Masturbation may have subtle effects on testosterone levels. However, testosterone levels result from other factors that relate to elements of overall physical health. Psychological factors may have significant influence over testosterone levels. For example, testosterone levels may rise in men who expect sexual activity or men who expect to be tested for testosterone levels.
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Ejaculation May Set Off a Subtle Hormonal Cycle
Ejaculation results from masturbating to the point of orgasm. According to a study published in the “Journal of Zhejiang University,” ejaculation may set off a subtle hormonal cycle. Ejaculation that is followed by 6 days of abstinence may contribute to peak testosterone levels on the seventh day of after ejaculation.
The Zhejiang University researchers discovered that abstaining from ejaculation for 6 days after orgasm has little effect on testosterone levels, but testosterone levels reached approximately 146 percent on the seventh day.
Testosterone Levels May Rise During Masturbation
A July 2010 "Psychology Today" article concedes that testosterone levels may rise during masturbation. However, the article suggests that ejaculation does not significantly affect testosterone levels: testosterone levels may rise slightly during sexual activity, which includes masturbation, and levels drop back down to normal levels afterward.
Rises After Masturbation
According to an article on the T Nation website, a 1978 study evaluated testosterone levels in young men after sexual activity. The results of the study indicated that testosterone levels were slightly higher in young men after masturbation.
Lower Testosterone Levels
The Ask Men website published an article that advises against frequent masturbation. According to the article, men who masturbate frequently or look forward to masturbating alone on a daily basis may be less likely to engage in sexual activity with a partner. The article suggests that solo masturbation or masturbating with pornography regularly may reduce testosterone levels and reduce sexual partner-seeking behavior due to lower levels of testosterone.
Higher Precursory Steroid
Masturbation may increase levels of a testosterone precursory steroid. The Gengo website indicates that testosterone originates from a steroid called androsteneione, and androstenedione originates from a steroid called 17 alphahydroxypergnenolone.
A study published in the “Academia Scientiarum Bohemoslavaca” evaluated steroid hormone levels in young men before and after masturbation-provoked ejaculation. The study found that most circulating steroid levels did not change after ejaculation, but circulating 17 alphahydroxpregenolone increased significantly. The publication does not indicate whether higher levels of 17 alphahydroxypregnolone can result in higher testosterone levels.
Masturbation and sexual activity in general may have no significant effect on testosterone levels. The TeenHealth website notes that semen is not the primary source of testosterone, which indicates that ejaculation that occurs with masturbation does not reduce testosterone levels.
Generally, masturbation does not have any negative effects on hormone levels. TeenHealth suggests that testosterone levels involve several factors, such as age, time of day and physical activity.