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Study Shows Active Parenting Reduces Testosterone in Men

Thu, Sep 15, 2011

News, Research

Guy A: How are things going with your new baby?

Guy B: Oh, you know, that’s pretty much Amy’s deal.

We swear to god, this is an exact transcript of a conversation that took place between a friend of ours and one of his college buddies. Sure, it’s an extreme example, but it’s not an isolated incident. Another guy told Em’s husband that his social life had altered “about 10%” since having a kid. And even many evolved, sensitive, awesome guys that we know can hover around the perimeter during the early stages of fatherhood — more like a friendly uncle than a parent. It’s understandable, in many ways, given how mom-focused (okay, boob-focused) most babies are.

But it turns out that, despite all this, men’s bodies biologically adapt to parenthood, too. And we don’t just mean the shooting sperm part.¬†As we reported earlier this week, a new study found that men’s¬†testosterone drops when they become dads. What’s even more interesting is that the more the man gets involved with that whole parenting gig, the more his testosterone stops.

Don’t worry, dudes, it’s not the kind of plummet that would cause you to lose your chest hair or grow moobs. More like the kind of gentle dip that might make you slightly less susceptible to a flirtatious waitress… and slightly more open to singing “The Wheels on the Bus” for the hundredth time that week.

In other words, it looks like men’s bodies have evolved to help them commit to their families once kids show up. Which means that, evolutionarily speaking, nature wants men to change diapers.

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2 Responses to “Study Shows Active Parenting Reduces Testosterone in Men”

  1. Johnny Says:

    When kids are born, moms generally step up as the kid-boss. And since kids take up a whole lot of family attention, that can make mom the boss overall.

    A dude can either stay out of her arena, like Guy B (justifiable only if the guy makes enough money to support the whole family), or he can accept womanly dominion over the entirety of family life.

    I think it’s the latter option – womanly dominion over the whole family, including the father and husband – that causes the drop in testosterone. Suddenly she has absolute executive power and power of veto, and all she has to do is invoke child welfare. Much like our own moms did when we were kids.

    So basically, kid-mom becomes husband-mom too, and that’s my theory as to why mens’ testosterone drops during “active parenting”. The testosterone that built up over the years since childhood drains away as a man basically regresses, having all his shots called for him by Mom.

  2. Johnny Says:

    … so what I’d like to see is a study comparing before/after testosterone in single dads or gay-man two-dad households.


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