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Masturbation is unhealthy is a claim made in the ongoing debate regarding the overall health implications of masturbation -- usually relating to male-masturbation, and not to be confused with the claim Porn is unhealthy.

This debate has existed in many iterations, those being: religious arguments, discussions surrounding the fear of physiological or psychological consequences, and efforts to avoid feelings of guilt or loss of control. Modern cultural phenomena such as "No Nut November" and "NoFap" have reignited the debate regarding masturbation and the positive or negative overall health impacts.Template:Citation NeededTemplate:Citation Needed

Physiological Concerns

Testosterone Reduction

One of the physiological concerns is that frequent masturbation is causing reduced testosterone levels in males -- a problem that has been increasing in Western countries.Template:Citation Needed Other primates, as-well as other animals in general have also been known to masturbate.Template:Citation Needed This may suggest that it has been a natural part of reproductive development/behaviour for billions of years prior to human evolution, and that animals have adapted to ejaculation frequencies above that of the mode average that would naturally occur during insemination.

Although masturbation is unlikely the cause of testosterone reduction, studies have shown that abstinence from masturbation for up to 7 days can raise the serum-testosterone levels - 145.7% of the baseline (P<0.01). No regular fluctuation was observed following continuous abstinence after the peak.[1]

This conclusion conflicts with that of another similar study, in which it is demonstrated that various steroids which catalysts testosterone production, increase in plasma after masturbation -- most notably DHT, which is often used as a medication to treat low testosterone in men.

However, the study also demonstrated increased cortisol levels, which correlate with various estrogen catalysts. -- The plasma levels of all steroids were significantly increased after masturbation, whereas steroid levels remained unchanged in the control study. The most marked changes after masturbation were observed in pregnenolone and DHA levels. No alterations were observed in the plasma levels of LH. -- Both before and after masturbation plasma levels of testosterone were significantly correlated to those of DHT and oestradiol, but not to those of the other steroids studied. On the other hand, cortisol levels were significantly correlated to those of pregnenolone, DHA, androstenedione and oestrone.[2]

It is unclear whether this neutralises or makes negligible the overall hormone content change occurring after masturbation.

A similar conclusion is drawn in an article by MedicalNewsToday, in which both periods of abstinence and engagement in masturbation can increase testosterone levels, depending on their frequency. This supports the conclusion of moderation of both behaviours. -- Research on the relationship between masturbation and testosterone is somewhat limited, especially regarding the long-term effects. However, masturbation or other sexual activity may lead to a short-term increase in testosterone. -- It would also appear that short-term abstinence from sexual activity can increase testosterone levels.[3]

The over-all conclusion appears to be that any testosterone increase or decrease is negligible if both abstinence and over-indulgence are moderated. Other factors such as diet, exercise and genetics likely play a larger role in hormone production and regulation.

Dopamine Dependency and Addiction

Another concern is addiction.


Porn -- concerns of impotence and desensitisation -- not to be confused with the act of masturbation itself.

  1. Jiang, Ming (March 01, 2003) A research on the relationship between ejaculation and serum testosterone level in men. Journal of Zhejiang University. Accessed on January 30, 2022.
  2. Purvis, K (January 01, 1976) ENDOCRINE EFFECTS OF MASTURBATION IN MEN. Journal of Endocrinology. Accessed on January 30, 2022.
  3. Brito, Janet (June 07, 2019) What to know about masturbation and testosterone. Medical News Today. Accessed on February 03, 2022.