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Dating and the Role of Testosterone

We have all heard about ‘chemistry,’ the almost indefinable physical attraction that can occur between two people who feel mutual desire for one another. One new study from Northwestern University suggests that the spark of chemistry might actually be related to testosterone, a hormone that plays an important role in both male and female sexual health.

The findings, which are to be released at the annual meeting of the Society for Personality and Social Psychology in New Orleans, showed that men and women experienced mutual attraction, they each experienced a boost in testosterone.

The researchers followed almost 200 men and women as they went on a speed-dating adventure. The researchers tested the participants’ hormone levels about two weeks before the speed-dating event, and then they tested their hormone levels both before and after the activity.

What they found was interesting: When men and women experienced a mutual attraction while on their speed dating rounds, they each experienced a boost of attraction. But, when only one of them was attracted, the hormone levels did not change. In other words, if a man was attracted to his date, but she was not attracted to him, his testosterone levels did not increase. And, vice versa—hormone levels did not change if she was attracted to him and he didn’t reciprocate those feelings of desire.

What accounts for this? I believe it could be that the daters subconsciously knew when a mutual attraction was in place and when sexual pleasure was potentially on the horizon. When they felt this, their bodies naturally released an increase of testosterone, possibly to help prep the body for intercourse and to help aid in their sexual response.

Plenty of research has shown that when we are sexually attracted to someone, our body goes under a host of physical changes from the dilation of pupils to the flush of our face, etc., and these changes might be in part initiated by the extra boost of testosterone surging through our bodies. 

Testosterone levels did not change when the attraction was not mutual, likely because our bodies instinctively know that it “takes two to tango,” and so it does not waste extra energy or effort if sex isn’t going to be likely. Our bodies are nothing if not efficient, even when it comes to sexual pleasure!

The study is still new and requires further research, but it offers exciting findings and it again helps to drive home the important link between hormones and sexual pleasure. When our hormones are out of whack, our libido and our sexual response can all take a hit,  and it can often lead to a vicious cycle—depleted hormones lead to a depleted sex drive, and the less we have sex, the less we think about sex and the less we make room for sex in our lives and our relationships.

Soon our sexuality falls by the wayside and this negatively impacts everything from our mood to our relationship. 

That’s why it is so important to live a healthy lifestyle and to make sure that your hormone levels are on track. Talk to your doctor if you think you might be experiencing the symptoms of low testosterone, and get tested to find out if your hormones are out of balance. Your relationship and your sex life will both improve as a result.

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