5

votes

Does being around all men raise testosterone level?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created September 20, 2010 at 10:49 PM

I read an article on Stronglifts the other day in regards to prisoners who lift and the impressive numbers they put up despite a horrible diet. Then I read an article that said men in the military had higher testosterone numbers than the average population. We've also all seen the articles that state married men have lower test than single men. Is it because single men spend more time around other men? I know that back when we were hunter-gathers packs of men would leave for a week at a time to go hunt together. During this time they might not eat as they tracked a wounded animal. Raised test levels would protect their muscle as they were in a prolonged fasted state. Anyway, just curious to everyones thoughts.

Typed on cellphone so sorry about spelling/coherence

EDIT- I figured that homosexual men must spend most of their time around other men. So I googled around and found this study stating that they have much higher test than straight men. Really small sample size though and you have to pay for full article. http://ajp.psychiatryonline.org/cgi/content/abstract/131/1/82

Guess the straight way to replicate this would be to join BJJ? Maybe this is part of CrossFits success, men around other men.

Fd70d71f4f8195c3a098eda4fc817d4f

(8014)

on May 31, 2012
at 01:33 AM

And in so many situations, they have to keep their rage inside. Can't punch your boss in the face, gotta just go back to your desk and stew in silence. Can't club the driver in front of you to death, gotta just keep your rage simmering in your own car. I think it's really important to get that out now and then - for women, too. Keeping it in *all the time* can do horrible things, stress-wise.

Fd70d71f4f8195c3a098eda4fc817d4f

(8014)

on May 31, 2012
at 01:31 AM

Agreed! I also think it's important for men to be involved in some kind of sport...competitive or not. Lift heavy things, punch a bag, run hard and fast. Modern society doesn't give the poor guys much outlet for aggression anymore. We're so intent on stifling all the emotions that are seen as "negative" - anger, frustration. They don't have to go out and hunt anymore, and they rarely have to get physically roughed up to protect the womenfolk and kids. ;) Seriously, I know I sound kind of stereotypical here, but I really think there's something to all this, from a social science POV.

4b97e3bb2ee4a9588783f5d56d687da1

(22923)

on September 23, 2010
at 11:03 AM

I will concede that it's likely a small part of the answer. But environment fills out the pie.

9bc6f3df8db981f67ea1465411958c8d

(3690)

on September 23, 2010
at 04:01 AM

I agree with Eva. It's also possible that prisoners tend to have more testo. because criminals tend to have more of it which makes them more reckless/aggressive and that puts them in situations where they commit crimes.

4b97e3bb2ee4a9588783f5d56d687da1

(22923)

on September 22, 2010
at 11:18 PM

I wholeheartedly disagree. Environment has been shown time and time again to have an effect on emotions which are directly linked to hormones

93f44e8673d3ea2294cce085ebc96e13

(10502)

on September 22, 2010
at 11:13 PM

Real men don't need excuses to do bro-mancy things. ;)

77732bf6bf2b8a360f523ef87c3b7523

(6157)

on September 21, 2010
at 05:38 PM

@Stephen: yes, competitive, hence the upvote. But also motivation, which isn't the same as competition. If I trained with Tate, I would never, ever be able to compete with him, but I'd still be motivated as hell!

4b97e3bb2ee4a9588783f5d56d687da1

(22923)

on September 21, 2010
at 12:05 PM

@Jae : I.e. Competitive

Ae011d9f1c8654ea66854ca2a977c397

(1165)

on September 21, 2010
at 05:16 AM

Maybe in the prisoners case also a lack of chronic stress? I'm guessing once you're in for awhile and have your group and know your routine chronic stress drops and stress begins to replicate our ancestors more...fight or flight then rest. I saw another study which said men who commit crimes have highest test, then unemployed, then blue collar workers, and at the bottom of the test barrel, white collar workers. I belive that testosterone and cortisol compete for the same pathways. Once again, on cell so hard to grab all the sources.

Ae011d9f1c8654ea66854ca2a977c397

(1165)

on September 21, 2010
at 04:51 AM

Every hunter-gatherer tribe I've read about the men get married. None stay single. Granted the marriages may not be permanant but it's not like being some high testosterone lone ranger is built into our history.

77732bf6bf2b8a360f523ef87c3b7523

(6157)

on September 21, 2010
at 02:18 AM

I think Dave Tate said something like "environment trumps programming." There is a lot more that goes into it other than possibly elevated testosterone levels. If a man trains with seven men who are 250 lbs. and can deadlift 700 lbs., he is probably going to push himself a little harder than he would if he were training himself in his garage.

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on September 20, 2010
at 11:02 PM

haha, this is a great excuse for all the dudes out there to go out on a dude-only camping trip or out to the pub with just the bros.

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9 Answers

6
9bc6f3df8db981f67ea1465411958c8d

on September 23, 2010
at 04:08 AM

I think some of that can work in some kind of osmosis. When the testosterone in a group raises, everybody's own testosterone levels raise. In a competitive sports team, the leaders could be the instigators for the others to secrete more testosterone to be on par with the rest of the team.

I also see that being directly confronted with an other male is a good reason for the body to secrete more testosterone. In nature when you confront a male to become the leader or to win a female, testosterone levels ought to go up rapidly.

Competitiveness might be a very strong trigger for testosterone.

But then again:

  • Single man's testo. might be higher because they can't stay in a monogamous relationship.
  • Men with low testo. are not likely to be interested in the army.
  • Criminals might already have higher testo. and this might be what made them do their crime in the first place.

These are just ideas of course.

6
3864f9a2af09b1b447c7963058650a34

(3703)

on September 23, 2010
at 01:04 AM

YES.

This is why I go to Crossfit so I can lick the TESTOSTERONE off the walls... HAAA!

You know how in college us girrrrls cycle our menses together after living in closer quarters??? Pheromones are potent affectors of hormone synthesis and regulation (upregulation/downregulation). Yes, men are not exempt. P*ssywhipped men really are... sorry dudes... absolutely that's why I encourage my dude to go play POKER/GOLF/GYM/whatever and hang out w/GUYS (I have 2 daughters!)

Fd70d71f4f8195c3a098eda4fc817d4f

(8014)

on May 31, 2012
at 01:31 AM

Agreed! I also think it's important for men to be involved in some kind of sport...competitive or not. Lift heavy things, punch a bag, run hard and fast. Modern society doesn't give the poor guys much outlet for aggression anymore. We're so intent on stifling all the emotions that are seen as "negative" - anger, frustration. They don't have to go out and hunt anymore, and they rarely have to get physically roughed up to protect the womenfolk and kids. ;) Seriously, I know I sound kind of stereotypical here, but I really think there's something to all this, from a social science POV.

Fd70d71f4f8195c3a098eda4fc817d4f

(8014)

on May 31, 2012
at 01:33 AM

And in so many situations, they have to keep their rage inside. Can't punch your boss in the face, gotta just go back to your desk and stew in silence. Can't club the driver in front of you to death, gotta just keep your rage simmering in your own car. I think it's really important to get that out now and then - for women, too. Keeping it in *all the time* can do horrible things, stress-wise.

3
193436dedaff436e9502f0968d04e29b

on September 21, 2010
at 04:46 AM

Great question. There are multiple mechanisms through which testosterone can be increased or decreased (i.e. neurochemical, neurobiological, environmental, etc.). Addressing only the social psychological aspects of your question, yes, testosterone (which can affect mood, attitude, behavior, etc.) can increase or decrease depending on one's environment including being around other men (or women). The Stronglifts article you cited link text--which highlights the strength training successes of prisoners, addresses only a small portion of this dynamic. Competition (like Stephen said) is an important environmental variable. But there's more to it. Ironically, in the most unnatural of all human environments, some aspects of prisons can be VERY paleo.The environmental conditions of most men's prisons are very harsh; there are scarce resources, dominant/subordinate hierarchies are extremely pronounced, and survival by affiliation with "like" groups and superior physical strength are all essential advantages for doing time. (Incidentally, the most recent meta-analytic data suggests only a positive, weak relationship between testosterone and aggression). I know that's a bit off topic from your question, Ryan. As for Eva's point --do male groups with higher/lower T levels gravitate towards certain lifestyles--we'd need to have longitudinal (life course) studies that could determine the causal direction. That said--I think there's support for both nature and nurture on this one....

3
62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3

(20807)

on September 21, 2010
at 02:36 AM

There is another possible and very simple explanation. Perhaps men with higher testosterone are more likely to join the military. And perhaps men with lower testosterone are more likely to get married. In fact, I would be surprised if this was not AT LEAST part of the answer if not all of it.

Ae011d9f1c8654ea66854ca2a977c397

(1165)

on September 21, 2010
at 04:51 AM

Every hunter-gatherer tribe I've read about the men get married. None stay single. Granted the marriages may not be permanant but it's not like being some high testosterone lone ranger is built into our history.

4b97e3bb2ee4a9588783f5d56d687da1

(22923)

on September 23, 2010
at 11:03 AM

I will concede that it's likely a small part of the answer. But environment fills out the pie.

9bc6f3df8db981f67ea1465411958c8d

(3690)

on September 23, 2010
at 04:01 AM

I agree with Eva. It's also possible that prisoners tend to have more testo. because criminals tend to have more of it which makes them more reckless/aggressive and that puts them in situations where they commit crimes.

4b97e3bb2ee4a9588783f5d56d687da1

(22923)

on September 22, 2010
at 11:18 PM

I wholeheartedly disagree. Environment has been shown time and time again to have an effect on emotions which are directly linked to hormones

3
4b97e3bb2ee4a9588783f5d56d687da1

on September 21, 2010
at 12:10 AM

Competitiveness. It works when around women competing for them, or try to "prove yourself" Infront of men...

77732bf6bf2b8a360f523ef87c3b7523

(6157)

on September 21, 2010
at 02:18 AM

I think Dave Tate said something like "environment trumps programming." There is a lot more that goes into it other than possibly elevated testosterone levels. If a man trains with seven men who are 250 lbs. and can deadlift 700 lbs., he is probably going to push himself a little harder than he would if he were training himself in his garage.

Ae011d9f1c8654ea66854ca2a977c397

(1165)

on September 21, 2010
at 05:16 AM

Maybe in the prisoners case also a lack of chronic stress? I'm guessing once you're in for awhile and have your group and know your routine chronic stress drops and stress begins to replicate our ancestors more...fight or flight then rest. I saw another study which said men who commit crimes have highest test, then unemployed, then blue collar workers, and at the bottom of the test barrel, white collar workers. I belive that testosterone and cortisol compete for the same pathways. Once again, on cell so hard to grab all the sources.

77732bf6bf2b8a360f523ef87c3b7523

(6157)

on September 21, 2010
at 05:38 PM

@Stephen: yes, competitive, hence the upvote. But also motivation, which isn't the same as competition. If I trained with Tate, I would never, ever be able to compete with him, but I'd still be motivated as hell!

4b97e3bb2ee4a9588783f5d56d687da1

(22923)

on September 21, 2010
at 12:05 PM

@Jae : I.e. Competitive

1
93f44e8673d3ea2294cce085ebc96e13

(10502)

on September 22, 2010
at 11:14 PM

I would be surprised if your hypothesis is incorrect. Makes sense to me.

1
B22e5946e28a1845a6006737e59edfc6

(2437)

on September 22, 2010
at 11:02 PM

That link has an interesting conclusion on gay mens testosterone, although Id want to read the full report and see other studies before taking their conclusion as fact. As Melissa said, maybe I can use this as an excuse to my girlfriend to get away with the guys more often.

0
Fd70d71f4f8195c3a098eda4fc817d4f

(8014)

on May 31, 2012
at 01:27 AM

All I know is, I was in the military and loved being around mostly guys. There were plenty of women in my squadron, but many times I would look around and realize I was the only woman in the room. What can I say...I make dirty jokes, I'm not a priss, and even though some of the guys might have thought I was "hot," I would never get mistaken for dainty or delicate or a beautiful ballerina.

I was only in the USAF for four years, and even before then, I've always gotten along better with men. My closest/most trusted friends are female, but I tend to have a better time around groups with more guys. (No jokes, please.) No offense, but I find groups of women tend to just be catty, chatty, and...I dunno...I'm an office administrator, and when we have meetings for people to address grievances, make suggestions, streamline processes, etc., when it's all women, it usually winds up being two hours of everyone running their mouths, expressing every last feeling they have -- good and bad -- and nothing ever actually getting accomplished. Maybe that's a product of all meetings (very well could be...I've worked in cubicle hell long enough to know!), but I tend to notice more concrete actions being taken when men are involved.

Maybe I've just known the wrong women most of my life. ;-) Groups of guys seem to be more laid back and don't drive themselves crazy over details in the process of trying to relax and have fun.

I also like working out better around guys. (But then again, I don't do Crossfit, so most of the women at my gym are of the "pink dumbbell" type...tiny weight, tons of bicep curls, or 40 minutes on the elliptical.) I think just being around all that testosterone helps me lift better! ;D (Maybe it raises my own, too?)

0
6996bca5d2417dbb2a361c50f7f687f0

on April 20, 2012
at 08:05 PM

After men have children, their testosterone may drop to allow them to bond more strongly with their offspring.

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