Few subjects have produced more passionate debates throughout history than the issue of sexual abstinence. The voluntary refrain from sexual activity and sexual release, which in males is represented by the orgasm and subsequent ejaculation, has been put in practice by millions of individuals because of psychological, social, philosophical, moral, or religious reasons. In ancient times it was believed that ejaculation and the loss of semen were hazardous to a man’s health; as of the twentieth century, there is a substantial section of society has come to support the idea that sexual abstinence is capable of conferring various health benefits. These beliefs are based on the assumption that ejaculation in the depletion of valuable biological resources. But, what does science have to say about this topic? It is widely known that male sexuality is regulated by androgenic metabolism, and mainly through the action of Testosterone. What effect does sexual abstinence have on testosterone? You can always TEST YOUR LEVELS OF TESTOSTERONE FIRST. How else will you know if abstinence has helped?
THE IMPORTANCE OF TESTOSTERONE AND ITS FUNCTIONS
Testosterone is an anabolic steroid that functions as the primary male sex hormone. Testosterone is heavily involved in the development and function of a male’s testicles and prostate, as well as in the manifestation of all male secondary sexual characteristics; because of this, it is believed that Testosterone plays a crucial role in the integrity of male sexuality and sex drive.
Beyond male sexuality, testosterone is actually an essential component in several body systems and functions such as maintaining a healthy bone density, fat metabolism, spermatogenesis, myogenesis, and erythropoiesis. The role of testosterone in proper bodily function is so integral to good health that when its production decreases there are far-reaching consequences. Low testosterone levels in men can result in an abnormal accumulation of body fat, a drastic reduction in muscle mass, and a significantly diminished bone density. Therefore it is extremely important to ascertain if abstaining from sexual activity and any subsequent sexual release is capable of reducing or increasing the levels of testosterone found in the body. Abstinence has changed the lives of many men.
BASELINE TESTOSTERONE LEVELS
Baseline testosterone levels in males are highly variable and are known to differ episodically and diurnally with a peak evidently present shortly after sleep and a gradual decrease as the day progresses. However, the average adult male will present testosterone serum testosterone levels within the range of 270-1,070 ng/dL. After age 30 there is an expected decrease in testosterone levels to the rate of 1% per year. Anything lower can be considered very low Testosterone levels. Therefore, a healthy adult male of 60 years of age would be expected to have 30% less serum testosterone than a healthy adult male of only 30 years.
There is a plethora of anecdotal evidence to be found that implies that abstaining from sexual release is enough to increase testosterone levels in men naturally; therefore, if we assume this to be true we must accept that orgasm and ejaculation will have the opposite effect and decrease blood levels of the hormone. Let’s take a look at what some clinical studies have found.
EVIDENCE REGARDING ABSTINENCE
The Medical Research Council Clinical Endocrinology Unit in Scotland published the following conclusions after a prolonged and extensive study on the subject. Plasma testosterone levels were related to sexual coitus. Blood samples were taken during and immediately following sexual intercourse in order to accurately measure testosterone levels; the results were then compared to those found in samples taken during regular resting periods. No significant difference was found between testosterone measurements made before or after orgasm.
Within the same study, there is evidence that suggests that masturbation induced orgasms produced no significant variations in plasma testosterone levels outside of the norm for healthy adults. This part of the study was enacted on a small sample of seven male subjects between 20 and 40 years of age. An important fact to note out of this study was that marked day to day variations in blood testosterone levels was evidenced in control samples taken at the exact time each day. Checkout this article to find out if your Lifting muscle gains and no sex has an effect.
One Doctor Walter Armin Brown conducted further studies and published in the Archives of Sexual Behavior. The purpose of this study was to elucidate the relationships between various components of sexuality and serum testosterone levels. Again testosterone measurements were made and compared against varying degrees of sexual activity and orgasmic frequency. Their findings strongly imply that no significant correlation between blood testosterone levels and the presence of sexual activity exists and that differences in testosterone measurements over time can be positively attributed to the frequency of sexual activity. Nevertheless, it is important to note that this study relied heavily on self-reported frequency of orgasm and as such is vulnerable to inconsistencies and error.
The Archives of Sexual Behavior also published a two-month study conducted on twenty healthy adult males that aimed to examine the relationship between androgen levels, specifically testosterone levels, and orgasmic frequency. The study was based on previous evidence that showed libido and sexual desire was artificially increased by the administration of testosterone in patients that experienced androgen deficiency. Although considerable variations in average testosterone levels were measured in all subjects, within-subject variability remained within the norm. Of the twenty studied subjects, seventeen were reported to have a higher mean level of testosterone during periods of sexual activity than during periods of sexual abstinence.
Because of the variation in the results of the studies conducted on the subject of the relationship between blood testosterone levels and sexual abstinence more studies are needed before we lean one way or the other. However, based on the available evidence, we conclude that masturbation induced orgasms and episodes of sexual intercourse have no statistically significant effect on the average testosterone levels of healthy adult males. We can then further stipulate that periods of sexual abstinence will not increase Testosterone to any considerable degree inasmuch as ejaculation is concerned.
- Kraemer, Helena C., et al. “Orgasmic frequency and plasma testosterone levels in normal human males.” Archives of sexual behavior 5.2 (1976): 125-132.
- Jiang, Ming, et al. “A research on the relationship between ejaculation and serum testosterone level in men.” Journal of Zhejiang University-SCIENCE A 4.2 (2003): 236-240.
- Schwartz, Mark F., Robert C. Kolodny, and William H. Masters. “Plasma testosterone levels of sexually functional and dysfunctional men.” Archives of sexual behavior 9.5 (1980): 355-366.
- Matsumoto, Alvin M. “Andropause: clinical implications of the decline in serum testosterone levels with aging in men.” The Journals of Gerontology Series A: Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences 57.2 (2002): M76-M99.
- Fox, C. A., et al. “Studies on the relationship between plasma testosterone levels and human sexual activity.” Journal of Endocrinology 52.1 (1972): 51-58.
- Purvis, K., et al. “Endocrine effects of masturbation in men.” Journal of Endocrinology 70.3 (1976): 439-444.
- Brown, Walter Armin, Peter M. Monti, and Donald P. Corriveau. “Serum testosterone and sexual activity and interest in men.” Archives of sexual behavior 7.2 (1978): 97-103.
- Ross, R., Bernstein, L., Judd, H., Hanisch, R., Pike, M., & Henderson, B. (1986). Serum testosterone levels in healthy young black and white men. Journal of the National Cancer Institute, 76(1), 45-48.
- Wilson, J. D. (1972). Recent studies on the mechanism of action of testosterone. New England Journal of Medicine, 287(25), 1284-1291.
- Sexual Abstinence WIKIPEDIA