Does Abstaining From Sex Boost Testosterone?
This article looks at this popular myth that abstaining from sexual activity will boost your testosterone production, and that too much sex will actually reduce it.
We know that testosterone is the key to everything manly, your muscle mass, energy, strength, confidence and of course your sex drive and performance between the sheets.
But what is the truth – can avoiding sex really benefit your testosterone levels or is abstinence a complete waste of time.?
Lets Find Out….
Table Of Contents
Testosterone is the major male sex hormone, it is key to the regulation of our male characteristics.
It provides both androgenic and anabolic effects:
- Anabolic – helps to build strong, lean muscle mass by optimising muscle protein synthesis
- Androgenic – boosts bones mass and density, deepen voices, triggers growth of body hair, and of course – regulates sex drive and performance
Testosterone is produced as a result of a complex series of hormonal events. As we enter puberty a big surge in hormonal activity starts which is regulated by the hypothalamus in the brain.
This releases a hormone known as GnRH, this then travels to the pituitary gland, which then releases a hormone known as Luteinizing Hormone (LH).
This travels through the body to the testes, where it then signals them to start making testosterone. From here it is released into the blood stream where it gets to work.
Once testosterone levels are at their peak, signals are sent back down the line to tell the brain to stop the process. If levels reduce, the opposite happens and the brain is instructed to start the hormonal process once again. This is a dynamic and natural process that helps to optimise hormone levels at all times.
Testosterone And Your Reproductive System
Testosterone is not only responsible for your muscularity and overall manliness, its function as the main sex hormone is reproduction, regulating fertility, the production of sperm along with the enlargement of the penis and testes.
During your teens and throughout your 20’s your libido is about as high as it ever will be, this is due to the fact that your testosterone levels are at their peak.
After we hit 30, our natural testosterone production starts to reduce, the effects are gradual at first, about 1-2% our year and the effects initially are minimal, almost unnoticeable.
By the time we hit our mid 40’s our testosterone levels can be some 40% lower than it was in our prime, and that is when we can start seeing some problems – lack of energy, increased body fat and of course a reduced sex drive.
Sex And Testosterone – Does Abstaining Increase Testosterone?
At the end of the day, the key reason why we have testosterone is to have sex and reproduce. As the key driver behind our desire to ‘mate’ it makes us notice and feel attracted to members of the opposite sex.
The Chinese have written about it in their ancient scriptures, they thought that when you “spilled your love essence” (Their words not mine) that your levels of testosterone quickly reduced.
They also believed that if you didn’t have sex, your testosterone levels would steadily increase.
Research kind of backs this up to a point. Semen contains a precursor to testosterone called dehydropianosterone, and this could be true based on clinical studies.
What Does Science Tell Us?
Its an interesting question and one that has been scientifically studied.
One study followed a group of 44 men who were taken to a sex club.
They arrived at 11pm and stayed for a period of 4 hours.
26 of the men were asked to watch the sex acts being performed on stage, and 18 were actually coaxed into getting involved and taking part.
After the evening, the men had their testosterone levels checked.
All 44 men saw their testosterone levels increase steeply – on average by 36%, but the group of men who actually got involved and had sex on the stage saw increases of 72% compared to just 11% in the men who watched from afar.
Another study released in the journal Physiology and Behaviour reported on 4 couples who were monitored during and after sex.
When they had sex, their (both the men and women) levels of testosterone increased significantly, on nights when they didn’t have sex however, their levels actually remained the same.
Having Sex Boosts Testosterone Levels In Both Men and Women
In older men (over 60), it was found that those who still had regular sex had significantly more testosterone than men who didn’t.
The men who admitted to drinking more than 4oz of alcohol daily were less likely to want and ultimately have sex, which resale n lower testosterone production.
What About Self Love?
When looking at the effects of sexual release on testosterone production, we have to consider masturbation too, after all the end result is the same.
If you are gong through a dry spell, or for whatever reason you are sleeping in separate rooms or on the couch, its not uncommon to take yourself in hand..
One study carried out in Japan looked at men who didn’t ejaculate for 7 days, and the results were shocking.
Out of 28 volunteers, they all reported massive increases in the levels of sex hormones.
The increase didn’t happen for the first 5 days, in fact their their testosterone levels stayed pretty constant, but on day 6 and 7 their testosterone levels rose significantly by a massive 145%
After a few days the mens levels did return to normal but the results show that there is a sweet spot around 7 days where testosterone drastically increases if you have abstained from sex in any form.
Flipping the argument around a bit –
If you ejaculate regularly are you doing harm to your testosterone levels?
Well the answer is not really..
To Sum Up
- Not only is sex enjoyable, it helps to provide short term increases in testosterone
- Short term periods of abstinence can boost hormone levels, but this seems to be most effective between periods of 7 and 21 days.
- Long term abstinence can actually result in much lower testosterone levels ( the ‘use it or lose it’ scenario)
- Having sex opposed to masturbation is better at optimising testosterone levels.
There you go – You know what to do – Get out there and get laid !!!
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