Does Masturbation Increase Testosterone Levels?

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Does Masturbation Increase Testosterone Levels | PinkCherry


Ever wondered if masturbation can affect your or your penis-owning partner’s testosterone levels? Worried that too much stroking could flood your body with too much testosterone, or maybe depletes or decreases the hormones responsible for things like body and facial hair, muscle building and libido? We’ve got answers!


Today we’re exploring all things testosterone as we look into if and how masturbation affects, or even increases testosterone levels. 


So, Does Masturbation Affect Testosterone Levels?

Short answer: kind of. Research suggests that while masturbation does not seem to have any permanent effect on testosterone levels over the long term, self-love, stroking, manual stimulation, shaking hands with the milkman etc. can affect those hormone levels temporarily.


Masturbation and Testosterone Levels

It might seem obvious that masturbation and testosterone are linked. After all, they both relate to your sex drive. During arousal, whether you are using your right-hand man, a masturbation toy for men specifically, or having sexual intercourse, your body naturally and temporarily tops up your testosterone levels. In the short-term, it would be safe to say that any sexual activity, including masturbation, increases testosterone production.


However, after ejaculation, those levels drop back down to normal. Even if you have the stamina to keep yourself going for an hour or more (bravo, if this is you!), as soon as you climax or stop stimulating yourself, your testosterone levels will drop right back down to where they were when you started.


But, what about in the long-term? Well, that’s where things become a little less clear. Unfortunately, research on masturbation has been predominantly collected through surveys instead of direct observation and monitoring. After all, most men don’t want to have a stranger in a lab coat watching them and taking notes while they pleasure themselves. And we don’t blame them!


Research on Rats & The Estrogen Component

In order to monitor testosterone levels effectively, research has been conducted on receptors in the brains of rats after they masturbate (yes, masturbating rats is a thing!), although it isn’t clear how much, if at all, of the findings can be applied to humans. Rats and people may be similar in some biological ways, but scientists aren’t too sure about these sexual and hormonal aspects.


These studies have shown a variety of results, primarily related to receptors in the brain. When your body releases a chemical or hormone, your brain has special receptors or areas where the chemical ‘attaches’. It’s only when the chemical is received by the receptors that you feel the effects. There are two important parts of chemical reactions in your body: how much you release and how sensitive your receptors are.


Okay, we get it - that’s a lot of science there, but the main takeaway is that a more sensitive receptor means that you experience more of the effects of a certain chemical. In the rat studies, scientists found that frequent masturbation led to more sensitive estrogen receptors, meaning that the male rats didn’t make more estrogen, but their bodies reacted more strongly to the existing estrogen.


Now, before you start panicking and thinking that’s a bad thing, remember that estrogen is a necessary hormone for males and females, in both humans and rats. When there is too much estrogen, it can cause some side effects, but it isn’t yet clear how much more sensitive the rat receptors became or whether this also applies in humans.


Testosterone and Sex: Do They Go Hand In Hand?

When most people think of testosterone, they tend to think of two things: muscle mass and sex. Those two things can definitely be linked to testosterone levels, but this hormone has plenty of other jobs within the body and brain, too. Testosterone can influence mood, red blood cell production, memory and brain function, just to name a few. 


When some men experience sexual difficulties, they might be tempted to point the finger at lower testosterone levels, and might even wonder if too much masturbation is to blame. While lower testosterone levels could, possibly, be contributing to a lack of sexual desire, those low levels have nothing to do with how much you masturbate. 


Plenty of men feel guilty when they masturbate. Religious practices and old wives’ tales are often to blame for misconceptions about masturbation, but there is still a certain amount of stigma in modern society too. Though many ask, “is masturbation healthy for men?”, the societal guilt can mix in with normal stress and anxiety from daily life to severely lower testosterone levels.


Men who consume alcohol or tobacco on a regular basis will likely notice that their levels of testosterone are affected, usually lowered as well. Eating a healthy diet and getting some exercise, will likely restore your levels of testosterone and help you feel better to boot!


Signs of Abnormal Testosterone Levels

When it comes to testosterone, it isn’t all about sex. There are lots of aspects in your body that testosterone affects, and if you have noticed any of the following symptoms, you might be suffering from abnormal testosterone levels. Keep in mind that your age and lifestyle may also impact your body and could be the reason behind these changes.


If you’re worried about your testosterone levels, you should always talk to your doctor about it. They have precise tests that can pinpoint not only any abnormalities with your testosterone levels but also the cause of those imbalances. They can prescribe certain medications or exercises to combat these levels.


Whatever you decide to do, the good news is that you shouldn’t blame masturbation for excessively high or low testosterone levels. The fluctuations during arousal and orgasm are short-term and fade within minutes after you’re done. This may have you asking, how often should men masturbate if not directly correlated to low or high testosterone levels? Masturbating once a week, once a day, or multiple times a day are all fine choices; none of them will affect your long-term testosterone levels.


High Testosterone Levels

Yes, it is very possible to have your levels of testosterone be too high. Men often pride themselves on the attributes that testosterone gives them, but remember, there is such a thing as too much of a good thing. Despite this, the overproduction of testosterone in men is extremely rare.


There are plenty of symptoms to look out for when your testosterone levels are higher than normal. However, the most common ones experienced by men tend to be:


  •   Excessive acne
  •   Smaller than average testicles
  •   Frequent headaches
  •   Increased muscle mass
  •   Mood swings
  •   Overly aggressive behaviour

Low Testosterone Levels

In the same way, there are plenty of symptoms to look out for when your testosterone levels are lower than normal. However, the most common ones experienced by men tend to be:


  •   Gaining fat in your chest area
  •   Loss of hair on your face, head, and body resulting in baldness
  •   Lack of sexual desire
  •   Difficulty producing or maintaining an erection
  •   Overall exhaustion or fatigue


Keep in mind that while there is hormone replacement therapy available for men who want to increase their testosterone levels, as well as their libido, it isn’t right for everyone. As you get older, your body naturally produces less testosterone. That might be annoying, but even the most intense testosterone replacement therapy can’t turn back the clock.


Supercharge Your Me-Time

If you’re looking to get in the mood with a partner or enjoy some of the awesome benefits of masturbation, check out our selection of masturbatation toys for men. Your hands are great tools, but sometimes it’s nice to try something else for a spicy change of pace. If you are searching for new masturbation techniques for men, there are plenty of fun tools you can add to your toolbox!


In Summary

So, the question remains: does masturbation affect testosterone? Like all things about the human body, the answer is complicated. The act of sexual pleasure does elevate testosterone levels in the short-term, but those levels return to normal after orgasm. The long-term effects of masturbation are extremely difficult to study in humans, so for now, the answer is science doesn’t really know.


Bottom line: masturbate to your heart’s content, because your testosterone levels will be just fine!



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Medically Reviewed By: Dr. Sunny Rodgers

This content was reviewed for accuracy and relevancy by Dr. Sunny Rodgers.

Dr. Sunny Rodgers is a clinician, author, and speaker who has worked in the wellness industry since 2000. She holds a Ph.D. in Human Sexuality, a Master of Arts in Clinical Sexology, and is an accredited Sexual Health Educator. She is the Founder of The Institute of Intimate Health, an Ambassador for the American Sexual Health Association, regular lecturer for the UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine, Sexual Confidence Coach for the Marigold App, and a professional Sex Toy Concierge™. Rodgers hosted a popular weekly show on Playboy Radio, has been an expert guest on several TV and radio programs, and is a regular contributor to HuffPost, Men's Health, Cosmo, Bustle, and many more publications.