How Masturbation Affects the Testosterone Levels?
Even today, we can find a lot of misconceptions and taboos moving around “sex” and its associated phenomena. Hence, masturbation is not an exception. Among the many queries around masturbation, the one that often bothers men, is the question of whether it is capable of reducing their testosterone levels in them. Let us decode the association between masturbation and testosterone in men.
How to know if Testosterone is decreasing? What are the signs of low Testosterone?
The symptoms of having a low testosterone in men are quite simple:
- Reduced libido or lack of sex drive
- Trouble in keeping an erection or erectile dysfunction (ED)
- producing small amounts of semen on reaching ejaculation
- losing hair on your scalp, face, and body
- feeling a lack of energy or exhaustion
- losing muscle mass
- losing bone mass (osteoporosis)
- gaining higher amounts of body fat, including chest fat (gynecomastia)
- experiencing unexplained changes in mood
However, some of these might happen due to some wrong lifestyle habits. Smoking habits and drinking excessive alcohol can influence testosterone levels. Certain health conditions can also impact testosterone levels, like diabetes, high blood pressure, thyroid, etc. To have a further in-depth understanding of what causes a dip in the levels of testosterone, you may like to read What are the Reasons for Low Testosterone in Men?
Does Masturbation Decrease Testosterone Levels in Male?
Testosterone is linked to one’s sex drive, or what is commonly termed as libido. Although it is applicable for both males and females; it has a more direct effect on the male sex drive. The hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal axis is a reproductive axis that involves the hypothalamus, pituitary gland, and testicles and is responsible for regulating the production of testosterone.
The levels of testosterone usually go up, while masturbating or having sex, and then fall back to the usual levels after ejaculating or reaching orgasm. Overall, research on the topic of sex, masturbation, and testosterone has been infrequent at best and is limited in quantity, with a lot more questions than answers.
Most of the studies on masturbation and testosterone levels only show a very small number of participants. Hence it becomes extremely difficult to have a correct representation and conclusion from the research.
- A study published in 1999, by the International Journal of Andrology, had some contrasting statements about the correlation between sex and testosterone levels. The observations mentioned in the study said that men suffering from erectile dysfunction (ED) lacked sexual activity, and hence had lower testosterone levels than their peers. However, the lower levels of testosterone were found to be reversible for patients whose ED was successfully treated. Sadly, testosterone production remained consistently lower in patients who didn’t respond to the ED treatment. This suggests that ejaculating might actually increase testosterone levels, at least for those who recovered from ED.
However, the finding is not that clear, and it is quite possible that other factors could also play a role in both sexual function and testosterone levels.
- Another study, published in the World Journal of Urology in 2001, found that men who abstained from sexual activities and did not even masturbate for three consecutive weeks showed increased testosterone concentrations.
However, the same study also found that plasma testosterone levels (the amount of testosterone present in the men’s blood) remained unaltered by masturbation or sexual activity.
It should be noted here that this study was quite small in size, involving only ten adult male participants. Hence it is hard to consider the observations as statistically significant and reliable.
- According to a small study from 1972, ejaculating from masturbation has no noticeable, direct effects on serum T levels. This means that T levels don’t get lower the more you masturbate, contrary to some people’s opinions.
- One 2001 study of 10 adult males found that refraining from masturbation for 3 weeks may cause a mild increase in T levels.
- Some very contradictory studies on the effect of masturbation on hormone receptors also make it difficult to understand the correlation between masturbation and levels of testosterone. A 2007 study on rats found that frequent masturbation lowered the androgen receptors in the brain; which actually help the body use testosterone.
- Meanwhile, another 2007 study on rats showed that frequent masturbation increased estrogen receptor density.
- In another study, researchers discovered that the average testosterone levels of men between the ages of 30 and 40 years, were as much as 25% lower at 4 p.m., when compared to that of 8 a.m. This percentage decreased with age, but it is a significant amount, regardless.
The significance of the above mentioned research and analysis, on human beings in the real world is not clear yet. Overall, there isn’t any reliable, high-quality scientific evidence to suggest that masturbation has any negative impact on average testosterone levels in men, or that avoiding masturbation leads to any type of testosterone increase. Likewise, there doesn’t appear to be any reliable link between sexual abstinence and increased testosterone levels.
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