September 15, 2013
Estrogen Makes Men Want Sex
Dear Middle-Aged Dudes of the World,
You may need some more estrogen if you want to keep your sexual motors running.
These days men are subjected to numerous radio spots, billboards and television commercials offering some pharmaceutical respite from what we’ve referred to for millennia as “getting older.”
Now it’s called “low T syndrome,” and big pharma is getting phat (see what I did there) on selling shots of testosterone to guys who feel sluggish, packed on another spare tire and no longer want to get freaky every night. Personally, I think the low T syndrome is a load of bunk, but that’s a rant for another time.
According to Joel Finkelstein, a real endocrinologist who actually knows what he’s talking about, as men age their estrogen levels, like their testosterone levels, drop. For years it was understood that testosterone was responsible for giving guys that sexual charm, filling out their muscles and essentially making us all feel like Roman gods. After conducting some research, Finkelstein says that while testosterone is responsible for the bulking up and the machismo, it is estrogen which makes us want get down and dirty.
In an official and statement with plenty of grown up words, Finkelstein explained it this way: “This study establishes testosterone levels at which various physiological functions start to become impaired, which may help provide a rationale for determining which men should be treated with testosterone supplements.”
“What will surprise many people is that loss of sexual desire in men with low testosterone is due to lack of estrogen,” he continued.
How does one measure the ways testosterone and estrogen affect the aging male body? You simply take it away, of course.
Finkelstein and team convinced about 300 healthy men between the ages of 20 and 50 to go through a 16-week experiment wherein they bump T levels down before bumping them up again.
These men were separated into two groups, but both began the experiment by taking the same amount of hormone suppressants to get everyone on the same level. Then the men in the first group were then either given some T-boosting gel or a placebo. The men in the second group were also given the T-gel, but were also given extra doses of estrogen. As the T levels dropped in all of the participants, their bodies began to change. They lost some of that lean body mass and muscle they were once so proud of and saw their guts get even bigger. They also noticed their desire to drill down had diminished. It was probably little consolation that they were still able to achieve an erection all the way until their T levels were at their lowest. Just like being in Jr. High, the men could get it up, but didn’t know what to do with it.
The first group of men who received only T treatment saw their muscle mass come back and some of their sex drive return. The men who received estrogen, however, had their sex drives come roaring back into action, according to Finkelstein. This led him and his team to believe it’s actually estrogen that makes a man want to do the no pants dance.
Finkelstein said these men could technically start estrogen therapy to get this sex drive back, but he cautioned against it. It’s yet to be seen, he said, what kind of effect this treatment would have on prostate health.
Either way, this syndrome remains a natural part of aging, and while it never hurts to understand it, it’s foolish to assume you can avoid it altogether.
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