Ladies, this situation may sound familiar: you go on a date and hit it off, and then begin to wonder, "Does he like me? Is he serious about me? Will he ever commit?" These questions perplex most women in the dating scene, but science finds a man's level of commitment can be gauged by his hormones. Researchers at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor found testosterone levels predicted relationship status a month later, and testosterone also responded to changes in relationship status.

The transition from a committed to non-committed relationship status predicted an increase in testosterone.

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"Our study provides longitudinal evidence that, in men, testosterone levels predict relationship status, and relationship status predicts testosterone levels," Sari M. van Anders, corresponding study author, told PsyPost.

Previous research has found links between relationship status and testosterone in men. Researchers from the University of Sunderland and the University of Worcester found men in long-term relationships for more than a year tested lower for testosterone than single men or men in new relationships. This is believed to act as an evolutionary role, as men with lower testosterone are more likely to be better caregivers, and less likely to pursue additional sex partners.

However, studies have not clarified these links; whether testosterone levels predict relationship status or whether relationship status predicts testosterone.

In the new study, published in Adaptive Human Behavior and Physiology, van Anders and her colleagues sought to clarify these links by investigating how behaviors can affect hormones. A total of 79 male first-year college students were recruited for the study to explore monthly changes in testosterone and relationship status as they transitioned to college. The researchers hypothesized this college transition would be a crucial time for relationships, where casual and committed relationships becoming prevalent among first-year college students.

The participants completed a series of questionnaires, including those related to their relationship status. They were able to select multiple options and indicate "other" to describe their relationship status further. The men also reported their number of sexual/relationship partners for each relationship status.

Single with no relationship or sexual partners were classified as "single"; a combination of relationship statuses involving sexual encounters was labelled as “sexual encounters and committed relationship”, “single and dating”; and being in committed relationship(s) without any dating or sexual encounter relationships was seen as "committed." Those who indicated one or more current relationship partners were asked additional questions, such as the genders/sexes of partners. Testosterone levels were measured using saliva samples.

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The findings revealed transitioning from a committed to non-committed relationship status predicted an increase in testosterone. Single and casually partnered men had significantly higher testosterone than those in committed relationships. Low testosterone levels predicted a committed relationship status later on.

However, high testosterone early in a relationship did not predict later relationship status transitions from committed to single or casually partnered. Rather, a transition from committed to single or casually partnered predicted high testosterone later on. This is consistent with previous research that has linked lower testosterone to monogamy in men, while high testosterone is linked to singlehood, or a lack of nurturing behaviors.

The researchers do caution results may be different in older men, and those with different types of relationship statuses and experiences. They hope to examine how specific types of relationship transitions are linked to testosterone.

The male hormone is often synonymous with alpha male-like behaviors like aggression, but testosterone could also influence social behavior in a variety of ways.

Makes You A Honest Man

Surprisingly, testosterone can foster social behavior; specifically it can make men more honest. In a study published in PLoS ONE, men were either given testosterone gel or a placebo, and asked to roll the dice in private, report the numbers they landed on, and receive money based on the outcome. The findings revealed men who received the testosterone gel were more honest when they self-reported their numbers.

Keeps You Motivated

High testosterone levels can lead to increased motivation, competitiveness (not surprising), and less exhaustion. A study in Psychoneuroendocrinology found testosterone levels increased by 35 percent after watching a sexually explicit film. Levels increased from 15 minutes, and peaked at 60 to 90 minutes after the end of the erotic film.

Helps You Cheat Death

High levels of testosterone may help men cheat death from all manner of causes. A study in Circulation found men in the upper 25 percent of natural testosterone levels had a 41 percent lower risk of dying from heart attack, stroke, and other heart conditions, cancer and all other causes, compared to those with the lowest levels. The researchers hypothesize low testosterone levels could point to men at elevated risk for cardiovascular death who may not have other known risk factors.

Sources: Dibble ER, Goldey KL, and van Anders SM. Pair Bonding and Testosterone in Men: Longitudinal Evidence for Trait and Dynamic Associations. Adaptive Human Behavior and Physiology. 2017.

See Also:

4 Commitment Patterns That Might Predict Your Chance Of Getting Married

Married Vs Single: What Science Says Is Better For Your Health