In the animal Kingdom, sex hormones play an essential role in sexual behavior and mating. Pheromones are displayed at the right time and this is then followed by a display of a male that engages the female and is followed by intercourse. In other words, can a woman raise a man’s testosterone?
Yes. The ultimate goal biologically speaking is successful reproduction. Testosterone can make men achieve this. Changes in testosterone levels when women are around are rapid and can be measured right after social interaction, especially when it has an explicit sexual component. These changes sometimes take a few seconds, but in other cases they are recorded 10 minutes after interaction with women. To understand why read the rest of this article now….
Testosterone levels go up and down throughout the day and as a result of various factors. In 1990, the Challenge Hypothesis was postulated, which describes how testosterone levels rise rapidly in men who undergo social challenge or competition in their environment. This prepares men for aggressive or competitive interactions destined to guarantee survival and mating.
However, even though testosterone has a significant role in sexual behavior in humans, it doesn’t follow the same route as other vertebrates. Still, the question arises, do we keep as humans the same hormonal changes resulting from the presence of a mating candidate?
As such, testosterone is essential in a man’s life to promote “Alpha Male” behavior one that women feel attracted to and continuously look for, even unconsciously. Temporarily raising a man’s testosterone implies an increase in dominant behavior, it is essential to promote a healthy sex life, and even modulates our cognitive function, promoting mental acuity and a man’s intuitive intelligence. If you are interested we have an article about how it’s possible to recognize a High Testosterone Face?
Besides the Challenge Hypothesis, there’s a postulated Biosocial Model of Status where scientists describe that winners and losers experience different types of testosterone changes. Winners usually increase their testosterone levels while losers decrease their testosterone levels during all types of competition, even competing for a woman’s attention. Such changes would facilitate the dominance of the “alpha” male versus submissive behaviors in men with lower testosterone levels.
Thus, we can’t deny that testosterone undergoes constant changes in response to many environmental factors, and it is essential to display that protective and reassuring male behavior that most women are attracted to.
How can a woman’s presence changes your testosterone levels?
Testosterone levels change in response to the anticipation of sexual interaction. For instance, there is a classic study about testosterone that involved an anonymous author who spent weeks in isolation on an island without any form of sexual activity. A few days before returning to the mainland, where he would resume his sexual activity, he reported rapid beard growth and assertivness, which is typically associated with increased and higher testosterone levels.
Similarly, having women around creates an anticipatory testosterone surge that prepares a man for sexual interaction. For example, a study evaluated how testosterone levels change after dancing with opposite-sex partners. They took salivary testosterone measures before dancing and 5 minutes after completing a 20-minute dance with the opposite sex and reported that both men and women displayed higher testosterone levels.
But you don’t even need to touch a woman to start having changes in your testosterone levels. Verbal interactions with women for 5 minutes without any tactile stimuli can increase a man’s testosterone as measured in salivary samples.
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But why does it happen? A very likely possibility is that these changes in testosterone levels are directly influenced by explicit sexual thoughts or social cues associated with reproduction. This is in accordance with the Steroid/Peptide Theory of Social Bonds, which states that intimacy between two people of the opposite sex has divergent testosterone responses depending on the type of contact. More sexual contacts elicit an increase in testosterone levels, but contacts aimed at establishing warm social bonds without any sexual content would decrease testosterone levels instead.
Still, there are diverging results in each study. This is likely because a real scenario of sexual interaction is difficult to measure, and everyone experiences social cues differently, sometimes aiming at stablishing social bonds instead of looking for sexual partners. Either way, it is a fact that women can raise a man’s testosterone, and this has been proven in various scenarios, including men who smelled a woman’s scent during ovulation, and men who had short encounters with women instead of long-term relationships.
Testosterone Surges triggered by Women
So how fast will your testosterone levels change when a new woman is around?
If we take a look at the evidence, it appears that 5 to 10 minutes are required for these changes to fully take place. However, keep in mind that the majority of these studies measure salivary testosterone, which has a time-lag compared to blood testosterone levels. Studies of exercise physiology taking actual blood samples have documented immediate elevations of testosterone instead of this 5-to-10-minute waiting period.
These immediate changes pose a challenge to scientists because baseline secretion of testosterone is much slower and triggered by an activation of the hypothalamic pituitary gonadal axis. The hypothalamus is a brain center with many connections and implications in emotional and sexual behavior. This brain center releases a hormone called gonadotropin-releasing hormone, which activates the pituitary gland and triggers the secretion of luteinizing hormone and follicle-stimulating hormone.
These are released into the bloodstream and reach the testicles to stimulate synthesis and immediate secretion of testosterone. All of these steps take an estimate of 40-70 minutes to cause a significant change in testosterone levels.
Thus, we need to look at another chemical pathway to explain rapid increases in testosterone, and we can find it in the sympathetic nervous system. This branch of the autonomic nervous system synthesizes adrenaline and noradrenaline very fast, preparing the body for a fight or flight response, and adrenaline receptors have been identified in the Leydig cells of the testis, which synthesize testosterone.
Moreover, blocking these receptors has been associated with a reduction in testosterone levels. In other words, testosterone and adrenaline are much more related than we may initially think, and this may explain a rapid increase in testosterone as a response to exercise and social interaction with women, especially when we are trying to compete for their attention.
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