Does masturbation lower sperm count?

A lot of men have asked if masturbation lowers sperm count or fertility. Learn how frequent masturbation can impact a man’s chances of conception.

Does masturbating lower sperm count

A lot of men have asked if frequent masturbation lowers sperm count or their fertility. The quick answer is no. However, if you are trying to conceive, there are a few tricks to optimize the number of healthy sperm that you ejaculate that can help increase your chances. Here’s a quick breakdown of how frequency of ejaculation affects sperm count and semen volume.

What happens to sperm when you ejaculate frequently?

Frequent ejaculation is a sign of a healthy sex drive and it is not uncommon for men to have sex or masturbate multiple times a day. Some men notice that if they ejaculate a couple of times in a 24-hour period that semen becomes more watery and begin to worry that they might run out sperm. Unlike women who have a set number of eggs from birth, men are constantly creating new sperm, so it is not possible to “run out” of sperm. But frequent ejaculation can influence the amount and the quality of both the semen and the sperm that comes out.

Semen is made of a several different fluids that come together during an ejaculation. Fluid from the testicle that contains sperm is joined with fluids from the seminal vesicles, prostate, and bulbourethral glands before exiting the body during an ejaculation. The bulk of the fluid is typically a thick yellowish substance that originates from seminal vesicles and is responsible for most of the characteristics we generally associate with semen (consistency, color, smell, etc). This fluid is generated slowly over time and is stored in pockets just above the prostate until ejaculation. The longer a man abstains from ejaculation the more these pockets will fill up causing bigger, thicker semen loads. In contrast, frequent ejaculations will cause the pockets to empty and therefore will be made up mostly of thinner, whitish fluid that comes directly from the prostate.

What about sperm? Healthy men make between 3-5 million sperm an hour on average. Sperm are formed in tiny tubes in the testicle called seminiferous tubules. Once they are fully formed, they get pushed into a long, coiled tube called the epididymis where they are stored until they are ejaculated out of the body. Inside the epididymis, sperm finish maturing as a series proteins help them become motile. The longer a man abstains from ejaculation, the more sperm he is likely to accumulate in the epididymis. However, if you are trying for a baby, you don’t want to store them up for too long. Motile sperm are like tiny engines that produce a molecular form of exhaust called reactive oxygen species (ROS). ROS has been known to damage sperm cells and can impair their ability to swim or to fertilize an egg. Because of this, long periods of abstinence are associated with poor sperm health.

Optimal frequency of ejaculation when trying to conceive

To optimize the number of healthy sperm that come out, it is recommended that men who are trying to conceive have sex every 2 – 7 days.  If you have a low sperm count, you might narrow that window to 3 – 4 days. Studies in healthy men show that on average semen volume is 70% higher and sperm count is 50% higher when men ejaculate every other day instead of every day. They also show that long periods of abstinence can impact sperm health and can cause sperm to not swim as well or even die.

Sperm can live inside the woman’s body for around 2-3 days. If both partners are healthy, having sex a couple times a week should ensure that there are plenty of healthy sperm present whenever ovulation happens.

There are several tools available for women to use to track their cycle and predict when ovulation will happen. You can improve your chances by having sex close to the time of ovulation. However, rigorous timing of sex while trying to conceive can cause stress, performance anxiety and sexual dysfunction for both men and women so it is important to create an open channel of communication about the process to help you both stay sane, happy and healthy while you are on the journey of creating a family together.

Masturbation with a purpose: giving the best sample during an IUI or IVF cycle

Assisted reproduction is weird. Injections, instructions NOT to have sex, making love to a plastic cup; all in the name of baby-making. With everything that the woman endures as part of an assisted reproductive cycle, there is a lot of pressure on the man to produce the best possible semen sample on the big day. Here are a few strategy tips to build your gameday plan for the superbowl of masturbation:

Talk to your doctor: If you are the quarterback, your doctor is the head coach. They have seen 100’s if not 1000’s of couples go through this and have great instincts about what you can do to optimize your sample on the big day. Based on your semen analysis results and the type of procedure you are doing, they should have advice to help you put a plan together. To make the most out of your conversation, do your best to be honest. If you think it will be too hard to abstain 5 days tell them that. If you really have a hard time collecting a sample in the clinic, be honest about that. Talking through the issues will help everyone feel more comfortable with the process.

Put em on ice: Many clinics offer the option to freeze a backup sample. This can go a long way to taking off pressure on the big day. It also gives you the chance to do a practice run and see how well it works for you and your sperm. Every sample should get analyzed and you can request a copy of the report to see how abstinence and collection technique influenced semen parameters compared to your baseline semen analysis report.

Rules for thumb regarding abstinence period: A good rule of thumb is longer abstinence periods are generally associated with higher sperm counts, lower motility and shorter abstinence periods are associated with lower counts and higher motility. If you have a high count (above 70 million) you are probably best to have a short abstinence period (2-3 days) if you have a lower count, it may be better to increase your abstinence period to 5-7 days.

Enjoy yourself, it will help: There is evidence to suggest that increased sexual desire can improve the quality of a semen sample. Finding strategies to be more relaxed and excited while collecting your sample can actually help. So in the name of science and baby-making, get out there and spank that monkey.


  1. Jose Manuel Mayorga-Torres, Mauricio Camargo, Ashok Agarwal, Stefan S. du Plessis, Ángela P. Cadavid, and Walter D. Cardona Maya Influence of ejaculation frequency on seminal parameters Reprod Biol Endocrinol. 2015;
  2. Magnus O, Tollefsrud A, Abyholm T, Purvis K. Effects of varying the abstinence period in the same individuals on sperm quality. Arch Androl. 1991 May-Jun;26(3):199-203.
  3. De Jonge C, LaFromboise M, Bosmans E, Ombelet W, Cox A, Nijs M. Influence of the abstinence period on human sperm quality. Fertil Steril. 2004 Jul;82(1):57-65.
  4. Amann RP. Considerations in evaluating human spermatogenesis on the basis of total sperm per ejaculate. J Androl. 2009 Nov-Dec;30(6):626-41. doi: 10.2164/jandrol.108.006817. Epub 2009 May 14.
  5. Bedford JM. The status and the state of the human epididymis. Hum Reprod. 1994 Nov;9(11):2187-99.
  6. Rui H, Gerhardt P, Mevåg B, Thomassen Y, Purvis K. Seminal plasma characteristics during frequent ejaculation. Int J Androl. 1984 Apr;7(2):119-28.
  7. Owen, D. H.; Katz, DF (2005). “A Review of the Physical and Chemical Properties of Human Semen and the Formulation of a Semen Simulant“. Journal of Andrology. 26 (4): 459–69.

Sara SDx

Sara SDx

Editor of Don't Cook your Balls, Co-Founder of, Health Coach and Men's Health Advocate. Passionate about sperm, men's health and helping people build their families.
Sara SDx

Author: Sara SDx

Editor of Don't Cook your Balls, Co-Founder of, Health Coach and Men's Health Advocate. Passionate about sperm, men's health and helping people build their families.

98 thoughts on “Does masturbation lower sperm count?”

  1. hey sara
    I have been masturbating for like three years
    lately when I poop I pass a liquid through my penis
    are they connected?
    is it normal? thanks

    1. Could be weak pelvic floor muscles. You can search for “kegel exercises for men” this can help.

  2. I have been mastturbating from 6 year.would it make me infertile.would it affect the chances of becoming a father.

    1. No, masturbating doesn’t typically impact chances of becoming a father in the future unless you hurt yourself.

  3. Comment..
    hi Sara I have one testicle the other one is undescend it’s hanging up there that’s my left side one. I have a musterbation habits after 2 to 3 days a week. does this affect me from being a father or can i have children with just one ball.need help pls

  4. hi.if a guy decide to abstain from sex for two years without mastutbating does it have any negative effect on his health?

  5. My sperm count is 13 million per ml. Is this normal or it takes more time to recover.sample I tested after 2 and half days. Should I get medicine or by eating healthy food it can be recovered ?

      1. Hi dear doctor i have been wearing my red boxers for 3 months which i wipe my self clean when i use the bathroom before you have other thoughts ok back the question i been masterbating and ejaculating my sperm on the front of my red boxers part where we men pee out just woundering if they put my red boxers under a black light or micro scope the huge results would be lots of sperm activitie.

  6. Hi sara,
    I was first masterbute in age 13 year…
    After 13 years me masterbute 3/4 in a month..
    When at the age 14 me feel gynacomastia (enlargement of breast) ..
    Now my current age 20 ..
    When me masterbue watery secreation not thick..
    And also gynecomastia…
    Kildly answers my some questions..
    Gynacomastia cause?
    Gynacomastia cause infertility?
    Gyncomastia cause decrease sperm count.?
    Gynacomastian cause any cancer are other disease?
    masterbution3/4 times in month cause decreas
    Sperm count,sperm motality?
    How to check my sperm count?
    How to increase sperm count and motality?
    Now my sperm/semen staus watery secreatin when i masterbute possible cause..
    Please rely..

    1. Gynacomastia is generally a sign of increased estrogen. It doesn’t necessarily cause any other problems but is worth getting checked by a doctor.
      They can test hormone levels and sperm to see how your body is functioning. They can also treat the gynacomastia if it is causing you problems.
      I think it is a good idea to get checked out. Usually a urologist or endocrinologist can help.

  7. I’m 27 years old and i mastrubate 4 times a day my sperm will be in drops.. Is that a problem

  8. Hi doc,

    If one has chlamydia or gonorhea, does it show as an an infection in a semen analysis? Which later would require further testing to see the type of infection?

    1. Interesting question. It may —

      Semen analysis can provide a lot of clues that there is a possible infection – increased white blood cell count, abnormal color or smell of semen and some bacterial infections are visible under the microscope when looking at sperm. They can do a semen culture to determine what type of infection is present.

      Typically STD tests look specifically for the presence of chlamydia or gonorhea (or one of their proteins). This method of testing for STDs isn’t typically conducted during a semen analysis.

      Does that help

  9. Hi Sara

    Wheñ you ejaculate and take your sperm/semen is it healthy or does it have any side effects?

  10. I masturbate 3 times a everyday due to this my spearm count decreased too must nowadays i cant masturbate 3times wat to do for my this situation

    1. It’s tricky. So daily sex is regular use of the reproductive organs. It is generally a healthy thing to do and helps the reproductive system be healthy. Studies don’t say if increasing sex increases production rate of the testicle, but it is a sign that sexual function is good and reproductive health is good.

      Imagine that the testicle made 10 sperm an hour. 1 hour of abstinence would mean that there would be 10 sperm in the ejaculate, 10 hours would mean there would be 100 sperm and 100 hours would mean that there would be 1,000 sperm.It’s a little more complicated than this but the general principle holds true. The longer you abstain, the more sperm will come out.

      Sperm, however, do not live forever. So if you don’t ejaculate for several weeks most of the sperm that you will ejaculate will be already dead and some of them will be starting to break down.

      When you are testing sperm they recommend 2-7 days of abstinence to get an accurate idea of your “normal” sperm production.

      Does this help?

  11. Hi
    I am 37 years old. My sperm count is 10 millions /ml and motility is 10%. I want baby nd doctor advised me for tab lineator for one month. Can I go for iui or ivf is only option. Pse suggest…

    1. Some ideas to boost sperm count:

      1. Try some of the ideas posted in this article.
      2. Download this app and fill out the health assessment to see the top recommendations for you to improve.
      3. You might want to explore testicular cooling

      Here is some research on IUI and sperm. Depending on semen volume / total motile count IUI might be possible, but boosting numbers even a little bit are likely to improve chances across the board, no matter which way you try to conceive.

  12. Hi Sara, I am 20 years old. I masturbate frequently from last 5years. Now a days my semen become watery and have a lower sperm count(now I masturbate 1-2or3 times daily). And I don’t get harder erections daily. What is my problem? Please help me.

  13. I have start to masturbate for the past 6 years now and i do it daily, this time when i wake up from bed, i don’t get erected but i do erect later

  14. Hi sara, í have bien diagnosed with low sperm count 15 million per ml, the other day í had a daily masturbation for three days in a row and then waited three days before mi espermastoscopy. My count was lowered by half, aand i was wondering if my sperm count was lowered by rhis, and i should yry to go a week without any masturbation and get tested agaain. I was diagnosed with los sperm count after some recurrent próstata infection,World this lower the count? About right years algo my wife became pregnant, bit had a miscarriage, and Sant to try again, thank you, bless you

    1. Did you have a lot of white blood cells? Did the doctor treat the prostate infection?

      If you abstained for 3 days then the masturbation should not have impacted test results. If you ejaculated during the abstinence period, you should re-test to confirm the results.

      You might want to download this app to see what risk factors you might have for low sperm count.

  15. Hi sara I’m 23 years old and met with an accident and my leg bone has been broken and operated for this 2 months back if I Mastrubate is thr any problem for my bone

  16. Hi Sara. I don’t masturbate usually but suffer from wet dreams about 2-3 times a week. Is that normal? Or should I consult a sexpert?

  17. Hi.i am masterbuting since from last 5 years but not there any side effect on lowering sperm count.

  18. Hi Sara SDx. I have been masterbating for the past two years since i was 11. Overtime, i realized that less sperm was coming out. How do i get more sperm to come out? Please help.

  19. Hi Sara so I’m 19 years old and I’ve masterbated/ejaculated three times 1) this past Thursday, twice last week and I’m new to it and I’m healthy so when do you think I should do it again after tonight. I’m not making it a habit just want to have a little self fun ?

    Also I don’t have lube, but do you think a little olive/glass of water or vasaline can help with a prostate/anal massage ?


  20. Comment…Comment…hi,
    my name is Frank,i’ve been masturbating for the past 2 years everyday,pls what is the side effect??
    because I noticed my stature nd my height has not change since then ,,

  21. Is my sperm count the reason all these people are asking these dumbass questions? Im not gonna lie. Ive been laughing so hard! Im 19 years old. I spank my monkey everyday. Its a habbit really. But you people are so damn hilarious! Sarah, cmon! I kmow you’ve had a good laugh out of these peeps!

  22. I masturbate at night, it’s quite difficult to live but it now like a sleeping aid at night, does it affect why I can’t grow facial hair at 21 years or does it lead to having low speed count if I continue

  23. My wife and I are wanting a boy for our 2nd child. She is ovulating and we are going to try tonight. I masturbated at lunch without realizing she was ovulating. Is there anything that I can do help improve the chances of conceiving a boy. I realize that male sperm don’t live as long, with that being said I am under the impression that if I ejaculate and it shoots out with great force it will increase the chances of a male sperm fertilizeing the egg because they swim faster. Because I masturbated earlier I know that it will just dribble out this evening so I am concerned that it will decrease the chances of having a boy. Is this sound logic? Also I read in a article that if I drink an energy drink before ejaculation it will distribute some of that energy to sperm and they will swim faster, and hopefully in turn that will help my male swimmers swim faster. Is this true? Sounds silly to me but I am looking for every edge I can get. Also I know from past experiences that if I’m on the edge of ejaculation and I stop when I finish later my semen will shoot out of me with more force? Thank you for your time.

    1. Unfortunately, there isn’t much that you can do to influence having a boy or a girl. The chances are really 50 / 50. There are very slight differences between the boy and girl sperm but very little you can do to actually improve your chances of one or the other. Good luck.

    1. It should be ok. Worst side effects from frequent masturbation is skin irritation or other issues with penis.

  24. Hi my name is Troy and I’ve been masturbating for some years not everyday but every other day and I only have one testicle but a year ago I tried to get this girl pregnant but I couldn’t we tried for a year and I’m just scared that I won’t ever be a father but I wanted to know is it something that I can do to find out if I can have kids or if I can boost my sperm count?

    1. I would totally recommend Trak. It is a home testing system that comes with an app that can help you improve if you need to. I’m one of the founders of the company and would be happy to help you figure this out.

  25. Hello,
    As per analysis my sperm count is only4%. We trying for baby from 1 year but we did not. Now doc says no medicine for men to increase sperm count. Now what to do. Please Help.

  26. Hi, dear! Can you please help me here, I’ve been masturbating for 5 years, daily and now I’ve decided to leave this habit. So, since I stopped in this for the first week I now feel pain in my other testis. Why am I feeling this pain and is there any damage in my testis? (Please help, I’m worried).

    1. If you are getting aroused but not ejaculating, it could be something called blue balls. This is a common pain for men who get excited but do not ejaculate.

      Do think this is the pain you are experiencing?

  27. Hello maam see my report and help me plz….
    Active 40%
    Dead 40%
    Sluggish 20%
    Volume 3ml
    Sperm count 70million/ml
    Pus cell 10_15/hpf
    Normal 40%
    Abnormal 60%….

  28. Hi Sara,
    My sperm count seems fluctuating ,4 years ago it was 40 millions/per ml and 45%progressively motility but result showed plenty of pus cells and was asked to repeat test after 1 month and to my shock the result is 1 million/per ml and then on semen culture there is no evidence of bacteria or microrganism growth.
    Two years later my sperm count was 12 millions per ml and was diagnosed with azoospermia and motility and morphology is good but doctor advised it should be 15 millions/per ml as per WHO.
    But now when we planned for baby it is 3 million per ml and 0% progressively motile. After scan there is no evidence of varicocele.
    should we try IVF?

  29. When I masturbate 3 times a day..the third time my sperm count becomes really low…is that a problem?or smthng?

    1. No, it is not a problem. It is normal. The body needs time to replenish sperm stores, so frequent ejaculation (multiple times a day) temporarily reduces sperm count. If you take a break for a few days it should go back up.

  30. hi Sara..i waited eight days to do my sperm test..knowing that I have a very small quantity of sperm. But the test was 82 millions and I have been told that the sperm action was not you think I have to wait only a time of 2 to 5 days before get better real results…I did it before 2 months and it was 4 millions so I took vitamins advised from my doctor and now results are too you think I need to have less time than 8 days before retesting? or I can rely on this last test as the final result?
    thank you dear

  31. I was wondering what the chances could be to get someone pregnant when youve masturbated everyday for a month straight and what if I were to stop for a week straight no sex or masturbation would their be a high chance I could get someone pregnant after a week without ejaculation?

    1. Do you have any other symptoms?
      Sexual function varies person to person, so in general I wouldn’t suspect a problem but if it is very concerning you can go speak to a urologist.

  32. I am addicted to mastrubation from 8 years daily 5 to 6 times i am 22 yr old now i am getting weak errection premature ejaculation testicles pain problem if i stop mastrubation from now how much time it takes me to become normal again will i able to become father in future my sperm become grey and cloudy in color not whitish color

  33. i have sperm concentration 38 millions but progressive motile is zero % and non progressive motile is 40%.
    Is there is any chance to increase progressive motile, if so what should i do

  34. Hi Sara .. I’ve had a sudden warmth in my testicles once and I’m a quiet of a frequent masturbating guy ,
    I’m a bit worried is that warmth a bad sign or something ? and I was wondering if Masturbation has any bad effects on the short or the long run ?

    1. masturbation shouldn’t have much to do with sudden warm. Is there any pain? Are there other changes?

      I haven’t run across any research that shows bad effects of long term masturbation. The only bad side can be if it is too much, it can impair your social life or require a mental adjustment when you have actual sex.

  35. hello sarah,, i was diagnosed by my urologist having a varicocele with my azoospermia, so i went over varicocelectomy last december 13, 2016 & i had analysis after 2 months & its only 10k per ml,, i did not yet get my 3rd analysis but still were making our best to get pregnant, bearing in mind that only 1 semen can do the miracle… your advise please,, is there any vitamin to increase sperm count?.. tnx

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