Abstinence and Testosterone
by Benjamin Bunting BA(Hons) PGCert
Written by Ben Bunting: BA, PGCert. (Sport & Exercise Nutrition) // British Army Physical Training Instructor // S&C Coach.
It is completely natural to masturbate in order to discover your sexual desires. It is also wondered if masturbation affects testosterone levels.
The act of masturbating itself is not harmful to your health. However, the link between testosterone and masturbating can be quite interesting.
Let's explore it further.
Testosterone and sex drive
By now, we all know that testosterone is closely linked to your sexual drive. It's not just sexual activity with your partner that affects T levels.
Your testosterone level naturally increases during masturbation. It returns to its normal levels following orgasm. Yet, it has been suggested that repeated bouts of masturbation alongside a resistance training program could potentially lead to positive muscle and strength adaptations.
It's not uncommon to feel a lack in sexual desire when your T level is low. This can happen no matter how much you love your partner. Low T can affect more than just your sexual drive.
Low testosterone symptoms
Testosterone is known to play an essential role in both sexual desire and muscle gain, mood regulation, bone strength, erectile dysfunction and other symptoms for many men.
It is recommended that you know how to detect low testosterone and what treatment options may be available in order to manage its levels appropriately.
Low testosterone levels can result in many symptoms for men, including loss of body hair (alopecia), extreme fatigue and reduced energy, reduced libido, emotional changes such as sadness or depression and physical changes like increased body fat and reduced muscle bulk and strength; some may develop enlarged breasts (gynecomastia) as well as losing sperm production which could eventually lead to infertility.
Attributed to natural aging processes, testosterone levels gradually diminish as one gets older - this process is known as andropause and its symptoms can include sleep issues, mood changes and testicle size changes; but in severe cases the consequences could be severe.
Many people can manage their symptoms through exercise, weight loss, proper diet and the avoidance of alcohol and drugs.
A blood test can measure total testosterone level; your physician will take into account both symptoms and blood test results to assess a medical issue that requires treatment.
Low testosterone affects your body's functions in many ways. Below are some symptoms to look out for if you have low testosterone:
It's crucial to understand how symptoms manifest. While lifestyle and health problems can cause many of these signs, you should also pay attention to the way they develop. These symptoms may be similar if you've recently changed or started a new medication.
Does masturbating stop muscle growth?
Some people belive that masturbation can have a negative impact on our body. Yet, this 2021 study doesn't necessarily see it that way, especially in young, healthy men.
However, it's safe to say that there is little clinical evidence to support or refute the notion that masturbation can impact on muscle development.
It is believed that males who masturbate are more fertile and less likely to contract sexually transmitted diseases (STIs).
There's also a few other reported benefits:
- Stress Relief
- Pain relief for cramps
- Sleep better
- Helping you explore your sexual desires
- Anxiety relief is possible
- Improve your mood
- Reducing sexual tension
- Enhance your sexual life
What are the advantages of masturbation for women?
It is part of the way we live, and helps us explore sexual pleasure. Masturbation is not only fun but also may have other benefits.
That said, scientific research is limited, and the search engine results page is littered with magazine aricles rather than qualified research documents.
However, let's see what benefits we can find:
It was concluded in a 2018 study that the use of a vibrator is correlated positively with an increase in sexual desire, and an overall improvement of sexual function.
This is an effective treatment for pelvic dysfunction and sexual arousal problems. Vibrators may also improve sexual satisfaction and enhance relationships, even though more research needs to be done.
Male masturbation benefits
Apart from masturbation being exciting and in some cases allowing people to explore fantasies, it may help prevent prostate cancer.
In 2016, European Urology published one of the largest studies on prostate cancer and ejaculation. This study tracked more than 31,000 males for nearly 20 years.
Researchers asked people aged 40 to 75 years old how frequently they had ejaculated on average at various points of their lives. The researchers tracked who had prostate cancer 18 years after the initial survey.
Researchers found that men who ejaculated more frequently had lower prostate cancer rates than other men. Participants who reported ejaculating at least 21 times per month were significantly less likely to develop prostate cancer than participants who only reported ejaculating 4-7 times monthly.
Some evidence indicates that the quality of sperm changes over time. A review in the Journal of Assisted Reproduction and Genetics published in 2017 described a complicated relationship. Longer abstinence improved sperm volume and count. However, shorter abstinence can improve:
- Sperm motility
- Morphology is the size and shape of a thing.
- DNA fragmentation is the breaking of chromosomes.
Researchers concluded they could not recommend an "ideal abstinence", due to conflicting data.
Orgasms, whether with a partner or not, may help improve the quality of sleep. One study, published in Frontiers in Public Health in 2019, asked more than 700 male participants about the sleep quality they experienced after masturbation with or without orgasm.
Orgasms improved the quality of sleep and reduced time to fall asleep, according to a study. Over half of men, particularly those who orgasmed with their partner, said that they slept better.
After an orgasm your body releases the hormone oxytocin which lowers stress and inhibits cortisol.
What are the risks of masturbating?
Masturbation is not dangerous unless you do it very vigorously. It can, however, have psychological effects.
Results of a 2022 study showed that women's overall sexual performance was positively correlated with masturbation.
The relationship status moderated this effect, so that masturbation frequency was positively associated with sexual function in women.
Men who are in relationships have worse intercourse satisfaction and symptoms of delayed ejaculation, but more masturbation is associated with better orgasmic functions, better ejaculatory latencies, better erectile functioning, as well as better orgasmic function.
Both sexes were more likely to masturbate if their partner had lower sexual compatibility or sexual dysfunctions.
Sexual compatibility is a factor that affects the relationship between masturbation and sexual function in both single and partnered people.
As such, those who are single appear to benefit more from masturbation that those ina relationship.
It is laso common to feel guilty when masturbating. This can be due to social or interpersonal pressures. It is common for people to feel guilt if they are led to believe masturbation to be immoral or a form of cheating.
Masturbation, because many people question whether it reduces testosterone is linked with other health issues - sort of by association. Masturbation does not cause hair loss, erectile disorder (ED), or any other health concerns such as acne on the face and body.
This is more closely linked to the diet you choose, your hygiene habits and your lifestyle than it is with your T level as a result from masturbating.
Does masturbation decrease testosterone?
Ejaculating while masturbating doesn't affect testosterone levels directly, according to studies.
It is important to note that, contrary to what some men believe, the amount of masturbation you do will not affect your testosterone level.
Is it possible to increase testosterone without masturbating?
In 2001, 10 men who had abstained from masturbation for 3 weeks saw a small increase in their testosterone levels.
Research is limited so far, but it is possible to recreate a natural setting in a laboratory for the study of masturbation.
The researchers focused on an American sexclub to study the response of T to sexual stimulation. The results were more realistic because they came from a real world setting.
Researchers monitored the testosterone salivary levels in men who were participating and also those who merely observed. They found that the T-levels increased for all male visitors. However, it was higher among men who took part.
In 1992, an interesting study was conducted that focused on T levels for both women and men. They measured T levels before and after sexual activity, as well as the days between. The researchers also found that testosterone levels are lower prior to sexual activity, and during days with no intercourse.
This would indicate that T levels are influenced by sexual activity, and not the other way round.
There is plenty of room for more research on the long-term effects of long-term abstinence, masturbation and testosterone.
Abstinence for long periods and testosterone
Many men are reluctant to give up sex.
Long-term abstinence is a subject that needs further study, just as it was with the masturbation debate and testosterone. There are some studies available on the matter, but more needs to be done.
In 2003, a study examined the testosterone levels of men who had abstained from ejaculation for various lengths of time. The results showed that there was little change in T between two and five days.
Another 2003 study measured hormone levels (including T) during an orgasm induced by masturbation, both before and three weeks after abstinence. It is interesting to note that T levels increased after the three-week period.
The effects of masturbation on testosterone and your overall health do not seem to be harmful.
There is plenty of room for more research in this field.
Short-term abstinence may raise your T level. The choice is ultimately yours. However, you should carefully consider the benefits of semen retention and abstinence.
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