Does Masturbation Cause Weight Loss?
There are many myths about masturbation floating around. Many of these myths are preposterous, however, some of these myths are surprisingly true! No, masturbating will not cause you to go blind. It also will not cause you to develop hairy palms, or shrink or curve your penis. And, guess what? It should not affect your sperm count either! It is not wrong to masturbate while in a relationship either (unless it negatively impacts your relationship in some way).
As you can see, some myths are totally untrue, but what about others… For instance, can masturbation cause weight loss? It does involve movement, friction, arousal, and excitement, so perhaps, they could cause a person to shed a few extra pounds. It’s worth exploring, right? Well, in this article, we will explore the myth that masturbating causes weight loss to determine if there is any truth to this claim.
Our self-help course has
helped 1000s of people
break their porn addiction
What is Masturbation?
Masturbation is a form of self-pleasure, self-stimulation, or self-gratification that can be practiced alone or with a partner. The goal of this adult sexual pastime is to aid in sexual arousal and satisfaction usually to the point of climax (orgasm). Masturbation typically involves stroking, caressing, touching, or massaging one’s clitoris or penis with fingers, hands, tongue, or toys until a sexual climax (orgasm) has been reached.
Sometimes, sex toys (i.e., a vibrator, dildos, anal plugs, genital molds, etc.) are used to aid in masturbation. Keep in mind, however, that sexual climax or orgasm does not always have to involve ejaculation semen. It is possible to experience sexual pleasure without a physical release (dry orgasm). In fact, some people, especially those who are chronic masturbators or masturbation addicts may deliberately withhold releasing semen in an act referred to as “semen retention.”
Supporters of semen retention tout its ability to trigger multiple orgasms (dry orgasms) and enhance one’s sexual experience as one of the biggest draws. Some experts also suggest that semen retention can lead to higher self-esteem and self-confidence, increased energy, clearer skin, improved testosterone, healthier romantic relationships, reduced anxiety, better fertility, and even weight loss!
Does Masturbation Always Involve Porn Use?
No, but it can.
Many chronic masturbators or masturbation addicts also have a porn addiction. More specifically, these individuals feel like they must view and masturbate to porn to become sexually aroused and achieve sexual satisfaction – i.e., sexual climax.
Using porn while masturbating can trigger a variety of emotional, mental, sexual, personal, and relationship issues, such as low self-esteem and self-confidence, anxiety, depression, sexual dysfunction (i.e., erectile dysfunction or porn-induced erectile dysfunction (PIED)), feelings of betrayal, secrecy, self-isolation or withdrawal, porn addiction, sexual performance anxiety, frustration, inattention, etc.
Porn addiction involves an obsession or “fixation” on porn or being unable to stop watching porn even with effort. Porn addicts are emotionally-dependent on porn, which, in turn, causes problems in their daily lives, romantic relationships, and the ability to perform tasks. Approximately 3% of people have a hypersexual disorder like porn addiction. About 24% of people masturbated chronically while viewing porn.
Although porn addiction is not officially recognized in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th edition (DSM-5), the World Health Organization (WHO) recognized compulsive sexual disorders, like porn addiction and chronic masturbation, in 2018. Porn addiction and chronic masturbation are considered “sexual compulsions.” Regardless, porn addiction is a real condition with very real consequences. And, it is often combined with masturbation until the individual is unable to experience sexual arousal or satisfaction without masturbating to porn.
Chronic masturbation and porn addiction treatments are usually similar or the same. These treatments typically involve psychotherapy or porn addiction therapy (when masturbation is linked to porn use) and/or medication (when therapy alone is ineffective or unsafe). The most common psychotherapy is cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) which is designed to help chronic masturbators or porn addicts change how they view masturbation and porn.
The most common medication used to treat these conditions is SSRI antidepressants, which are designed to balance the amount of serotonin in the brain. People who suffer from mental health conditions and addictions tend to have lower levels of serotonin in the brain. Antidepressants help restore the levels so that they no longer experience urges to masturbate or masturbate to porn. Many people who struggle with chronic masturbation and porn addiction also turn to holistic treatments, natural remedies, and self-help tools like mindfulness meditation, hypnosis, porn addiction hotlines, rehab centers, and online porn addiction recovery treatment programs, like Stop Together, to help them quit porn, curb masturbation, and develop healthy coping skills and habits.
What Are Some Benefits of Masturbating?
Some known benefits of masturbating (in moderation) include:
- Reduced stress
- Less tension
- Better sleep
- Increased focus
- An uplifted mood
- Fewer aches and pain
- A more vibrant sex life
- A lower risk of anxiety or depression
- A higher self-esteem and self-confidence
- Increased orgasms
- Improved sexual desire (libido)
- A happier marriage and sex life
- Pregnancy-related back pain
- The release of sexual tension
Can Masturbation Be Harmful To One’s Health?
Yes, it can be, but for most, that is not the case.
Masturbating in moderation or even regularly is not a problem unless it presents a problem to the individual masturbating. In other words, masturbating only becomes a problem when it affects a person’s life in some capacity – i.e., self-esteem and self-confidence, mental health, relationships, job opportunities, sexual health, and spiritual health (Religious people, especially Christians, sometimes harbor feelings of shame and guilt as the result of their masturbation practices), emotional health, or physical health.
So, masturbation is not inherently bad, evil, immoral, or harmful. It only becomes harmful when it starts to wreak havoc on one’s life. Understand, however, that when porn is attached to masturbation, especially chronic masturbation, there is a higher likelihood of it becoming harmful. Porn opens the door to additional problems like the threat of human trafficking, child exploitation, porn addiction, damaged or destroyed real-life romantic relationships or marriages, loss of employment, criminal charges, and so much more.
Still, researchers suggest that the following side effects may be linked to chronic or excessive masturbation, although this is rare:
- An elevated risk of prostate cancer (According to an earlier study, 20-something and 30-something-year-old men have an increased risk of developing prostate cancer, especially when they masturbate regularly.)
- A decline in penile sensitivity (Researchers report that excessive masturbation (friction) can cause penile insensitivity when combined with porn use.)
- Guilt & shame (Scientific evidence suggests that cultural beliefs, religious ideologies, inaccurate myths, and family dynamics are associated with shame and guilt when it comes to masturbation).
- Failed relationships (Some experts suggest that many men and women feel betrayed or become unhappy when they discover that their romantic partner is masturbating. These individuals believe that their partner must be bored or sexually dissatisfied if they have resorted to masturbating. This can lead to relationship problems that lead to breakups or divorces.)
Can Masturbation Cause Weight Loss?
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), regular physical activity or exercise is needed to keep excess weight off once a healthy weight has been achieved. Therefore, the HSS suggests that people engage in 150 minutes (2.5 hours) of moderately intense, heart-pumping activities or exercises (minimum) a week.
Unfortunately, only about 20% of people actually achieve this mark.
According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, a whopping 42% of men and 76% of women in the US are overweight, obese, or severely obese. Perhaps, then it comes as no surprise that 45 million people in the US are on a diet.
But could masturbation really help people lose their pesky extra pounds? Theoretically, yes!
While masturbation, like sex, could help burn calories (perhaps, 25-50 calories at most), the likelihood of this happening is slim to none. Why? Well, because it would be almost impossible to complete 305 strokes, per minute. In other words, that would be like 5 strokes, per second.
So, while masturbation involves movement – i.e., movement of one’s fingers, hands, and body, and acceleration of one’s heart rate, breathing, and blood pressure. Despite that combining these factors could be considered a form of “exercise” that could possibly help you lose weight, you would have to “exercise” or excessively and vigorously masturbate for a long period of time for this to become a real weight loss contender. The odds of a person being able to accomplish this feat are…low.
On the flip side, however, we burn calories (even the smallest amount) simply from breathing, blinking, or even snoring. It is impossible to say that no calories are burned during masturbation, however, this amount is probably significantly small. Researchers have found that men burn about 101 calories and women about 70 calories during 30 minutes of sex, so it makes sense that masturbators exert at least a small portion of energy while masturbating.
At the very least, the triggered “happy hormones” (serotonin, dopamine, and oxytocin) released during masturbation can cause one’s nerves to get “fired up,” breathing to ramp up, and blood to rush through one’s veins and arteries, which could burn a small amount of calories.
Would it burn the same amount of calories as having sexual intercourse? No, primarily because sexual intercourse involves full body movements while masturbation involves lying down and using one’s hands, fingers, tongue, or sex toy to trigger sexual arousal and orgasms. Still, with studies on this topic scarce, it is hard to really know how many calories masturbating helps burn.
What Do People Say About Masturbation and Weight Loss?
Listed below are the reviews of people who masturbate and their thoughts on whether it has the ability to help a person shed pounds.
- “I would say you don’t need to strategize your masturbation routine as it shouldn’t have much impact on weight loss. It can help with stress, sleep, and overall health, but I wouldn’t say it’s something to worry about. However, I will say that I find it a lot easier to resist food cravings when I’m horny because I’m so preoccupied with sex that I’m not thinking about food. If you’re into edging, it can shave off an hour or so of time during your day when you’re not eating.”
- “There was a guy on here maybe 3/4 months ago who said he lost a ton of weight by masturbating in blankets whenever he got hunger cravings instead of eating. I have toyed around with weight loss for years and it never worked, and amazingly enough, this worked for me (minus the blanket). I have lost around 40 pounds. I am over 3/4 to my goal and I’m the closest to a healthy weight I’ve ever been in my life. I can’t find the post, but seriously, thank you, Dude. You’re an absolute legend. You saved my life.”
- “If you’re a really avid masturbator, masturbating might just give you stronger arm muscles. Other than that, it’s really not an activity that is going to consume that many calories that will in any way interfere with weight gain. Sex with a partner may do that — active sex is a great way to spend just another few calories for people who are hoping to lose weight. Weight loss is really not an effect of masturbation though. This means that you shouldn’t worry about it keeping you from gaining weight and anyone who thinks it might help them lose weight is also wrong.”
If you believe that your excessive masturbation practices are causing you to lose weight, it is important to consult your doctor. Your doctor will be able to help you identify what is causing your weight loss and if masturbation is playing a role in this change in weight. On the flip side, if you are looking for ways to lose weight and are considering ramping up your masturbation practices, also consult your doctor for healthier ways to shed those pesky extra pounds.
While there may be some anecdotal theories that suggest that masturbation helps with weight loss, there is no scientific evidence to back these claims up. Understand that there are other ways to lose weight. Porn addiction recovery treatment programs, like Stop Together, natural remedies, and other self-help tools can help you develop healthy coping skills and habits, such as regularly exercising and adopting a balanced diet to lose weight in a healthy way. With the right tools and support, you can quit porn, stop masturbating excessively and become more active!
- Ames, H. (2020). What to know about semen retention. Medical News Today. Retrieved from https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/semen-retention
- Dwulit, A. D., & Rzymski, P. (2019). The potential associations of pornography use with sexual dysfunctions: An integrative literature review of observational studies. Journal of Clinical Medicine, 8(7), 914. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.3390/jcm8070914
- de Alarcón, R., de la Iglesia, J. I., Casado, N. M., & Montejo, A. L. (2019). Online porn addiction: What we know and what we don’t – A systematic review. Journal of Clinical Medicine, 8(1), 91. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.3390/jcm8010091
- Frappier, J., Toupin, I., Levy, J. J., Aubertin-Leheudre, M., & Karelis, A. D. (2013). Energy expenditure during sexual activity in young healthy couples. PLOS ONE, 8(10), e79342. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0079342
- Dimitropoulou, P., Lophatananon, A., Easton, D., Pocock, R., Dearnaley, D. P., Guy, M., Edwards, S., O’Brien, L., Hall, A., Wilkinson, R., Eeles, R., Muir, K. R., UK genetic prostate cancer study collaborators, & British association of urological surgeons section of oncology (2009). Sexual activity and prostate cancer risk in men diagnosed at a younger age. BJU International, 103(2), 178–185. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1464-410X.2008.08030.x
- Aneja, J., Grover, S., Avasthi, A., Mahajan, S., Pokhrel, P., & Triveni, D. (2015). Can masturbatory guilt lead to severe psychopathology: A case series. Indian Journal of Psychological Medicine, 37(1), 81–86. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.4103/0253-7176.150848
- Regnerus, M., Price, J., & Gordon, D. (2017). Masturbation and partnered sex: Substitutes or complements? Archives of Sexual Behavior, 46(7), 2111–2121. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1007/s10508-017-0975-8