Testosterone Levels Are Important For The Sex Lives Of Men And Women | Health Info
By Alan Mozes Health Day Journalist
WEDNESDAY, October 13, 2021 (HealthDay News) – What launches men into serial sexual conquests and prompts female solo activity?
It’s testosterone, of course.
As the main male sex hormone, it plays a major role in the sexual development of men. But people often overlook the role it plays in female sexuality. Yes, women also have testosterone, albeit much less – and that exerts a much different attraction, new research suggests.
“It was quite surprising that the link with masturbation was stronger in women than in men,” said Wendy Macdowall, head of the study at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, UK. “And that among women, we have not seen any connection with aspects of partner sex.”
Other than one, that is. In women, testosterone levels were significantly higher in those who had previously been in a same-sex relationship.
For this startling new study, Macdowall’s team used mass spectrometry to analyze testosterone levels in saliva samples from nearly 4,000 adults between the ages of 18 and 74. Participants also completed a questionnaire to determine the links between hormone levels and sexual behavior.
Men who had relatively high testosterone (high T) levels were more likely to have had more than one sexual partner at the same time in the previous five years, according to the study. And straight people were more likely to have had a recent encounter.
The landscape was different for the women.
People with high testosterone were more likely to have had a same-sex relationship at some point. They’ve also masturbated more often – and more recently.
High T was also linked to more solo sex for guys. But the link with masturbation was significantly stronger in women, according to the study.
Participants who had at least one sexual partner in the past year were asked about issues with sexual function, such as lack of interest or difficulty getting or maintaining an erection. No link of any kind was found.
As for the link between a high T and greater urge to masturbation in women than in men, Macdowall suggested that it may ultimately be due to social rather than biological factors.
Women, she said, might be more vulnerable than men to societal pressures and norms – and those pressures are likely less when they are alone than with another person.
“It is said that masturbation may be a ‘truer’ measure of sexual desire because it is a private sexual activity and less governed by social influences,” Macdowall explained.
Still, two experts who looked at the results said that the overall impact of hormones on the sex habits of men and women appears to be relatively minimal.
“Ultimately, the bulk of the evidence does not support the relationships between T levels in the normal range and libido or partner count of both sexes,” said Carole Hooven, senior lecturer in biology at the human evolution at Harvard University. “So that surprises me. “
David Puts, associate professor of anthropology at Pennsylvania State University, was less surprised by the idea that a high T might affect sexual behavior. But, he added, the effect appears to be modest.
“What’s particularly interesting is why, from an evolutionary standpoint, we see relatively modest relationships in humans compared to, say, deer or hamsters,” Puts said.
He noted, for example, that unlike many other animals, humans (and our ape cousins) do not have a designated breeding season triggered by hormonal surges.
From an evolutionary standpoint, Puts added, this could be because our ancestors “probably lived in an environment in which temperatures and food availability were stable throughout the year, and it There was therefore little benefit in restricting reproduction to specific times. “
So, said Puts, the real question might be: why do sex hormones like testosterone still have an impact on human sexual behavior? Are some of these hormone-behavioral links just evolutionary vestiges?
With no immediate response, however, Puts said the takeaway is that these effects exist but are not significant. “And this variation in interest and sexual activity in each gender is perhaps best explained by other variables, such as social factors,” he added.
The results were published online on October 11 in The Journal of Sex Research.
SOURCES: Wendy Macdowall, BSc, MSc, assistant professor, public health, environments and society, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, UK; David Puts, PhD, associate professor, anthropology, Pennsylvania State University, Center for Brain, Behavior and Cognition and Center for Human Evolution and Diversity, University Park, Penn .; Carole Hooven, PhD, Co-Director, Undergraduate Studies and Lecturer, Department of Human Evolutionary Biology, Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass .; The Journal of Sexual Researchh, October 11, 2021, online
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