Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Effect Of Sex On Bodybuilding Gains

Sex Bodybuilding

The question on whether ejaculation(or sex) before workouts will effect their strength or muscle gains, is a common question for many bodybuilders. Athletes have also have been debating this question for years. Some believe that ejaculation before an athletic event will help their performance, while others believe it should be done after or even abstained completely. In this article I will discuss the hormonal effects of ejaculation on the body and when(or if) it should be avoided.

Effects on testosterone during sexual arousal and ejaculation:

Testosterone level have been found in research to rise in humans after sexual stimuli (such as sexually explicit pictures). One study like this was published in New Scientist 22 Aug 98 11, done by Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for Urban Ethology in Vienna. 10 men and 10 women viewed a 15 minute pornographic film. Men’s testosterone levels increased 100 percent afterwards, while women’s was 80 percent.

Another study published by Psychoneuroendocrinology. 1993;18(3):205-18 used sexually arousing films on 9 males. LH levels (stimulates testosterone production) and testosterone levels increased within 10 minutes of sexually arousal. Other studies have also shown, other types of stimuli may also increase testosterone levels and agression, such as holding a gun.

Studies dealing with testosterone levels and it’s effects during sexual acts and ejaculation, seem to be mostly done on animals. One study done on rats by the Instituto de Neuroetologia, Universidad Veracruzana, Xalapa, Ver., Mexico showed that after 2 ejaculations there was a steep rise in serum testosterone and remained higher even after 4 ejaculations in a row. Another study was done on stallions and mating by the Dipartimento di Scienze Cliniche Veterinarie, Sez. Clinica Ostetrica e Ginecologica Veterinaria. They found that testosterone levels rised 10 minutes after mating and then again 30 minutes into it. Cortisol levels also increased during the mating.

A study by Department of Pharmacobiology, Centro de Investigación y Estudios Avanzados was done on rats to measure sexual satiety and androgen receptors. The rats were measured after a sexual encounter. They measured the testosterone levels afterwards and found no change. They also measured a drop in angrodren receptor density, in the MPOA-medial part of the brain. This receptor density returned 72 hours later. It appears from this study, the lack of sexual desire post ejaculation, may have been from changes in the brain, not from changes in testosterone.

A study by the Department of Reproductive Biology, Universidad Autonoma Metropolitana-Iztapalapa found that testosterone levels stayed the same or rised, after various types of sexual encounters in male rats. The more experienced rats had a large increase in testosterone post-ejaculation, which remained even 24 hours afterwards. The sexually inexperienced rats however, had little change in testosterone post sexual encounter. This study suggests that sexual experience and execution, may play a role in the rise of testosterone.

Long term testosterone levels from abstaining ejaculation:

The only study I could find measuring testosterone levels of men who didn’t ejaculation for extended periods of time, was research done by chinese researchers, J Zhejiang Univ Sci. 2003 Mar-Apr;4(2):236-40. The study was done on 28 men who were told to not ejaculate for entire week. It was found that for first 6 days testosterone levels did not change. However, on the 7th day of abstaining, testosterone levels jumped up by nearly 50%. It then declined quickly after that day, therefore abstaining from ejaculation had no long term rising effect.


What do these studies on animals and humans tell us about the relationship between testosterone and sexual activity? Many people have always assumed that after sexual activity, males experience a drop in testosterone levels. There is no research we could find that points to a significant drop in testosterone post-ejaculation. In fact research tells us that the opposite seems to be true. Men will have significant jumps in testosterone levels from sexually arousing stimuli(and certain other types of stimuli). The research also suggests that sexual encounters and ejaculation, will not effect and may increase, testosterone blood levels.

Viewing sexually arousing material, without ejaculating, before working out should be beneficial for improving workouts. Ejaculating before working out, would probably not be ideal, since ejaculation also releases endorphins(pain killing) natural hormones in the body. This would in turn effect your strength and energy before your workout.

The chinese study also suggests that abstaining from ejaculation will not increase your testosterone levels long term and hence, not improve your bodybuilding gains. Recent studies are also showing a significant drop in prostate cancer risk, for men who more frequently ejaculate. According to current research, ejaculation (or sex) is not going to lower your testosterone levels, in either the short term or long term.


Author: Paul Johnson

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