Testosterone is a hormone produced primarily in men’s testes. The adrenal glands of both men and women also produce small amounts of testosterone.
In men, testosterone produces sperm, facial and body hair, deep voices, and muscle mass and strength.
Testosterone is associated with two behaviors in males: aggressive dominance of other males, and sexual activity. E.g., male red deer live peacefully together for most of the year. But in October their testosterone increases five-fold. They fight for territory. Female red deer select land that has sufficient food for raising fawns. The males that control the best territories mate with the most females.
Testosterone is an anti-depressant, in men and women. It increases friendliness. It reduces anger, depression, fatigue, confusion, nervousness, and irritability.
That may seem contradictory-testosterone makes males fight, yet makes them friendly. Testosterone makes males want to mate. If fighting precedes mating–e.g., gorillas–testosterone makes males fight. But if mating requires friendship-e.g., baboons- testosterone makes males friendly.
Testosterone and Sexual Behavior
Testosterone is necessary for sexual activity. However, the amount of testosterone needed for sexual activity is low. Testosterone injections don’t increase sexual activity or sexual desire in young men. Men have more than enough testosterone for sex.
Who Has the Most Testosterone?
Testosterone varies between men more than four times. Football players have the most testosterone. Ministers have the least.
Men and women with high testosterone commit more violent crimes. They’re more unruly in prison. Parole boards judge them more harshly.
Bachelors have more testosterone than married men. Childless husbands have more testosterone than fathers. Low testosterone in men correlates with marital satisfaction. Low testosterone improves emotional expressiveness, parent-child communication, and “androgynous behaviors”-the ability to use feminine skills when necessary. A number of studies have shown that testosterone levels are affected not only by medical factors, but by meteorological, conjugal, social, and other factors as well. Men’s testosterone is higher during some parts of the year than others. In most parts of the continental United States, the highest levels usually occur in August and September. Warm moist air at night tends to raise testosterone, and cold mornings tend to decrease it. Men’s hormone levels are also influenced by their partners. One study (Toronto, Ontario 2006) found that increases or decreases in men’s levels of testosterone are often correlated to their wives’ menstrual cycles: the husband’s testosterone tends to increase when the wife is ovulating, and decrease again afterward. This effect was observed particularly in younger couples.
Testosterone in Women
Women have about one-tenth of men’s testosterone.
Women’s sexuality requires testosterone. Women with more testosterone have less depression, more sexual enjoyment, better interpersonal relationships, and happier marriages.Happy marriages consist of high-testosterone women and low-testosterone men.
Female executives and attorneys have more testosterone than secretaries, teachers, nurses, and housewives.
Women who don’t use condoms are less depressed than women who use condoms, or who aren’t sexually active. Women who do not use condoms become increasingly depressed as time elapses since their last sexual encounter. They also seek new partners sooner after ending a relationship. Women apparently absorb an anti-depressant hormone, possibly testosterone, from semen.
If you’re a depressed woman, talk to your doctor about trying a low dosage of testosterone instead of Prozac or other anti-depressants.
Boost Your Testosterone Without Pills or Patches
To boost your testosterone:
- Avoid alcohol, if you’re a man.Alcohol lowers men’s testosterone. Liver damage (associated with alcoholism) increases clearance of testosterone from the blood, and decreases clearance of estrogen. Increased estrogen and decreased testosterone reduce the functioning of men’s testes.Alcohol has no effect on the hormones of healthy non-alcoholic young women. Alcoholism reduces sexual functioning in women, but not as severely as the effect in men.
- Sexual activity increases testosterone, in both men and women.
- Winning boosts testosterone. Losing reduces testosterone. Find a sport you can win at, e.g., softball vs. baseball. You have to win at something physical and indicative of social dominance, e.g., winning the lottery doesn’t affect testosterone.
- The presence of females, especially new females, boosts male testosterone. Speculatively, young women increase men’s testosterone more than older women. You don’t need to have sex to get this effect. The effect is produced via pheromones in women’s sweat. Play a sport you can win, on a team with sweating young women.
Testosterone and aging
Pre-pubescent boys have little testosterone. After puberty, testosterone increases in teenagers. Testosterone is generally stable until men are in their 60s. Testosterone then decreases in old age. Diminishing testosterone doesn’t sufficiently explain the declining sexual activity associated with aging.
A study in the United States, Congo, Nepal, and Paraguay found that Americans have the highest testosterone when young, and the least in old age, but testosterone levels are nearly constant from adolescence to old age in traditional societies in the other three countries. This difference may be due to how American men and women interact. North American young men interact with many young women, in high school and college. Older American men, however, have interaction with far fewer non-related young women. In rural societies in many other countries, by contrast, men generally interact with roughly the same number of young women throughout their adult lives.