I've always wondered why people say I should not put my laptop my lap while using it without telling me why, until I found out that it leads to male infertility and skin discoloration.

Are there any other major side effects of putting my laptop on my lap while using it?

1 Answer 1


The main energy emissions (i.e. ways of affecting its surroundings) of a laptop computer are—

  • Sound: Unless your laptop has extravagant bass speakers that can physically rattle your organs hard enough to be painful, this will have no effect.

  • Heat: A laptop can run quite hot, and heating the testes can be used as a method of contraception, as the ideal temperature for sperm to survive is a little lower than your body temperature otherwise. The effect is not permanent—heat strong enough to cause lasting damage would be physically painful.

    However, I think the effect of a laptop on the user's testes is likely to be negligible. A usual sitting position puts lots of room between the testes and the laptop, allowing most of the heat to dissipate (see inverse-square law). If you are trying to conceive, and your laptop runs very hot, and you use it in your lap for a large part of your waking hours, then its positioning may be worth considering.

  • Radio waves: Computers use low-power non-ionising radiation for WiFi communication channels. Such radiation has not been shown to damage human tissue in any way.

    Cutting-edge devices with a wireless charging feature also receive low frequency radiation from a base station. This radiation is also non-ionising and safe.

I see no way a laptop could cause skin discoloration, except unless ⓐ the skin was burned because the laptop was hot, or ⓑ if the skin's blood supply was cut off due to long-lasting pressure from a very heavy laptop in the same position.

In summary, the only health concern with having a laptop in your lap is heat. Treat a hot laptop like any other hot object: carefully!

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