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Masturbation & Sperm Count?

May is Masturbation Month and as a company that asks thousands of men to masturbate each year (to produce a sperm sample, not for any untoward reasons…) we of course had to talk about it! Masturbation is still one of those things that comes with a bit of shame and embarrassment, but the truth is it’s totally natural and totally ok! Today we ask, does masturbation cause low sperm count, volume and motility, and how much should we masturbate if at all? Let’s find out.  

Benefits of masturbating 

Before we get into the connection between masturbation and sperm health, let’s give a shout out to all the great benefits of flying solo to orgasm island. Masturbation and having orgasms are pretty great for your health. They relieve stress, help you sleep better and lift your mood – all things that are great if you are embarking on a fertility journey. We wouldn’t necessarily suggest you pitch frequent masturbation as part of your preconception plan – but give it a go if you like! 

Masturbation could even help you reduce your risk of prostate cancer. A study found that men that ejaculated more than 20 times a month were 20% less likely to develop the disease! 

There are myths that frequent masturbation is bad for you (anyone else told they’d go blind if they didn’t get their hands out of their pants?!) but the truth is that there are way more pros than cons to getting up close and personal/pleasurable with yourself now and again. 

So can masturbation cause low sperm count? 

If you’re rushing to get your next self-love appointment and you’re thinking ‘can masturbation cause low sperm count’, then the headline here is no – masturbation doesn’t have an overly negative impact on your sperm health or fertility. However, there are a few caveats to that and it mainly comes down to (as with many things on a fertility journey) timing.

Too many ejaculations could potentially impact your short term sperm count

Most research indicates that your sperm count will be at its strongest around 2 days after your last ejaculation. That’s why when you take our test we recommend that you leave a 48 hour period of abstinence before giving your sample. 

Now, sex when trying to conceive can get very perspective, so you might find that your partner suggests you take the same approach and abstain from ejaculating in the lead up to her fertile window or your assisted fertility treatment. Whilst we probably wouldn’t suggest masturbating on the night before you head in for IVF, we also don’t think you need to be that strict about abstinence. For natural conception, generally, we suggest that you have sex every day during your partner’s female window and then aim for 2-3 ejaculations a week the rest of the time. If those are with yourself or with your partner, that’s up to you!  

But too few could impact it too…

However on the flip side, if you leave it too long between ejaculations, you might find your sperm results aren’t the best either. If sperm cells are left in your testicles for a long time, they are more susceptible to damage, from heat and other factors, You might find that they also get a bit lethargic, which can reduce motility. Whilst ejaculating too frequently might impact the count slightly, you still want to ensure you are doing it pretty regularly, as this will help keep your swimmers active and fresh. 

Of course, if you are trying for a baby (or even if you aren’t yet) and have a partner, many of these ejaculations could be with your partner. However, there might be times that your partner is away, or just simply isn’t in the mood for sex right now. On these occasions, masturbating can be a really helpful way to keep your semen in healthy condition!  

So, can I still masturbate if we’re trying to conceive? 

Yes, but just make sure you are thinking about your timing. If you know your partner’s fertile window is coming up – or if you are due to go in for IVF or ICSI – probably don’t take masturbate the day before as you want all your swimmers to be heading where they need to be (aka to fertilise an egg) rather than ending up in a tissue on your bedside table. But the rest of the time, there is no harm than having an occasional date night with your hand. If it keeps you happy and healthy, that’s only going to be a good thing for your fertility journey. 

Masturbation and sperm tests

Obviously, one place where masturbation really shines is when you need to take a sperm test. The beauty of our at-home tests is that your alone time can be enjoyed in the privacy of your bedroom and bathroom, with your personal collection of materials at your disposal. Of course, the other advantage of this kind of test is that you can also have your partner involved if you like. 

However, we do recommend producing your sample from masturbating rather than having sex – as you can’t guarantee getting the full sample in the cup – which could affect your sperm volume score. Another thing to bear in mind when giving yourself a little sperm test self-love is to avoid using lubes and creams as they can kill your swimmers giving you an inaccurate sperm motility result.

Ready to get to know your swimmers up close and personal? Order one of our at-home sperm tests today!  

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