The Effects of Masturbation on Sex Drive and Testosterone

Posted by Dr. Michael White, Updated on April 9th, 2021
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We may not talk about it, but we know that everyone does it. Masturbation is a part of pretty much everyone's normal routine.

Of course, some folks act on their impulses more than others. There's always been a lot of myth-making around the concept of masturbation.

While we know that it won't grow hair on your palms, we still aren't entirely sure how regular masturbation impacts human physiology. Researchers are interested in finding out how masturbation affects Testosterone Levels, but the current research has provided mixed results.

Evidence suggests that men with higher libidos tend to masturbate more often, which certainly makes sense.

What Happens When You Masturbate?

Masturbation puts your body in a similar state as lovemaking. Blood pressure spikes and heartbeat speeds up. Some men experience an increase in prolactin. Testosterone Levels, on the other hand, remain relatively steady throughout the entire process.

Men's health specialists believe that regular masturbation can boost your sex drive, but the current body of evidence is inconclusive as to whether masturbation has any long-term effects on Testosterone Levels.

It's also unclear whether women experience any boost in Testosterone associated with their masturbation habits.

Studies have found a correlation between masturbation and a persistent elevation of Testosterone, but there's yet to be a study with enough predictive power to establish cause.

The ideal study would randomly separate men into groups and assign them a specific frequency of masturbation. This may sound funny, but without this scientific, randomized element, other factors prevent scientists from making adequately informed judgments regarding cause-and-effect.

Link Between Masturbation and Testosterone Unclear

Depending on the design of the study, the results get even more muddled. A 2016 investigation collected data from men over 57 for five years. They found that a man's masturbation frequency was correlated with increased baseline Testosterone.

For women, no correlation was apparent. A study in 2015, on the other hand, found elevated Testosterone in women that self-pleasured more often. Neither of these studies was able to directly attribute increased Testosterone to the act of masturbation, however.

Multiple studies have shown that short-term abstinence from sex and masturbation leads directly to a boost in Testosterone for men. In one study, 21 days of abstinence led to a marked boost in Testosterone.

A second study found that 7 days without self-pleasure led to a 45% boost in Testosterone. Of course, these studies don't provide much insight into the effects of infrequent or semi-frequent masturbation.

Masturbation Appears to Increase Sex Drive

While masturbation appears to have a complicated influence on Testosterone, its effects on libido appear more concrete. Research published in 2007 showed that the more that women masturbated, the more often they were interested in masturbating.

Men tended to have both a higher frequency of self-pleasure and a higher sex drive than the women in the study.

Later research (2014) strongly correlated high libido with more frequent masturbation but could not determine whether sex drive increased due to masturbation or the other way around. The body of evidence thus far appears to suggest that masturbation helps bolster long-term sex drive, keeping the body prepared and expectant of sexual activity.

Individuals that abstain from masturbation appear to experience suppressed sex drive.

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