June 5

Testosterone and Sex

(Article medically reviewed by Dr. Zac Hyde M.D)

How Your Love Life Affects Male Hormones

In this blog post we’re going to discuss the link between testosterone and sex. We’ll also also touch on abstinence and how not having sex influences male hormone levels.

Let’s go…

Testosterone is the lifeblood of any sexually active man. Not only is it what begins the process that we know as puberty, but it’s what keeps up healthy, active, and fit throughout our lives.

testosterone-sex

Testosterone is What Makes Us Men

Testosterone is the primary sex hormone present in males. Like I mentioned in the intro, it plays a key role in puberty, helping us develop adult sexual characteristics and, to put it simply, getting our “equipment” ready for the “big game.”

Therefore, a lack of testosterone can not only hurt your ability to play, but can even take you out of the sport for good. 

Putting the metaphors aside, it’s in every man’s best interest to maintain his testosterone levels throughout his life. Unfortunately, there are literally hundreds of different foods, chemicals, and habits that can negatively influence your T production.

In the past, we’ve talked about everything from marijuana to plastics to alcohol and caffeine. 

But today, we’re going to look at one of the biggest x-factors in your ability to generate sex hormones: sex itself! 

First Things First: Let’s Clarity What We Mean by “Sex” 

When we use the term “sex” on this website, we mean actual physical contact with another human being. So, we’re not talking about masturbation, wet dreams, phone sex, or even a roll in the hay with a sex doll (I don’t care how realistic they get). 

As we continue this discussion, you’ll see exactly why this is such an important distinction to make. 

Remember, you can’t fool tens of thousands of years of instinct simply by investing in a Fleshlight. 

Why? 

Because sex is not just the physical act of thrusting and ejaculating. It’s about interacting with another person’s body, mind, pheromones, and all the other stuff that comes with them. 

This brings me to our first big question…

Should You Resist Ejaculation to Build Up Your T Levels? 

If you get on the internet and try to find out whether masturbation increases or decreases your testosterone levels, you’re going to encounter a vast array of different opinions (and more than a few “certified experts”). 

Still, the prevailing theory is that any sort of ejaculation will cause your T levels to drop.

You’ve probably run into this type of thinking pretty often. In fact, maybe you’ve heard coaches, friends, and gym buddies say something similar to the following…

  • Your testosterone is always preparing you for sex, so you’ll turn into a superhuman if you let it build up. 
  • If you’re training for a big sporting event or contest, it’s a good idea to abstain from sex so you can build up your T levels. Did you know that Muhammad Ali used to avoid sex for a month and a half before a big fight? 
  • If you want to harness your inner power as a man to be more creative, more successful, and more dominant in your career, you should avoid needless ejaculation.

The idea that getting off reduces your testosterone levels is one of those medical “facts” that seem legit just because it “sort of makes sense.” 

But here’s the thing: science doesn’t actually back this up. I mean, our testosterone levels aren’t some video game power-up that we need to replenish after each use. 

In fact, some studies seem to indicate it might be the exact opposite. 

Ejaculation AvoidanceThe Making of the Myth

In this study from all the way back in 2001, men were asked to refrain from masturbating or having sex for three full weeks. The results showed that the men had higher testosterone concentrations after that three-week period. 

Other studies dating as far back as the 1970s seem to support this idea. In one example, a 7-day abstinence resulted in an average T spike of about 145%!

But here’s the problem, studies like this don’t exist in a vacuum unless we allow our minds to put them there. If you really want to understand what’s going on you have to extend this information in a number of ways. 

The Long-Term Effects of Ejaculation Avoidance

So, if you take a few days off from flogging the bishop, your body might reward you with a nice boost to your T levels. 

That’s pretty cool, right? 

That’s what a lot of people thought. And by applying that “vacuum” logic, many of these same people just sort of decided that extending the abstinence period would provide an even bigger boost. 


But that’s simply not the case. In a landmark study from Italy, men who suffered from non-testosterone-related sexual dysfunction saw a huge drop in their serum testosterone levels due to abstinence from both sex and masturbation. 

It’s almost as if your body has a “use it or lose it” mentality. If you aren’t engaging in sexual activity, it simply redirects its testosterone production efforts elsewhere. 

But that’s not the only factor at work. You see…

It All “Comes” Down to How You Get Off 

If you’ve been following the site for a while, you know that I’m not exactly the biggest fan of masturbation. It has its time and place, sure, but it’s not something you should be relying on to satisfy your sexual urge. 

Not only does it drastically reduce your payload, but it can lead to all manner of performance problems. 

Of course, porn is a totally different story. Not only can it mess with your dopamine, but it can desensitize you to real sex and even lead to organic erectile dysfunction. 

Worst of all, it’s addictive. So, if you have a “once in a while” habit now, you’re playing with fire (the kind that can burn all the joy out of sex). 

But we’re not here for another lesson on porn. What I do want to talk about is how the benefits of getting off through sex vastly outweigh the brief thrill of masturbation. 

Testosterone and Sex: It’s  All About Pheromones

As I mentioned above, when you have sex with a real person, you are getting exposed to literally millions of sights, smells, and sensations. Among those are what we call “pheromones.” 

These are chemicals that operate very similarly to hormones, and they exist to trigger reactions when two individuals of the same species interact. 

And here’s the thing: pheromones are incredibly powerful. Women find the smell of androsterone, a male pheromone, sexually arousing.

It’s even theorized that female tears might contain a chemo-signal that causes men to become less aggressive and more empathetic. 

So, as you probably guessed, when you and your lady friend are getting down to business, both of you are excreting pheromones like there’s no tomorrow. 

Among them are copulins, which are released by her sexual organs, and chemo signal, which is found in her sweat. As your body reacts to them, you begin to feel more and more excited. 

You start to feel powerful. 

You get wave after wave of dopamine. 

Finally, your testosterone levels surge. 

You read that right. According to a study performed on 100 young men, even smelling copulins on their own can boost male salivary testosterone by up to 150%

The Secret to Better Sex is More Sex

If you’re looking to turn yourself into a Herculean figure dripping with testosterone, one of the best things you can do is have more actual sex with real human women. 

Take all those 4chan dwellers complaining about how they can’t get a 10 like the nice guys on TV. They sit around, jacking off to porn, and stewing in their own anger until they become a self-fulfilling prophecy.  

But if they’d go out, meet a girl in their league and start having sex like their bodies intended them to, they’ll be exposed to the very thing that could solve their problem. 

With more testosterone on tap, they’ll have more confidence, perform better, and – best of all – they’ll learn that there’s more to a sexual partner than their looks. 

So, in a way, your body has its own mechanism for increasing your virility. Ironically, it requires you to do the very thing most of us want to be virile for!

Testosterone and Sex: A Few More Studies

If the idea that woman smell can cause a boom in your T levels seems a bit “Avatar” to you, I can’t say I blame you. 

However, you need to remember that our bodies carry tens of thousands of years of evolution (more if you count our ancestors). And since our bodies want us to breed, it’s no surprise that they’ve found secret ways to encourage that behavior.

Let’s look at a few more studies…

  • In 2007, UK researchers sent 44 male subjects to a sex club. They first tested their T levels (via saliva) before doing in and then once more after they left. Those men who had sex with a woman while inside? They got a nice 72% boost in testosterone. The guys who watched, however, only saw an 11% increase. 
  • In an animal study from 1980, researchers found that sexual anticipation can drastically improve T levels, if only temporarily. As an older study, this might be a contributor to the myth that denial can boost hormone production. However, denial and anticipation are not the same things. These rats weren’t watching two animals mate on TV but were trained to expect the real deal. 
  • In a study from 1992, researchers compared four couples’ sex lives on a day-to-day basis. They found that the nights where they had sex resulted in higher testosterone levels for both the men and the women. Likewise, another study found that older men who have frequent sex boast more serum testosterone on average. 
  • In keeping with our conclusion that “the secret to better sex is more sex, two specific studies found that sex not only boosts testosterone, but the combination of sexual fulfillment and increased hormones makes you want to have more sex. It’s the opposite of a vicious cycle, and it’s something we can really get behind (literally). 

Testosterone and Sex Conclusion

Whether in the gym or in the bedroom, men will always be looking for ways to get an edge. We all want to be fit, healthy, and confident that when we get into bed with our partners, we can perform beyond expectations. 

And while there are countless ways to boost your testosterone (or merely keep it from dropping), the real secret lies having plenty of sex with a real person. In the end, there’s far worse ways to get healthy, am I right?

About the Author Mark


Article edited by Mark Wilson. Mark currently owns 5 sites in the men's sexual health niche and has published more than 5,000 articles and blog posts on dozens of websites all over the world wide web.

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