When does romantic involvement NOT reduce a man’s testosterone level?


When he’s looking to cheat:

Testosterone (T) appears to facilitate what biologists refer to as mating effort–the investment of time and energy into same-sex competition and mate-seeking behavior. Multiple studies show that men who are romantically involved (i.e., are paired) have lower T than single men, which may be due to a facultative adjustment by men of T levels in response to lower demands for mating effort. The authors proceeded on the basis of the idea that men who retain interests in sexual opportunities with women other than a primary partner continue to dedicate more time and energy to mating effort when romantically paired, and so they predicted that the association between relationship status and T depends on men’s extrapair sexual interests. Study 1 used the Sociosexual Orientation Inventory to measure extrapair sexual interests, whereas Study 2 used a broader measure to examine this interaction. Both studies found support for it. These results have implications for an understanding of the biosocial regulation of men’s behavior in romantic relationships.

Source: “Romantic involvement often reduces men’s testosterone levels–but not always: The moderating role of extrapair sexual interest.” from “Journal of Personality and Social Psychology”

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