Some athletes and bodybuilders believe that masturbation has a negative impact on their performance, while others believe it gives them an edge.

At the end of the day, there isn’t any scientific evidence pointing one way or the other. The available research is too limited to draw any concrete conclusions.

But there are proven connections between sexual activity, hormone levels, and mood. How your mood affects other activities — like lifting weights at the gym — varies from person to person.

Read on to learn more about the role your hormones might play and what researchers have found so far.

It’s well-known that testosterone helps build muscles. It does this by helping your muscles synthesize protein. Testosterone also increases the level of growth hormone, which is released by your body as a response to exercise.

Testosterone levels rise during sex and masturbation and then fall again after orgasm, so it isn’t surprising that people think it could impact their workout.

But this fluctuation isn’t high enough to have a noticeable effect on any activity, let alone your time at the gym. Your testosterone levels will return to normal within minutes of sexual release.

Nope. There isn’t any clinical evidence to suggest that abstaining from masturbation will improve your workout.

Although research does suggest that abstaining will cause a temporary rise in your testosterone levels, there isn’t any clinical evidence connecting this fluctuation to gains or losses at the gym.

It might have a small effect on muscle mass if you time your workouts just right, but overall, don’t expect to see a significant increase in the size of your muscles.

Maybe! A study by sex toy marketer Adam & Eve monitored the sexual activity of 21 male and female athletes over three weeks. This included sexual activity with a partner or by themselves. The study found that the hormones released during orgasm had several benefits that could have a positive effect on athletic performance.

Here’s a look at the hormones released and their effects:

  • Dopamine. This neurotransmitter controls the release of hormones that affect emotion, movement, pleasure, and pain. It also helps with your decision-making process and motivation.
  • Norepinephrine. This chemical increases arousal and alertness. It also increases blood flow to skeletal muscles and triggers the release of blood sugar from energy stores.
  • Oxytocin. This hormone induces feelings of optimism, trust, and self-esteem, and helps you bond with others. It also reduces inflammation.
  • Prolactin. Along with providing your body with sexual gratification, this chemical regulates your immune system and helps your metabolism.
  • Serotonin. This is the “feel good” chemical that improves your mood. It’s also a growth factor in certain types of cells.
  • Vasopressin. This hormone balances the water in your body and improves memory, attention to detail, and clarity.

All of these combined could make you feel better and more motivated to exercise.

The study also noted that the combination of these chemicals could stop the release of a specific pain transmitter for up to 24 hours. This may ease any muscle pain or soreness.

The results of the Adam & Eve study show that it all comes down to your perception. The athletes who believed that sexual activity had a positive impact on their performance were more likely to see improved results, and vice versa.

If you feel that masturbating before your workout will have a positive impact on your workout, then it more than likely will. On the flipside, if you feel like sexual activity will somehow hinder your workout, then it probably will. Do what feels best for you and chances are you’ll have a better workout.