Masturbation and weight loss: Can solo play burn calories?

Can a little solo play can result in weight loss?

Written by
Lucinda Starr
Medically reviewed by
Last updated
May 15, 2024
min read
Masturbation and weight loss: Can solo play burn calories?
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Have you ever wondered if a little solo play can result in weight loss? If you have, you're probably not the only one. It's a pretty common question flying around, so we're here to set the record straight on all things masturbation and losing weight.

The truth is, while masturbation has little to do with losing weight, it does have a stack of other potential benefits from acting as a stress reliever, promoting better quality and quantity of sleep and doing wonders for your mood too which can indirectly help you lose weight.

The best part is, it's basically the safest sex you can engage in with no risk of getting an STD, too. So if you're interested in learning more about what solo play can do for your health, then keep reading.

What are the benefits of masturbation?

Masturbation is linked with stacks of myths and even stigma, like whispers that it causes infertility or it causes your genitals to become smaller. The truth is, none of these misconceptions are true, and masturbating actually has a host of positive health benefits.

Masturbation has a range of positive effects on both your mental health and physical health. Plus, a solo romp is a great way to relieve sexual tension in a risk-free way.

Relieves stress

Masturbation leads to orgasm which releases a bunch of feel-good hormones including endorphins, and dopamine (a.k.a your happy hormones).

Endorphins are hormones that can relieve stress and pain, unlocking feelings of pleasure that are beneficial in reducing stress and improving mood, while dopamine allows you to feel pleasure, satisfaction, and motivation [1][2].

Improves sleep quality

Masturbation can also help you get better sleep — even scientific evidence confirms it.

One study found that among 778 participants, both males and females who achieved orgasm through masturbation reported enhanced sleep quality than through sexual activity with a partner. Plus, participants also noted that self-stimulation helped them get to sleep faster, too [3].

Boosts self-esteem and self-love

Alongside other mental health benefits, masturbation can have a positive impact on self-esteem and self-love.

Research has found an association between positive body image and masturbation. In fact, the TENGA 2018 Global Self-Pleasure Report found that men who masturbate on a weekly basis or more are 12% more satisfied with their orgasms and 6% more confident about their bodies [4].

Helps you get to know your sexual preferences

Masturbation also helps you get to know yourself better and what you do and don't like sexually. This not only improves your sexual arousal and the quality of your orgasm, but it helps you properly set boundaries and communicate with current and future sexual partners.

Can masturbation cause erectile dysfunction?

There are some myths floating around that masturbating too much can cause erectile dysfunction.

But the truth is, masturbation isn't directly correlated with erectile dysfunction. As we've already mentioned, it actually has a bunch of health benefits like positive impacts on mood, sleep and self-confidence [5].

But, trouble getting and keeping an erection either while masturbating or through sexual activity might be a sign of other conditions that aren't related to self-stimulation itself, like premature ejaculation or an erectile dysfunction disorder [6].

What to do about erectile dysfunction

If you're coming a little quicker than you'd like or you've got another form of erectile dysfunction, what can you do about it?

One of the best things you can do is to actually masturbate. There's a positive correlation between masturbation and premature ejaculation and a 2019 study found that regular masturbation made a significant difference in the amount of time it took men to come [7].

Plus, there are also a bunch of treatments aimed at improving both ED and PE. Pilot's clinical erectile dysfunction treatment is generally the first line of treatment used for ED and works by targeting the enzyme responsible for the contraction of blood vessels in the penis which improves blood flow to help maintain firm erections throughout sexual activity or self-stimulation. Plus, we offer both on-demand and daily treatment options for whatever your needs are. And, with treatment, 78% of men will achieve lasting erections.

On the other hand, if you're experiencing PE, Pilot's premature ejaculation treatment offers both clinical treatment plans and behavioural options developed by sex coaches and sexual health specialists. Medical treatment works to increase serotonin levels and target areas of the brain that process sexual excitement (which are linked to premature ejaculation) with 74% of patients reporting improvements.

The behavioural treatment program is designed to address the psychological factors of premature ejaculation with 65% success for patients.

Plus, we know it can be scary to talk about erectile dysfunction or rock up to your family GP to chat about what's happening down there. That's why Pilot offers judgement-free treatment with online consultations with an Aussie practitioner and discreet shipping — taking the stress out of seeking help.

Does masturbating burn calories?

While masturbating can burn calories, the number of calories burned is generally pretty low.

How many calories are burned during masturbation differs from person to person and rests on factors like the person's body weight, the intensity of the solo play and the amount of time spent masturbating.

Energy expenditure is also highest when achieving an orgasm which doesn't tend to last very long [8].

So, while masturbating does get the blood pumping, it definitely won't burn as many calories as you would in other forms of physical activity, like running on the treadmill or kicking the footy.

Does masturbation cause weight loss?

Masturbation is a pleasurable activity with several benefits, from reducing stress to promoting better sleep and helping you practice self-love. But unfortunately, there is no direct correlation between masturbation and weight loss.

Weight loss and weight gain result from balancing the number of calories put in vs. the number of calories put out through physical activity and your metabolism. Masturbation can get the blood pumping, increase heart rate and help shed a few extra calories throughout the day, but it isn't a replacement for regular exercise and eating a healthy, balanced diet.

What can you do to lose weight?

Although masturbation doesn't directly lead to weight loss, there are plenty of other ways you can still lose weight that actually have some scientific evidence backing them up.

Eat a balanced diet

Long-term, sustainable weight loss starts by eating a nutritious and balanced diet and making small and incremental lifestyle changes. That means changing your eating habits to include a variety of foods from each of the 5 food groups [9], like:

  • Vegetables and legumes
  • Fruit
  • Whole grains
  • Lean proteins including meat, poultry, fish, eggs, legumes, tofu, nuts and seeds
  • Dairy including milk, cheese and yoghurt

Portion control is also super important when losing weight so make sure veggies are taking up half your plate, and whole grains and lean proteins are taking up a quarter of your plate. Plus, you won't want to skip any meals as this can hinder your weight loss efforts and actually make you even hungrier.

Try to incorporate lean proteins and fibre-rich foods in your meals to stay fuller for longer and drink plenty of water throughout the day.

Exercise regularly

Exercising consistently is one of the best things you can do to lose weight. Just like masturbation has positive effects on your mental health, which relieves stress and promotes better sleep, exercise does too.

In combination with a healthy diet, regular exercise helps burn calories and is also important in muscle growth.

If you've got a busy schedule, try to incorporate 30 minutes of exercise per day, whether that's walking, swimming, bodyweight exercises or even getting off at an earlier bus stop and walking the rest of the way home.

Holistic weight loss programs

Approaching weight loss through a holistic lens and as a lifestyle change is one of the best ways to achieve sustainable and long-term weight loss results.

Pilot's Metabolic Reset Program is designed to help you lose weight and also keep it off with a combination of targeted weight loss and medical science. Pilot's Metabolic Reset Program uses modern medicines that introduce hormones that are naturally produced in your gut to lower your appetite.

We also provide community support from our Aussie practitioners, medical team, health coaches and like-minded men to support you on the journey to healthy weight loss. We use personal goal setting and health coaching to help you integrate lifestyle changes needed to lose weight and keep it off.

Ultimately, while the question of does masturbation cause weight loss has been debunked, self-pleasure still offers a host of health benefits from promoting better sleep to improving mood which makes it a super safe and pleasurable sexual activity.

Image credit: Getty Images

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