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The Myth of Masturbation: Does Masturbation Affect Testosterone Levels?

The Myth of Masturbation: Does Masturbation Affect Testosterone Levels?

10 min read

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04 May 2023

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There is a lot of false information and straight-up myths about masturbation and how it can affect your health and hormone levels. These myths range from the absurd - such as how it can cause hair to grow on your palm and cause blindness – to the more believable.

However, there is one claim that is compelling and requires some further investigation.

This claim is that masturbation can cause irreversible harm to your testosterone levels and has been a deterrent by embarrassed parents and youth pastors alike for years. 

Many in society swear by its validity, but is the claim accurate? 

Before we go into more detail about how masturbation can potentially affect your testosterone levels, it's essential to make clear that although potentially awkward, this shouldn't be considered a taboo or comical topic. 

So, let’s explore how masturbation and testosterone are linked to give you an answer one and for all. 

What is testosterone?

Testosterone is, among many other things, a sex hormone that regulates human sexual health and libido. It is responsible for many of the traits considered masculine, and although it naturally declines with age, it’s something men try to keep high throughout their lifetime. 

Understanding how your body reacts to masturbation and how it impacts your testosterone levels can help you identify if something isn't right, making this knowledge essential for every man. 

So, for the sake of science and a better understanding of your body, here's everything you could ever know about masturbation and if masturbation decreases testosterone:

What effect does masturbation have on our testosterone levels? 

Well, the first problem we have when investigating the effects of masturbation on male testosterone levels is that more needs to be done research in this field to get a definitive answer. 

That said, from the research that has been made on this area, there has not been any indication that masturbation affects your testosterone in any way. 

Although there has been a widespread myth that masturbation can affect your sperm count, there is no evidence to suggest it could raise or lower your levels. Although more conclusive studies are needed to provide a definitive answer. Your levels do not rise or fall in the short or long term, meaning you have nothing to worry about.

Does anything change in your body when you masturbate? 

Although there are no changes to your testosterone levels - even short term - when you masturbate, some other hormonal changes occur. 

When men ejaculate, it increases prolactin. This hormone has no known function in men, meaning an increase in it doesn't change your biochemistry. That said, prolactin is a chemical released from your pituitary gland, and its levels are checked to see if you have any tumors in that part of your body. 

A sudden increase in prolactin after ejaculation will not cause any issues to your body, as the levels often reduce back to normal after a short time. However, if you have a prolonged increase of prolactin in your body, it can interfere with the functions in your testicles, primarily sperm production and testosterone production. High levels of prolactin can reduce testosterone, meaning that you may start to suffer from some of the symptoms of low testosterone. 

As well as an increase in prolactin, ejaculation can cause a temporary decrease of dopamine in your body. Dopamine is considered the reward hormone and contributes to feelings of satisfaction and fulfillment. This means that a short drop in dopamine can cause lower moods and negative emotions, which makes you feel less fulfilled and inspired. 

Many people feel a little mellow and low after ejaculation, which is jokingly referred to by many men online as ‘post-nut clarity’. The drop in dopamine causes that feeling, although it usually returns after a short while, meaning there are no long-term effects. 

So, no long-term effects but worth noting the changes that can occur in your body. 

Is the effect any different when engaging with a partner? 

You may think that self-pleasure and shared sexual pleasure will elicit the same reaction regarding your testosterone, but there's evidence to suggest that the effects are slightly different. 

Once again, the research in this field is shallow and inconclusive, and multiple reports state conflicting information. As a result, we cannot say for sure whether sex can increase testosterone. 


Having said that, multiple research areas have suggested that it does affect your testosterone, albeit subtly. It's important to state that although you may increase your testosterone once you finish, the effects are short-term, so you'll only get a slight improvement in testosterone levels if you're having sex constantly. 

With all that said, some other exciting effects happen to your body following intercourse with a partner. 

The main benefit is that sex improves the release of cortisol. Cortisol regulates your feelings of stress and anxiety, with higher levels resulting in more calm and relaxed moods. So, having sex can help you relieve stress and lower your blood pressure, making it a very healthy activity.  

What happens if your testosterone drops or falls? 

Thankfully, there's no evidence that masturbation lowers your testosterone levels. As a result, you shouldn’t worry that engaging in it will impact your health.

Of course, this is not to say that you should ignore the effects of dramatic swings in testosterone levels. This is your life force as a man, and having unhealthy levels of it can severely impact your health.

While masturbation doesn’t affect your testosterone, you should still be vigilant of the most common abnormal ‘T’ symptoms.

Here's a deeper look at what a massive change in testosterone can do to you and why it's good news that there's no evidence to suggest that masturbation affects your testosterone levels:

1. Low energy levels

Low energy levels are among the most common side effects of low testosterone. 

Testosterone is responsible for helping to maintain muscle mass, bone density, and, crucially, red blood cell levels. 


Men may experience fatigue, weakness, and a general lack of energy when testosterone levels are low because of this reduction of red blood cells. In extreme cases, this low energy can lead to shortness of breath, as insufficient oxygen has traveled around the body. 

2. Erectile dysfunction

Erectile dysfunction is another common side effect of low testosterone. Testosterone plays a key role in sexual function and arousal. When levels are low, men may have difficulty achieving or maintaining an erection, impacting their ability to have sex or even masturbate.

3. Low Libido

Having low testosterone levels can also result in abnormally poor libido. Testosterone is responsible for regulating your sex drive. When levels are low, men may experience a decrease in sex drive or interest in sex, and this will also mean that they're less likely to masturbate as well.

4. Mood Changes

Mood changes are another common side effect of low testosterone. Testosterone helps to regulate your mood and can impact emotions such as anger, irritability, depression, and anxiety. When levels are low, men may experience mood swings, irritability, and depression.

5. Weight Gain

Having low testosterone can cause you to gain a substantial amount of weight. 

Why?

Because low testosterone can lead to an increase in body fat and a decrease in muscle mass, this can lead to weight gain, particularly around the waistline. 


If your testosterone levels get so low that estrogen overtakes it, you can develop fatty growths on your breasts, resulting in man boobs. 

Problems with high testosterone

It’s also worth nothing that there are problems with having too high testosterone, including:

1. Acne

One of the most common side effects of high testosterone levels is acne.

Acne is a condition that causes the skin's pores to become blocked, forming pimples, blackheads, and whiteheads. While acne is often associated with puberty, it can also be problematic for adults with high testosterone levels.

2. Hair Loss

High testosterone levels can also result in sudden hair loss. Testosterone plays a role in hair growth, and when levels are too high, it can cause the hair follicles to miniaturize, resulting in thinning hair and, eventually, baldness.

3. Mood swings

Mood swings are another common side effect of high testosterone levels. 

Testosterone can affect mood, and when levels are too high, it can cause irritability, anger, and even aggression. If you find yourself experiencing mood swings or changes in your mood, it may indicate that your testosterone levels are too high.

4. Sleep problems

If you struggle to sleep regularly, the reason might be high testosterone levels. 


Testosterone affects the body's sleep-wake cycle, and when levels are too high, it can cause insomnia or make it difficult to stay asleep. If you have difficulty sleeping or waking up feeling tired, it may indicate that your testosterone levels are too high.

5. Weight gain

Just like it is with low testosterone, weight gain is another common side effect of high testosterone levels. 

When testosterone levels are too high, it can cause an increase in appetite and cause you to eat more, increasing calorie consumption. 

How does testosterone impact masturbation? 

So, we've learned that masturbation doesn't affect testosterone, but what about the other way around? 

It is common knowledge that a high testosterone level in men can impact your libido. 

For those who don't know, libido is just the fancy word for your sex drive, and having a high amount of it means you're more frequently aroused and in the mood for sexual gratification. A result of increased testosterone and, therefore, libido is that you'll be more likely to masturbate more often than an average person. 

So, if you find yourself masturbating a lot, it could be a sign that you have high testosterone. 

Although having higher than average testosterone can be positive in many cases, do be wary that you may have to deal with a few side effects and health issues if it becomes too high. If you have the urge more often than you think is normal, schedule a hormone check to see if there are any issues. 

Regarding what ‘normal’ is, it's been found that just under half of all men masturbate under three times a week. 

Less than 20% of men masturbate more than four times a week, meaning this is a good threshold to measure yourself up again to see if you're doing it more than the average man. 

Interestingly, the same research that got these stats also reported that older men were the most likely to report no masturbation, which is likely due to decreased libido as they age.  

Another way that testosterone can affect your masturbation is how it affects your semen. To do their job properly, your seminal vessels and prostate need good testosterone to function. This means that if your levels are low, you may struggle to excrete a voluminous amount of semen, and if your levels are overly low, you won't be able to ejaculate and suffer from a dysfunction, which can lead you to be infertile as a result. 

That said, the opposite is also true. If your testosterone levels are high, you're more likely to have more fluid than usual, meaning you'll be able to ejaculate more volume. 

However, it's crucial to note that the amount of semen doesn't correlate to the amount of sperm in your semen. Just because you're shooting off a lot of fluid doesn't mean that there are a lot of swimmers in there ready to fertilize. 

Although there is usually a correlation, there are such situations where low testosterone levels mean that your testicles have a problem producing a good volume of sperm. 

A Myth of Masturbation 

The truth is that there is no direct link between masturbation and low levels of testosterone. 

That doesn't mean your body is unaffected when you engage in self-pleasure. Instead, certain hormones are triggered, but these charges are temporary and usually right themselves back to normal after no time. An increase in prolactin and a decrease in dopamine are the main changes in your body, which don't affect much beyond a slight reduction in satisfaction. 

Ultimately, there’s nothing to worry about, and you should instead focus on maintaining a healthy relationship with masturbation.

If low testosterone levels are something you are worried about, then a natural testosterone booster such as Testoprime will help you maintain healthy levels that correlate with increased energy and a higher sex drive. 

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