Does masturbation cause weight loss?

Reviewed by Felix Gussone, MD, Ro, 

Reviewed by Felix Gussone, MD, Ro, 

last updated: Sep 11, 2023

2 min read

Masturbation is a healthy sexual activity for both men and women and is no longer considered taboo. But does masturbation cause weight loss? While it’s well-known that sex helps you burn calories and is considered a cardio workout, less is known about masturbation. In this article, we’ll summarize the benefits of masturbation and whether it affects weight loss.

Does masturbation cause weight Loss?‌‌  

The short answer is: Masturbation may help you burn some calories, but not as much as if you were having sex with a partner or working out on the treadmill or with weights—and without other workouts or dietary changes, chances are meager that masturbation alone will ever help you lose any weight. The more prolonged and intense the masturbation session, the more calories you’re likely to burn. And you’ll expend the most amount of calories during orgasm.

Masturbation doesn’t burn as many calories as having sex with another person. This is because you’re not moving your body as much during a solo session as with a partner. One study showed that the average amount of calories burned during sexual activity with a partner was 101 kcal in men and 69.1 kcal in women. 

If you’re trying to burn more calories during masturbation, move your fingers or hands faster. You can also experiment with different positions or the use of sex toys. For example, if you involve your hips and move your abdomen up and down during a masturbation session, you’ll likely add some muscle endurance and extra cardio burn. When blood flow to your clitoris or penis is increased, you‘re more likely to experience a more intense orgasm, helping you burn more calories. And mutual masturbation is likely to increase your heart rate, resulting in more calories burned. 

Weight loss

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Health benefits of masturbation

Masturbation is healthy, normal, and a great way to learn about your body and how you experience pleasure. It’s also perfectly safe and fairly common. According to a European study, about 95% of men and 71% of women report they have masturbated at least once. With masturbation, there’s no risk of pregnancy or STIs. This is even true with mutual masturbation, where you masturbate with a partner, as long as you don’t get in contact with bodily fluids from the other person. Masturbation is also healthy at any age. One study found that among older adults, up to 65% of men and up to 40% of women reported masturbating in the preceding month. 

Here are some other benefits of masturbation:

  • You can learn what you like and don’t like. When it’s time to have sex with another person, you can verbalize your preferences.

  • Masturbation is empowering as you learn how to give yourself sexual pleasure. It can help improve body image and overall sexual health.

  • Masturbation can affect mental health by lowering stress levels, boosting feel-good hormones like dopamine and oxytocin, and reducing stress. It may even help you fall asleep.

  • Ejaculation can help relieve sexual tension, further helping you to relax.

Weight loss

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The takeaway 

While masturbation doesn’t burn enough calories to help you lose weight, there are many other benefits to masturbation, which can make you feel better overall and maybe indirectly affect your weight. 

When trying to lose weight, remember that the key to success is a mix of strategies, including a healthy diet, exercise, and maybe even weight loss drugs like Wegovy and Ozempic, if appropriate. Work with your healthcare provider to find a weight management strategy that works for you.

Wegovy Important Safety Information: Read more about serious warnings and safety info.

Ozempic Important Safety Information: Read more about serious warnings and safety info.


If you have any medical questions or concerns, please talk to your healthcare provider. The articles on Health Guide are underpinned by peer-reviewed research and information drawn from medical societies and governmental agencies. However, they are not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.

How we reviewed this article

Every article on Health Guide goes through rigorous fact-checking by our team of medical reviewers. Our reviewers are trained medical professionals who ensure each article contains the most up-to-date information, and that medical details have been correctly interpreted by the writer.

Current version

September 11, 2023

Written by

Allison Flynn Becker

Fact checked by

Felix Gussone, MD

About the medical reviewer

Felix Gussone is a physician, health journalist and a Manager, Medical Content & Education at Ro.

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