Monday, August 25, 2008

WHAT TESTOSERONE DOES

I have a minor surgery coming up on September second. Please, please don't ask for the boring details. It's nothing life-threatening and really, I've had a lot less of this sort of thing than most, so I have no reason to complain. I'll be flat on my back for a couple of weeks and I don't know whether I'll end up blogging more or less. it might be more, because I won't have much else to do. It's boring lying there looking up at the ceiling all day.

Anyway, I'm dying to tell you about a small detail that you might find interesting. For a few weeks I've had to prep for the surgery by taking a pill that inhibits testosterone. It's only temporary, I'll go back to normal next month, but for a few weeks I've had the experience of having low levels of the stuff. What a revelation!!!!!! From feeling the lack of it, I can now deduce with confidence what testosterone does, and it's not what I expected.


Actually the first few days I took this pill my testosterone increased for some reason, and I found myself wanting to fight other men all day. I'd strut around with my chest out, hoping that some guy would give me a surly look. I swear I felt like going into a bar and picking fights. I wasn't mad at anyone, not in the least, I just felt like a bull seal whose whole reason for existence was to defend his rock and protect his harem. Fortunately other men cut me some slack, which was lucky for me, because I can't fight to save my life. I knew that, but it didn't seem to matter. Hormones aren't logical.



After a few days I felt myself being drawn in the opposite direction. I didn't feel like a girl...that would have required female hormones...no, it was weirder than that. I felt like...like...well, like a reasonable man. A good citizen. I felt mild. All forms of conflict seemed pointless to me. It hit me as a revelation that disputes are pointless because there's no such thing as right and wrong. All of us are always, now and forever, half right and half wrong. Gosh darn, can't we live in harmony together?

That's the mood I'm in now. This mildness is driving me nuts but I can't shake it off. I feel less creative and even less libidinous. Less libidinous means that I think of sex only half the day now as opposed to all day, which has been my normal state since I was 13. Oh, well...it's only for another week or so. I'm counting the days.



So the big revelation I got was that our behaviors are more hormonally driven than I'd ever suspected. Boy, we're not many steps removed from the jungle! Maybe the guys in gangs are all abnormally high-testosterone types, and the peacemakers of the world all have abnormally low amounts. How are these people ever going to understand each other? On another point, during my week of high testosterone levels I felt no desire to beat up women, just men, so I've also learned that testosterone aggression is only directed toward other men. Last but not least, I learned that hormones are related to creativity. I always suspected that but now I feel certain about it.

29 comments:

Adam T said...

I heard a radio story about this a while ago. You're not the only one who has had that experience.

I've noticed this myself. I always felt really horny after leg workouts at the gym. Women I would normally encounter and not really notice became really sexy. I did some research and found that working out large muscle groups like in your legs will temporarily increase testosterone levels for a few hours afterwards.

Kris said...

Testosterone is actually the BIG sex drive hormone for women, too. I think it's what makes us want to fight with other women, too. It has nothing to do with being gay or straight either, it just fires up the sex drive in whatever direction it was already pointing.

I know what you mean about hormones having something to do with creativity (heck, with the urge to do anything at all). Being on birth control makes women feel less motivated/creative too, and birth control just overflows the body with estrogen/progestins and simulates the hormonal state of pregnancy. I guess from an evolutionary standpoint it's good for women to not want to do anything when they're pregnant, but still.

Kali Fontecchio said...

While you're out on your back, you should start a podcast or something. Read novels for us to listen to- I'd like to hear The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, in pig latin.

If I had an unusual amount of estrogen would I want to mother everyone around me?

Lester Hunt said...

Eddie, Fascinating post! But note that you have at most isolated one factor that affects the propensity to fight with men. There are no doubt plenty of other factors, and of course some of them go the other way. I've known some female feminists with the same propensity, but with no other indication of a high testosterone level. (Eg., I don't think any of them had a mustache.)

Bitter Animator said...

What you describe sounds a lot like being on anti-depressants. And definitely has the creativity link there too.

And, actually, now that I think about it, we had a dog as a kid who had the snip and he was incredibly uncreative.

In terms of why I have the urge to fight other men, well, I've always figured testosterone has something to do with it. But, mostly, it's that a lot of men are a pain in the ass.

Good luck with that surgery stuff, Mr.F.

Anonymous said...

Mix testosterone with high levels of cortisone and you've got The New Frontier!

Kris said...

Popping in here again to note on female testosterone levels: Women with high testosterone levels don't grow 'staches unless that level's totally out of the ballpark (and I've met women with facial hair who were very mild mannered so I think there are other factors involved with that). Women are also more sensitive to testosterone than men are so they don't need much of it to get just as aggressive, sex-crazed and competitive as any man.

Wikipedia also informs me that testosterone is a big player in providing physical and mental energy of all sorts. Which I guess explains the creativity issues.

Very very interesting! I guess the moral of the story is that testosterone is important for everyone to have.

buzz said...

Someone once observed the way women are when they have PMS is the way men act all the time.

Best of luck with the surgery, Eddie! Will you be needing anything?

Anonymous said...

http://digg.com/comics_animation/Ren_Stimpy_Happy_Happy_Joy_Joy

Ren and Stimpy just made it to the front page of Digg and has 800 digs already, John K should show this to the executive thicksicles next time he meets with them

diego cumplido said...

hey, such an interesting information! ... thanks!

trevor said...

We're all animals, Eddie. Humans, however, are just hairless apes with a language.

- trevor.

cwyatt said...

Can't you do the Frida Khalo thing while laid up for 2 weeks?
And you can see if your eyebrows grow together while gaining your testosterone back.

Jorge Garrido said...

GREAT post on a subject that's very near and dear to my hear. Eddie, have you ever seen Fight Club, and if so, did you like it?

It's just one of those days when you don't wanna wake up. Everything is fucked, everybody sucks. You don't really know why, but you want justify ripping someone's head off. No human contact, and if you interact, your life is on contract. Your best bet is to stay away, motherfucker. It's just one of those days. It's all about the "he-says/she-says" bullshit. I think you better quit letting shit slip, or you'll be leaving with a fat lip. I think you better quit talking that shit, punk. So come and get it. It's just one of those days, feeling like a freight train. First one to complain leaves with a blood stain. Damn right, I'm a maniac. You better watch your back, cause I'm fucking up your program. And if you're stuck up, you just lucked up, next in line to get fucked up. I feel like shit.
My suggestion is to keep your distance, cause right now im dangerous. We've all felt like shit, and been treated like shit.
All those motherfuckers that want to step up, I hope you know I pack a chain saw. I'll skin your ass raw. And if my day keeps going this way I just might break something tonight. And if my day keeps going this way I just might break your fucking face tonight. Give me something to break. How about your fucking face. A motherfucking chain saw. So come and get it.

pappy d said...

Good luck with the operation, Eddie. I tried all the pills, pumps, creams & herbal supplements. Surgery's the way.

JohnK said...

Your mild period would have been a good time to apply for feature animation at a big studio.

justin deremo said...

Just as athletes are sometimes instructed to refrain from sexual activity the night before a game, it also wouldn't be a bad idea if you knew you would soon be engaged in a creative act. Other than, you know, "the" creative act.

William said...

Cool vintage decals!
http://www.billselby.com/monte.html

Phantom Spitter said...

What's that you say? Peace?! No regard for conflict?! My God! Uncle Eddie is a hippie!! No, wait... he only thinks about sex half the time. Never mind. But still, George Liquor would be ashamed.

Eddie Fitzgerald said...

William: The decals are a great idea!

Jorge: "Fight Club" was great, both the film and the book.! I tried to read another book by the same author but was disappointed, so I didn't finish it.

John: Haw!

Phantom Spitter said...

Did you do any posts while you had high testosterone? That would've been weird.

Lester Hunt said...

Good luck when you go under the knife, Eddie!

Khaki Hat said...

I second the Pig Latin audio books; you could even sell it with those mall drawing pamphlets you were talking about weeks back.
BTW, could you tape yourself while low on testosterone? I've heard of the effects, but have yet to see it on film or in person.

Nate said...

Get well soon, Eddie!

Eddie Fitzgerald said...

Khaki: Good idea!

Phantom: OK, I'll put up an example of my new, mild self.

Everybody: Thanks for the well-wishes. I don't get cut up till Tuesday, so I'll post up til then. I'll make a few pre-recorded posts to tide me over during the period when I'm all doped up and drooling over myself.

getwellsoon said...

If it's really a minor outpatient surgery then you shouldn't be so "doped up" by the drs that you're drooling. If you don't overdo the pain meds that is...

Eddie Fitzgerald said...

Phantom: I posted during the high testoserone period, but I don't see a difference.

Eddie Fitzgerald said...

CWyatt: They used to be fairly common in the high end stores but I haven't seen them lately. Come to think of it, I haven't seen starch lately but it must be out there.

Deniseletter said...

Hi,today I sumbled in and I found more info for you:

http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?id=strange-but-true-testosterone-alone-doesnt-cause-violence

Eddie Fitzgerald said...

Denise: Interesting article! So testosterone is a status dominace hormone! It helps violence but only if you're prone to it already. I'll have to think about that.