Can Testosterone Increase Motivation in Men

October 2, 2023

The relationship between testosterone and motivation.

Testosterone is a hormone that plays a complex role in motivation and behavior in men. While it's commonly associated with increased motivation and aggression, the relationship is not straightforward. There are many effects of testosterone on the body yet one of the most overlooked and valuable is the effect it has on motivation

Testosterone and Motivation

Testosterone is believed to influence motivation, but it's just one of many factors so one needs to analyze a number of areas linked to motivation in order to get the whole picture. Some studies have suggested that higher testosterone levels may be associated with increased motivation, self-confidence, and competitive drive.  Low T might result in a loss of confidence in men and also a lack of motivation. It may also lower a man’s ability to concentrate or cause feelings of sadness. An experienced doctor may help sort through the quagmire of factors that are potentially influencing something as complex as hormone balance and emotion happiness and motivation.
In a clinical article titled “The hormonal correlates of implicit power motivation” by Stanton and Schultheiss, the authors concluded that “Testosterone increases promote the engagement in another dominance contest and lower one’s threshold for aggressive engagement, a conclusion that is supported by both animal and human studies.” Testosterone may also influence behavior and physiology in a positive way. There are studies which suggest that testosterone change is involved in the learning of behaviors that can lead to winning dominance contests, such as in competitive sports, conflict resolution or high-level business dealings.

Individual characteristics that influence both testosterone and motivation.

Individual Variations are a significant factor in determining the effect that testosterone may have on motivation. It's important to note that individuals vary in how they respond to testosterone. Factors such as genetics, personality, and environmental influences also play a significant role in determining motivation.  Some men who are considered “Low Level” in their social status may increase their motivation to increase their social status when they take testosterone supplementally. The clinical trials showed that TRT also motivated these men to remain stable within their social status after taking exogenous testosterone. In a study by Losecaat Vermeer AB, Krol I, Gausterer C, Wagner B, Eisenegger C, Lamm C. published in 2020 titled “Exogenous testosterone increases status-seeking motivation in men with unstable low social status” they found that “testosterone (vs. placebo) increased motivation to compete for status, but only in individuals with an unstable low status.” It’s also stated in the article that these effects were moderated by the individuals' genetic differences as well as their trait dominance. As all humans are inherently unique, the influence of testosterone may be more profound on one individual than another.

Context Matters regarding testosterone and motivational situations.

Not all situations are the same and increased pressure and stress may influence the body significantly. Motivation can be influenced by situational factors. For example, testosterone levels can rise in response to competitive situations, potentially increasing motivation in those contexts. Sporting events have been shown to increase testosterone levels in competitors. It’s a well-known fact in the medical community that exercise causes an increase in testosterone., however it is less well known that even WATCHING sports can influence testosterone levels. In a clinical trial in 1998, viewers of the World Cup soccer championships had their testosterone levels tested prior to and after the conclusion of their favorite team’s match. The findings were interesting, showing an increase in the T levels of the winners and a decrease in the levels of the losers. As it turns out, there is a Competitive Feedback Loop at play. There's a relationship between testosterone and behavior which encourages athletes to engage in competitive contests or challenging activities as it increases their testosterone levels, and this increase motivates them to continue such activity/behavior.

Psychological Factors revolving around motivation.

Motivation is not solely dependent on hormones such as testosterone. Psychological factors like goal-setting, belief in one's abilities, and the perceived value of a task also influence motivation.

There are numerous studies regarding the psychological effects of testosterone and they are at best conflicting. One thing is for certain, testosterone plays a major role in regulating our cognitive ability, mood and motivation. Whether it increases or decreases things like social empathy or sexuality need to be studied more as factors such as proper Dosing, specific medications, timing, total threshold levels and even the route of administration seem to affect the outcome of these studies considerably.

Age-Related Changes and the effects on motivation and testosterone.

Testosterone levels tend to decline with age starting around the mid 20’s and decreasing by 1 to 2 percents annually for most men, and this can have varying effects on the overall motivation in older men. The difference between the ages of 25 and 30 is less noticeable than the difference between ages 45-50 for example. Some men may experience a decrease in motivation, while others may not notice significant changes.

There are several factors besides age that typically present themselves which may influence motivation in older men, such as family, work, relationships, financial and health consideration which will undoubtedly play a role.

Overall, while testosterone will play a role in motivation in men, it's only one piece of the overall picture. Motivation in men is a complex interplay of hormones, psychological factors, genetic and environmental influences, and our relationship with testosterone is not linear or universal. If you would like to discuss the benefits of TRT, please reach out and we would be happy to schedule a consultation with our physician to determine if testosterone therapy is a good option for you.


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Blood Work Request Form

This subsequent lab panel is necessary for males undergoing Testosterone Replacement Therapy (TRT) through NovaGenix Health and Wellness. It allows physicians to assess the patient's response to prescribed medications, covering sex hormone levels, thyroid function, adrenal health, hematocrit, and liver and kidney function. The panel includes tests such as:

  • Complete Blood Count
  • Comprehensive Metabolic Panel
  • Testosterone (Free and Total)
  • Estradiol Sensitive
  • Thyroid Stimulating Hormone
  • Prostate Specific Antigen

Each test serves a specific purpose in monitoring overall health and treatment effectiveness. When required, Dr Mackey may require LH and FSH (Luteinizing hormone, follicle stimulating hormone) SHBG (Sex hormone binding globulin) or any other tests which may be important for your health and optimizing your hormones.

The Comprehensive Hormone and Wellness Panel for Women offers a foundational assessment of sex hormones, thyroid function, adrenal health, metabolic activity, and overall well-being. This panel serves as a diagnostic tool for identifying testosterone and estrogen deficiencies, assessing health risks, and detecting potential thyroid issues before considering hormone replacement therapy. Additionally, it includes insights into hematocrit (red blood cell volume), as well as liver and kidney function. The panel encompasses various tests such as:

  • Complete Blood Count (CBC)
  • Complete Metabolic Panel
  • Testosterone (free and total)
  • Estradiol
  • Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH)
  • Progesterone

When indicated, Dr. Mackey may require additional tests such as Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH), and IGF-1 and Cortisol.

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