Testosterone is an essential sex hormone that is responsible for various bodily functions, such as improving your muscle mass and bone density.
But one of its primary functions is that it promotes an individual’s sex drive. One of the more popular rumors that people believe is about abstinence and how it increases testosterone.
This is a timeless rumor that many men have heard growing up, they eventually went on to spread this rumor further. But since this rumor has lasted so long, it does beg the question, does abstinence from sex or masturbation increase testosterone?
Testosterone During and After Sex
Before we can answer whether or not abstinence increases testosterone in the blood, we should first look at how testosterone functions during sex and masturbation. As you masturbate, the levels of testosterone in your body begin to rise slowly and reach their peak just as you are about to orgasm.
Once you orgasm, your T levels will remain in that spiked state for at least 10 – 20 minutes. This spiked state mainly functions as a way to suppress further sexual desires. Sex works very similarly. This spike also depends on ejaculation, so non-orgasmic arousal does not cause T levels to rise.
Essentially, testosterone does not play an active role in your orgasm. Instead, it only increases to the point of orgasm to increase sexual desire, to allow for ejaculation.
After ejaculation, levels of prolactin rise to reduce sexual desire and give a feeling of ecstasy. It is also important to note here that supplements or medication that interfere with the uptake of serotonin, may have very different effects.
Does Abstinence Increase Testosterone?
While many promote abstinence for various cultural, religious, and medical reasons, many also believe that abstaining from ejaculating increases testosterone. The real question is, does it? Can you increase your testosterone levels by not ejaculating?
And the answer is quite straightforward, yes. Yes, by abstaining from sex and masturbation, you will be able to increase your testosterone.
There is proof that shows the increase in testosterone, but no reason as to why that is. Moreover, studies have shown oddly conflicting results.
On the one hand, we have a study from 2001 that shows a mild increase in testosterone after three weeks of abstinence. On the other, there is a study that claims testosterone can rise to 150% in just seven days of abstinence. Regardless, abstinence does increase your T levels.
Does Excessive Sex or Masturbation Decrease Testosterone?
Along with the very popular claim that abstaining from ejaculation increases testosterone, there is also an opposite claim. Many believe that excessive sex or masturbation can decrease your levels of testosterone. This claim is, of course, completely false.
This misconception is very prevalent throughout the sports and fitness community. They believe that if they ejaculate, their testosterone will decrease, which will lead to them performing poorly. However, this claim is absolutely false, as many tests have come to this conclusion.
In fact, the two studies that we mentioned above prove this. While they gave conflicting results on the increase in T levels, both also concluded that T levels do not drop upon ejaculation. They only drop back to normal levels since they peak just as you are about to orgasm.
The only time that masturbation or sex will lead to a loss of testosterone is if there are reasons why you are abstaining from these acts. Whether they be religious or social reasons, not being able to control your sexual urges can leave you in a depressive state.
The realization that indulging in these acts makes you immoral or unfaithful further fuels your depressive symptoms. And depression and stress have long been known to lead to lower levels of testosterone.
Will Frequent Ejaculation Affect Muscle Building?
Muscle building has less to do with how often you ejaculate, and more to do with how diligently you are exercising and commit to a diet and training. If you are not frequent with the type of muscle-building regimen that you have, then you will not be able to build muscle.
At the same time, we must also consider the factor of addiction to sex or masturbation. Of course, excessive ejaculation can be very dangerous to the body, as various chemicals in your brain go out of balance.
If you develop an addiction, it can interfere with various parts of your life, including your muscle building or training routine.
Other than developing an addiction, there is no other way that frequent ejaculation, whether it is through sex or masturbation, can affect you building muscle.
Benefits of Abstaining from Masturbating
Though there are no significant side effects or disadvantages that come with masturbating or ejaculating in general. There are plenty of benefits of abstaining from it that branch much farther than just higher testosterone. In fact, there is a massive community of individuals that inspire each other not to masturbate.
The NoFap movement is massive, and some of its benefits include:
Reduced Depressive Symptoms
One thing that almost every member of the NoFap community can agree with is that their depressive symptoms became rare since they stopped masturbating.
And while many will say that it is because they were able to focus better on their career or other important things, which is also a significant reason, there are other factors at play.
When masturbating, your brain receives an influx of hormones, mainly Dopamine. Referred to often as the “feel good” hormone, it provides an uplifting feeling and goes to the brain as a form of reward.
This easy and oftentimes free supply of Dopamine can lead to you feeling often depressed, which will lead to you masturbating again to receive more Dopamine. This turns into a vicious cycle, and eventually leads to addiction.
By prohibiting yourself from masturbating, you are not allowing your brain to receive Dopamine the easy way. Therefore, you will then work on other things that can give your brain that rush of Dopamine, along with a feeling of accomplishment.
Increase in Energy
As testosterone levels begin to rise in your body, you feel a lot more energetic than usual. You will be able to perform a lot better during exercise and perform more reps. Your energy also extends to daily life, as you will be able to go about your day without getting tired quicker.
Increased Sexual Desire
Another major benefit that will come with abstaining from masturbation is that you will have significantly increased sexual desire.
This increased sexual desire can be challenging to deal with initially but can be a major motivator in helping you socialize more. You will also be able to form more intimate and meaningful relationships.
Many members of the NoFap movement also mentioned that they developed more self-control as they abstained from masturbating.
This increased self-control comes from them being able to control their sexual desires. And by controlling these desires, they were able to achieve more and could concentrate better without being distracted.
Along with better self-control, these members also experienced better orgasms. As people become more addicted to the sensation of masturbating, an orgasm might not feel as impactful as it should.
This can lead to a lower sense of self-worth or even depressive symptoms. So by abstaining from masturbating, they were able to experience better orgasms.
Signs and Symptoms of Low Testosterone
It goes without saying that testosterone is one of the essential hormones in the body. It is essential for various bodily functions and allows you to feel sexual desire. Some people are born with low testosterone levels, and others can see their testosterone levels drop significantly as they grow older.
Therefore, it is very important that you are able to recognize if testosterone levels in you are lower than they need to be. Here are some signs that your T levels are low:
- Trouble keeping an erection
- Decreased sexual arousal
- Losing hair on various parts of your body
- Losing bone density and muscle mass
- Gaining excess fat
- A feeling of exhaustion
These are just a few of the symptoms of low testosterone that people experience. You must be mindful of these symptoms and take preemptive action to ensure that you are not affected in a major way.
Abstinence and its relation to testosterone is a very divisive topic spanning massive debates. But with the information that we provided above, it is clear that abstaining from ejaculating entirely can help you increase your testosterone levels.
And while the conclusions are conflicting, they still conclude that you will be able to increase your T levels.
That is not to say you should actively prohibit yourself from masturbating or sex to the point that it becomes an active distraction. It is ok if you masturbate if you are feeling too anxious or stressed, as it can help alleviate your stress.