Does Sex Increase Testosterone? (4 Things You Need to Know)

James Cunningham, BSc, CPT
Published by James Cunningham, BSc, CPT | Staff Writer & Senior Coach
Last updated: July 18, 2024
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In my decade-long fitness career, there almost hasn’t been a male client who, at some point, hasn’t asked for tips on improving testosterone.

Recently at the gym, one of them wanted to know if something as simple as having sex can affect natural production in any significant way.

Because testosterone plays a huge role in nearly every aspect of a man’s overall health, I decided to tackle this question by spending several days reading published research and discussing my findings with an endocrinologist.

Let’s dive in.

Quick Summary

  • Engaging in sexual activity can boost testosterone levels in both men and women, with the highest levels observed immediately after intercourse.
  • When it comes to all-natural best testosterone boosters for men, our testing results are solid regarding their ability to successfully address low T-levels. I have used them myself and have numerous clients who report excellent results.
  • A study at a U.S. sex club found a significantly higher increase in salivary testosterone levels in participants of sexual activity compared to observers.
  • Personally, considering the complex interplay between sexual activity and testosterone levels, I believe it's intriguing to think about the potential benefits of a healthy sex life beyond mere physical satisfaction.

How Does Sexual Activity and TRT Influence Your Testosterone Levels?

A couple cuddling in bed while smiling

Sex can boost testosterone levels in both men and women, with research from Medical News Today showing levels highest right after intercourse, suggesting that sexual activity influences T-levels in addition to testosterone affecting sexual activity [1].

The relationship between humans, sexual stimuli, and sex steroid levels is complex, and there is no shortage of research on the topic. Many of these studies have been conducted by or in collaboration with the best online TRT clinics.

I found many interesting studies on the link between T-levels and sexual stimulation, intercourse, and even abstinence.

Let’s take a closer look.

Sexual Activity

One study at a United States sex club looked at the impact of participating in sexual activity vs. observing and found a significantly higher increase in salivary testosterone levels in those participating than those observing human sexual activity [2].

A study by researchers from The National Institute of Health (NIH) looking at male and female salivary testosterone concentrations measured levels on evenings the couples engaged in sexual activity and on evenings with no intercourse. It found that T-levels increased after sexual activity in both men and women [3].

I also read an interesting study by NIH that observed older men with low sex hormones and libido. Upon receiving testosterone replacement therapy (TRT), the men experienced improved sexual performance and desire [4].

According to the American Psychological Association, engaging in regular sexual activity is linked to improved mood and mental health, which can indirectly support healthier testosterone levels through reduced stress [5].

I bring in the previous study because the relationship between T-levels and sex seems to be a bit of a which came first, the chicken or the egg scenario:

  • Low T-levels significantly decrease interest in sex
  • Having sex may increase testosterone

So:

  • Boost levels of testosterone to increase sexual desire
  • Have sex to potentially see an increase in testosterone

Perhaps my clients should consider this: according to NIH, for decreased testosterone levels in men, boosting testosterone should be a consideration to jumpstart interest in sexual activity, which could help maintain or improve T-levels [6].

“Testosterone treatment “will not fix everything that’s wrong with you, but it will increase your libido and desire to have sex.”

- Dr. Jeanne O’Brien, Urologist

Let’s examine different scenarios a bit closer.

Sexual Behavior

A couple in bed looking at each other smiling

One study from the National Library of Medicine examined the effects of sexual thoughts on the serum testosterone level, and the results proved a bit disappointing.

Men visualized sexual situations and wrote down their thoughts; though this may produce sexual arousal, it had little effect on testosterone [7].

Some people believe that masturbation affects T-levels.

However, it does not seem to have any long-term effects.

Abstinence

Abstinence can potentially increase testosterone levels. A 2003 stdy by NIH shows no real change in the level between two and five days, but those levels peak at around the seven-day mark [8].

Health Benefits of Sex

Accrding to WebMed, besides potentially boosting lower testosterone levels, healthy sex life has many physical and psychological benefits [9].

These include:

  • Reduced stress
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Improved immune system
  • Lower risk of heart attack
  • Improved bladder control (women)
  • Potentially lower prostate cancer risk (men)
  • High-quality sleep
  • Pain reduction

And better yet, sex counts as exercise because it increases your heart rate and uses multiple muscles.

Does Low Testosterone Affect Performance?

A stressed man while sitting in bed with a woman in the background

Low testosterone can affect performance, including causing erectile dysfunction and reducing your ability to have satisfying sex.

Men aren’t alone, women can also have increased sexual dysfunction due to testosterone deficiency, and research from NIH found TRT may be beneficial [10].

Natural Ways to Boost It

Exercise can be a great way to increase serum testosterone, along with some dietary interventions.

You can also opt for testosterone-boosting supplements, which are essentially a formula of all-natural pre-workout ingredients that stimulate your ability to increase T-levels naturally.

A 2010 study by NIH also suggest vitamin D supplementation can be beneficial as well [11].

Ecercise

From my personal training sessions, I've observed clients who incorporated regular resistance training and high-intensity workouts into their routines experiencing noticeable improvements in their testosterone levels.

Compound movements like squats and deadlifts stimulate muscle engagement, prompting the release of testosterone.

Consistent physical activity also helps control body fat, further supporting hormonal balance and overall health.

Dietary Interventions

A diet rich in nutrients like zinc, vitamin D, and omega-3 fatty acids supports testosterone production.

Including foods such as lean meats, fish, nuts, and leafy greens helps maintain hormonal balance, fostering optimal testosterone levels naturally.

FAQs

Does Thinking About Sex Increase Testosterone?

It is unlikely that thinking about sex increases testosterone. Studies suggest that sexual thoughts are insufficient to increase testosterone or cortisol, though cortisol may facilitate sexual arousal.

Does Sleeping Naked Increase Testosterone?

Sleeping naked may increase testosterone by helping regulate the temperature of the testes to promote hormone and sperm production.


References:

  1. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/325418
  2. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21165688/#:
  3. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/1529008/
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4971331/
  5. https://www.apa.org/topics/stress/body
  6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5701987/
  7. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21993767/
  8. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/12659241/
  9. https://www.webmd.com/sex-relationships/sex-and-health
  10. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3474615/
  11. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21154195/
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About The Author

James Cunningham, BSc, CPT
Staff Writer & Senior Coach
James Cunningham, BSc, CPT holds a BSc degree in Sport & Exercise Science from University of Hertfordshire. He's a Health & Performance Coach from London that brings a unique blend of academic knowledge of health supplements and practical exercise experience to the table for his readers.
Learn more about our editorial policy
Dr. Harshi Dhingra, MBBS, MD is a published peer-reviewed author and renowned physician from India with over a decade of experience. With her MBBS from Bharati Vidyapeeth and an MD from Rajiv Gandhi University, she actively ensures the accuracy of online dietary supplement and medical information by reviewing and fact-checking health publications.
Learn more about our editorial policy
Dr. Kristy June Dayanan, BS, MD is an author with a BS degree from University of the Philippines and an MD from University of Perpetual Help System. Her ability to simplify medical science complexities and dietary supplement jargon for the average reader makes her a valued medical fact checker and reviewer.
Learn more about our editorial policy

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