News channels have been buzzing the last few days with stories about new findings by Northwestern University researchers – who have concluded that married men undergo a significant “drop” in testosterone levels, when compared with their still-single cohorts. The researchers hypothesize that the lower hormone levels encourage sustained pair-bonding and child-rearing, and are a naturally selected human trait. Some commentators have used the study to mock the manliness of married men, while many more have felt compelled to stand up for men in committed relationships, as if their condition were less manly and somehow unnatural. But what is the real story, and who are the real men?
In our original life in nature, we would expect most adult men to be in relationships and raising children, and single men to be the exception. If their numbers grew too large, single men would have been a source of social instability and reduced general health, due to higher aggressiveness and competition (driven in part by psychological wanting and by the heightened testosterone the new study finds). Thus, the natural baseline in the study is married men, not single ones, and the real headline is that single men have “elevated” testosterone levels, as a consequence of being unnaturally single and encouraging them out of this condition and into stable relationships.
Overall, the heavily biased discussion of the new study, toward treating single men as the benchmark, is a great example of our general modern romance with the primitive “alpha male.” This is more of a problem than most of us realize, since the correct answer is that we are naturally far better served by more intelligent, cooperative, and adaptive “beta cycle” attitudes and behaviors, by both men and women. Learn more about the new study at Testosterone Dips and explore HumanaNatura’s strong emphasis on ensuring naturally healthier and superior beta-cycle life via Understanding Evolution and the Natural Living section of our Personal Health Program.