Does Masturbation Cause Muscle Loss?

Can self-pleasure decrease your muscle mass? It is a debatable topic since some experts believe that lower testosterone levels after climax can cause low muscle mass while others believe that there is no direct correlation.

Have you been told that masturbation can impact muscle growth negatively? Should you choose between masturbation and workout? If you are thinking of abstaining from masturbation in order to gain muscle, think again!

The impact of masturbation on muscles could be positive or negative. Muscle gain or loss depends on a variety of other factors too. In general, masturbation does not cause muscle loss. Resisting the urge to masturbate is not going to get you big in the gym. Masturbation holds many benefits for both men and women when done in moderation.

Masturbation: An Overview 

First things first. There is nothing wrong or shameful about masturbating, be it for men or women. Masturbation in men is the continuous mechanical stimulation of the shaft of the penis by rubbing to the point of ejaculation of sperm.[1]

Approximately 60 to 65% of men between the ages of 15 and 50 reported that they have masturbated sometime during the previous month.

Females also have the hormone testosterone which is responsible for physical fitness. Female masturbation is the self-stimulation of the genitals, including the vagina and clitoris. Women can masturbate with their hands or sex toys like a vibrator, by rubbing their clitoris against an object.

It is a myth that women do not masturbate. A lot of women masturbate and for all the good reasons. They can understand pleasure better and communicate better with their partners about their sexual needs. 

Testosterone [2] is an androgenic hormone that plays a crucial role in building muscle for both men and women. Higher levels of testosterone mean more muscle protein synthesis or muscle growth.

Practicing abstinence (staying away from masturbation or sexual intercourse with a partner) can elevate your testosterone levels, true, but there’s no scientific evidence that suggests it will increase your gains.

Oftentimes, people wonder, “Does masturbation cause muscle loss”? This question is tricky. Keep reading. 

Does masturbation affect muscle growth? 

After masturbation, there is a decrease in the primary male reproductive hormone testosterone [3] and lower levels of testosterone may mean a decreased scope of building muscle mass. This is why many people believe that masturbation can lead to lower muscle mass. However, masturbation has little to no impact on muscle growth. 

In fact, masturbation in men and women can offer many health benefits like the following when done not more than once or twice a week.

  • Restful sleep and muscle recovery 
  • An increase in serotonin after orgasm can make you feel more relaxed
  • Improved mental health. Hormones like dopamine, norepinephrine, and oxytocin, increase during and after sexual climax
  • Boosts immune system
  • Reduces the risk of heart disease
  • Can make you look younger

Did you know? 

Masturbation helps flush out toxins that build up in the urogenital tract causing disease. When the toxins are flushed out of your body, you become less likely to develop prostate cancer. 

Masturbation can help you fall asleep [4]. A study reported that 65% of participants who had an orgasm before going to bed reported better sleep quality. If you have trouble sleeping, try iron supplements for a good night’s sleep.

Excessive masturbation may sometimes cause side effects like decreased sensitivity, fatigue, swelling of the penis, and tender skin around the genitals.

How to get rid of the addiction of masturbation 

  1. Exercise regularly
  2. Hydrate yourself
  3. Avoid watching too much porn
  4. Follow a daily schedule

Did you know? 

Men have 15 times more testosterone when compared to women. This allows men to gain more muscle mass.

Masturbation can increase the levels of the hormone prolactin and make you feel tired. If you are going to masturbate just before hitting the gym, the chances are that you feel lethargic and not lift weights. Masturbation is just like having sex, losing some energy and feeling sleepy afterward. Would you be able to participate in intense gym training soon after a steamy sex session? 

Besides decreased testosterone levels, the side effects when prolactin levels are increased are 

  • decrease in libido levels 
  • mood changes and sometimes depression
  • impotence 
  • headaches

Libido or sexual drive can be improved by eating a variety of fruits and vegetables. You could also try vitamins to improve your libido. 

Keevs protip

Maintain a minimum gap of 5 hours between exercise & masturbation. This will allow your hormone levels to come closer to the baseline after all the minor fluctuations.

Factors affecting positive testosterone levels:

  1. Well-balanced diet
  2. Consistent exercise
  3. Adequate sleep
  4. Lower levels of stress

If you have low testosterone levels constantly, talk to your doctor first. You can modify your diet, sleeping patterns, exercise, and stress levels and can incorporate supplements or injections. There are a lot of supplements to balance your hormones but you need a thorough diagnosis before you could start using one. 

Can masturbation slow muscle gains? 

A little self-indulgence once a week is absolutely normal and healthy. Masturbation has no impact on your gains. Though many athletes and bodybuilders believe that masturbation can cause muscle loss, there is no scientific evidence for the same. Even though there are fluctuations in your testosterone levels after releasing sperm in masturbation, it does not affect your workout in any way. 

In fact, it is a good idea to masturbate a few hours before a workout so that your body can release feel-good hormones. When you are in a positive mood, you might end up working out more in the gym to achieve your weight loss or gain goals. 

Masturbation slowing muscle gains is a popular myth among many athletes, bodybuilders, and sportspersons. It is about time they looked at masturbation from a different angle. Not involving in masturbating or other sexual activities can have a negative impact on stress levels in men and women. And when you are stressed, your body produces more cortisol (stress hormone) [5] and you may underperform at the gym. To keep your stress levels at bay, you could also try some essential oils for health benefits.

If you masturbate once a week, does it affect muscle growth?

There is no hard and fast rule about masturbation. Different people masturbate at different times. While some masturbate once or twice a week, others may do it twice a day. It all depends on how often you feel horny. Masturbating once a week is completely normal and healthy for your physical and mental health. 

Since masturbation requires some energy and burns some amount of calories, you may lose some weight but not the amount of weight that could make you slimmer. Masturbation has no impact on muscle growth. If you are wondering, “does daily masturbation affect bodybuilding goals?”Now you know the answer! 

According to a research paper, energy expenditure during sexual activity was 101 kCal in men and 69.1 kCal in women. Anecdotal reports suggest that one solo session of masturbation can burn, at a minimum, between five and six calories.

Does masturbation decrease strength?

You might feel a little tired after a session of self-pleasure because you are burning a few calories. There is temporary fatigue associated with masturbation but you regain your strength pretty fast. Also if you are wondering,’ does ejaculating make you lose protein’, You do lose some protein with ejaculation, but this amount is insignificant when compared to your daily protein intake. Even if you spend all day masturbating, you can compensate for the loss by eating a good protein diet! wink, wink! Consider paneer if you are a vegetarian because paneer is loaded with proteins and many other micronutrients. 

After every session of masturbation and climax, you lose a significant amount of zinc. Zinc [6] is an important micronutrient in the body that helps in muscle building and maintenance. It is important to consume a diet rich in zinc, for example, whole grains, chickpeas, nuts, oysters, cashews, and almonds, or turn to a zinc supplement. Always talk to your doctor or healthcare provider before incorporating dietary supplements. Eating a healthy diet is an important step toward building muscle. 


Does masturbation decrease stamina?

No, masturbation does not decrease stamina. However, you might feel a little fatigued right after a self-pleasure session. Your body should soon go back to normal. Masturbating once or twice a week is completely normal and healthy for both men and women. 

Does masturbation burn calories?

Since masturbation is an intense energy activity, it does burn some calories. But the number of calories burnt is nothing when compared to that burning in your regular workout session. It is also a good idea to leave a gap of at least 5 hours between masturbation and a workout session.

Do bodybuilders masturbate?

In reality, masturbation has no impact on bodybuilding. While some bodybuilders think that masturbation can cause muscle loss, they refrain from masturbating, while others think it is a good idea to release stress by masturbating and increase their workout performance. 

Are there side effects of masturbating more than once a week in females? 

There are no side effects of masturbating more than once a week. However, excessive masturbation can become an addiction in some women. Masturbating has many health benefits like boosting mood, performance, immunity, sleep and reducing stress.

Wrapping up

Masturbation has little to no effect on muscle building. Masturbation in both men and women can release feel-good hormones and promote better mental and physical health. If masturbation makes you really tired, avoid doing it just before you hit the gym. Eat a healthy diet with fresh fruits and vegetables, hydrate, sleep well and stress less to maintain good sexual health. You could practice yoga every day for some incredible benefits. Do you still hold any questions about masturbation? Feel free to start a conversation in the comments.

What’s next? 

  1. Top 9 Natural herbs to last longer in bed
  2. Vitamins For Sex Drive In Males 


  2. Nassar GN, Leslie SW. Physiology, Testosterone. [Updated 2022 Jan 4]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2022 Jan-.
  3. Isenmann E, Schumann M, Notbohm HL, Flanker U, Zimmer P. Hormonal response after masturbation in young healthy men – a randomized controlled cross-over pilot study. Basic Clin Androl. 2021 Dec 23;31(1):32. DOI: 10.1186/s12610-021-00148-2. PMID: 34937544; PMCID: PMC8697462.
  5. Thau L, Gandhi J, Sharma S. Physiology, Cortisol. [Updated 2021 Sep 6]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2022 Jan-.
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