I remember hearing a saying that goes like "men think of sex every 7 minutes (or seconds?)". I take this saying to mean that men have sex related thoughts more often than women.

I'm interested if these thoughts are related to hormone expression within the male body. particularly, I'm interested in the very few seconds before a sexual thought emerges - one moment a man is thinking about daily stuff, next moment his thinking has sexual content. What is responsible for this shift in thinking?

I've read that oxytocin is responsible for men feeling romantic attachment to a partner, but is there a hormone that initiates sexual thoughts or fantasy? For example, would a burst of testosterone increase the likelihood of a man thinking of sex?


Interestingly it does seem as if this is at least in part the case.

Testosterone levels are tied to sexual impulses, but also risky behavior and aggression. Its responsible for sexual drive in women as well. Low testosterone can cause depression and loss of the ability to make decisions.

You'll note that the work cited is done on criminals, patients and rats. Remember that is not medically or scientifically ethical to change the androgen levels of a functioning human being. Testosterone supplements might increase the chances of prostate cancer.

While its not scientific, there's a fascinating set of interviews about how testosterone affects human thinking at this transcript of American life, Act 2 :

After testosterone, there was no narrative. There was no language whatsoever. It was just, I would see a woman who was attractive or not attractive. She might have an attractive quality, nice ankles or something, and the rest of her would be fairly unappealing to me.

But that was enough to basically just flood my mind with aggressive, pornographic images, just one after another. It was like being in a pornographic movie house in my mind. And I couldn't turn it off. I could not turn it off. Everything I looked at, everything I touched, turned to sex.

  • $\begingroup$ thanks for putting in the quote @AlexStone! Well done! This is all anecdotal, but a lot of men seem to find it a reasonable reaction to a flood of testosterone in their brain. $\endgroup$
    – shigeta
    Aug 13 '13 at 16:55
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ "Low testosterone can cause depression and ability to make decisions" ?? Does low testosterone give the ability to make decisions, or is this a typo? $\endgroup$
    – Illidanek
    Jun 26 '14 at 9:09
  • $\begingroup$ its not a typo. the hormone doesn't do anything though. For humans it is interpreted by our brains and other tissue to all these effects. It could easily not mean these things if the selection pressure of human evolution had been different. I have no doubt that some individuals have very low testosterone and do not have these problems, but its a common problem in testosterone inhibition therapy for instance. $\endgroup$
    – shigeta
    Jun 26 '14 at 13:48
  • $\begingroup$ Yes, I understand that. In that case I believe there is a grammatical error in that sentence, as it doesn't really make sense. $\endgroup$
    – Illidanek
    Jun 26 '14 at 13:55

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