Any connection between orgasm, abstinence, and testosterone levels?
There's a lot of confusing information on the web involving the relationships between testosterone and orgasm, masturbation, abstinence and erectile dysfunction. The true picture of how orgasm affects neurochemicals and hormones is only beginning to unfold, and definitely more complex than mere testosterone.
Testosterone plays a pivotal role in the maintenance and health of erectile tissues, and the blood vessels and nerves supply the penis. Some controversy surrounds what levels of testosterone are required for healthy erections. A few animal models suggest only 10% of normal will do. Most urologists believe that’s too low. Either way, testosterone levels low enough to cause ED are extremely rare for a man under the age of 40. Many studies report similar testosterone levels in healthy men and men with chronic ED (1, 2, 3, 4). See - Testosterone and Erectile Dysfunction
In addition, "sexual exhaustion" is not a recognized Western medical disorder, although Traditional Chinese Medicine does recognize a set of signs and symptoms that are popularly called sexual exhaustion. (see this post by a guy who's testosterone increased 700% - Testosterone increase isn't what makes you so confident at all.)
The preponderance of human and animal research points to neither abstinence nor ejaculation having any significant long-term effects on blood testosterone levels - other than a spike around day 7 of abstinence. That said, there's been no study examining the effects of porn addiction on hormone levels. It is not unreasonable to assume that hormones are altered by brain changes associated with porn addiction. I caution readers (especially r/nofap) to not conflate the effects of ejaculation with the effects of a severe porn addiction.
The following two articles cover the most plausible scientific explanations, based on the current literature, for the benefits experienced.
- For the science behind the benefits guys experience when they reboot see - Porn, Masturbation and Mojo: A Neuroscience Perspective - Ex-porn users usually get their mojo back. Why?
- This article covers the brain changes caused by ejaculation and ejaculation to "sexual exhaustion" - Men: Does Frequent Ejaculation Cause A Hangover?
The following FAQ's cover all the basics:
- Testosterone Research versus Testosterone Myths - I address most major myths surrounding T levels, ejaculation, abstinence and what is really behind the benefits men experience. Contains several studies and commentary explaining their significance.
- Has too much masturbation decreased my testosterone levels? - It is highly unlikely, but you may want to read it anyway.
Those with porn-induced ED usually experience absence of morning wood. Not enough is known about either nocturnal erections or porn-induced ED to say why that might be. However, interesting findings suggest that testosterone is important for nocturnal erections, but not so much for waking erections - Testosterone necessary for nocturnal erections, but waking erections depend on dopamine.
Before you read those links, here's a comment from a recovering user (a medical professional) advising a slow rebooter who was concerned that he might have low testosterone:
I have a friend who was recently actually diagnosed with low T. He's renowned as a sexual tyranosaurus with the ladies. A regular lecherous hump. No ED I suspect. He doesn't grow facial hair, has an extremely hard time putting on muscle and is very out of shape. He really succeeds with women because of his personality and his feminine face. He's just a good charmer. Even if you had low T and that was the ONLY problem, you would probably be having more morning wood and be more arousable than you currently are. I personally have unusually high T and have been through all of the problems that you have described with your libido. Let me let you in on a little secret about testosterone: If you are bothered by the fact that you don't seem to want sex, that means you actually do want it. Think about this: If you weren't hungry, you simply just wouldn't eat and it wouldn't bother you that you weren't hungry. But if you were hungry (stomach growling, feeling weak etc.) and, when presented with actual food, failed to salivate and had a hard time ingesting it, it would be very frustrating. This problem would have nothing to do with your hunger drive, but with your brain and your ability to satisfy the drive. This is the problem with your brain on porn.
Honestly, I think you need to continue your reboot and stop looking at any sexual imagery whatsoever. Get extreme. No TV, no static imagery, no magazine pics. Only real 3D women in the real world. You have made it a long way - 14 weeks - great job! However, I say you need more time and/or a real girlfriend. If not a girlfriend, try going off of sex entirely - no imagery, no fantasy, obviously no PMO, don't even worry about your penile function. Get everything related to sex off of your mind and see what happens. Before you know it, you will see a woman and, out of the clear blue, you will feel movement downstairs and it will surprise the hell out of you. Or maybe your morning wood will return. I have been off of porn for 150+ days and am still noticing improvements as time passes. This is a good thing, but it also means that the damage is still being undone even now. Stick with it and don't doubt what you are doing. Our primitive ancestors didn't have so much as a lingerie magazine to look at and they obviously had plenty of libido.