Testosterone levels fall sharply in men after they marry, Danish researchers have claimed.
A team at Rigshospitalet in Copenhagen examined data relating to 1113 Danish men aged between 30 and 60 over a ten year period. It had been gathered as part of a long-term health study. Levels of testosterone and related reproductive hormones were compared with changes in the men’s lifestyles and marital status.
Levels of the male hormone underwent an “an accelerated age-related decline” in those men who married during the study period. By contrast, testosterone levels in men who divorced experienced an “attenuated [weakened or reduced] age-related decline”.
Study co-author Anna-Maria Andersson said:
“Testosterone plays a role in everything that defines a man. It’s quite amusing and it’s a good picture of how much our hormones are impacted by how we live. The body acclimatises to the situation we find ourselves in.”
The team suggested that increased levels of the social bonding hormone oxytocin following marriage and the birth of children could account for the fall in testosterone.
“It is of course necessary for the man to defend his wife and children, so you still need testosterone. But it is also necessary to modify your behaviour towards those you need to protect, and it’s important to relate to your family and create social bonds.”
Exposure to female pheromones (biological chemicals that affect behaviour) may also play a role in reducing testosterone levels.
The study was published in the academic journal Psychoneuroendocrinology. Read an abstract (summary) here.
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