Does Masturbation Affect Testosterone?

When it comes to bodybuilding, weightlifting and athletic sports, many question whether masturbation helps or hinders their performance. There are a variety of myths surrounding this subject, so we seek to shed light on the truth about masterbation and testosterone levels via the latest scientific data. Science has only recently begun to delve into this area of research, mainly because so many are demanding answers during this time of increased physical performance through the fitness craze and the highly competitive sports world, both of which seek to continually modify athletic performance.

Testosterone and Muscle Growth

Testosterone is the main hormone responsible for muscle growth as well as providing the male aggression that is often relied on for top athletic performance and fiercely attacking a stacked set of weights. It is also responsible for charging your sex drive, reducing glycogen breakdown in the muscles during exercise, building blood volume, retaining calcium in the bones, giving us hairy toes and a number of other duties.

Testosterone is produced mainly through the Leydig cells of male testes. On average, men produce approximately 7 grams of testosterone daily which is released into the bloodstream. The majority of testosterone attaches to globulin and albumin proteins for safe delivery throughout the body. The small percentage (2-4%) that does not attach to proteins is considered “free testosterone” and is what the body uses to make physiological changes.

Of the “free testosterone”, most of it is converted into the androgen DHT which goes to supply the tissues of the genitals, brain and skin. Since DHT robs muscle tissue of growth-promoting testosterone, many athletes seek to block DHT production through natural or synthetic supplements.

There are various ways in which athletes can boost testosterone levels. Eating a protein-rich diet as well as various herbs will do the job. Also, taking additional vitamins, minerals, prosteroids, prohormones, supplements, or illegal steroids (not recommended) will increase testosterone levels.

Testosterone and Masturbation: The Science

Various studies have been conducted on the effects of masturbation and testosterone use. One study completed in Vienna in 1998 by the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for urban Ethology found that both men and women experienced increased testosterone levels simply by watching pornographic movies for 15 minutes. Men increased their levels by 100% while women experienced an 80% increase in testosterone levels. A previous study in 1993 came to a similar conclusion. All 9 males used in the study showed an increase in LH (Luteinizing hormone) levels after viewing arousing material (both films and photos). LH is the hormone responsible for stimulating testosterone production. More recent research has revealed how hormonal fluctuations produce an increase in the levels of adrenalin, prolactin and killer cells (cells which increase immunity and hormonal absorption by other cells) which occurs after induced ejaculations. These results explain why induced ejaculations enhance the immune system and release dopamine, the “feel good” monoamine and neurotransmitter, which is responsible for both synthesizing and releasing adrenaline (epinephrine) used to produce sexual arousal.

In 2003, Chinese researchers shed light on how serum testosterone levels were affected by frequent ejaculation. The study utilized 28 male volunteers who were asked to abstain from ejaculation for a week. Serum testosterone levels were monitored throughout the week-long period and showed no impact during the first 6 days. However, on the seventh day, the levels of serum testosterone in all participants spiked to 145.7% from the baseline readings. Then, on the eighth day, those levels started rapidly declining.


The various studies conducted so far on how masturbation affects testosterone levels reveal some scientific guidelines for such practice. Healthy sexual activity and induced ejaculation (masturbation) can improve your quality of life, mental wellbeing and immune system.

Practice Self-Arousal Pre-Workout

Since it has been shown that pornographic material stimulates testosterone production and male aggression, you could benefit your strength training workout by viewing such material prior to exercise. However, you should avoid masturbation pre-workout.

Post-Workout Masturbation

According to studies, you can increase the functionality of the immune system to aid in exercise recovery as well as multiply the production of killer cells which help to prevent over-training by strengthening and protecting cells via masturbation approximately one hour after your workout session has ended.

Postpone Masturbation for a Competitive Edge

You can maximize a day of rigorous training or competition by avoiding sexual activity and masturbation for 6 days prior to the event which occurs on the 7th day. However, you should engage in masturbation post workout on the 7th day to prevent the suppression of LH hormones which occurs on the 8th day.

Practice Regular Exercise and Healthy Nutrition

Testosterone can be naturally elevated through regular periods of exercise and eating a nutritious diet. Such a healthy training program keeps both insulin and estrogen levels in check and produces higher levels of testosterone and other components which are vital in muscle growth.

For instance, when insulin levels are elevated, testosterone is minimal. Meals which consist of lipid and protein-rich foods should be eaten pre-workout because such nutrients have very little effect on insulin levels. Include plenty of lean red meats, chicken, fish, beans and legumes and dairy products for protein and add lipid-filled olive oil or flax oil to your pre-workout protein drinks to increase cell wall permeation of testosterone and other hormones.

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