[Study] Too frequent orgasm DOES lower testosterone

Discussion in 'Pornography Addiction' started by much-noise, Sep 18, 2014.

  1. much-noise

    much-noise New Member

    The current thinking in this community is that masturbation frequency does not affect testosterone levels:

    In this post I will argue that there is preliminary evidence that too frequent orgasm DOES lower testosterone.

    There aren't many studies on this topic: Most studies measure acute effects of orgasm or effects of abstinence. These are not the issue.

    This 1978 study (paywall, but I'll include the necessary details) was a correlation study comparing proportion of days on which 20 participants were orgasmic, to their average testosterone level over 2 months. Here is a graph of the most salient result:


    This is strong correlation. Note, however, that the trend would disappear if we removed all data for proportions above 0.75. The data looks more like there's a threshold for "too much", rather than linear correlation. It's likely that the participants in the >0.75 area orgasmed multiple times per day on most days.

    As I said, this is a correlation study, so there are three possible causal explanations of the correlation:

    1) Low mean testosterone causes frequent orgasm
    2) Frequent orgasm causes low mean testosterone
    3) Low mean testosterone and frequent orgasm have a common third cause

    #1 is the most ridiculous explanation, because high testosterone, not low testosterone, increases sex drive. #3 is not impossible, but I can't think of any third cause that would cause such strong correlation. That leaves #2, which is eminently plausible. There is no contradicting evidence that I'm aware of, and it squares well with our experiences of too much masturbation and stereotypes of chronic masturbators.

    Here is the Your Brain On Porn comment on this study:

    Yes, it's true. Participants had highest T around the time of their sexual activity. But that's an irrelevant acute effect; the average test is still significantly higher for those who orgasmed less than 75% of days.

    Another YBOP comment:

    I have no doubt that porn addicts are frequent masturbators, but what is a normal testosterone level? The lower bound on the reference range of normal testosterone in males is usually 2.6-3.5 ng/ml*, so guess what? None of the men in study above have subnormal testosterone either! But their low testosterone is still very problematic, as it is more than 50% lower than the average for the 25-34 age range, and it's even lower than the average in the 75-84 age range! (See the table here, and the study it cites.)
  2. Vitality

    Vitality New Member

    for me this was very obvious. i didnt believe studies that said masturbation didnt lower testo.

    because when i was pmo i was having these wellknown hot flushes, known to be a symtom of low testo. also my beard grow out faster now, my voice is much deeper, atm i feel really shitty but when i had my first month i felt i had more energy and confidence, so to me it was pretty obvious.

    you lose some masculinity when u masturbate for sure, if u masturbate too much atleast
  3. much-noise

    much-noise New Member

    Oh shit, you've educated me. I get hot flushes too.
  4. toxicviper23

    toxicviper23 Guest

    Day after masturbating it was always obvious. I remember noticing this around 13 or so.
  5. pilj

    pilj Guest

    you don't get benefits from MO but from real sex. So MO if done too much will lower your t levels. Same here, since i quot MO facial hair grow faster, my voice might be a bit deeper.

    Cold showers, Hiit training and a good diet help a lot to raise your T levels.
  6. JCastro

    JCastro New Member

    I've had the hot flashes every single day for the past couple years. Did yours go away when you stopped PMO?
  7. Vitality

    Vitality New Member

  8. Gary Wilson

    Gary Wilson Active Member

    This is interesting, but my FAQ is based on all the available evidence, not a single correlation study. I am open to the endocrine system being affected by porn addiction, but the available evidence, logic, and basic physiology, rule out "excessive ejaculation" as the real cause of PIED. I've gone through all of the evidence here - http://yourbrainonporn.com/whats-the-connection-between-orgasm-and-testosterone-levels

    We need to explain away all available evidence before concluding -

    1) "Too much" ejaculation lowers testosterone.

    2) Low testosterone is the real cause of erectile dysfunction in otherwise healthy young men.

    First, all animal studies on ejaculation that I have seen show no effects on T. This is very important as researchers can control all the variables - unlike with humans. For example, ejaculation to sexual exhaustion has no effect of testosterone.

    Second, in almost all short-term human studies ejaculation has no effect on T levels

    Third, in the 2 long-term studies that eliminated ejaculation (16 days and 21 days), there was no change in testosterone levels. So the question is why does abstinence not cause an increase in testosterone? http://yourbrainonporn.com/selected-testosterone-research

    Fourth, many studies report no significant difference in T levels between healthy controls and men with ED
    - http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7192541
    - http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/570382
    - http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/4819173
    - http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16181230

    In fact, 2 studies suggest that abstinence causes a decline in testosterone. I'm not convinced, but that was the author's conclusion. How do we reconcile this? And should this be a concern for guys who abstain for long periods?
    - http://yourbrainonporn.com/selected-testosterone-research#LH
    - http://yourbrainonporn.com/selected-testosterone-research#lack

    Let's go to the heart of the FAQ - I claim low T is NOT the cause of PIED. I stand completely behind that statement. The memes about testosterone miss a key fact. Very little T is needed to maintain an erection.

    The following page was written by one of the top experts on T and sexual function. It contains several citations. http://yourbrainonporn.com/hypogonadal-men-and-erections

    If the claim is that "PIED is really low testosterone", we must explain away a whole lot of obvious flaws in the thesis, (in addition to the above studies):

    1) Why isn't ejaculating through sex a cause of low testosterone and chronic ED? Put simply - why do men who ejaculate frequently through sex not have ED?

    2) Many of the guys with PIED only ejaculate 1-2 times a day. Some less. Gabe averaged only once a day. Which brings up the obvious fact - many men from previous generations ejaculated a lot more than 1-2 times a day. Trust me on that one.

    3) The above brings up the obvious questions - What is too much ejaculation? What level of ejaculation causes ED. Keep in mind actual studies on T and erections.

    4) Why is there now (2014) an epidemic of ED in healthy young men? ( see - http://www.yourbrainonporn.com/study-prevalence-and-characteristics-sexual-functioning-among-sexually-experienced-middle-late) - 54% of males, ages 16-21 reported sexual dysfunctions. Kinsey (1948) reported the frequency of ED was 3% in men under 45.

    5) Why have almost all the men with PIED reported "normal testosterone." I know you argue that normal is not normal, but we are only discussing the T necessary to achieve an erection.

    6) Why have none of the men with PIED reported any improvements with testosterone replacement?

    7) Why does an ejaculation put guys into a flatline, when all evidence clearly shows that a single ejaculation has no effect on testosterone? (A new study shows that single ejaculation causes a shrinkage of dopamine producing nerve cells, that leads to lower dopamine in the reward center, that last for 2-4 weeks - http://yourbrainonporn.com/endogenous-opioid-induced-neuroplasticity-dopaminergic-neurons-ventral-tegmental-area-influences)

    8 - You need to account for why men in their twenties needing 6 months to 2 years to achieve full erectile health, while guys in their 50's often need only 4-8 weeks. It would be the opposite pattern if low T were the cause.

    9) You need to explain why studies report similar levels of testosterone in healthy men and men with ED.

    One has to explain away all contradictory evidence, anecdotes, logic, and the endocrinology of erections, to conclude that low T is the actual cause of PIED. One correlation study, where none of the variables were controlled, is simply not enough to conclude that PIED is really low T caused by "excessive ejaculation".

    Why is any of this is important? If "excessive ejaculation" is the true cause of PIED - then watching porn is OK. In fact, it is a good idea, because a few studies show that porn viewing can elevate T. Of course, so can watching football.
  9. much-noise

    much-noise New Member

    Gary, I appreciate your response.

    First, here are some corrections to possible misconceptions about my position:
    [list type=decimal]
    [*]I am not arguing that PIED has anything to do with testosterone. I actually have nothing to say about ED and its causes whatsoever.
    [*]I am not arguing that porn habits affect testosterone level.
    [*]I am arguing that there is preliminary evidence for a threshold for [mid/]long-term consistent orgasm frequency, above which chronic low testosterone occurs as a consequence.

    We should care about low testosterone a lot, even if it doesn't cause ED. Low testosterone puts one highly at risk of mental and physical health problems.

    Unfortunately, the studies which control everything are short term and so don't relate to sexual habits. I'd be delighted to read studies which get people or animals to have N orgasms per day for ~3 weeks with N=0.25,0.5,1,2, and measure mean testosterone.

    Even in the study I use, there's not a clear short-term effect. It's the habit over two months. Of course, the people who orgasmed almost every day may have been in that habit for years. So the time-scale is not clear, but it's clear that it's not short-term.

    Abstinence is a whole different kettle of fish. One might consider abstinence just as dysfunctional as excessive orgasm. I don't have any hypothesis about what abstinence does to testosterone level; I'm comparing normal male sexual behaviour with high orgasm frequency behaviour.

    I understand my case isn't exactly water-tight. But I believe I have given the most plausible explanation of the study. And I think you shouldn't say

    When the evidence you cite against this is about acute effects or abstinence.
  10. Gary Wilson

    Gary Wilson Active Member

    By the way The original FAQ was named named something like - "Is my ED caused by excessive masturbation leading to low testosterone". So my concern is all about sexual dysfunctions, because that is who reads YBOP.

    What is normal sexual behavior?

    The target seems to have been moved. Are you now suggesting that instead of "ejaculation lowering testosterone" as described in your OP, there instead exists a perfect amount of ejaculation that keeps T just right?

    I'm sorry, you can't come up with your own parameters (2 months and "normal male behaviors") that perfectly match the study in question while excluding every other animal and human study ever published on this subject. You can't ignore all other studies and mounds of anecdotal evidence because they don't align with your interpretation of single study from 1974.

    You must account not only for abstinence studies in humans (one extreme), you must also account for all the animal studies that show no effect of either abstinence or complete sexual exhaustion (two extremes) on testosterone.

    You must account for the many many ED studies that show NO differences in T levels between guys that ejaculate a lot, medium amount, little, or none. The subjects in these large studies have huge disparities of sexual activity, yet have little differences in T levels .

    If there are no effects at either extreme, then how can there be a slight effect with a slight difference in ejaculation frequency? That makes no sense.

    All of the contradictory evidence cannot be set aside with a single study that is up for interpretation, that contains many uncontrolled variables, and has no other study to support its findings. That's why scientists do many studies with various methodologies.

    The list of 1-9 must also be addressed. The reason guys are interested in testosterone here is low libido, DE, & ED. The studies and anecdotal evidence show no relationship with between sexual problem and T. Low T is not related to any of the reasons why guys visit YBR- the sexual problems, addiction, morphing sexual tastes. Nor is T related to other conditions such as, social anxiety, depression, low motivation, and brain fog - that some see remit with abstinence.

    It would be nice if T were the simple explanation here, but most of the evidence points to changes in the brain (from chronic overconsumption of supernormal stimulation) as the reason that these many symptoms reverse themselves. (Today's porn is the issue.)

    So you want me to cite this one 1974 study by saying what? That there exists a perfect amount of ejaculation that doesn't lower testosterone, even though all evidence finds that neither abstinence nor high levels of ejaculation have been shown to alter testosterone in humans and animals?

    In essence, you are asking me to ignore every other study done on this subject, and all the studies on ED/erectile physiology, along with mountains of anecdotal evidence, and all the urologists. You are suggesting I overturn all of this with your interpretation of a 40 year old study that has not been replicated, and that may have flaws (I don't know that it does).
  11. Jordz1996

    Jordz1996 New Member

    I know pied isn't caused by to much ejaculation, but why do guys report increased facial hair and deeper voice when they've rebooted if testosterone is not effected? Placebo?
  12. Gary Wilson

    Gary Wilson Active Member

    Now that's a good question. Some claim more muscle. Other claim balding spots fill in with hair (but this would be less testosterone, in theory).

    1) It could be placebo.

    2) Could one or more unidentified hormones (Not T). I think this may be possible for some of these effects, as the reward circuit influences all sorts of hormones along with the autonomic nervous system.

    3) Or there may be separate reasons for each effect.

    For example, a lower voice is not due to testosterone, as this benefit occurs relatively quickly, and thickening of the vocal cords and enlargement of the cartilages takes time. Perhaps it's caused by a relaxing of the hyoid muscles leading a lowering of the voice box.

    Maybe increased gains in the Gym arise from greater motivation and energy.

    Maybe hair growth is related to a decline in stress hormones (wild guess), that were elevated in response to everything related to a severe addiction.
  13. much-noise

    much-noise New Member


    I see that, and that is why I've tried to make clear that I'm not talking about sexual dysfunction. Again, I'm not questioning your conviction that testosterone and masturbation itself are not the proximate problems in PIED or sexual dysfunction. I am not questioning your proposed chain of causality from porn to sexual dysfunction.

    This is why I haven't addressed 1-9. They're good points and you obviously know what you're talking about with PIED.

    That's very interesting to me and I'd love to see the data. Would you mind linking the specific paper that shows this? I couldn't see anything in the four ED studies you linked, though I can't obtain the full text for all of them. If there's one specific paper, I'm sure I get a friend in academia to provide me access.

    I would propose nothing more than "the relationship between long-term orgasm frequency and testosterone level is unclear."

    We both agree that it would be absurd to make a positive claim based on the study I gave.

    I'm very open to being shown these studies -- with the caveat that I'm talking about the long term effects of habits and not the acute effect of one or two instances of sexual exhaustion.

    Fair question, but you've set a trap for me. If I set specific numbers, you'll say I'm being arbitrary. If I don't, you'll say "how can we measure what you're talking about?"

    So I'll trigger the trap with some specific numbers, just as an example. In my anecdotal experience, typical healthy men ejaculate about 0.8 times on a typical day. On the very frequent end, some men ejaculate 4 times on a typical day. Now, so far I've some light preliminary evidence that the 4/day people will be causing a decline in their testosterone. And the 0.8 times people will tend to have higher testosterone. And I've seen no evidence that their testosterone levels will not be affected.

    The reasons I've disqualified most of the studies provided are one of:
    • They are too short-term, e.g. they concern a specific instance of sexual exhaustion
    • They don't compare very high ejaculation rate with ejaculating about the typical amount. Normally they do something unrelated that I don't care about, like comparing ejaculating the typical amount with abstinence.

    The ED studies might pass both these tests and have some convincing data. I'm open to that.
  14. Gary Wilson

    Gary Wilson Active Member

    Points 1-9 is where this claim bumps into reality.

    The data is given = healthy men without ED, and men with ED (little sexual activity), have no difference in T levels. These many studies alone are far stronger evidence than a single study that has not been replicated. When we combine these studies (I just picked a few) with every other human and animal testosterone study ever done...we can only conclude that ejaculation has no effect on T.

    This study has not been replicated, and contains countless uncontrolled variables. In every other animal and human study, where variables are controlled, neither ejaculation nor abstinence affects T levels. The more variables controlled the more valid the data.

    I will say this again. In a physiological system there is no such thing as a stimulus having absolutely no effect at both extremes, while having a slight effect at some imagined middle point. This is what you are suggesting. There is no precedent. You are asking me to overturn the laws of physiology with a single study that has yet to replicated, and is refuted by many other studies.

    If both abstinence and high levels of ejaculation have no effect on T levels, then how can a slight increase in ejaculation cause an effect? You have yet to answer this.

    Many studies, like this one, report results which are anomalous, yet are never replicated. Only this one study has reported a slight correlation between T with ejaculation frequency. It has not been replicated, and the preponderance of evidence refutes its findings.

    You can't disqualify other studies on ejaculation and T because they are not exactly 2 months. You are suggesting that no effects occur at a few days, at 2 weeks, or at 3 weeks (human studies) - but then magically occur at 2 months, and only 2 months. Again, bending physiological principles.

    I'll remind you once again, the many ED studies ranged from months to decades, in terms of have long men have been unable to have sex, and they found no difference in the T levels between men with ED (low to no sexual activity) and men without ED.

    Sorry, you can't bend the rules of physiology to give a single study extra validity. To elucidate physiological process it is common practice to assess extremes at both ends of the spectrum - in this case high ejaculation and no ejaculation have no significant effect on T levels.

    I'll repeat this for the fourth time, for anyone reading: I've never heard of a physiological stimulus having zero effects at both ends of its extreme, yet having a slight effect somewhere in the imaginary middle.

    I'll repeat again - that there are many studies on ejaculation in humans and many more in animals that are not at the extremes ("sexual exhaustion" or complete abstinence) - and these show that ejaculation has no significant effect on blood T levels.

    Then we have the ED studies with healthy controls and men with ED, these studies show no difference between the two groups.

    In summary -

    1) You cling to this one study while dismissing all the studies that refute it.

    2) You seem to dismiss basic physiological principles. If extremes cause zero effect, how can a little change induce a small effect?

    3) You dismiss studies that have removed the variable in question (ejaculation). All show no effect.

    4) You dismiss studies that examine both extremes of the variable - which is how physiological mechanisms are elucidated. All show no effect

    5) You dismiss multiple correlation studies comparing population with quite different levels of ejaculation (those with ED and those without)- that have measure T levels.

    6) You dismiss all animal studies - which vary ejaculation frequency from zero to absolute sexual exhaustion - all show no effect.

    Since our debate is not about PIED, DE, or any anything else related to YBR, I will bow out of this discussion.
  15. much-noise

    much-noise New Member

    OK Gary. It's probably an appropriate time to end our discussion. Your input was appreciated.
  16. JerseyJay911

    JerseyJay911 New Member

    The following is from http://yourbrainonporn.com/selected-testosterone-research.

    I'm puzzled as to why Gary wouldn't recall this info, since it's copied from his own site.'

  17. Gary Wilson

    Gary Wilson Active Member

    I'm confused jersyjay. What am I supposed to be recalling? Is it the above excerpt? If it is, that excerpt refers to androgen receptors in distinct regions of the reward circuit and hypothalamus, not circulating androgens such as testosterone. This thread is only about one thing - does ejaculation cause lower plasma testosterone.

    I am no way saying that ejaculation doesn't have effects. We have written books about this, and the articles we wrote about this subject is what attracted men to my wife's forum 8 years ago, and what eventually gave birth to YBR, NoFap, etc. For more on the effects of orgasm see our two main articles for men:

    Men: Does Frequent Ejaculation Cause A Hangover? http://www.yourbrainonporn.com/men-does-frequent-ejaculation-cause-hangover

    Porn, Masturbation and Mojo: A Neuroscience Perspective http://www.yourbrainonporn.com/porn-masturbation-and-mojo-neuroscience-perspective
  18. coolmusti

    coolmusti Go hard or go home

    That's a stupid study. I would like to see this study done another group of men. Oversimplifying stupid studies like this is stupid. I can sure tell you my testosterone level is over the reference range. It's bull shark pit bull lion status.
  19. coolmusti

    coolmusti Go hard or go home

    This stupid study didn't even mention what their DHT levels were. DHT is 10 times stronger than testosterone. So this study is bullshit nonsense garbage. DHT is more powerful than testosterone at its libido enhancing levels, that's why guys who take propecia have zero libido even though their testosterone is mid to high range.
  20. JerseyJay911

    JerseyJay911 New Member

    increased facial hair and deeper voice are indications that androgen/testosterone receptors are increasing, as opposed to when constant sexual exhaustion would keep the androgen receptors in a recessed state, which would resemble symptoms of low T, although that's not actually the case. How do you not see that?

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