The naked truth

You know that question they sometimes ask you going through the immigration desk at the airport? ‘Business or pleasure sir?’

Lately I find myself mentally asking that every time I spot someone open a laptop, log on to a tablet, even check a smartphone.

Why? Because in the past 10 years the number of free to access porn videos on the internet has shot up faster than … I dare say a lot of the people watching porn videos.

A 2017 survey (note: link takes you to non-saucy page of a saucy site) to celebrate a decade of Pornhub, found that on just their pages alone there was 173 years worth of videos to watch.

173 years! That means you could watch porn for your whole life and still not nearly get through it all.

Boy, that would make for some interesting eulogies at the funeral, huh? Good luck getting that coffin shut properly too.

But what effect does watching all this free fumbling have on your – sorry – your friend’s testosterone levels?

T is crucial for a healthy libido as well as sexual function after all. When we’re having sex levels of testosterone rise, but what about when it’s more of a spectator sport?

For example, is it true as some claim that watching porn actively raises your testosterone levels?

Get Diggling

Stud(ies)

To answer that we’re going to have to do a bit of research. Hey, HEY, zip that back up, man! Not that kind of research. We’ll only be looking at studies.

A little dry maybe, but there are plenty other of places online you can go if that’s what you’re after.

Escasa et al Study

First, one of the more unique clinical trials we’ve read. In 2011, Escasa et al invited 44 men to a swingers club in Las Vegas. This was allegedly so researchers could record how watching sex happen live affected their T levels.

Their motivation to try this setting was because they felt that previous studies, which had achieved mixed results, were too forced and unnatural for the participants to feel at ease;

Small sample sizes, “unnatural” lab-based settings, and invasive techniques may help account for mixed human findings

They collected saliva samples an discovered that those watching the proceedings showed an average increase in testosterone levels of 36%, regardless of their age.

Cook & Crewther Study

So the Escasa study covered live performances, but not many of us are going to be watching those regularly, we’re going to be watching porn.

What about the effect watching porn on video has on testosterone levels?

In 2012 Sports Council, London explored this. 12 athletes’ hormone levels were monitored while watching film clips of different genres, including; erotic, sad, funny and aggressive.

They found that T rose in response to the sexy scene, dropped during the sad scene and cortisol – which can block testosterone – spiked while viewing the aggressive scene.

What’s more, the hot stuff also seemed to improve the athletes 3 Rep Max squat test. So one kind of up and down helps another apparently.

Hellhammer Study

Similarly, in 1985, 20 guys were shown films of either a sexual, aggressive, stressful or neutral nature. Dr Dirk Hellhammer – a man with a name so good it sounds like he could’ve been in most of these films – then tested hormone levels.

He found T started rising 15 minutes into the erotic movie and peaked at 35% higher than base 60-90 minutes after the end of the film. The subjects reported feeling more motivated, competitive and energized around this same time.

The good news just keeps coming, so to speak. In 1993 a trial from France tested a group of 9 men’s luteinizing hormone and testosterone level after an erotic and a neutral film. Samples of blood were taken every 10 minutes for 12 hours. It was found visual sexual arousal raised the volume of T in the bloodstream.