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Low Testosterone Levels Tied to More Satisfying Relationships

Update Date: Apr 11, 2014 11:16 AM EDT
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The male hormone, testosterone, is often linked to concepts such as manliness and strength. Despite these stereotypes, a new study examined the role of testosterone levels in relationships. The researchers from the University of Michigan found that high testosterone levels do not increase satisfaction levels in relationships like people often believe. The team found that instead, satisfying relationships are often reported in couples with lower testosterone in both partners.

"The assumption is generally that high testosterone is good for sexual relationships," the study's lead author, Robin Edelstein, an associate professor of psychology at U-M said reported by Medical Xpress. "These findings suggest that once people are in a relationship, lower levels of testosterone may be beneficial-or may reflect better ongoing relationship dynamics."

For this study, Edelstein and her team had analyzed data on 39 heterosexual couples between the ages of 18 and 31. The length of the relationships ranged from two months to seven years. The researchers determined the couples' levels of satisfaction, commitment and investment by asking them questions. Answers that indicated a good relationship would be "My relationship is close to ideal," "I want our relationship to last forever," and "I have invested a great deal into our relationship that I would lose if the relationship were to end." The participants also provided saliva samples to test testosterone levels.

The researchers concluded high testosterone levels do not always translate to good and long-lasting relationships. The researchers reported that this is one of the first studies to examine how women's testosterone levels affected relationships. They found that for both partners, low testosterone levels correlated with higher satisfaction and commitment levels.

The study, "Dyadic associations between testosterone and relationship quality in couples," was published in Hormones and Behaviors.

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