A 2007 study that didn’t get much publicity found that polyamorous people have higher testosterone levels than both single people and people in monogamous relationships.
It’s long been known monogamously married men have lower testosterone levels than (presumably more promiscuous) single men, but polyamourous men (and women!) with multiple committed relationships have the highest testosterone levels of all.
Men with low testosterone are four times as likely to suffer from clinical depression, heart disease, cancer and Alzheimer’s and up to 2.5 times more likely to die prematurely from any cause.
The health benefits of higher testosterone in women aren’t as well known, but new studies suggest the hormone is almost as important for female-bodied people as it is for males.
Slightly increasing testosterone levels in aging women restores sex drive and arousal, reduces body fat, increases muscle mass, reduces risk of heart attack and breast cancer.
Many people will ask the chicken or the egg question – does polyamory (specifically sex with multiple committed partners in this case) cause higher testosterone levels, or are people with higher testosterone levels more drawn to polyamory?
But the bottom line is having sex — especially satisfying sex — raises testosterone levels and fuels the desire for more sex. Studies show testosterone levels increase immediately after sexual activity. And polyamorous people typically have more sex than monogamous people.
“It’s not just the passing of time that bring these levels down: monogamy itself seems to drain away a man’s testosterone,” writes Christopher Ryan in Sex at Dawn. “Married men consistently show lower levels of the hormone than single men of the same age … Married men having affairs, however, were found to have higher testosterone levels than those who weren’t.”
“There is good reason to believe that even casual contact with novel, attractive women can have a tonic effect on men’s hormonal health,” Ryan continues. “Researcher James Roney found that even a brief chat with an attractive woman raised men’s testosterone levels by an average of 14 percent.”