insufficient or disrupted sleep cycles, can negatively affect hormone production.

3. Sexual Abstinence

While frequent masturbation didn't seem to have any effect on testosterone, some studies show that abstaining from ejaculation might be more influential.

In a small study conducted on 28 participants to find out whether or not abstaining from ejaculation could impact testosterone levels, researchers found fluctuations in two phases. Testosterone was shown to increase (minimally) on the 2nd to 5th day. By the 7th day of abstaining, serum testosterone levels peaked at 145.7% of baseline values.

However, these results were only short-lived, as testosterone levels returned to baseline values relatively quickly after a period of sexual abstinence.

For more information on the benefits of abstaining from masturbation, check out our post on No Fap below.

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How To Maintain Healthy Testosterone Levels

Lack of sleep or poor sleep quality can negatively influence hormonal balance, including testosterone! Aiming for 7-9 hours every night can do wonders for your testosterone.

Maintaining optimal testosterone levels is crucial, as it impacts our physical, mental, and sexual health. Here's what to focus on.

Engage in regular exercise (resistance training)

One of the best ways to stimulate testosterone production is through regular exercise. Lifting weights or working against resistance is shown to stimulate muscle mass development, which, in turn, can help produce more testosterone.

Remember that rest is required to keep this process moving. Overtraining or low rest intervals can spike cortisol, which negatively impacts testosterone production.

Eat a balanced and nutritious diet

Maintaining a healthy and balanced diet that involves a mix of essential nutrients, including protein, healthy fats, vitamins, and minerals, can help boost testosterone and support overall health.

Please pay special attention to essential nutrients such as vitamin D, zinc, and magnesium, which have all been shown to facilitate healthy hormone production.

Get adequate sleep and keep your stress in check

Quality sleep is often overlooked in our health and wellness routine. Lack of sleep or poor sleep quality can negatively influence hormonal balance, including testosterone! Aiming for 7-9 hours every night can do wonders for your testosterone.

Similarly, stress is a primary culprit of testosterone imbalances. To manage stress, consider adding stress reduction techniques such as running, yoga, mindfulness meditation, or deep breathing exercises.

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FAQs

Does frequent masturbation decrease testosterone levels?

No. Testosterone levels are shown to increase during sex or masturbation, dropping back to baseline levels after orgasm.

Does abstaining from masturbation increase testosterone levels?

Abstaining from masturbation may cause a temporary increase in testosterone levels, but the impact is minimal and short-lived.

What causes testosterone levels to drop?

Age, genetics, stress levels, diet, exercise, sleep quality, underlying medication conditions, and overall health status influence testosterone.

Is edging good for testosterone?

Edging, which is the sexual practice of delaying orgasm by reducing or stopping sexual stimulation before climax, is not shown to impact hormone production.

When should I consider testosterone replacement therapy?

Testosterone Replacement Therapy (TRT) is an option for individuals diagnosed with low testosterone levels (hypogonadism), characterized by symptoms of low libido, decreased muscle mass, fatigue, hair loss, and other related issues.

Consult with your doctor to discuss your options.

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KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • Testosterone is a helpful hormone involved in boosting our sex drive, building our muscle mass, and amping up our energy
  • Testosterone levels can spike during sexual activities, such as masturbation-induced orgasm, returning to baseline shortly afterward
  • Frequent masturbation is not shown to be linked to long-term decreases in testosterone
  • Abstaining from masturbation might temporarily increase testosterone
  • Fortunately, numerous (non-sex related) strategies can help you maintain normal testosterone levels
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Medical Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only and is not intended to give medical advice or substitute for the medical advice of a physician.

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