A new study has found that testosterone boosts levels of testosterone in men after they have sex.
The findings suggest that the brain can adapt to increased testosterone levels after sex.
It could be that testosterone is an essential hormone to the sexual experience that helps men achieve the best possible outcomes with their partners, said lead author and professor of psychology and neuroscience at the University of California, San Diego.
“Our results suggest that when the testosterone levels are high, people experience greater arousal, which in turn helps them achieve better orgasm and satisfaction,” said co-author Robert J. Zwally, professor of neuroscience at UC San Diego and director of the university’s Center for Sex, Brain, and Cognition.
This study was published in the January issue of the Journal of Sexual Medicine.
“We’re starting to understand how the brain changes when testosterone is elevated in response to sexual stimulation,” Zwany said.
Zwany and his colleagues collected brain tissue from healthy men who were engaged in sexual intercourse and then measured the levels of the hormone in the men’s brains.
They also looked at testosterone levels within the brains of men who had had sex with their partner but had not been tested for it.
The researchers compared testosterone levels between the men who did and did not have the condition known as erectile dysfunction syndrome.
The men with erectile disorders were more likely to have low levels of sex hormone-binding globulin, or SHBG, which is a hormone produced by the brain to help regulate blood flow.
“This tells us that people who have these conditions are going to be more sensitive to testosterone and therefore more sensitive than people without these conditions,” Zawany said, adding that his team was hopeful the findings could be applied to people who had conditions such as Crohn’s disease or schizophrenia that affect the blood flow to the brain.
For Zwaly, one of the researchers, the research was also a valuable opportunity to get to know the men more intimately.
“I would like to know more about the men, how they were diagnosed and their sexual histories and sexual activity,” he said.
“For people to understand more about this condition, we need to be able to understand the brain better.”
In addition to Zwawany and Jaffe, the researchers included graduate students from the University at Buffalo, the University Medical Center in Zurich, the Medical College of Wisconsin and the University Hospital in Berlin.
The research was supported by the National Institutes of Health.