TESTOSTERONE ∙ 3 minute read

Does masturbation decrease testosterone?

By Joe Young | Medically reviewed by Dr Luke Pratsides

You’ve heard the rumours about masturbating. At Numan, we’ve heard them all. Causing blindness, baldness, erectile dysfunction, or infertility. None of these are true, by the way. 

But what about masturbation causing a loss in testosterone? 

Let’s take a look at the facts. 

Why do you need testosterone?

Testosterone is vital during puberty for developing muscle, hair, and bone density. But low levels of testosterone can also cause issues later on in life, such as reduction of muscle mass, sperm count, sex drive, and bone density.

It can also cause chronic fatigue, mood changes, and erectile dysfunction.

Does masturbation cause testosterone to decline?

The short answer is no. There’s no proven link between orgasms and long-term testosterone levels, and the evidence is either inconclusive or has limited participants.

It’s unsurprisingly hard to get men to either masturbate a lot, not at all, or even refuse sex all in the name of science. 

Masturbating and sex can however have a short-term effect on your testosterone levels. They naturally rise during sexual activity, then fall back to regular levels after orgasm. 

Your testosterone levels also vary depending on a broad range of factors. Simply talking to a woman can increase testosterone levels in heterosexual men.

It doesn’t even need to be sexual, one small study suggested that watching your sports team win can increase it temporarily, whilst watching them lose causes a decrease. Even (arguably) less intense situations can cause a change - caring for your kids for a couple of hours has also been shown decrease testosterone. 

With many factors naturally influencing your testosterone levels, there's no need to be concerned about the impact that masturbation has.

What causes testosterone levels to decline?

The potential causes for low testosterone include:

  • Ageing
  • Obesity
  • Uncontrolled type 2 diabetes
  • Alcohol abuse
  • Obstructive sleep apnoea
  • Chemotherapy for cancer
  • Anabolic steroid use
  • Regular opiate painkiller use

Your diet might also have an impact on your testosterone levels, whilst exercise has been proven to increase it. In reality, low testosterone is quite common, even in young men. If you’re worried, it’s worth taking a blood test to check your levels of the hormone. 

What are the real benefits and risks of masturbation?

Let’s get this out the way first - there aren’t many negatives. Unless you do it so much it hurts, or it gets in the way of work, your sex life, or seeing friends or family, you’re all good. Everyone is different too. Some people masturbate five times a day, others not at all. 

Now let’s get to the good part. 

Contrary to what you might’ve heard, masturbation has a lot of benefits. From possibly lowering your risk of prostate cancer to helping you last longer in bed, to boosting your mood, and potentially helping you sleep. 

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The numan take 

The link between testosterone and masturbation doesn't raise any clinical concerns. And you can’t really do it too much or too little (other than in extreme cases).

So turn on the sprinklers, blow your trumpet, or polish the banister. Your testosterone won’t be harmed, but you might see some surprising benefits.