According to my lecture notes testosterone generally increases sexual behavior. Given that it's generally thought to be the male hormone I'm not quite sure whether they mean that it also increases sexual behavior in females.

What is the effect of testosterone on female sexual behavior?


2 Answers 2


I'll point you to this article by A. Tuiten et al.

To quickly answer your question, yes, testosterone does have an enhancing effect on the sexual behaviour of human healthy adult females.

The (admittedly small) study indicated that after an dose of testosterone was given to the women there was found:

  • a statistically significantly [sic] increase in genital responsiveness (P = .04)
  • a statistically significant association between the increase in genital arousal and subjective reports of "genital sensations" (P = .02) and "sexual lust" (P = .01)

A time lag was reported from the administering of the dose to effects being seen of approximately 4.5 hours.


  • $\begingroup$ What's harder to answer is whether (or to what degree) that's due to testosterone to estrogen conversion or due to testosterone receptors. $\endgroup$
    – rus9384
    Nov 2, 2018 at 7:11

Although male testes are responsible for huge testosterone secretion, testosterone can be produced by other organs both in males and females. So, women do have testosterone. Similarly, estrogen is also produced in men and not only in women. In addition, both sexes produce the androgen and the estrogen receptors, so endogeneous or external testosterone will be active in women. Among other things, testosterone supplementation have been shown to be useful in clinical studies conducted on women suffering from hypoactive sexual desire.

Woodis et al., Pharmacotherapy. 2012 Jan;32(1):38-53. doi: 10.1002/PHAR.1004.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ And let's not forget that testosterone can be converted into estrogen by the aromatase, so it can actually work through the estrogen receptor. $\endgroup$
    – nico
    Mar 17, 2012 at 8:01
  • $\begingroup$ Right, and aromatase KO male mice develop steatosis, clearly indicating that estrogen is important for male liver. $\endgroup$ Mar 17, 2012 at 17:46

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