Testosterone and sex drive are inextricably linked. In fact, it's the absence or lack of sex drive that often drives men to investigate testosterone and take steps to increase their levels of this vital hormone. So, if testosterone and sex are so closely related, this raises the common question on whether masturbation and testosterone are linked as well. And what about masturbation abstinence, the famous NoFap attitude? Are there any substantial NoFap benefits such as boosted testosterone and improved health?
The answer is, yes, there are a lot of benefits, but the whole story isn't as easy as you could think. Now let's move on to the tasty details.
Boxers, Abstinence, and Testosterone
It’s a long-held belief by many boxers, including “The Greatest” Mohammed Ali, that sexual abstinence for several weeks before a fight will cause testosterone levels to rise. Ali himself would quit sex for six weeks prior to a big bout, where many others followed suit – and not only boxers.
This belief suggests that ejaculating (either through sex of masturbation) would lower testosterone levels and therefore abstinence will increase it. Rocky’s trainer Mickey said it best when he told Rocky that “women weaken legs”. Most likely, the same goes for masturbation as well.
All in all, semen retention is a well-known practice in the world of professional athletes. The main goals of this attitude are elevated testosterone and increased energy levels. After all, semen is a complex mixture of calcium, phosphorus, lecithin, cholesterol, albumin, and nucleoproteins. Ejaculating would mean losing all of those nutrients and a whole lot of precious sexual energy, which is why numerous professional athletes abstain from sex before important events.
This is what former world heavyweight champion David Haye said about this topic:
- "Find a lion that hasn’t had some food for a while, and you’ve got one dangerous cat. I don’t ejaculate for six weeks before the fight. No sex, no masturbation, no nothing. It releases too much tension. It releases a lot of minerals and nutrients that your body needs, and it releases them cheaply. Releasing weakens the knees and your legs. Find a lion that hasn’t had some food for a while, and you’ve got a dangerous cat.
So there won’t be a drip from me. Even in my sleep — if there are girls all over me in my dream, I say to them, ‘I’ve got a fight next week, I can’t do anything. I can’t do it.’ That’s control. I’ve been doing that since I was fifteen and its part and parcel of my preparation now. That’s why I am who I am today — it’s down to all those little sacrifices. Find me another boxer who makes that sacrifice, and you’ll find another champion."
In contrast, Roman gladiators were given slaves to have sex with the night before going into the arena in the belief that it would make them more aggressive. Although, in all honesty, this could easily just have been a way to give the guys a good send-off before the combat that could kill them.
The reality is, it’s not the sex (or ejaculation) that is the testosterone-lowering problem but staying up all night looking for it! Lack of sleep is much more likely to lower testosterone levels than long-term sexual abstinence.
Not having sex for six weeks, when you are used to regular sexual activity, could lead to increased aggression but mainly because sex increases both endorphin and dopamine production, better known as feel-good hormones. That’s what provides that after-sex glow.
A reduction in dopamine and endorphin levels would certainly darken your mood which would potentially increase aggression. Sexual frustration could also increase the urge to fight. Neither are directly linked to altered testosterone levels though.
However, before we discard the wisdom of boxing coaches around the world, it’s interesting to note that studies reveal that a brief break from sexual activity – three weeks – resulted in slightly elevated testosterone levels in the males tested. While this is significant, the cohort of subjects was very small, only ten men. The same study concluded that regular sexual release, through masturbation or sex, did not lower testosterone levels.
Another study concluded that long-term (three months) sexual abstinence can actually lower testosterone so it seems that masturbation, at the very least, will not lower T-levels much if at all.
Testosterone’s Role in Ejaculation
Whether we’re talking sex or male masturbation, testosterone production and semen ejaculation are not controlled by the same mechanisms. Ejaculation is a muscular reaction while testosterone production is a hormonal one.
Yes, healthy testosterone levels are important for producing healthy ejaculate, i.e. mobile, robust sperm, but other than affecting sex drive, testosterone plays a relatively small role in actually busting a nut.
Men suffering from erectile dysfunction do not necessarily have low testosterone levels and ED can often be relieved without raising T-levels. Viagra, for example, increases circulation and blood flow to the penis and does not affect testosterone levels at all.
If you are suffering from ED a safer option than relying on Viagra is using DHEA as an ED supplement. DHEA can help rebalance your hormones and potentially cure your ED for good.
Testosterone is produced mainly in the testicles though and while masturbation is both healthy and normal, too much masturbation could damage the testes resulting in reduced testosterone levels. This is, however, highly unlikely unless you are a particularly rough masturbator or practice excessive fapping! (In which case the NoFap movement could be quite the salvation for you.)
Does Masturbation Side Effects Lower Testosterone or Increase Testosterone?
Masturbation facts; should I masturbate? If masturbation doesn’t lower testosterone, does it actually increase it? The answer is yes, but not as much as actually having sex with a partner. Having sex with a partner has been revealed to increase testosterone more than masturbating alone.
In an interesting study in which researchers observed and tested men in a sex club, those who engaged in sex experienced a whopping 72% increase in testosterone levels whereas those with more voyeuristic tendencies only experienced an 11% rise. Clearly having sex is superior to masturbation when it comes to boosting testosterone.
Another study revealed that testosterone levels rise significantly after sexual activity and that sexual activity affects testosterone more than initial testosterone affects sexual activity.
The conclusion from these and similar studies is that male masturbation is no negative impact on testosterone production and is safe, healthy, and contrary to the all-too-common myths, will not make you go blind or get hairy palms!
Woah, woah, wait a second: if you're telling me masturbation could be good for my testosterone, why are we talking about NoFap benefits to begin with?
One step at a time, my friend, we'll get to it. For now, let's start with some myth busting.
Common Myths on Daily Masturbation
Even though masturbation is a normal part of sexuality, there is still some stigma involved. There is nothing wrong if you masturbate, or even if you choose not to. However, there are some myths surrounding masturbation that need to be debunked.
Myth 1: Masturbation can cause blindness.
This is a common misconception that is usually associated with guilt. In all fairness, this was something that many of us heard during our childhood. However, there is absolutely no truth in this. Studies conducted on this point showed no correlation between people who masturbate and blindness. On the contrary, these studies showed that individuals who even masturbate 4 times daily or more for years haven’t been found to suffer from any diseases usually attributed to masturbation.
Myth 2: Masturbation causes erectile dysfunction.
When it comes to research on this topic, erectile dysfunction is not associated with masturbation. However, there is a psychological component to this, since you can have a hard time reaching orgasm, which is connected to chronic masturbation. This is because you can become too used to your own touch, or to a certain kind of sensation.
Myth 3: Masturbation doesn’t provide any long-term health benefits.
When practiced in moderation, masturbation can be good for you. It is a well-known fact that masturbation improves concentration, helps in relieving stress and headaches. This is caused by the release of endorphins, which gives you a sense of well-being.
Myth 4: People in relationships don’t masturbate.
In all fairness, most of us know that this myth is false. No matter if you’re single or in a relationship, masturbation is still a healthy sexual activity. Numerous studies have shown that masturbation is a very common behavior, where about 92% of men and 62% of women masturbate. Once again, this can be beneficial for both partners when practiced moderately.
Myth 5: There is no limit to how much you can masturbate.
Just like with most things in life, masturbation should be practiced moderately, since too much masturbation has its own share of side effects. According to the American Psychological Association, too much masturbation can affect your daily life, which is when an individual should seek professional help. If masturbation doesn’t cause problems in your everyday life or if it doesn’t disrupt your relationship, you don’t have anything to worry about.
What About Porn?
In general, porn can help you explore your erotic desires if used properly. Some studies have shown that porn can boost your libido and improve your relationship. However, there is also a much darker side to porn, due to how it affects your brain. Once again, this is due to excessive masturbation side effects and excessive porn watching.
Long story short, our brains have not evolved to handle the high stimulation that comes with excessive porn use. There is a lot of research pointing to erectile dysfunction among young men that can often be attributed to excessive porn use. So indeed there are some forms of side effects of masturbation, but only in combination with excessive porn use.
Over-masturbation with porn floods dopamine receptors and eventually makes them less responsive in all areas of life. In other words, your brain will need more dopamine each subsequent time in order to feel the same effects. Masturbation affects many parts of the brain and for more than just the duration of masturbation.
Ultimately, too much masturbation like this can have psychological effects such as depression, social anxiety, lack of motivation and an inability to get an erection while having real sex. This is a serious problem, you can find more details and research here.
It is also interesting to note that the brain of a porn addict can be compared to that of a drug addict. A 2014 Cambridge University study tried to examine this problem and concluded that there are three regions in the brain that were more active in chronic masturbators and people with compulsive sexual behaviors. These same regions are also highly active in drug addicts when shown their drug of choice.
This means that porn can be addictive and highly harmful, which is why it’s important to take a step back once you realize that porn affects your everyday life. You can learn more about how porn affects your brain in this article.
And THIS is the main problem with fapping: not the masturbation itself, but the porn that usually comes with it. Roughly speaking, you could rename the NoFap benefits for NoPorn benefits and get pretty much the same picture (or an almost identical one).
How to Start a Sexual Reboot
Quitting excessive porn use (often called no fapping, NoFap challenge, NoFap November, or quit Fapping) and seeking help for over-masturbation can be a challenge, but it is essential to anyone who wants to regain control over their lives, get rid of side effects of excessive masturbation, and reap all the NoFap benefits that were confirmed by scores of fapstronauts (yep, that's what no-fappers often call themselves). Keep in mind that these perks are achieved not by sheer fapping abstinence, but through abstaining from PMO (porn / masturbation / orgasm), once again pointing at the crucial role or pornography in the equation.
Most fapstronauts report the following advantages of finally getting in control of their fapping and porn habit:
- Alleviation of general and sexual anxiety (also known as performance anxiety, a phenomenon closely linked to porn-watching). Roughly speaking, porn is always just a movie and by watching too much of it we set unrealistic standards for ourselves. Let go of them, and performance anxiety will fade as well.
- Boosted confidence, especially with the opposite sex. Masturbating is like "grabbing the low-hanging fruit," so consciously refusing to do this would naturally increase your drive and confidence to pursuit the real reward: actual sex.
- Increased creativity, motivation, artistic vibes. After all, you've got to impress your crush to actually reach the sex-stage, right?
- Deepened and improved emotional connection. Contrary to fapping, actual sex always brings some kind of intimacy and emotional "click" between people. If you have less of the former and more of the latter in your life, most likely your emotional connections both with love partners and with people in general will be greatly improved. Read: you'll have a much more vibrant social life.
- Mental clarity, relief from "brain fog." One of the most widely-discussed health benefits of NoFap is the clearance of the so-called brain fog, which is likely a result from normalized dopamine metabolism in the nervous system. Fap less, watch less pornography, think clearer!
So how do you reap all of these fabulous NoFap benefits?
There are numerous pieces of advice on how to do this, even though the most important one is your motivation to stay on the right track. Here are some additional tips:
- Stay clear of any behavior that's close to your porn addiction. For example, unsubscribe from those subreddits with erotic pictures and stuff. Also, it's a great idea to keep yourself busy at all times ("Idle hands are the devil's tools", remember?). Some individuals like to invest their time in pursuing long forgotten hobbies, while others distract themselves with work or some other way. Either way, you should still be careful about what you do in your free time since you don’t want to develop brand new bad habits during your NoFap retreat.
- Restrict the areas where you use your smartphone or computer, and be careful with social networks. Most guys have a favorite place to watch porn and masturbate, which is why it’s important to stay away from those places and situations. For example, if you use your smartphone or computer to masturbate in bed, make sure to leave these devices elsewhere once you decide to go to sleep.
- Create a support system. It can be very hard to stay in the right mindset for a certain period of time, which is why you need some kind of support. Since it can be hard to find this kind of support in real life, you can find it online. As you can see, the web isn't just for internet porn: it can also be a helpful place if you use it right. There are numerous online communities (like the NoFap community) and forums that are used by those who decided to turn to healthier lifestyles free of porn and excessive masturbation. You can also seek professional help if you feel like the problem is really spinning out of control.
- Take care of your body. In order to be in the right mindset, you also need to be physically capable. This is why it’s a good idea to join the gym and to start exercising regularly. This can help you stay focused and keep clear of lethargy. In addition, you will be grateful that you’ve invested your time in building this habit when you start seeing results in your physique. Consider this a bonus NoFap benefit.
- Take care of your mind, as it is one with your body. If one suffers the other one will too. There are many good ways in which you can strengthen your mind and increase your resilience to the ups and downs of life. This is also the #1 way to build mental strength which you so much need to change your life and habits. We recommend meditation (especially vipassana meditation) and cold-showers or ice baths. These work especially well to fight back wet dreams and are extremely effective for strengthening your mind in general. Naturally, they come with many other benefits too, besides the NoFap ones.
- Keep track of your progress. No matter what kind of a bad habit you’re trying to break, it’s always wise to keep track of how it is going. This can improve your focus and motivation, and help to avoid relapses. Dominate your first milestone (5 days, for example) and you will feel eager and ready for the next one. That's a champion's mindset.
- Respect yourself. During your reboot, there may be times when you’ll think that quitting porn is impossible. This is when those negative emotions kick in, which is why you need to embrace them. After all, this is what you’ve been escaping through porn. If you feel overwhelmed for a long time, you should seek out a professional help to help you sort through these things. There are numerous therapists that specialize in chronic over-masturbation side effects, who are trained to help you.
Supplements to Help You Reboot Sexually
The side effects of too much masturbation and porn watching may be alleviated by taking certain supplements. These supplements are known in the market to reduce your sexual cravings, regulate your dopamine receptors, and cure erectile dysfunction.
N-Acetylcysteine has been known to address cravings or behavioral addictions. Studies show that it can decrease cravings for cocaine, food, and sex.
Aside from NAC being effective for people with increased sexual urges, the product can be useful for those battling obesity and other types of addiction (i.e. gaming and shopping, or any other pleasure-inducing activity).
Each bottle consists of 250 capsules with 600mg of N-acetylcysteine. The supplement contains selenium, which protects the cells from oxidative damage, and molybdenum, which helps break down the amino acids in the body.
Aside from providing protection from free radicals, the supplement also maintains the health of your cells. People allergic to certain ingredients need not worry as NAC doesn’t contain salt, sugar, wheat, egg, gluten, shellfish, soy, and milk. Also, NAC is vegan.
NAC reportedly ups your glutathione level, which means you have more protection from stress and you get a lot of antioxidants with regular intake of this product.
The product measures 9.1 ounces – enough for your daily maintenance.
Things We Liked
- This product can facilitate relaxation and deep sleep, if taken on a regular basis.
- It relieves anxiety and depression.
- It is a great liver detoxifier.
Things We Didn't Like
- Your libido level may not be consistent.
- May cause heartburn in some people.
- Not recommended for those suffering from gout or joint-related problems.
This product is essential in aiding sexual reboot and increasing your dopamine levels. It has been found to maintain cell growth and facilitate cell replication.
According to studies, uridine can increase the sensitivity of dopamine receptors and provide sexual balance when needed. For instance, it can help increase pleasure and excitement when you feel anxious and depressed, or it can decrease dopamine levels when you get a relapse (i.e. from porn addiction).
Uridine supports cholinergic function, meaning it helps you remember and learn things. It is significant for every brain-related activity.
Moreover, uridine helps synthesize your RNA, making you effectively respond to messages sent by the brain. Uridine ultimately aids in communication and allows for a healthy expression of sexual urges.
The supplement contains 300mg of uridine in gel-type capsules and does not include soy and other similar ingredients. The gelatin used for the capsules is bovine and kosher.
The bottle weighs 1.3 ounces, a little smaller in size compared to other supplements of the same function.
Things We Liked
- It improves memory functions.
- May improve moods.
- Reasonably priced.
Sulbutiamine is a form of thiamine that is said to improve cholinergic and other neurological transmissions and functions.
This product is helpful in sexual rebooting, as it can reportedly cure psychogenic erectile dysfunction, as shown in this experiment.
Moreover, Sulbutiamine increases the sensitivity of your dopamine receptors and helps you recover lost motivation.
This becomes handy whenever you want to make love to your partner or express your feelings and passion.
The supplement likewise aids your memory functions and enhances your concentration. You won’t get distracted whenever you make love.
Though the product contains pure Sulbutiamine, there is only 200 mg of this brain chemical in each capsule. The package contains 50 capsules of Sulbutiamine in gelatin form.
Other ingredients include cellulose and magnesium stearate.
The product works immediately – about half an hour, to an hour after taking the capsule. However, only 2 capsules are recommended to be taken per day.
Some of the side effects that you might experience are nausea, headache, mild agitation, and skin irritation. You’ll most likely experience these if you take more than the recommended dosage.
Things We Liked
- Great for people with memory loss.
- Helps you sleep better and uplifts mood.
- It is a nice addition to your stack of dopamine-regulating supplements.
Things We Didn't Like
- Must be taken according to the dosage recommended. Taking 4 capsules might induce nausea or upset the stomach.
- Should be taken 2 to 3 days apart, lest you develop tolerance.
A poor diet, too much stress, too much porn, a sedentary lifestyle, and environmental toxins present a far more serious threat to your testosterone levels than masturbation.
Is masturbation healthy? Yes!
Is masturbation normal? Yes!
Is masturbating bad? No!
Is masturbation good for you? Yes! (If not excessive)
However, masturbation usually comes hand in hand with porn watching - and this is an enemy far worse than fapping. Basically, most of the NoFap benefits listed in this article are, to a great extent, results from porn-watching abstinence rather than abstinence from masturbation or ejaculating.
In other words, remember everything has a "healthy" amount to it, and fapping is not an exception.
Casual fap? Great! Daily 10-stage porn-aided fapathon? Probably a bad idea, so you migh want to consider adopting the fapstronaut path.
Product image credits: Amazon.com