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Does masturbation decrease testosterone? What science says

Did you ever hear about the movement against masturbation? Antimastrubators declaim that avoiding masturbation significantly improves their health.

Still, many myths and traditional beliefs exist about masturbation.

But in studies, masturbation has been found to be a common sexual behavior and linked to indicators of sexual health.

While there are no general indicators of ill health associated with masturbation, it can be powerfully negative or positive for many individuals.

As an example, masturbation is widely used in sex therapy as a means of improving the sexual health of the individual and/or relationship.

Promoting masturbation as a means of a public health strategy for sexual health is highly controversial; however, there are arguments and evidence that suggest that this may be an important part of any public health approach to improving sexual health.

There is a need for more research on the impact of masturbation on self-esteem, body image, sexual functioning, and sexual satisfaction and methods for using masturbation to promote sexual health.

So, does masturbation decrease testosterone levels?

Over seventy years ago, Kinsey and his associates stunned the world with their research that indicated that masturbation was a common sexual activity and was apparently non-pathological. Ninety-two percent of the men in their sample reported having masturbated (Kinsey, Pomeroy & Martin, 1948).

Masturbation has also been linked to orgasmic capacity, healthy sexual functioning, and sexual satisfaction in relationships

Does Masturbation Lower or Raise Testosterone?

This study examined the effect of a 3-week period of sexual abstinence, on the neuroendocrine response to masturbation-induced orgasm.

Hormonal and cardiovascular parameters were examined in ten healthy adult men during sexual arousal and masturbation-induced orgasm. Blood was drawn continuously and cardiovascular parameters were constantly monitored. This procedure was conducted for each participant twice, both before and after a 3-week period of sexual abstinence.

Plasma was subsequently analyzed for concentrations of adrenaline, noradrenaline, cortisol, prolactin, luteinizing hormone, and testosterone concentrations. Orgasm increased blood pressure, heart rate, plasma catecholamines, and prolactin. These effects were observed both before and after sexual abstinence. In contrast, although plasma testosterone was unaltered by orgasm, higher testosterone concentrations were observed following the period of abstinence. These data demonstrate that acute abstinence does not change the neuroendocrine response to orgasm, but does produce elevated levels of testosterone in males.

Hormonal response after masturbation 

This study describes the hormonal response after masturbation in young healthy men.

At puberty, testosterone stimulates the physical changes that characterize the adult male, such as enlargement of the penis and testes, growth of facial and pubic hair, deepening of the voice, an increase in muscle mass and strength, and growth in height. Throughout adult life, testosterone helps maintain sex drive, the production of sperm cells, muscle and bone mass, and influences male hair patterns.

Therefore, various attempts have been made to increase testosterone levels, especially in the context of resistance training. Among practitioners, sexual activity (intercourse and masturbation) a few hours before training is often discussed, which leads to an increase in testosterone concentration and thus promotes muscle growth.

However, there is no evidence to support this assumption, and the kinetics of the testosterone and cortisol response after sexual activity have not been adequately investigated.

Therefore, the aim of this pilot study was to examine the kinetics of hormone concentrations of total testosterone, free testosterone, and cortisol and their ratios after masturbation. In a three-arm single-blinded cross-over study, the effects of masturbation with visual stimulus were compared to a visual stimulus without masturbation and the natural kinetics in healthy young men.

The results showed a significant difference in free testosterone concentrations.

Masturbation (p < 0.01) and a visual stimulus (p < 0.05) may seem to counteract the circadian drop of free testosterone concentrations over the day. However, no statistical change was observed in the ratios between total testosterone, free testosterone, and cortisol.

The results: masturbation may have a potential effect on free testosterone concentrations, but not on hormonal ratios.

However, additional studies with larger sample sizes are needed to validate these findings.

Masturbation may take effect on free testosterone 

The first time study demonstrated that masturbation may affect free testosterone levels. But, relevant corresponding hormone ratios appear unchanged. Nonetheless, the phenomenon potentially may be exploited in various settings. Even though no unequivocal conclusions could be drawn concerning the effects of masturbation on all investigated endocrine parameters, the approach of systematic modulation of the endocrine system probably deserves attention. 


Positive vs. Negative Effects of Masturbation on Testosterone Levels

Positive Effects of Masturbation on Testosterone Levels Negative Effects of Masturbation on Testosterone Levels
1. Hormonal Regulation: Masturbation can help regulate testosterone levels by stimulating the production and release of this hormone. 1. Temporary Decrease: Immediately after ejaculation, testosterone levels may temporarily decrease due to the refractory period.
2. Stress Reduction: Masturbation can alleviate stress, which in turn may positively impact testosterone levels. 2. Excessive Masturbation: Frequent and excessive masturbation may potentially lead to a decrease in testosterone levels over time.
3. Sleep Quality: Masturbation can promote better sleep, and quality sleep is associated with healthy testosterone levels. 3. Dependency: Relying solely on masturbation for sexual release may impact natural arousal and testosterone regulation.
4. Mood Enhancement: Masturbation releases endorphins, which can boost mood and overall well-being, potentially influencing testosterone levels positively. 4. Psychological Factors: Guilt, shame, or negative beliefs about masturbation may contribute to psychological stress that could affect testosterone production.
5. Sexual Function: Regular masturbation can help maintain healthy sexual function and arousal, contributing to overall sexual health and potentially affecting testosterone levels. 5. Overstimulation: Excessive or aggressive masturbation techniques may desensitize the body, potentially impacting sexual function and testosterone responsiveness.


Sexual stimulation and brain

The pituitary gland at the base of the brain, and a part of the brain called the hypothalamus, tell the testes how much sperm and testosterone to produce and the ovaries how much estrogen.

It is sometimes called the master gland of the body because all the other endocrine glands depend on its secretions for stimulation.

During sexual stimulation, the hypothalamus sends neurohormones to the pituitary which, in turn, releases hormones into the bloodstream to specific targets in the body. The hypothalamus links the nervous system to the endocrine system via the pituitary gland. The hypothalamus is responsive to neurally transmitted information arising in particular from the heart, the stomach, and the reproductive tract and governs certain emotional behavior and sexual activity.

Testosterone production in the male body


Site of Testosterone Production Key Function
Testes Primary organ responsible for testosterone production. Leydig cells in the testes produce testosterone.
Hypothalamus Releases gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) to stimulate the pituitary gland.
Pituitary Gland Produces luteinizing hormone (LH), which stimulates Leydig cells in the testes to produce testosterone. Also produces follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH).
Cholesterol Conversion Testosterone synthesis begins with cholesterol, which is converted into pregnenolone, progesterone, and then androstenedione. Androstenedione is further converted into testosterone.
Adrenal Glands Produce a small amount of testosterone, but the contribution to total testosterone levels in men is minimal compared to testicular production.


Estrogen regulation

Science has demonstrated that perhaps the most important hormonal regulator of testosterone production in males is estrogen produced by the conversion of testosterone (and other androgens) to estrogen in the body and the brain. Estrogen sends a signal to the hypothalamus to shut down the production of a substance that stimulates the pituitary to produce a hormone that signals the testicles to produce testosterone. Therefore, men with elevated estrogen levels will have suppressed testosterone levels and perhaps even atrophied testes. Estrogen is made in the adrenal glands in both sexes as well as in the testes in males and ovaries in females. Estrogen is clearly involved in numerous additional processes in the male, including bone turnover, behavior, and the cardiovascular system.

Adrenal glands

Sexual activity triggers the adrenal glands to produce sex hormones in addition to those produced by the testicles and the ovaries.

The adrenal glands are endocrine glands that produce hormones. They are shaped like a boomerang and located on top of each kidney. The adrenal glands are about the size of the end of your thumb and consist of two portions: the inner core (medulla) and the outer layer (cortex).

The inner core produces hormones called catecholamines.

The 2 most important catecholamines are adrenaline and noradrenaline.

Physical and emotional stress usually trigger their release. The outer layer of the adrenal gland produces hormones called corticosteroids.

There are three types of corticosteroids: sex hormones(androgens and estrogens), and glucocorticoids that aid in the conversion of starchy foods into glycogen, help regulate the immune system, help maintain proper blood pressure and blood volume, and help the body deal with physical stress, and, mineralocorticoids control the body’s content of the minerals sodium and potassium.

In brain mapping studies during sexual arousal, five areas of the brain become more active, including the visual and emotional areas, as well as several sexual arousal and activity areas. The pituitary is stimulated to send signals to the thyroid gland, adrenal glands, ovaries, and testes, directing them to produce thyroid hormones, cortisol, estrogen, testosterone, and many more. These hormones have dramatic effects on metabolism, blood pressure, sexuality, reproduction, and other vital body functions.
young man  happielly sleeps after masturbation

Science of Ancient China and Masturbation

Taoism and sex hormones

The Taoists knew that the sexual glands could be used as a source of life force for their own bodies. The importance of sexual glands is that they are the fundamental driver of rejuvenation. If sexual glands producing hormones function improperly as with the phases leading up to and including menopause, cell/tissue regeneration and mental/physical performance diminish.

Thus the processes of menopause and aging accelerate; however, this can be reduced or corrected by properly functioning sexual organs. When the machinery of rejuvenation is activated through the practice of sexual stimulation, menopause can be delayed.

Taoists believe that immortality can be attained by transforming the physical body through continuous rejuvenation. A state of weakness or susceptibility to disease arises when one system, or in this case one endocrine gland, is deprived of energy or nutrients as in the case of sexual hyperactivity or abstention, or a glandular disorder. Balancing and raising life energy to its proper level through sexual stimulation is the Taoist way of strengthening the entire endocrine system.

By increasing the energy and availability of nutrients to strengthen the endocrine system, we can then reverse our existing weakness and heal ourselves, as well as utilize the higher order of energy to open up our spiritual centers and delay the onset of menopause.

Sexual exercises such as masturbation work to stimulate sex hormone production in men and women and maintain reproductive health and physical/mental well-being well into the later phases of life.

Masturbation is an effective and safe therapy to address the issues relating to menopause. In essence, our genitals are like fountains of youth and our semen is the rejuvenating restoring the vitality of our bodies and minds.

Sex hormones are powerful determinants of the quality of life in terms of stimulating and transmitting information to many parts of the brain and maintaining the integrity of the skeletal and muscular systems.

Reproductive hormones are also vitally important to human sexual development and the maintenance of reproductive health across the lifespan. The Taoists understood the importance of practicing internal hormone replacement to continually enhance sexual functioning and mental well-being. Taoist and Hindu wisdom and tradition concerning sexuality predicate the male and female sex glands as our most precious possession containing brain stimulants as well as powerful hormonal secretions. Sexual stimulation has excellent health benefits including the production of the hormone prolactin, which causes stem cells in the brain to develop new neurons in the brain’s olfactory bulb improving the sense of smell. Additionally, there is a reduced risk of heart disease, weight loss, overall fitness, reduction of depression, boosted immune system, reduced skin infections, and increased feelings of euphoria.

Sexual activity is the quintessential exercise for creating hormonal balance in the body. We are equipped with an intricate hormone system that can be coached into action when we choose to excite sexual energy and feel the run of its course through our bodies and brains.

Masturbation is an act of personal intimacy to be practiced where time and space offer a harmonious setting. Lighting, aromas, and oils can enhance the gratification and joy of the exercise. Sensuality should fan the fires of sexuality in order to experience masturbation on hormonal, neural, and spiritual levels. Be uninhibited while touching and exploring the parts of the body and corners of the mind that lead to sexual ecstasy. Human sexuality is a dimension of social life that is often rich with many different sorts of fantasies. Sexual fantasies can entail mental scenarios involving persons other than one’s regular partner and include sexual activities considered exploratory and exhilarating.

Impact of Erotism on the Brain and Body Functions

Eroticism is the experience of ourselves as fulfilled, whole beings. When in alignment with our own wholeness we are in contact with our divinity (a state of being known as Eros) and the very experience of being alive can produce feelings of pleasure, bliss, and love in its unconditional form. Eroticism is our innate, natural state of being, waiting to be remembered (embodied).

When you remember eroticism, you will be able to feel it everywhere in everyone and everything. It is the pleasure and joy that comes from being fully alive. When you can live this way, beyond mental conditioning/illusion, you feel life with a depth and breadth that makes every thought and every moment a deeply sensual experience that is not limited by fear or lack.

The experience of eroticism can have a long-lasting impact, causing a person to see beyond the boxes of conditioning in which we live usually unaware. The mind is the foremost erogenous zone.

The two main functions of the mind are thought and imagination

The stimulated imagination will stir the body through the sense organs. Allow yourself the experience of feeling entirely good about your body, the way it moves, feels, smells, the way it looks clothed, or unclothed, how you respond to it, and how you feel about yourself, your sensuality, and your eroticism. Your mind can create the optimal pleasant sensual setting to be sexually stimulated, hormonally activated, neurally charged, and spiritually focused. You can choose to configure any sexual situation that conjures an intense eroticism fueling sexual energy throughout the body. You alone determine the characters and choreography of your passion play.

Fantasy and eroticism can fuel your desires for the sustained pleasure and performance of your genitalia.

FAQ Section

Question: Can excessive masturbation lead to testosterone deficiency?

Excessive masturbation does not directly cause testosterone deficiency. While there may be temporary fluctuations in testosterone levels immediately after ejaculation, the body has a natural replenishment process that restores testosterone to its normal range. However, if someone is experiencing symptoms of low testosterone, it is advisable to consult a healthcare professional for a comprehensive evaluation.

Question: Is there an ideal frequency for masturbation to maintain testosterone levels?

There is no universally defined ideal frequency for masturbation to maintain testosterone levels. It varies from person to person based on individual factors such as age, overall health, and personal preferences. It is important to listen to your body, practice moderation, and maintain a balanced sexual routine that aligns with your physical and emotional well-being.

Question:  Does abstaining from masturbation increase testosterone?

Abstaining from masturbation for short durations does not significantly increase testosterone levels. While there may be a temporary rise in testosterone after a period of abstinence, it usually returns to baseline levels. Long-term abstinence may have minimal effects on testosterone, but the impact is not substantial or sustained. Regular sexual activity, including masturbation, is a natural and healthy part of human sexuality.

Question: Are there any side effects of masturbation on testosterone production?

No, there are no significant side effects of masturbation on testosterone production. Masturbation is a normal and healthy sexual activity that does not cause long-term disruptions in testosterone levels. It is important to maintain a balanced lifestyle, including proper nutrition, exercise, and adequate rest, to support overall hormonal health.

Question: Can masturbation negatively affect sexual performance?

Masturbation does not negatively affect sexual performance. In fact, it can have positive effects on sexual well-being. Masturbation allows individuals to explore their own bodies, understand their desires, and enhance self-awareness. It can also help relieve sexual tension, improve mood, and promote a healthier sexual response. However, it is essential to maintain a balanced approach to sexual activities and prioritize healthy communication and intimacy within relationships.



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