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For years I'm listening from everyone that we have to stop masturbation and also limit sex as it let down process of gaining muscle. Also everyone in gym suggests me to completely stop masturbation. So is there any effect of masturbation and sex on gaining muscle through gym workout. If there is any effect, then is the effect and quantity of effect is same for masturbation and sex or they are different.(Because I'm more concerned about masturbation here, and not sex). I read a on link Effect of Sex/Male Orgasm on Athletic Performance on this site about it, but it discusses on effect on Athletic performance, and I'm concert about effect on muscle gain. Because I'm not athlete, I'm 29 years old weighting 69 kg who is not related with any sport and just want to gain muscle.

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Not really an answer, but this is what Mark Rippetoe thinks about this question: startingstrength.com/resources/forum/…, startingstrength.com/resources/forum/…. He obviously doesn't think it affects you significantly. –  Kate Dec 5 '12 at 15:50
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I love this topic... :D –  Ivan Ivković Oct 25 '13 at 7:54
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About this: "Also everyone in gym suggests me to completely stop masturbation." Why are you talking to everyone in the gym about this? –  jp2code Jan 13 at 15:09
    
On the other hand, you burn calories during the process; if you can last longer, you can work up a good sweat :) –  Kneel-Before-ZOD Feb 19 at 18:44

4 Answers 4

up vote 12 down vote accepted

Peer reviewed literature on testosterone appears to have inconsistent conclusions, however, the well designed studies all agree that abstinence raises T.

Some studies say that masturbation raises T, and some that abstinence does so. But the well-designed studies all conclude that abstinence raises the baseline amount of T in your body. Well designed studies measure blood T levels for at least ten days after a masturbation event. One frequently cited study only compared T levels a few hours before and after the masturbation event, which lead its authors into an incorrect conclusion.

It is true that there is a brief spike in T during and after sexual activity that lasts a few hours at most, before returning to a baseline level, b. But 5 days after an ejaculation event, blood T levels begin rising, and flatline at about 1.5b on about the 7th day after masturbation (presumably, after any orgasm). They stay at this highly elevated level until you orgasm again.

Long story short: protracted abstinence dramatically raises your T level.

And the best part is, you don't have to take anyone's word for it. Just try it for yourself and you won't doubt it anymore. The effects of that extra testosterone are powerful. I assure you that you won't be able to mistake the difference. The strength, motivation, clarity, and drive that you feel after protracted abstinence has been noted by men throughout the ages, and all across the globe. To give an extreme example, the Spartiate warrior caste lived in barracks their entire lives, and only had carnal knowledge of their wives when they were able to sneak out (at the risk of formal censure). The warriors of the Maori, the indigenous inhabitants of New Zealand, widely famed for their ferocity in battle, engaged in rigorous, extended periods of sexual abstinence in preparation for war.


Sources

Endocrine response to masturbation-induced orgasm in healthy men following a 3-week sexual abstinence.

This current study examined the effect of a 3-week period of sexual abstinence on the neuroendocrine response to masturbation-induced orgasm. Hormonal and cardiovascular parameters were examined in ten healthy adult men during sexual arousal and masturbation-induced orgasm. Blood was drawn continuously and cardiovascular parameters were constantly monitored. This procedure was conducted for each participant twice, both before and after a 3-week period of sexual abstinence. Plasma was subsequently analysed for concentrations of adrenaline, noradrenaline, cortisol, prolactin, luteinizing hormone and testosterone concentrations. Orgasm increased blood pressure, heart rate, plasma catecholamines and prolactin. These effects were observed both before and after sexual abstinence. In contrast, although plasma testosterone was unaltered by orgasm, higher testosterone concentrations were observed following the period of abstinence. These data demonstrate that acute abstinence does not change the neuroendocrine response to orgasm but does produce elevated levels of testosterone in males.

Orgasmic frequency and plasma testosterone levels in normal human males.

Twenty males participated in a 2-month study examining the relationship between 8 a.m. plasma testosterone levels and orgasmic frequency. Within subjects, higher levels of testosterone are associated with periods of sexual activity. Over subjects, however, the direction of the relationship is reversed. Mean testosterone levels were higher for sexually less active individuals.

A research on the relationship between ejaculation and serum testosterone level in men.

The authors found that the fluctuations of testosterone levels from the 2nd to 5th day of abstinence were minimal. On the 7th day of abstinence, however, a clear peak of serum testosterone appeared, reaching 145.7% of the baseline (P<0.01). No regular fluctuation was observed following continuous abstinence after the peak. Ejaculation is the precondition and beginning of the special periodic serum testosterone level variations, which would not occur without ejaculation. The results showed that ejaculation-caused variations were characterized by a peak on the 7th day of abstinence; and that the effective time of anejaculation, is 7 days minimum. These data are the first to document the phenomenon of the periodic change in serum testosterone level; the correlation between ejaculation and periodic change in the serum testosterone level, and the pattern and characteristics of the periodic change.

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Even if abstinence raises testosterone your answer lacks to show that this really has an effect on muscle gain. As working out increases testosterone levels as well. So does the increased base testosterone through abstinence still have an effect compared to this or is it negligible? –  Baarn Jan 18 '13 at 8:42
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T is well-known to raise lean mass gains. –  masonk Jan 18 '13 at 12:53
    
And I don't doubt that, but working out increases testosterone levels, too. So, is the effect of abstinence still measurable after workouts? –  Baarn Jan 18 '13 at 13:04
    
Yes. Go find your own sources. –  masonk Jan 18 '13 at 13:06
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I removed the downvote, although I still believe the answer lacks the conclusion (that masturbation has an effect) it is still a lot better that other answers I have not downvoted. As I normally don't downvoting if I disagree with an answers content. Your comment "Go find your own sources" simply sounded like "go fudge yourself" and made me mad. Sorry about that. –  Baarn Jan 18 '13 at 15:32

One of the reason why masturbation is believed to have an effect on muscle gains is because it influences the testosterone levels. Recent research suggest that natural levels of testosterone simply have no effect on muscle gains.

New research from scientists at McMaster University reveals exercise-related testosterone and growth hormone do not play an influential role in building muscle after weightlifting, despite conventional wisdom suggesting otherwise. […]

"A popular mindset for weightlifters is that increased levels of hormones after exercise play a key role in building muscle," explains Daniel West, lead author of both studies and a graduate student in the Department of Kinesiology at McMaster. "That is simply not the case."

In the first study, researchers examined the responses of both male and female participants to intense leg exercise. Despite a 45-fold difference in testosterone increase, men and women were able to make new muscle protein at exactly the same rate.

"Since new muscle proteins eventually add up to muscle growth, this is an important finding," says West.

"While testosterone is definitely anabolic and promotes muscle growth in men and women at high doses, such as those used during steroid abuse, our findings show that naturally occurring levels of testosterone do not influence the rate of muscle protein synthesis."

Source

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Then why do men who work out a lot (or a little) tend to have greater muscle mass than women? According to this study, men and women should be able to gain muscle at the same rate, which is just silly. It might be true that the infinitesimal initial gains due to going from sedentary to active are the same in both populations (as this study maybe shows), but that tells you nothing about how those gains are going to change over time. Maybe the males (due to higher T) will continue gaining at the same rate for months, while the females will start to taper off after a few weeks. –  Steven Gubkin Jan 15 at 14:44
    
Then integrating the infinitesimal gains over time will yield a much greater muscle mass for the male. The conclusion of this study is just bogus. –  Steven Gubkin Jan 15 at 14:45

EDIT: Take this answer with a grain of salt. See masonk's comments below.

Short version: sex and masturbation are no problem for muscle gain.

Long version: several studies have looked at sex, including these:

link 1 -- found no relation between sex and maximal exercise performance

link 2 -- sex actually stimulates testosterone production

link 3 -- found no relation between sex and maximal exercise performance; furthermore, found no diminishing of mental concentration ability after sex

regarding masturbation specifically:

link 4 -- levels of testosterone (among other hormones) increased after masturbation, even though they do not increase if you merely think about masturbation

link 5 -- similar to previous one

I got this info from a post by Goldie at the AskScooby forum. I'm a member of that forum, and I have had a look at some of these links in the past.

I'd like to add a general advice: don't trust what you read on the Internet. While some sites usually post reputable information (like NYT, for example), the vast majority of websites post anecdotal evidence; this is especially true regarding fitness and nutrition. When you want to search for information, go to reputable places like PubMed (for anything) or Nutrition Data (for quick nutritional info) and search those sources directly.

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This is incorrect. Links 2 and 3 above are not peer reviewed journals and don't properly cite any peer reviewed articles either, but three describes a study that only looked 10 hours past an orgasm event. –  masonk Jan 18 '13 at 3:54
    
I can't get full text on 4. 5 is terrible study as well. It uses a survey followed by a single T assay to correlate sexual activity with high T. But there are many cofounding factors here. For one, people with naturally high T are probably more likely to have a lot of sex or masturbate. This doesn't mean masturbation raises T, which is the unfortunate conclusion that the authors have drawn. –  masonk Jan 18 '13 at 3:58
    
@masonk: thanks for bringing it up. I'll edit the original post to draw attention to the possible inadequacy of these links; readers can then judge for themselves if they have access to the papers. Sadly, I don't have the time to go read these links carefully in the near future. –  HerrKaputt Jan 18 '13 at 9:05

I have read that actually it is good to masturbate and doing sex because it release testosterone during one of 2 hours after you do it, and testosterone is good for gaining muscled.

So I don't really think it is good to stop for your own spirits and body you have to feel good in your body.

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I have read a lot about it on net, and there are vary contradictory answers. Most of them say no or negligible effect, some suggest to completely avoid masturbating while some say positive effect. Totally confused. :( –  Shirish Herwade Dec 4 '12 at 10:43
    
I removed the unnecessary information (as it adds no value to the answer), if you feel unhappy with the changes feel free to revert them or edit again. –  Baarn Dec 4 '12 at 10:51

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