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Does Masturbation Decrease Muscle Growth?

Dr R. Y. Langham

Aug 01, 2022

There have been many things said about masturbation for centuries, and as such there have been many myths created around it. Some of the most common myths are that masturbation can cause you to lose weight, somehow lose testosterone, rendering you less masculine, it can cause hair loss, and even make you shorter

There is even a masturbation myth that claims that engaging in self-pleasure can cause kidney problems. These myths are just that – myths. There is no truth to these statements or beliefs. Masturbation cannot do any of these things. It can, however, cause stress, if engaged in too often, too harshly, too secretively, and against your religious beliefs or biblical teachings.

Otherwise, masturbation can be healthy and empowering, but this only occurs when it enhances your life – not when it triggers high levels of stress, anxiety, or depression. Masturbation should never negatively affect your quality of life, if so, then it is time to reduce the time engaging in it or stop it altogether. Masturbation can also become harmful if it leads to porn addiction. It is common to watch porn and masturbate, which is fine in moderation. 

When or if masturbating to porn gets out of control then there is a real risk of developing a porn addiction or an inability to stop watching porn or masturbating to it. Porn addiction can cause a lot of problems in your life, ranging from low self-confidence to relationship problems. It can also lead to porn compulsions which are repetitive acts designed to ease stress and anxiety. 

Thus, when masturbating is combined with porn it can quickly lead to a slippery slope. On the flip side, there are a variety of benefits linked to masturbation, such as creativity, energy, empowerment, a better mood, a better idea of your body, and sexual likes and dislikes. 

However, these benefits do not include causing a decline in muscle growth. This is yet another myth that is not grounded in science. If you want to learn more about masturbation, and why it does not cause a decline in muscle growth, you have come to the right place. In this article, you will learn what masturbation is and what actually causes a decrease in muscle growth.

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What is Masturbation?

In a nutshell, masturbation is a form of “self-pleasuring,” “self-stimulation,” and “self-exploration.” It is a way to learn more about your body and discover what makes you tick sexually (what you like and dislike). It’s a healthy act, although it gets a “bad wrap,” especially from Christians and other religious groups. In these circles, masturbation is considered a “dirty word.” 

Many tout the Bible as being the reason why a person should not engage in masturbation, however, nowhere in the Bible is masturbation mentioned. Masturbation may involve your fingers, hands, tongue, or sex toys. 

Some people masturbate as a way to connect with someone or something, others masturbate out of boredom or to “escape” their lives – the rest do it because it’s fun, soothing, and entertaining. 

This adult pastime can be performed solo or with a willing partner. Masturbation is meant to be entertaining, exciting, or relaxing. If it starts to make you feel bad, then it’s time to reevaluate the time you spend masturbating or masturbating to porn.

What Actually Causes Muscle Growth To Decline?

One type of declining muscle growth, also referred to as muscle atrophy, is the wasting away of or thinning of muscle mass. Some causes of muscle atrophy include malnutrition, age, genetics, a sedentary lifestyle, or certain health conditions. Another type of declining muscle growth or mass is sarcopenia, a progressive, age-related loss of muscle mass and strength. 

A sedentary lifestyle, a lack of movement, obesity, chronic diseases (i.e., chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), kidney disease, diabetes, cancer, HIV, lupus, and rheumatoid arthritis, insulin resistance, hormone deficiencies, malnutrition or lack of protein, an inability to convert protein to energy, decreasing neurotransmitters and nerve cells need to send messages to your muscles so they can move, etc., can lead to a decline in muscle growth or muscle loss. 

Muscle damage, muscle diseases, like muscular dystrophy, muscle tension, and metabolic stress can prevent muscles from growing properly. Additionally, a lack of sleep, drinking too much alcohol, doing drugs, excessive fitness training, eating disorders, and doing too much cardio can prevent your muscles from developing. While there are many causes of muscle loss and stunted muscle growth, masturbation is not one.

Is Masturbation Beneficial?

It can be. 

No, masturbation is not linked to muscle loss or a decrease in muscle growth, but it can be healthy and even beneficial. In moderation, masturbation can be a healthy sexual activity. In fact, researchers suggest that it can improve your mental and physical health. It can benefit your physical and mental health.

It is important to point out that there are limited studies on masturbation and muscle growth; there are numerous studies and anecdotal evidence on the overall benefits of masturbation, in general. 

According to researchers, masturbation can improve your life in the following ways:

  • Reduce stress and tension
  • Improve sleep quality
  • Boost mood
  • Aid in healthy sex during the aging process
  • Ease anxiety and depression
  • Support relaxation and sexual pleasure
  • Alleviate muscle cramps
  • Release pent-up sexual tension
  • Increase self-esteem and self-confidence
  • Support better sex
  • Help yourself and your partner better understand your sexual preferences, wants, needs, and desires

Is Declining Muscle Growth or Muscle Loss Linked to Masturbation?

No, it is not. 

While masturbation and declining muscle growth or muscle loss have a hormonal component – hormones (in testosterone) can make a person want to masturbate (i.e., females during ovulation or pregnancy and females and males during puberty) and hormones play a role in muscle growth, masturbation and declining muscle growth and muscle loss are not intertwined. In other words, there is no scientific evidence linking “self-pleasuring” to a loss or lack of muscle mass. 

According to researchers, masturbation may have a minimal effect on testosterone, ” it is not enough to trigger muscle-building. A small 2021 study found that masturbation orgasms do not increase plasma testosterone in the body, which is needed for bone formation and muscle growth. 

Researchers also did not find that these orgasms did not result in muscle atrophy, muscle loss, or a decline in muscle growth. So, while men who masturbate may experience a temporary boost in testosterone following masturbation, it is not enough to cause any change in muscle growth. The same can be said of muscle loss, muscle atrophy, or declining muscle growth. Masturbation plays relatively no role in testosterone production and release.

What Do They People Say?

The best way to get an idea of the views of people who masturbate is to hear them in their own words. Listed below are the real-life views of people who are struggling with masturbation and muscle growth or those who have struggled with these two conditions. 

  • “I am currently cutting fat and lifting weights to build lean muscle. I also have a long-term habit of masturbating very frequently (around 3 times a day). Most of the fat I’m trying to cut is around the stomach, love handles, and chest area.

    I have a fair amount of fat covering the lower part of the pectoral muscle. I’m wondering if this could be a hormonal issue, related to masturbation. If so, are there any alternative solutions to having to quit masturbating so frequently?”

  • “Despite ejaculation having many hormonal and neurological interactions (test, luteinizing hormone, dopamine, serotonin, etc.), I do not think the ones that affect muscle building are all that significant. The doses of these hormones needed to affect reproduction and sexual appetite are a factor less than the doses needed to affect muscle protein synthesis.

    Maybe, maybe, over the course of years, while controlling every other factor, you may find a difference. It’s doubtful that being normal and having daily ups and downs would reveal that changing your masturbation habits changes muscle growth.

    The only way I can see masturbation affecting a routine is the neurological implications, whether you have the drive to lift weights or not after firing off a few protein babies; or whether depriving yourself of firing your man-cannon makes you lift harder.”

  •  “I know many guys masturbate, it’s what’s considered normal. My friends do it and almost every guy I’ve asked has said that they too masturbate. However, when does it become a problem for muscle growth? Will masturbating over 2 times a day mess up muscle growth? That is if you eat well and exercise well but masturbate daily numerous times. The reason for asking is that I’m currently trying to stop masturbating for good. I’ve found it counterproductive and even though I eat well and exercise, I feel like masturbation is affecting my recovery and growth. I’m 24 years old.”
  • “I am into bodybuilding and I truly think it has some effect on leg size. I keep thinking I must be stupid to think that but when I stop for a week my legs look fuller and can hit higher weight. Maybe it’s just extra energy, who knows? Being 23 taking a testosterone clone prohormone not masturbating is not happening man.”

How are Muscle Loss, Muscle Atrophy, and Declining Muscle Growth Treated?

A loss of muscle mass is usually treated with lifestyle changes, such as eating healthier foods, especially protein, getting more exercise, and improving your sleep quality. It can also be treated with Physical therapy (to improve mobility), medications to treat underlying health conditions and reduce your risk of complications, and/or surgery to repair nerve and muscle damage that is stripping away your muscle mass. 

If you are also struggling with masturbation or porn addiction, you will also need to seek porn addiction treatment. Porn addiction treatment typically involves therapy, medications, and self-help tools like Stop Together, an online porn addiction recovery treatment program. Other self-help tools that may be beneficial for people who struggle with chronic masturbation or porn addiction include hypnosis, mindfulness meditation, porn addiction hotlines, NoFap, semen retention, and masturbation and porn addiction support groups


  •  Fischer, N., Graham, C. A., Træen, B., & Hald, G. M. (2022). Prevalence of Masturbation and Associated Factors Among Older Adults in Four European Countries. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 51(3), 1385-1396.
  • Isenmann, E., Schumann, M., Notbohm, H. L., Flenker, U., & Zimmer, P. (2021). Hormonal response after masturbation in young healthy men – a randomized controlled cross-over pilot study. Basic and Clinical Andrology, 31.
  • Exton, M. S., Krüger, T. H., Bursch, N., Haake, P., Knapp, W., Schedlowski, M., & Hartmann, U. (2001). Endocrine response to masturbation-induced orgasm in healthy men following a 3-week sexual abstinence. World Journal of Urology, 19(5), 377–382.

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