Understanding testosterone’s impact on dating over 40
Posted Jan 09 2010 5:17pm
Have you considered how much testosterone impacts our dating lives? And for that matter, our lives in general? Since both men and women have testosterone, I was interested in Public Radio International’s “This American Life” show called “Testosterone” last year. It was a fascinating listen.
A man who stopped producing testosterone due to a medical treatment described life without the hormone. Unlike his normal, testosterone-filled life, he saw everything as beautiful. His objectivity sharpened. His criticalness declined. His desire for anything — food, work, sex — reduced dramatically.
In another interview, Griffin Hansbury, who started life as a woman and now lives as a man, shared his experience of taking massive testosterone injections seven years ago. He explains how testosterone changed his views on nature vs. nurture.
Griffin said the most overwhelming feeling was increased libido and desire for sex. His mind flooded with aggressive pornographic images when seeing even mildly attractive women. Everyday things turned erotic. Erections came easily. He said he felt like a monster that he couldn’t control. His inner feminist dialog commonly fought with his macho instincts.
What if, as Griffin explains, men are hard pressed to control these actions? Griffin has the advantage of having lived life as a woman and knows how it feels to be on the receiving end. He has sensitivity to feeling disrespected and treated like a sexual object. Yet with all that insight, he still found he was challenged not to think obscene thoughts about women he encountered on the street or subway. So if he fought the thoughts, what chance does a man have who isn’t so aware?
This program helped explain why man some men do what they do. Women often denigrate men’s behavior — especially around unseemly sexual comments or approaches. “What a jerk.” “What a sleezeball.” “What a dirty old man.” How about: “This man clearly doesn’t understand what is socially appropriate.”
Smart men learn to not express their sexual thoughts aloud in inappropriate settings. Yet some cannot control the physical sensations they get from being around a woman who turns them on. They can only stay seated with a napkin on their lap for so long.
Midlife men have candidly shared they are afraid they will lose their libido. Some have already experienced it slipping. They have lived with continual sexual thoughts for so long, they’ve allowed it to define themselves and their masculinity. Without ongoing sexual images, they feel less virile. They seem to be so happy to have sexual thoughts and reactions, they can’t help themselves from sharing them with us!
Does this forgive men who express their sexual desires inappropriately? Does it suggest grace for those who press for sex too early. No. However, it does explain why some men behave the way they do. They aren’t socially savvy enough to realize how off-putting it is. Perhaps they’ve been schooled by porno flicks to believe that women like this. After all, the men in the videos always seem to get the hot babe, right?
So while I’m not saying to accept inappropriate sexual talk or behavior from anyone, those with mid to higher levels of testosterone seem to have sex on their mind more often than those with lower levels. And women with higher testosterone levels can behave similarly to men with high levels, too.
What’s your take on how testosterone can inadvertently run some behaviors? How do you manage it if you have a higher level, or if someone you’re dating has a higher level and is always expressing their sexual interest to you?