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How Does Masturbation Affect Testosterone Levels? Exploring the Science

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Historically, masturbation has gotten a bad wrap. You know what I'm talking about. People used to believe masturbation would make you go blind or that it would make you grow hair on your palms.

Even if these myths started as white lies to help children keep their hands where you can see them, these old wives' tales have made it easier for us to believe that there is something unhealthy about masturbation, when that's just not the case for most people. While anything that provides pleasure leaves an opportunity for addiction, masturbation is a perfectly healthy and natural part of human life and physiology.

Masturbation Is Beneficial to Health

There is quite a bit of research studying the effects of masturbation on health and psychology. Masturbation can help men sleep better and be less stressed, and it also protects against prostate cancer. Even if you aren't having regular sex, keeping the pipes in working order is essential. In spite of these benefits, some men are concerned about the effects of masturbation on Testosterone Levels.

It's common knowledge that many athletes abstain from sex and masturbation before events in order to maximize Testosterone and competitive edge, but is there any scientifically proven reason to do so?

Furthermore, some believe that masturbation can contribute to Erectile Dysfunction, low libido, and fatigue. What does the science say?

No Long-Term Negative Consequences to Masturbation

The body of research as it stands offers little to no evidence that masturbation suppresses Testosterone Levels. While there is no strong evidence to support the ill effects of masturbation on Testosterone production, it's also complicated to measure or infer how changes in Testosterone are affected by outside forces.

Dr. Jillene Seiver of Eastern Washington University does not believe that abstaining from sexual activity or masturbation offers men any competitive benefits outside of placebo, even if there may be slight changes in Testosterone balance resulting from copulation or self-pleasure.

Fifty Years of Sex Research Involving Masturbation

Research into this subject has been ongoing for at least the last 50 years when a study from 1972 found no evidence that the male orgasm suppresses Testosterone. This study only involved seven men, but the results were significant. Of course, one study doesn't tell the whole story, especially a single survey from half a century ago.

A more recent study found that masturbation led to a slight (but very temporary) increase in Testosterone of approximately 100 ng/dl. This Testosterone boost lasted for around ten minutes after orgasm. Testosterone production actually increased from the beginning of an erection. While these changes were measurable, they were not statistically significant, largely because the study only involved seven men.

Another experiment from 2001 found that Testosterone was not affected by orgasm, but three weeks of abstinence did enhance Testosterone very slightly. However, researchers could not conclude that this was directly influenced by abstinence because the men knew that they were supposed to masturbate. Their bodies may have been in a state of anticipation.

Also, the study only followed ten men for three weeks. Research from 2002 involved one week of abstinence and led to a 146% boost in Testosterone at the point of orgasm, dropping back to normal in less than 24 hours. While some studies suggest that Testosterone Levels are slightly impacted by abstinence, these effects are found to be temporary when they are calculable at all.

Based on the current body of research, there is no reason to stop masturbating to boost Testosterone. Even the strongest positive results were fleeting and not worth the effort and willpower involved.

Masturbation Improves Male Fertility

While masturbation has a limited impact on Testosterone, it can actually increase your odds of getting your partner pregnant, even if masturbation doesn't strongly affect sperm count.

Masturbation improves the odds of fertilization because it rotates out older sperm and maintains a roster of healthy and highly mobile sperm for intercourse.

Of course, it's important not to masturbate too often if you're trying to have a child. Your testes do need to produce more sperm, and too much masturbation can deplete sperm count. It's often recommended to only masturbate once per day if you are trying to conceive to maintain an optimal sperm count.

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