We’re all aware of the fact that testosterone is more than just a chemical. On the one hand, it’s a well-known chemical structure — but on the other, its connection with masculinity gives it a larger-than-life cultural presence as well. Plenty of people blame or praise their testosterone for a variety of their characteristics — so what is the truth? We’ll debunk some of the most oft-repeated myths below!
It’s Only A Male Hormone
If you ask anyone what testosterone is, you’re likely to hear the phrase “the male hormone”. But it’s more complicated than that. Sure, it’s definitely a sex hormone that maintains and controls the development of male characteristics. It’s also important for reproductive and sexual development in men.
But thinking that it’s solely a male hormone is just plain wrong. In fact, it’s found in the bodies of women as well — and it’s a steroid that’s extremely biologically active in women as well. For example, it’s quite important for proper ovulation.
And it’s not just important for sexual purposes either. If you examine all the hormone receptors found in both women and men, you’ll find that testosterone receptors exist in practically every kind of tissue. Besides regulating sexual development functions, testosterone also influences your general mood, cognitive abilities, bone density, and body mass.
The perception of testosterone as a male hormone — and estrogen as the female one — stems from a past trend of scientists looking for the quintessential female and male hormones among all of the chemicals found in our bodies.
Indeed, men definitely have higher testosterone levels compared to women on average. However, this does not mean that it’s more important for men than for women — quantity is not the same as importance. Remember — humans have smaller brains than even the tiniest elephant, but would you say that our brains are less crucial for our species?
Violence and Aggression
If you think about when testosterone appears in the news, you’re likely to come to one conclusion — when it’s in the context of aggression and violence. Even respectable publications like the Guardian will often say that increased testosterone levels are one of the main biological aggression triggers. And there are some studies that corroborate this.
However, most trials that are “gold standard” don’t indicate this. These are tests that are designed with placebo in mind — neither the researchers nor the test subjects are aware of which among the tested individuals will actually receive testosterone.
These trials actually show — with consistency — that even people with heightened testosterone don’t necessarily show aggressive behavior; particularly men.
Testosterone And Lovemaking
Many people assume that boosting your testosterone levels will result in more vitality and vigor in the bedroom, particularly when it comes to men. Tabloid journals and papers are quick to promise a more effective sexual activity if you heighten your testosterone levels.
Unfortunately for all the Casanovas out there, there isn’t that much of a causal link between increases in men’s testosterone and sexual prowess — the relationships tend to range between null or weak.
In order for your reproductive mechanisms to function properly and for you to have sex, there is a lower threshold of testosterone that you have to surpass — but beyond that, any increases don’t make any noticeable difference, in both women and men.
Actually, studies have shown that the link between a healthy love life and testosterone levels go in a less intuitive direction. Frequent sexual activity is known to increase your testosterone levels, instead of the other way around.
With our penultimate myth, we’re treading into the territory of more obscure myths — but also more interesting ones. Even twelve years later, the devastating financial crisis of 2008 still rings a bell. But did you know that plenty of the commentators surrounding the crisis pointed out a single interesting fact — a huge majority of the traders that caused the crisis were actually young men.
That’s why many policy-makers and spectators concluded that “raging testosterone” was one of the biggest culprits for the horrible economic crisis.
In reality, there aren’t many strong studies that show a link between economically reckless behavior and high testosterone. Furthermore, there aren’t many studies that show a general irrationality in people’s decision-making and their testosterone levels. All of the research into this has been fairly inconclusive. It seems that people’s greed is what drove traders to make risky bets, rather than anything purely biological.
If there’s one myth that the average layman will repeat regarding sports and testosterone — it’s that athletes who have higher T levels will frequently be more successful. However, in reality, the effect that testosterone levels have on athletic performance isn’t that clear cut. If you’re an amateur athlete, taking testosterone enhancement therapy won’t have an impact that you’re probably hoping for. Looking at websites such as HealthTrends that contain information regarding proper nutrition is far more useful.
In fact, you’ll find that there aren’t any studies that conclude you’ll have a bigger chance to win at sporting events if you have more testosterone compared to your opponents. Both strength and speed events depend on a bigger variety of factors. Naturally, testosterone does affect some of these parameters — such as your average oxygen intake and default muscle size.
Still, none of these factors are enough to predict the outcome of sporting events on their own. Each sports discipline has countless other factors that have to be taken into account — and when we’re talking about team sports rather than individual ones, the list of potentially decisive factors grows exponentially. Due to all of that, we can’t argue that testosterone levels can be used to predict the outcome of any particular match or game.
We hope that this brief guide was useful to you and that you’ve learned something new today regarding testosterone. Make sure that you are staying safe in these times we are going through and have a good one, guys!