The effects of exogenous testosterone on sexual risk-taking in men

Norman, Rachel E. (2023) The effects of exogenous testosterone on sexual risk-taking in men. Masters thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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Research aimed at predicting sexually risky behaviour (SRB) has primarily focused on socio-demographic, psychological, and behavioural factors. Hence, biological predictors of SRB, such as androgen hormones, are not well understood. Evidence demonstrates that testosterone (T) can modulate traits associated with risk-taking, yet questions remain about its impact on SRB. The objective of the present study was to address this research gap by examining the causal role of a single dose of T on social, cognitive, and affective processes involved in men’s intention to engage in unprotected casual sex. In this experiment, healthy young men (n = 110, Mage = 23.3, SD = 5.1) were administered T or placebo and asked to imagine a scenario in which they could engage in unprotected sex. The extent to which individual differences in sociosexual orientation moderated the relationship between T and SRB-related constructs was also analyzed. Results indicated no difference in SRB-related constructs as a function of drug condition. Sociosexual orientation did not moderate the effect of T on SRB. Post-hoc exploratory analyses revealed that single men had more positive cognitive attitudes towards the risky sexual encounter than paired men when on placebo, but not on T. Paired men displayed more perceived control than single men when on placebo, but not on T, and paired men showed less sexual arousal on placebo than on T. This experiment is the first of its kind and the findings build upon a growing body of evidence demonstrating exogenous T can modulate human processes implicated in risk-taking propensity.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Item ID: 15789
Additional Information: Includes bibliographical references (pages 54-77)
Keywords: testosterone, risk-taking, hormones, sexual risk-taking, pharmacogenetic
Department(s): Education, Faculty of
Date: January 2023
Date Type: Submission
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Testosterone--Psychological aspects; Men--Sexual behavior

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