DOES FEMALE MASTURBATION INCREASE FERTILITY?

Does Female Masturbation Increase Fertility?

Does masturbation help or harm hormones, ovulation, fertility, and pregnancy chances?

The topic of masturbation and its effects on reproductive health sparks lots of debate. For instance, some people believe that masturbation boosts fertility in women by regulating hormone levels. But is there any truth to this claim? Does female masturbation increase fertility? Is it something you should consider in your attempts to conceive? In this article, we will address these questions and all your concerns about masturbation and fertility.

Although masturbation may have its perks, it's important to clarify that it doesn't, in any way, affect fertility. Keep reading to find out exactly how and if masturbation and fertility are connected.  

How are orgasms connected to reproduction?

The short answer is that the male orgasm results in ejaculation to release sperm into the female reproductive tract. Females, on the other hand, do not need to experience orgasm to ovulate or get pregnant. So, where does the belief come from that female orgasm can increase the chance of pregnancy? Biology can help explain the first connection-- with female orgasm, increased uterine and vaginal contractions may help propel sperm closer to the cervix and increase the chances of the sperm reaching the egg.

Additionally, orgasms promote intimacy and bonding between partners. It makes you feel good, which encourages repeated sexual encounters, potentially increasing the chances of conception. However, most importantly, orgasms in women do not directly increase fertility or regulate reproductive hormones like follicle-stimulating hormone (FH), luteinizing hormone (LH), estrogen, and progesterone (more on that soon). 

Does masturbation impact hormones?

Yes, orgasm following masturbation impacts the hormone levels of the female, but it's not the hormones that affect fertility directly, such as follicle-stimulating hormone, luteinizing hormone, estrogen, and progesterone. There isn't substantial scientific evidence that supports the idea that masturbation/orgasm significantly impacts reproductive hormone levels in the body. However, it releases other feel-good and relaxing hormones such as dopamine, prolactin, endorphins, and oxytocin. 

Here is how these hormones released after orgasm may or may not influence your reproductive and sexual health


Dopamine

Often referred to as the happiness hormone because it plays a role in pleasure and reward. While it doesn't directly impact fertility hormones like FSH and LH, its presence after orgasm can contribute to the overall positive feeling associated with sexual satisfaction.


Oxytocin, or the "love hormone" 

Causes contractions in the uterus and fallopian tubes, which theoretically could aid in moving sperm toward the egg. However, current scientific evidence doesn't strongly support a direct link between oxytocin release post-orgasm and improved fertility outcomes.


Prolactin 

This is another hormone that surges after orgasm, and its levels may be associated with orgasm quality. However, while increased prolactin can temporarily reduce libido, a short-term surge post-orgasm is unlikely to have a significant impact on fertility. Only sustained high prolactin levels might potentially disrupt menstrual cycles, but a temporary spike is generally harmless.


Endorphins 

Endorphins are natural painkillers produced by the body, and they contribute to the sense of relaxation and well-being often experienced after orgasm. While they don't directly affect fertility hormones, their release can enhance the overall positive experience of sexual activity.

Does masturbation affect ovulation?

Unlike other female mammals, humans are spontaneous ovulators, which means that our menstrual cycle is independent of external factors like seasons, sexual partners, as well as orgasm or masturbation. In other words, whether you have sex, alone or with your partner, you will only ovulate at the regular time you are meant to ovulate, which is typically midway through your menstrual period (supposing you have a regular menstrual cycle)—masturbation or sexual intercourse does not enhance ovulation, neither does it diminish it.

Don't get us wrong, there are certain activities or measures one can take to improve ovulation, such as lifestyle changes, but masturbation or orgasm is not one of them.  

Does masturbation impact fertilization and implantation?

So here is where it gets a little confusing. Scientific data backs the idea that orgasm following masturbation or sexual intercourse with a partner releases oxytocin, which helps retain sperm or propel sperm quickly into the fallopian tube for fertilization. But don't get excited yet— in these studies, the level of oxytocin tested is 60 times higher than what is usually released after an orgasm.

So, long story short, masturbation, supposing you climaxed, will release a fair amount of oxytocin, which is relatively lower than the amount needed to make a significant impact in retaining or propelling sperm into the fallopian tube. 

Does masturbation impact IVF?

No, masturbation does not directly affect in vitro fertilization ( IVF) in women. However, men, especially, are advised to sometimes abstain from masturbation or any sexual activity leading to ejaculation before sample collection. This is typically to ensure that the sperm samples collected for IVF are of the highest quality since the frequency of ejaculation before the sample collection may reduce sperm quality. 

On the other hand, masturbation in women during this stressful time may do them some good; it has some psychological effects, such as relieving stress and promoting relaxation. 

Does masturbation affect sexual health?

There are mixed messages on this non-reproductive sexual activity. Some argue that it negatively affects mental health and leads to premature ejaculation, while others believe that it comes with a range of health benefits, particularly on sexual health. But what does science have to say on this matter? 

  • This 2008 study by the American Physiological Association revealed that directed masturbation may help women who find it difficult to orgasm. 

  • Research shows that masturbation is a strategy to promote relational intimacy and prevent sexually transmitted diseases and HIV transmission. 

  • In a 2021 study to determine if masturbatory guilt results in depression, it concluded that there is insufficient literature on the effects of masturbatory guilt and the negative beliefs around masturbation on psychopathology. 

Does masturbation impact pregnancy?

Pregnancy can affect libido due to hormone fluctuations. Female masturbation is safe during pregnancy. However, there is a widespread belief that masturbation could induce labor. Scientists tested this theory in 210 pregnant women who needed labor induction, revealing that female orgasm alone is insufficient for inducing labor in healthy pregnancies. Therefore, pregnant women can masturbate as many times as they wish without inducing labor, so far as everything is normal.

The bottom line

Does masturbation decrease fertility? No. Masturbation does not directly improve fertility, nor does it cause infertility. It does not stimulate the production of reproductive hormones; however, it has some pros that can indirectly aid in your fertility process. These benefits include reducing stress levels, promoting relaxation, and increasing intimacy between you and your partner, which will encourage you both to have frequent sex; the more sex you have, the more it increases your chances of natural conception, especially if you have irregular menstrual cycles.

So, in conclusion, feel free, enjoy, and masturbate as much as you want; just remember that it has no direct role in helping you conceive.

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