Sex and Testosterone
I’m going to start this out with some shocking news: sex is good for you. (Of
course, it can also get you in a lot of trouble, but that’s another story.) Why?
There are many reasons, but chief among them is undoutedly the fact that researchers
have uncovered the fact that
sex is actually an excellent way to boost testosterone. That’s right –
it’s time to party!
For example, one 1992 study examined four couples on days that they did and
didn't have sexual activity. As you can probably guess, they found that
levels increased on nights after sexual activity and did not on nights where there was
no intercourse.  The authors noted that their study showed that
it was likely sex that increased testosterone and not the other way around.
was verified in a study of senior men that found that more sex corresponded to
higher testosterone (although there is a chicken-and-egg issue here).  Regardless, studies show that
just the anticipation
of sex in animals will increase testosterone levels.  Other researchers clearly state that
"lack of sexual activity due to erectile dysfunction (ED) decreases testosterone
(T) levels through
a central effect on the hypothalamic-pituitary
You may also be interested in my pages on
Common Causes of Low Testosterone and How to
Increase Your Testosterone Naturally for more information.
is interesting because as erectile dysfunction sets in, many guys believe they
have overdone this area of their life and fall prey to the strange underworld of
"overmasturbation" sites and such. However, barring
extremes, it is actually lack of sexual activity that can cause
middle aged males problems.
In fact, this was verified in the same study above
by giving males either Viagra or Cialis and the Cialis group had significantly
higher testosterone levels than the Viagra group. Of course, both of these drugs
are PDE5 inhibitors and, therefore, boost nitric oxide, allowing more blood to
flow into the penis. However, Cialis has a significantly longer half life.
The rule of thumb is that Cialis is effective for about 36 hours for most guys
and Viagra for one evening. The researchers noted that sexual intercourse
frequency was significantly higher in the Cialis group. This means that
the higher testosterone levels of the Cialis cohort was likely because they had
more confidence and better erections on most nights than the Viagra group.
The researchers concluded that "as it is unlikely that the two drugs have a
different direct effect on the pituitary-testis axis, this effect is probably
due to the higher frequency of full sexual intercourse."
Read my link on How and Why Sex is Good For You for more reasons as well.
So the bottom line is that multiple lines of evidence point to the fact that sex
actually increases testosterone through mechanisms that are not thoroughly
understood and should be considered one of the engines of increasing one’s
However, that is just half of the story. Increasing testosterone can
significantly improve your sex life and lowering it can do the opposite. Testosterone
could be called The Sex Hormone for good reason: it is critical to
literally every step in the love making process and can even play a role in
relationships, your physical appearance and many other important bedroom factors.
Below are 10 Critical Testosterone-Related Sex Life Factors where testosterone
has a strong and significant impact. Many men struggling in the bedroom
are struggling because they have low testosterone. When you read the list below,
you will see exactly why:
1. Sexual Desire. Many studies over the years
have shown that testosterone is critical to sexual desire.  One of the most
common and revealing Symptoms of Low Testosterone Males is a loss of libido.
Many males write in saying that at one time in their life they had trouble not
thinking about sex and now they almost never do. This can be very hard on
2. Nocturnal Erections. Low testosterone does
not just attack your sex life in the day but at night while you are sleeping as
well: morning erections are very dependent on testosterone levels,
especially ones in the hypogonadal range, and a number of studies have
correlated low T levels with decreased "morning wood".  The significance of
this is that the penis requires regular oxygenation (from blood) or the internal
structures can be negatively impacted. For more information, see my link
ABC's of Morning Erections.
3. NOS (Nitric Oxide Synthase). One thing that many doctors do not
realize: testosterone levels directly impact NOS activity. Animal
studies have shown that castration decreases NOS's superpowers by about half 
and testosterone restores it back to normal  Of course, the significance of
NOS is that it is the all-important enzyme that governs how much nitric oxide is
in your arteries and blood vessels, including those in your penis.
4. Anxiety and Mood. If you've poked around this site much, you know that
testosterone strongly affects the male brain. And low T can make you just plain
hard to live with. A number of studies have shown what just about every
hypogonadal guy describes: anxiety, nervousness, irritability, mental fog, etc.
 It also can make you forgetful - always a favorite trait with women, eh?
 Again, this makes relationships very difficult and puts yet another barrier
in one's sex life.
5. Depression. A significant amount of research has shown that low testosterone
can also cause or make worse existing depression.  Many physicians are
now noting the very important role that hormones, especially testosterone, play
in treating depression. Of course, depression makes relationships and sex
6. Venous Leakage. What literally rots the inside of your penis? If
you guessed "lack of testosterone," you'd be right on. If this goes on too long, it can result
in a nasty condition called venous leakage, where as much blood leaks out of the
penis as leaks in. For more information, read my link on
7. Hardening of the Arteries. Low testosterone often attacks every artery in your body,
including those in your penis.  Several studies have shown that it raises risk
for arteriosclerosis. And that's never good for your sex life. There are many reasons for this by the way,
including the fact that low T increases weight gain, insulin and inflammation - a truly wicked combination.
8. Penile Muscle Atrophy. The muscles at the base of penis are particularly
important for erections. And they are particularly vulnerable to drops in
testosterone levels. For more information, see my link on
The Importance of Kegel Exercise for Men.
9. Diabetes, Metabolic Syndrome and High Blood Pressure. These three bad
boys are some of the biggest risk factors for erectile dysfunction (and many
other medical conditions). And it may come as no surprise that low testosterone
increases the risk for every one of them. For more information, see my
Low Testosterone By The Numbers.
10. Sleep and Fatigue. Inadequate testosterone can also lead to poor sleep
quality, which means that the only thing you'll want to do under the covers is
put your head on the pillow and crash. Testosteorne deficiencies decrease
the all-important recuperative REM sleep and other critical sleep parameters.
One study showed that low T did this not only by increasing weight gain, which
negatively impacts sleep in and of itself, but also through other mechanisms
that we do not yet understand.  And none of this should be a surprise
considering how much that testosterone affects the brain.
And, by the way, all of this underscores the fact that the PDE5 Inhibitors will
not always solve a man's problems if his testosterone is low enough. A man
is definitely swimming upstream without his hormones cooperating.
NOTE: Viagra and Cialis often do not work for other key reasons as well.
See my link on Viagra and Cialis Resistance and
Why Viagra and Cialis Do Not Always Work for more
1) Physiology & Behavior, Jul 1992, 52(1):195-197, "Male and female salivary
testosterone concentrations before and after sexual activity"
2) Science, Nov 28 1980, 210(4473):1039-1041, "Classical conditioning: induction
of luteinizing hormone and testosterone secretion in anticipation of sexual
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12) Oregon Health & Science University. "Testosterone Deprivation Makes Men Forget."ScienceDaily, 22 Oct. 2004. Web. 23 May 2011
13) Nephrol Dial Transplant, 2011, "Low serum testosterone, arterial stiffness and mortality in male haemodialysis patients"
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