Everyone knows that testosterone has a significant effect on men, but many people don’t realize that T levels affect women also. Most women have probably never had their testosterone measured during a routine blood test.
As the primary male sex hormone, it plays a leading role in the sexual development of guys. But folks often overlook the role it plays in female sexuality. Yes, women have testosterone, too, though much less of it — and it exerts a far different pull, new research suggests.
“It was quite surprising that the link with masturbation was stronger among women than men,” said study leader Wendy Macdowall of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, in the United Kingdom. “And that among women we saw no link with aspects of partnered sex.”
[Women] with high testosterone were more likely to have had a same-sex relationship at some point. They also masturbated more often — and more recently.
High T was also linked to more solo sex for guys. But the masturbation connection was notably stronger among women, the study found.
Do high T levels cause a woman to masturbate, or vice versa? Unknown. The researchers suggest that masturbation is a “truer” measure measure of sexual desire than sex with a partner, because it’s less likely to be initiated by someone else. This suggests that higher T levels can increase a woman’s libido.
The Mayo Clinic says that the evidence in favor of testosterone supplementation for women for the purpose of increasing libido is limited, so it’s not clear if there’s any clear way to act on the research findings above. For women, it might be worth getting your testosterone checked when you have your next routine blood test.