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The Benefits of Not Ejaculating For 7 Days

Kelly Brown MD, MBA

Reviewed by Kelly Brown, MD

Written by Geoffrey Whittaker

Published 04/06/2023

Updated 04/14/2024

Abstinence is wrapped up in a lot of social and cultural stigma, so if you’ve been reading about the benefits of semen retention, the dangers of so-called “blue balls” or how not ejaculating can supposedly offer health benefits, odds are that you’re struggling to separate science from hearsay.

Abstaining from sex for a week isn’t going to cure any diseases or give you superheroic mental clarity or recharge your life force, but there is some evidence to suggest that it could offer benefits for your health, wellness, happiness and quality of life.

Below, we’ve covered what happens when you don’t ejaculate for 7 days, the benefits and risks of ejaculatory abstinence and what experts generally recommend.

What happens when you don’t ejaculate for 7 days? Scientific evidence would say “not much.”

The alleged benefits of abstaining from sex and masturbation for a week come from a 2002 study conducted in China of just 28 men.

Researchers examined the men’s serum testosterone levels (meaning their total testosterone levels) during a week of abstinence. From days two to five, the study found that changes in serum testosterone concentrations varied little throughout the group, but at the seven day mark those levels peaked to nearly 150 percent of baseline levels.

In other words, they found that ejaculation (or the lack thereof) had a substantial effect on serum testosterone at the one-week mark.

It’s possible that people who suddenly see a spike in testosterone after the seven-day abstinence could be seeing some of the same benefits, but questions about original testosterone levels and other issues related to testosterone in general would need to be assessed on an individual basis to corroborate that theory.

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So what are the positive effects of not ejaculating for a week? Will not ejaculating for 7 days offer physical benefits?

The so-called “NoFap” community on Reddit might argue that the ancient practice of abstinence leads to better self-control, happiness and overall health in men who participate, but there’s virtually no evidence to substantiate claims about the mental health, energy levels, focus and productivity benefits of not masturbating.

Finding comprehensive research to clear up the confusion is also difficult — there are relatively few peer-reviewed studies about the potential benefits of abstinence and most of those haven’t found conclusive data to suggest strong changes.

Here’s what we think is worth your consideration:

Increased Levels of Testosterone

Studies have shown that your levels of testosterone play a role in mental health and mood regulation. Though the exact mechanisms can be unclear, studies have noted that testosterone replacement therapy improved mood, energy and sense of well-being. Research also found testosterone replacement therapy reduced anger and irritability over the course of a six-week trial.

One 2001 study essentially confirmed the seven-day study’s results. Examining just 10 patients, the study found that after three weeks of abstinence, testosterone levels increased and stayed elevated.

Mental Health and Well-Being

The above study looked at other things besides testosterone. It examined levels of cortisol, adrenaline, noradrenaline and prolactin — all different types of hormones — both before and after the three-week abstinence period. The study didn’t find any significant differences in hormone levels, however.

Avoiding Risks Associated with Excessive Masturbation

A person who ejaculates too frequently could risk problems like dehydration and strained or pulled muscles. If the frequent ejaculation is associated with porn addiction or another sexual behavior that can sometimes cause feelings of shame, it may lead to negative self-talk. 

Premature Ejaculation Management

Some sources suggest that an abstinence break may have benefits for sexual function — specifically for issues like premature ejaculation and erectile dysfunction. To date, we’ve yet to see any evidence.

In 2018, one study examined the link between premature ejaculation and reduced masturbation or abstinence. The findings? Abstaining didn’t lead to any changes in premature ejaculation issues.

Erectile Dysfunction Treatment

Erectile dysfunction does not appear to be meaningfully connected to abstinence practices. Studies have yet to uncover a link between erectile dysfunction and masturbation, ejaculation, porn or any of the other “NoFap” community’s central theories about sexual health.

That’s not to say that future studies won’t identify some link between excessive porn consumption and erectile dysfunction, but it’s just as possible that both pornography usage and sexual dysfunction can be linked to already-defined psychological risk factors like isolation, depression and low self-esteem.

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Generally, ejaculation frequency is not associated with benefits or risks to your health except in the extremes — a person who stops ejaculating entirely could compromise their prostate health and lose out on the feel-good and sleep-well benefits of oxytocin and other chemicals released in the brain during orgasm.

And the risks of abstaining too often — things like epididymal hypertension (you know this as “blue balls”) are real, but overall not serious.

As for excessive masturbation, the data is a little fuzzy on the risks of too much masturbation, but any habit that is affecting your relationships, quality of life or ability to function in your daily responsibilities is probably something you need to cut back on.

Like sex, Masturbation (has been linked to reduced stress and anxiety symptoms. That is, as long as you don’t feel any moralistic guilt about the practice — and you shouldn’t, since it’s perfectly normal.

In short, if you want to address a problem like premature ejaculation or erectile dysfunction, you’re going to need to go about it in a different way.

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How long can a man go without ejaculating? Why does it matter? If your search history has a lot of things like “not ejaculating for 14 days benefits,” it’s possible you’re feeling self-conscious or ashamed of how often you’re reaching orgasm, or trying to “hack” ejaculation frequency to unlock some benefits.

Not ejaculating may pose some benefits, and if you’re trying to improve your sex life, cutting back on excessively frequent ejaculations may be a place where you can make a difference. But there’s not a lot of evidence to suggest that this change will cause substantial improvements in your life or happiness.

Meanwhile, there is evidence for better ways to pursue help:

  • Health conditions like a low sperm count or sexual dysfunction can be treated with medications and other therapies.

  • Low self-esteem and other “social” issues associated with sexual medicine are better addressed with therapy.

  • Proven, effective treatments are already available for low testosterone, infertility and unreliable erections.

Ready to solve some problems? We can help you get the right treatment, and help you work through complicated issues like retrograde ejaculation, questions of sperm quality and more. Reach out to us today.

10 Sources

  1. Zimmer, F., & Imhoff, R. (2020). Abstinence from Masturbation and Hypersexuality. Archives of sexual behavior, 49(4), 1333–1343. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7145784/.
  2. Exton, M. S., Krüger, T. H., Bursch, N., Haake, P., Knapp, W., Schedlowski, M., & Hartmann, U. (2001). Endocrine response to masturbation-induced orgasm in healthy men following a 3-week sexual abstinence. World journal of urology, 19(5), 377–382. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/11760788/.
  3. Jiang M. (2002). Sheng li xue bao : [Acta physiologica Sinica], 54(6), 535–538. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/12506329/.
  4. Tyagi, V., Scordo, M., Yoon, R. S., Liporace, F. A., & Greene, L. W. (2017). Revisiting the role of testosterone: Are we missing something?. Reviews in urology, 19(1), 16–24. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5434832/.
  5. Aneja J, Grover S, Avasthi A, Mahajan S, Pokhrel P, Triveni D. Can masturbatory guilt lead to severe psychopathology: a case series. Indian J Psychol Med. 2015 Jan-Mar;37(1):81-6. doi: 10.4103/0253-7176.150848. PMID: 25722518; PMCID: PMC4341317. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4341317/.
  6. Sooriyamoorthy T, Leslie SW. Erectile Dysfunction. [Updated 2022 May 27]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2022 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK562253/.
  7. InformedHealth.org [Internet]. Cologne, Germany: Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG); 2006-. Premature ejaculation: What can I do on my own? 2019 Sep 12. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK547551/.
  8. Shabsigh, R., Ridwan Shabsigh More articles by this author, Kaminetsky, J., Jed Kaminetsky More articles by this author, Yang, M., Michael Yang More articles by this author, Perelman, M., Michael Perelman (n.d.). PD69-02 double-blind, randomized controlled trial of TOPICAL 4% BENZOCAINE wipes for management of PREMATURE Ejaculation: Interim analysis. The Journal of Urology. https://www.auajournals.org/doi/10.1016/j.juro.2017.02.3143.
  9. Myers, C., & Smith, M. (2019). Pelvic floor muscle training improves erectile dysfunction and premature ejaculation: a systematic review. Physiotherapy, 105(2), 235–243. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30979506/.
  10. Exton, M. S., Krüger, T. H., Bursch, N., Haake, P., Knapp, W., Schedlowski, M., & Hartmann, U. (2001). Endocrine response to masturbation-induced orgasm in healthy men following a 3-week sexual abstinence. World journal of urology, 19(5), 377–382. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/11760788/.
Editorial Standards

Hims & Hers has strict sourcing guidelines to ensure our content is accurate and current. We rely on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and medical associations. We strive to use primary sources and refrain from using tertiary references. See a mistake? Let us know at [email protected]!

This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. The information contained herein is not a substitute for and should never be relied upon for professional medical advice. Always talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of any treatment. Learn more about our editorial standards here.

Kelly Brown MD, MBA
Kelly Brown, MD

Dr. Kelly Brown is a board certified Urologist and fellowship trained in Andrology. She is an accomplished men’s health expert with a robust background in healthcare innovation, clinical medicine, and academic research. Dr. Brown was previously Medical Director of a male fertility startup where she lead strategy and design of their digital health platform, an innovative education and telehealth model for delivering expert male fertility care.

She completed her undergraduate studies at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (go Heels!) with a Bachelor of Science in Radiologic Science and a Minor in Chemistry. She took a position at University of California Los Angeles as a radiologic technologist in the department of Interventional Cardiology, further solidifying her passion for medicine. She also pursued the unique opportunity to lead departmental design and operational development at the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, sparking her passion for the business of healthcare.

Dr. Brown then went on to obtain her doctorate in medicine from the prestigious Northwestern University - Feinberg School of Medicine and Masters in Business Administration from Northwestern University - Kellogg School of Management, with a concentration in Healthcare Management. During her surgical residency in Urology at University of California San Francisco, she utilized her research year to focus on innovations in telemedicine and then served as chief resident with significant contributions to clinical quality improvement. Dr. Brown then completed her Andrology Fellowship at Medical College of Wisconsin, furthering her expertise in male fertility, microsurgery, and sexual function.

Her dedication to caring for patients with compassion, understanding, as well as a unique ability to make guys instantly comfortable discussing anything from sex to sperm makes her a renowned clinician. In addition, her passion for innovation in healthcare combined with her business acumen makes her a formidable leader in the field of men’s health.

Dr. Brown is an avid adventurer; summiting Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania (twice!) and hiking the incredible Torres del Paine Trek in Patagonia, Chile. She deeply appreciates new challenges and diverse cultures on her travels. She lives in Denver with her husband, two children, and beloved Bernese Mountain Dog. You can find Dr. Brown on LinkedIn for more information.

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