Testosterone is the master hormone of sexual desire and libido for both men and women. While men produce 10-20 times more Testosterone than women, it still has important effects on female physiological function, especially when it comes to sex. Testosterone is also shown to have a far-reaching impact on human behavior. Studies suggest that Testosterone Levels are associated with higher levels of risk-taking, confidence, and aggression among men. For that reason, it's logical to infer that Testosterone has strong effects on sexual behavior in both sexes. A recent study explores how Testosterone may affect an individual's desire to mate with multiple partners.
Natsal-3 Sex Study Reveals New Information on Human Sexuality
This study was published in the Journal of Sex Research and uses data collected from the 3rd British National Survey of Sexual Attitudes and Lifestyles, abbreviated Natsal-3. The study was a collaborative effort among the National Centre for Social Research, the University of Manchester, UCL, and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.
While it's easy to make hypotheses about how Testosterone impacts sexual behavior, it's harder to test those hypotheses with scientific rigor. This study is special because it's the first of its kind to link male and female sexual activity to Serum Testosterone Levels encapsulating a large general population. In the Natsal-3, scientists took Testosterone Samples from four thousand adults via saliva. Participants also completed questionnaires that asked various questions about the individual's sexual behavior and attitudes. The goal of the study was to find out how Testosterone impacted sexual proclivity.
Testosterone, Sexual Desire Masturbation, and Number of Sex Partners
Researchers discovered strong links between circulating Testosterone and the way that both men and women expressed their sexuality. In men, High Testosterone was linked to recent intercourse with a woman, and it was also correlated with having multiple sexual relationships simultaneously over the prior five years. Women with higher-than-average Testosterone were more likely to have sexual experiences with other women and were more likely to have recently masturbated. They were also likely to masturbate more often. Interestingly enough, elevated Testosterone Levels did not impact heterosexual activity in women.
This analysis of the Natsal-3 used data from 3,722 subjects—2123 women and 1599 men. Participants ranged in age from 18 to 74. Those that had sex with at least one other person in the past year answered various questions about their sexual desire and function. Researchers were interested in what influenced people to have more or less sex. They were asked about their passion for sex and their ability to have healthy sex. They asked questions regarding the type of sexual activity participants had engaged in over the last month, year, five years, and throughout their whole lives.
Individuals were also asked their feelings about different types of sexual interaction, including one-night stands. Researchers hypothesize that women could have different motivations and feelings about sex, which lead them to masturbate more often but not necessarily have sex with more than one partner.
Male and Female Sex Differences Associated with Testosterone
It's rather universally understood that Testosterone is the engine of libido in men. It's also generally accepted that Testosterone is important for women's sexuality. In spite of this apparent truth, it's been fairly difficult to scientifically quantify how Testosterone promotes sexual desire in males. The mechanisms behind women's sexuality are even more obscure.
One of the main roadblocks to our scientific understanding of how Testosterone influences libido is that there has been little time, money, or man-hours invested in studying this connection. The assumptions have been made, but there is a dearth of data collected to attempt to prove those hypotheses. This study is important because it aims to fill that gap in our knowledge of how Testosterone affects sexual activity, especially among women.
Most research to date regarding Testosterone and sex has involved physical aspects of sexual function. In men, the focus is on things like sexual performance. In women, the focus is on reproductive functions like menstruation.
We understand how men and women differ sexually from a sociological perspective quite well, but there has been little research designed to connect the dots between the actions of men and women and how hormones and physiology influence those actions. This study begins to bridge the gap between physiological function and the human experience. Psychological and social factors play a powerful role in how the sexes express their sexuality, and it's time to investigate how our hormones influence these human trends.
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