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How Testosterone Affects Attraction

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Let’s be right – it all boils down to attraction. You want those rippling abs, strong arms and a barrel chest to make yourself more pleasing to others.

You want to look good in order to attract a potential mate.

We humans are the only animal that seem intent on hiding our attraction to potential partners.

Take the frigatebird for example. When they want to attract a potential mate they inflate a huge red sac on their chest, much like a balloon. When drosophila are attracted to a mate they dance for them. And only if the female likes what she sees will she accept. And male deer develop antlers ready for fighting other males in order to win the affections of the doe.

This is all what evolutionary biologists refer to as as display or courtship. 

It’s pretty unmistakable when animals are displaying. In humans though it’s more difficult to see – the signs are there, they’re just not as obvious is all. After all, there are laws for nudity and indecency!

In this article we’ll take a look at attraction hormones and tell you exactly how testosterone levels affect them.

You want to be more attractive? Give this one a read…

Testosterone, Sex and Motivation

From the onset of puberty through to your early thirties your testosterone levels are at their peak. This hormone controls motivation to mate in all primates – including us as humans. And when your levels are optimized you’ll experience a big boost in sexual motivation.

From thirty onward though, T levels slowly begin to diminish. It’s associated with reduced libido, low sexual appetite and poor sexual performance. It’s also associated with a higher risk of metabolic disease and early death too.

High T on the other hand gives you bull-like sexual appetite, better endurance and a healthy, athletic physique.

Studies have shown that men with higher T levels not only have better sexual performance, but are more interested in visual sexual stimuli too – that includes both real and digital pornographic images [1].

Decrease testosterone and you’ll find that your lack of sexual appetite goes down. Take this study for example. A group of men had their T levels suppressed by blunting its master hormone called GnRH. It made the men less sexually active and less likely to masturbate too [2].

In terms of response to attraction hormones, men respond to women’s flirtation cues quite easily. You’re a simple creature really.

A flutter of the eyes, seductive eye contact or twiddling of the hair isn’t lost on you – particularly if you find the person flirting with you attractive. In fact, studies have shown that when men spend just five minutes in the presence of an attractive mate, T levels go up by 14% [3].

Is Testosterone the Key to Sexual Attraction?

Having higher T levels motivates you to find a partner. Your body knows it’s in its prime and it sees it as being a good opportunity to pass on your ‘genetic material’.

In most mammal species, sex hormones play an important role in controlling behaviour. They can make us more attracted to potential partners in different ways – and in fact make us more attractive to them too.

You’re less attractive to females if your T levels are low

A study based at the University of Mexico reported that females find men with masculine features, dominant characteristics and aesthetic frames more attractive [4]. Nothing particularly new there.

So we know that women find men with higher levels of social presence, direct competitiveness and masculine features more attractive – and these are all hallmarks of high testosterone.

But what was interesting was that this attraction peaked during the ovulation phase of their monthly cycle – right when they’re at their most fertile.

Further to that, women only had a drop in attraction to men if they were less attractive or displayed less high testosterone-based traits. So the key is, if you want women to find you more attractive, get your testosterone levels elevated!

High testosterone means you’re more attracted to feminine women’s faces

In the same way that a women’s menstrual cycle can affect how attractive she might find you, studies have found that men with elevated testosterone find more feminine women more attractive.

Published in Hormones and Behaviour [5] one study manipulated the photographed faces of women to look either more feminine or more masculine. This was done with a 2D digital package where photos were adapted to suit the color, texture and shape of either men or women’s faces.

29 male participants were than asked to rate the attractiveness of the faces at random. The testosterone levels of the men were taken and they were than categorized into either high T or low T groups.

When each of the two groups’ tastes were analyzed, men in the high T group rated more feminine faces as attractive.

Women can sniff out your high testosterone too

Men with high T levels ooze masculinity. You’re more muscular, stronger and have a more dominant presence. But did you know that not only do you look more attractive, you smell more attractive too?

The chemical androstenone drives the ladies wild. And guess what? Up your testosterone and it triggers a much greater release of the chemical.

A study published in the journal Archives of Sexual Behaviour [6] found that when a group of men upped their androstenone levels, they encountered an increase in sex, as well as more frequent ‘petting/affection/kissing’ too. They also reported an increase in informal dates with females.

The Birds and the Bees

There’s a hell of a lot of ornithological research that looks at T and its effects on courtship rituals. You might wonder what the link is, but birds and humans are not a million miles apart when it comes to attraction hormones.

Take this study for example. Published in the journal Hormonal Behaviour [7], canaries were given testosterone to see how it affected their mating rituals.

Now, when male canaries are in the mood they sing to attract a mate. The researchers found that when T levels went up, so did the volume of singing – and the chances of attracting a mate.

How is this useful to you?

Well we don’t expect you to start signing to make yourself more attractive, but its worth noting that canary hormone systems are very similar to humans and they regulate very similar areas of the brain too.

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    Can help to reduce bodyfat, including on your stomach
  4. Improve your Mood
    Testosterone is known to improve mood, so it's easier to stay motivated and on track towards your goals.
  5. Increase Libido
    Revitalise your sex drive, which is a great side effect.


  1. Rupp, HA. Relationship between testosterone and interest in sexual stimuli: the effect of experience. Horm Behav. 2007; 52: 581–589
  2. Walken, K. Sex and Context: Hormones and Primate Sexual Motivation. Hormones and Behaviour.
  3. Roney, JR et al. Androgen receptor gene sequence and basal cortisol concentrations predict men’s hormonal responses to potential mates. Proc Biol Sci. 2010; 277(1678): 57–63
  4. Gangestad, SW et al. Women’s Preferences for Male Behavioral Displays Change Across the Menstrual Cycle. Psych Sci. 2004; 15(3): 203-207
  5. Welling, LL. Raised salivary testosterone in women is associated with increased attraction to masculine faces. Horm Behav. 2007; 52: 156–161
  6. Cutler, WB et al. Pheromonal influences on sociosexual behavior in men. Arch Sex Behav. 1998; 27(1): 1-13
  7. Sartor, JJ et al. Coordinated and dissociated effects of testosterone on singing behavior and song control nuclei in canaries (Serinus canaria). Horm Behav. 2005; 47(4): 467-76