Study: Social Modulation or Hormonal Causation? Linkages of Testosterone with Sexual Activity and Relationship Quality...

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Social Modulation or Hormonal Causation? Linkages of Testosterone with Sexual Activity and Relationship Quality in a Nationally Representative Longitudinal Sample of Older Adults

I thought this was interesting. Also may suggest that the sex advice about "heating things up" does not help relationship harmony. This is a thesis of Cupid's Poisoned Arrow, of course. Smile I have the full study if anyone wants to read it. Here's an excerpt:

Three interesting findings emerged from our study. ...
Second, with regard to reciprocal effects,men’s patterns were
somewhat consistent with the challenge hypothesis—but not
with hormonal causation of sex. Contrary to Hypotheses 1 and 2,
men’s T at Wave 1 did not predict their subsequent sexual activity
in Wave 2—whether partnered sex (Table 2) or masturbation
(Table3). Instead, our findings were more supportive of an inverse
‘‘sexual modulation’’pattern,with men’s greater masturbation frequency predicting
their higher T levels.AsTable2shows,the same
was true of the marital statusT-linkage.Thus, factors indexing sexual
striving or mating effort did seem to elevate T. Moreover, in
keeping with Hypothesis 3, men’s higher T negatively influenced
their later relationship quality(Table 4). If hormonal causation does
play a role in late life, in other words, it may lie more in worsening
men’s perceptions of the pair bond than in promoting their sexual
striving—perhaps because the latter is more constrained by cultural
and social institutions, especially in older birth cohorts.

Finally, women’s patterns were even less consistent with hormonal
causation. Instead, it was their T levels that seemed responsive
to their higher partnered sex frequency (Table2)and their relationship
quality (Table3). More surprisingly, both influences were
negative. To recall, the‘‘social modulation’’model suggests T declines
through exposure to a good partnership and to lower sexual
expression.While our relationship quality findings were consistent
with this framework,our sexual ones were precisely contrary.
Literature on the challenge hypothesis—originally constructed to
explain male T-partnering linkages across species, and only later
extrapolated to women—offers little guidance.However, a newer
steroid/peptide theory of social bonds (S/P Theory) addresses the
same linkages—uniting T and oxytocin (OT) in a single model,
and explicitly including women’s sexual patterns (van Anders,
Goldey, & Kuo, 2011; van Anders et al., 2015). The framework
distinguishes intimacy into sexual (sexual contact between individuals
that may be oriented around pleasure, reproduction, power,
etc.) and nurturant (warm loving contact between individuals that
both types increase OT; however, only sexual intimacy increases
T,while nurturant intimacy decreases T.As previous studies have
found, sex at older ages tends to be more companionate than pleasure-
oriented. For the vast majority of NSHAP Wave 1 participants,
for instance, sex usually or always involves vaginal intercourse(
Waite&Das, 2010). Among those in the oldest group—
aged 75–85—however, vaginal intercourse is less frequently a
part of partnered sex. In contrast, sexual ‘‘foreplay’’—i.e., hugging,
kissing, or other sexual touching—remains highly prevalent
right up to the oldest ages. We argue that at least among older
women, this changed function of sex in late life, as an avenue of
connection between partners,maps on more to T-lowering nurturant
intimacy than to T-elevating hedonism [recent evidence
indicates negative links between dyadic desire and T even in
younger heterosexual women, suggesting this pattern may not
only apply to late life (van Anders, 2012)]. Consistent with this
argument, the effect of women’s unpartnered sex (masturbation)
on their T was non-significant (Table 3)—suggesting that
it is the specifically dyadic dimension of sexuality that
lowers T.


well this is interesting but is it true?

I just read your study and this other one:


High testosterone is supposed to  negatively influence relationship quality.

I don't think this is true.

I think it depends upon the ratio of sexual time spent and orgasmic frequency -- which of course is not touched upon. 

High sexual time spent and low orgasmic frequency = high testosterone, high oxytocin and high relationship satisfaction.

Can you share the name of the study?

The link didn't work for me.

"True?" Reality is the only thing that's true, and it's good to maintain some skepticism about any research. Of course what is "true" for one sample may not be generalizable, let alone true for another group of subjects.

high T

the message of this study is high T men fool around more.

And they are more competitive. And they hate losing more than "low T" men.

I'm a high T guy and I hate losing but I don't fool around. I think Karezza is the reason that things are so smooth in my life.