It’s been four days of abstaining from masturbation and I feel like I’m going to explode. The first day is always the hardest, days two and three usually aren’t bad, but once you get to day four the buildup of sexual tension begins to bear down so much that the slightest breeze is cause enough for an erection. Why put myself through this torture? Simple, to understand the effects that male masturbation has on his ability to attract women.
It’s a self experiment, let me explain. There is an idea floating around that basically says that if a man abstains from ejaculating he will be more likely to pursue and attract females. There are a few different thoughts on why people might believe this, ranging from fluctuating testosterone levels to general horniness. Lets explore further, shall we.
Personal Masturbation Experiment
During the last year, I’ve been attempting to go on and off in my personal masturbation habits. Some weeks, I try to abstain from wanking and some weeks I treat my body like my own personal amusement park. Obviously, abstaining from masturbation is the more difficult of the two tasks, however, with a little will power I managed to pull off a week of no ejaculating here and there, enough to make some general observations about my behavior as it relates to the dating world.
The first noticeable observation when abstaining from masturbation was that I was definitely more horny. No big surprise there. However, I believe that having that feeling of pent up sexual tension helped me to approach and talk to more women, as well as be more sexual around them. For instance, as opposed to approaching and having a casual friendly conversation, I was likely to use more sexual innuendos and be more direct about my intentions.
The second big observation from abstinence was my level of motivation. Not just motivation to go out and meet women, but my motivation to do other productive things in life, like exercising or writing for example. This was the complete opposite of weeks where I masturbated on a frequent basis. I’d just sit around the house all day watching TV, surfing the web and…uhh masturbating.
Effects of Ejaculation on Testosterone and Sexual Activity
What is testosterone?
a potent androgenic hormone produced chiefly by the testes; responsible for the development of male secondary sex characteristics
Essentially, testosterone is what helps make a man a man. It’s responsible for developing muscle and overall body fitness, not an unusual trait in an alpha male. Also, it helps to charge the male libido and sex drive.
So what’s testosterone have to do with masturbation? Testosterone is produced in the testicles and when you ejaculate you are releasing or using up some of that testosterone. This is fine when you are having intercourse with your desired partner, that is the whole point after all, but not fine when a chronic masturbation habit is leaving you drained of testosterone and limiting you from your true sexual potential.
In 2003, there was a research study done on the testosterone levels in males during certain periods of abstaining from ejaculation. It found that there was a gradual increase in testosterone levels during the first five days but on days six and seven there was a huge spike, up to a 147% increase in testosterone on day seven. After day seven, testosterone levels returned to normal, thus indicating that seven days is the effective number of days to abstain from ejaculating in order to hit peak levels of testosterone.
In another paper published in the Scandinavian Journal of Psychology, a group of male rats was studied during post-ejaculation and sexual exhaustion phases. One of their findings was that, after 4 days, only 63% of the males were able to show sexual behavior while after 7 days all males were getting it on in a giant rodent orgy. Again, this indicating that seven days is the optimal time between male ejaculation periods.
From my personal experience, I’ve noticed that usually between days five and seven of abstinence, are also the days when I’m able to get more make-outs or bring women home, usually as a result of being more motivated to sexually escalate those interactions.
The Loaded Gun Hypothesis
If you’ve ever watched the movie, “Something About Mary”, you may remember the following infamous scene:
The Loaded Gun Hypothesis states that by masturbating before going out to meet women will leave you calm and relaxed as opposed to nervous. Supposedly, this calm and relaxed state will keep you from doing something stupid and hence aid in the attraction process.
In my opinion, this is the wrong way to look at this. You want to have a loaded gun! You are an alpha male, you are a hunter in search of your prey. The nervousness only comes from the stereotypical Ben Stiller character and not the extra baby batter. If anything, the pent up sexual demand seems like it would make you more confident and motivated in your female interactions.
The Seinfeld Abstinence Hypothesis
In one episode of Seinfeld, George quits having sex because his girlfriend has mono. This now lack of sex causes George to become motivated to learn and turns into a genius. The idea being that without the distraction of sex on a man’s brain, he’s able to focus his thoughts on other more productive pursuits.
I think this hypothesis only has it half right. I don’t agree that abstinence will relieve the distraction of sex, but will actually amplify it, at least in the short term. As someone who has gone for more than seven days without ejaculating, I know that it’s almost impossible not to think about sex. However, despite that sex will likely always be a distraction for any red blooded male, it doesn’t mean that there isn’t an underlying psychological self improvement motivation factor involved in abstinence. I’ll talk more about this next.
Effects of Ejaculation on Dopamine Levels
What is dopamine?
a monoamine neurotransmitter found in the brain and essential for the normal functioning of the central nervous system
Dopamine has many functions in the brain, including important roles in behavior and cognition, motor activity, motivation and reward, inhibition ofprolactin production, sleep, mood, attention, and learning.
Essentially dopamine, manufactured in the brain, has a whole bunch roles in how our nervous system works. It’s also particularly important in orgasms. When we ejaculate our brain releases a bunch of dopamine acting like a euphoric drug producing an orgasm. However, as the above definition states it also effects the function of other areas of the nervous system which are vital to our daily living like sleep, mood, learning, motivation etc.
Dopamine as stated above, is used by our bodies as a reward mechanism. For instance, when we eat something that tastes good, our brain rewards us by releasing a small amount of dopamine, thus helping to create and reinforce behavior which the body believes is good for you. The same is true of sex, as human beings we are hard wired to procreate. And the only way to procreate is to pursue sex with the opposite gender, which we will be rewarded by a huge release of dopamine (an orgasm) when successful.
It’s also important to note that when dopamine levels are low and depleted, it will have an adverse effect on other areas of the central nervous system which rely on dopamine to function properly. For example, in one study published in the American Journal of Psychology, it showed the effects of male volunteers who had their dopamine levels deliberately depleted over a 42 hour period of time. During that 42 hours, the normally healthy social males experienced negative symptoms like obsessive-compulsiveness, thought disorders, social anxiety and depression.
So, one could say that too much ejaculation, to the point of depleting your dopamine levels on a regular basis, is going to have an adverse effect on your daily lifestyle.
Savage Hypothesis of Behavioral Ejaculation Reinforcement
If a man is motivated and pursues the act of becoming an alpha male, he will attract desirable females. This eventually leads to sexual intercourse with those desirable females and is rewarded with orgasms. This reward reinforces the alpha male behavior that was needed to attract a desirable female in the first place, prompting the male to continue the traits that helped him become alpha, thus perpetuating the cycle and continuing the supply of desirable mates.
If a man is lazy, unmotivated and relies on masturbation as his main form of sexual activity, he is unnaturally creating a false reward for traits that are undesirable in potential female mates. This false reward tricks the body into thinking that it is pursuing alpha male qualities when in reality it is pursuing beta male qualities. This cycle also perpetuates itself by continually being satisfied with the act of masturbation rather than the pursuit of desirable females.
Conclusions on Male Masturbation
If you are still with me, you probably might think I am completely against male masturbation, but I’m not. For one, this is a very debatable topic and I’m sure many readers will offer up evidence supporting masturbation as perfectly natural and acceptable, and please by all means add to this conversation, as I am very much in pursuit of truth like any one else.
For now though, I’m sticking to my hypothesis that regular masturbation on a daily basis will have an adverse effect on my ability to attract women. So, I’m personally sticking to the “7 day cycle.” The concept is that I abstain from masturbating and if I haven’t had sexual intercourse within seven days, then I’m allowed to masturbate and relieve myself. This allows for the testosterone and sexual motivation to increase throughout the week and hopefully peak around the weekend when I’m more likely to be out on the prowl.
Has anyone else experimented or noticed any personal changes when abstaining from masturbation for a long period of time? Any other thoughts, opinions, criticisms, verbal lashings? Leave ‘em below in the comments. And if nothing else, please think of the kittens:)
Update May 1st, 2009 – I have written a follow-up to this post here: Misconceptions of Male Abstinence and Ejaculation Hypothesis
Update April 22nd, 2012 – Here’s a great Ted Talk by Gary Wilson who runs the very informative Your Brain on Porn blog. I highly recommend watching it as it gives a better overview of the problems with porn addiction better than I have.