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Can Long-Term Relationships Decrease Testosterone?

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Testosterone is a steroid hormone that promotes muscle mass and strength, as well as cognitive function and overall health – it contributes to our maleness and masculinity. It can make us competitive and at times defensive and aggressive.

Relationships are fundamental aspects of human behavior, and men in longer term relationships often joke about feeling less manly when they ‘settle down’. But what are the biological side effects of these partnerships, and how might they decrease testosterone?

In this article give you what you need to know about aspects of relationships, and how they might affect testosterone.

  • How do women’s tears affect male hormones?
  • How does having children affect testosterone?
  • Do romantic relationships decrease your T levels?

Tears and testosterone – Long-Term Relationship with Women

If you make a woman cry you’d better run quickly – the scent of tears lowers your testosterone dramatically.

A study in the journal Science by Gelstein et al [1] proposed that tears serve as ‘chemosignals‘, where emotional tearing – which is thought to be uniquely human trait – serves as a chemical messenger.

Female volunteers were asked to watch sad films and researchers then collected collected tears in a vial. 24 men were then asked to sniff the tears (as well as a control substance for assessing the differences) and rate them on a number of attributes such as pleasantness and familiarity.

The study found that sniffing tears reduced T levels by a significant average of 12.7% in comparison to the control substance. That’s a big drop!

Gelstein concluded that merely sniffing negative-emotion–related odorless tears obtained from women donors induced reductions in sexual appeal attributed by men to pictures of women’s faces. Moreover, after sniffing such tears, men experienced reduced self-rated sexual arousal, reduced physiological measures of arousal, and reduced levels of testosterone. 

So if you’re in a long-term relationship you’d better keep her happy – or sacrifice those testosterone gains!


Womens-Tears-and-Testosterone

Key Point: The chemosignal of a woman’s tears can make our testosterone levels plummet.


Children: Fatherhood and Testosterone

We are primed and hard wired to seek mates and bear the fruit of our loins – it’s one of the reasons why we have high T levels. The higher they are, the more ‘mating success’ you’ll get.

In species in which males care for young, testosterone is often high during mating periods but then declines to allow for care giving of resulting offspring – and this model may well apply to human males too according to Gettler et al [2].

In this study, 624 fathers – some settled with partners and some single, had their T levels analysed.

Results suggested that partnered males had between 26-34% lower levels than control males, which was much lower than in single fathers.

It’s not just the actual having children either – a study by Eldestein et al [3] shows that it’s not only expectant mothers that go through hormonal mood swings but also the father-to-be too.

29 couples were assessed 4 times throughout the pre-natal period, with measurements of cortisol, testosterone, and other sex hormones taken each time. Results showed significant pre-natal declines in testosterone, as well as another hormone called progesterone – this hormone is a pre-cursor to T.

In reality who’s to say that these changes in hormones are not just down to a rapid change in lifestyle? – broken sleep, infrequent eating and general stressful lifestyle. Nevertheless, regardless of cause it is definitely worth bearing in mind.

Additionally, there’s research to suggest that even the sound of an infant crying can knock your T levels.

A study by van Anders [4] found that men’s T levels decrease when a baby cries in their presence, but only when nurturing takes place – the man comforts the child. Interestingly, when nurturing didn’t take place, the sound of an infant crying actually elevated T.


Children-and-Testosterone

Key Point: In species in which males care for young, testosterone is often high during mating periods but then declines to allow for care giving of resulting offspring.


Marriage and romantic relationships

Research suggests that those in committed, romantic relationships may have lower testosterone levels than their bachelor counterparts, with T levels differing between ‘competitive’ and ‘bond-maintenance’ males.

A study in the journal Hormonal Behaviour [5] studied the T levels of 122 North American males and found that men in committed, romantic relationships had 21% lower testosterone levels than men not involved in such partnerships. 

Interestingly, the study also looked at the differences between T levels in those that were married and those in committed, romantic relationships and found no differences suggesting that hormonal changes occur via paired bonding rather than the actual status of marriage.

Polygynous men – single males that mate with multiple females – have been shown to have higher T levels than married fathers. For example, Alvergne et al [6] found that in a sample of 28 men, those with multiple partners had higher morning T levels than monogamous men. 

Similarly, van Anders et al [7] studied the T levels of partnered, polygynous males with multiple partners and polygynous males without multiple partners and found that monogamous males had the lowest testosterone levels of all, and polygynous males with multiple partners had the highest. 


Relationships-and-Testosterone

Summary – The effect of long-term relationships on testosterone

Relationships with partners, our children and our families are all fundamental aspects of human behavior.

Men in longer term partnerships often joke about feeling less manly when they ‘settle down’ but the reality is that there are a number of hormonal changes occur in men when we create these relationships – many of them hard wired in place by evolution to ensure that we tend and befriend our loved ones.

We’re certainly not recommending you live a bachelor lifestyle just so you can keep your T levels elevated – and we’re sure that these hormonal adaptations are short-term. But nevertheless it provides an interesting rationale for those wanting to boost their hormone levels as much as is naturally possible.


What can you do to keep you T levels elevated?

TestoFuel is an all natural testosterone booster that provides your body with the nutrients it needs to raise your T-levels and get better results in both the gym, and your lifestyle.

The benefits of TestoFuel include:

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  • More Energy – Train for longer in the gym
  • Increased Mood and Confidence – Feel better in yourself and more motivated to workout
  • Enhanced Sex Drive – Experience a stronger libido in the bedroom

All the ingredients used are completely natural and the nutrients are backed by clinical studies. To find out more about TestoFuel, and how it can help you optimize your hormonal levels, click below to find out more:


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References

  1. Gelstein, S et al. Human Tears Contain a Chemosignal. Science. 2011; 331: 226-230
  2. Gettler, LT et al. Longitudinal evidence that fatherhood decreases testosterone in human males. PNAS2011; vol. 108 no. 39
  3. Eldestein, RS et al. Prenatal hormones in first-time expectant parents: Longitudinal changes and within-couple correlations. Am J Human Biol. 2015; 27(3): 317-25
  4. van Anders, SM et al. Baby cries and nurturance affect testosterone in men. Horm Behav. 2012; 61(1): 31-6
  5. Burnham, TC et al. Men in committed, romantic relationships have lower testosterone. Hormonal Behaviour. 2003; 44(2): 119-122
  6. Alvergne, A et al. Variation in testosterone levels and male reproductive effort: insight from a polygynous human population. Horm Behaviour. 2009; 56(5): 491-7
  7.  Van Anders, SM et al. Multiple partners are associated with higher testosterone in North American men and women. Horm Behav. 2007; 51(3): 454-9

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