Can Masturbating Before Sex Make You Last Longer?

It’s said that masturbating before sex can help you last longer in bed, but is it true? We’ll take a look at this common myth and see if there is any truth to it.

Dr. Rachel Rubin
Board certified Urologist and assistant clinical professor in Urology
by Dr. Rachel Rubin Last updated 07/29/2022

There is a lot of anecdotal evidence that masturbation helps you perform better or longer during sex.

Is it true, though? Does masturbation before sex actually affect anything, or is it a bunch of nonsense?

Let's take a look at where this idea came from and if there's any truth to it.

Quick FAQs

The science is still out on this one now, but there are some potential benefits that are worth looking at. For instance, the refractory period. It is entirely possible that you will last longer after the initial climax.

Yes, there are several safe over-the-counter alternatives available as well as techniques and sex positions that can also help you last longer in bed.

Does it Really Make You Last Longer?

Does masturbation before sex help to make you last longer

Let's get this out of the way - there's no scientific evidence that masturbating prior to sex will help you last longer.

So no, we cannot say that it's been proven in any capacity, but what about that anecdotal evidence?

Should You Believe the Hearsay?

The most common reasons that people say it works

The anecdotal evidence to support masturbation before sex commonly boils down to a few specific concepts:

1. Pent-up Desire

It’s thought that masturbating before sex helps you get rid of pent-up sexual impulses, so you don't pop as soon as you start. 

There is a potential bit of validation here because if you're nervous about sex, masturbating before sex can help clear your head. 

It's hardly scientific though, and it won't benefit everyone equally.

2. Hormone Levels

Some believe that masturbation before sex somehow affects your hormone levels that regulate your sex drive, your ability to climax, or something similar.

There's no evidence of this.

3. Refractory Period

Masturbating before sex can help take advantage of refractory period

Masturbation triggers the male refractory period, or the time it takes between ejaculation and the ability to regain an erection. 

It’s thought that after the first ejaculation, and once you’re able to regain an erection, the subsequent time till ejaculation is longer for the second intimate session.

The refractory period is a real thing, so this is the best evidence to support rubbing one out before you have sex. 

However, your age is a very important factor for how long it takes to become aroused or have an erection after ejaculation.  

The refractory period of an 18-year-old is vastly different from that of a 55-year-old.

Should You Masturbate Before Sex?

Let's look at the actual pros and cons and try to figure it out.

Benefits

1. It may help you last longer

Couple in bed enjoying the benefits of the refractory period

The refractory period is real, and if you masturbate regularly, you probably have a good idea of your timeframe and how to take advantage of it. 

If you orgasm and then start having sex soon after, it definitely can make your next orgasm take longer, prolonging your ability to perform.

2. It can reduce anxiety to perform

masturbating before sex can help reduce anxiety

When you're exceptionally horny and nervous - especially with a new partner - having an orgasm first can help get you out of your head during sex. 

This can help you stay focused on your partner's pleasure and last longer.

3. It boosts arousal

Masturbation before sex increases blood flow to your genitals, which can make the sex you have later feel even better and more exciting.

Disadvantages

There are disadvantages to masturbating before sex, too, and it's important you understand those as well before trying this PE treatment method.

1. Decreased semen volume

If you want to impress your partner with a big ending, keep this in mind. 

It's worth noting, however, that masturbation doesn't seem to affect sperm quality, so even though the volume of ejaculate will decrease, it might not actually affect your ability to conceive.

2. The refractory period (again)

Though this is also listed as a benefit, we felt it necessary to point out that for older guys, the refractory period can last a lot longer - hours even. 

This can make sex great for your partner if it helps you last longer, but it also may make it difficult if not impossible for you to achieve an erection, which can be frustrating.

Know about how long you’ll have to wait from ejaculation to being able to achieve an erection before hand.

3. Your first orgasm is likely to be stronger than subsequent ones

Subsequent orgasms decrease in strength and intensity, so if you masturbate before sex, your coital orgasm might not be as good.

Alternatives to Masturbating Prior to Sex for Performance

If you came into this asking, "should I masturbate before sex" because you're having trouble with premature ejaculation, there are other methods to help with that concern.

Though there could be benefits to taking the time to jack off before sex for premature ejaculation, these next few alternatives will definitely help.

1. Delay Sprays

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Delay sprays are typically lidocaine or benzocaine-based topical sprays that help desensitize the nerves of the penis. This makes your penis less sensitive and in turn, helps you last longer.

Men who use delay sprays find that they increase their performance time by 300% or more, going from a few seconds to several minutes.

The longer you use them, the better the results.

These sprays are extremely easy to use. They simply need a single application which you then rub into the underside of the penis head and shaft.

After waiting 5-10 minutes, you can expect up to an hour of decreased sensitivity.

2. Delay Wipes

Promescent delay wipes for premature ejaculation

Delay wipes work similarly to sprays, except they come in the form a single-use pre-treated benzocaine wipe, about the size of a condom.

You can pull them out, wipe around your penis head and shaft, and wait 10 minutes, like with the spray.

Wipes are great because they're a lot easier to carry around than a spray bottle, so you're ready when the moment comes up.

3. Kegels

How to do Kegel exercises to last longer in bed

Kegel exercises are essentially squeezing your pelvic floor muscles, which are the same muscles that help you stop peeing mid-stream.

You perform Kegels by squeezing those muscles, holding for about 10 seconds, and letting go.

Do these ten sets of 10 each day, and you'll gain better control over those muscles.

Stronger pelvic floor muscles help to:

  • increase the strength and duration of orgasms, making them so much better
  • help control your orgasm, helping "squeeze" off ejaculation and increasing your ability to perform sexually

Takeaways

Does masturbation help premature ejaculation? 

Anecdotal evidence about hormones or "getting the tension out" are largely unfounded.

Masturbation before sex will trigger the refractory period.

For younger men, the refractory period is a lot shorter, so how long before sex should you masturbate is highly dependent on your age.

There’s no harm in mastubrating before sex, so giving it a shot comes with very little barriers. 

If it does not work as intended, there are medically proven options you can turn to for better and more consistent results.

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Dr. Rachel Rubin

Dr. Rachel Rubin

Dr. Rachel S. Rubin is a board-certified Urologist with fellowship training in sexual medicine. She is an assistant clinical professor in Urology at Georgetown University and practices at IntimMedicine Specialists in Washington DC. Dr. Rubin provides comprehensive sexual medicine care to all genders. She treats issues such as pelvic pain, menopause, erectile dysfunction, and low libido. Dr. Rubin is currently the education chair for the International Society for the Study of Women’s Sexual Health (ISSWSH) and an associate editor for the journal Sexual Medicine Reviews. Dr. Rubin has fellowship designation from both ISSWSH and the Sexual Medicine Society of North America (SMSNA).

Sources:

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  • Valente, S., Marques, T., & Lima, S. Q. (2021). No evidence for prolactin’s involvement in the post-ejaculatory refractory period. Communications Biology, 4(1). Accessed July 12, 2022. https://doi.org/10.1038/s42003-020-01570-4
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  • NHS Choices. (2022). Can premature ejaculation be controlled? Accessed July 12, 2022. https://www.nhs.uk/common-health-questions/sexual-health/can-premature-ejaculation-be-controlled/#:~:text=masturbating%201%20to%202%20hours,you’re%20close%20to%20ejaculating)
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The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

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