By: DAILY MAIL REPORTER
Monday, November 21, 2011
Contrary to popular belief, macho and testosterone-pumped men are not care-free risk takers when it comes to the bedroom.
Instead they prefer to take a more responsible approach when it comes to having sex.
A new study has found that young men with high levels of the sex hormone are more likely to use condoms and have protected sex.
The research, by Sari van Anders a behavioral neuroendocrinologist at the University of Michigan, focused on 18 and 19-year-old men in their first year of college.
‘One of the things that is interesting about these results is that they're one of the first to demonstrate a link between higher testosterone and less risk-taking in any domain.' van Anders told Live Science.
She said it is possible that men get an ego and testosterone boost from safe-sex practices, because it makes them appear as knowledgeable about sex.
However, van Anders also told Live Science, that the findings may reveal that for young college men, insisting on safe sex could feel like a riskier move than unprotected sex.
‘There's this body of research showing that people often view safer sex behaviors and people who engage in them in a somewhat negative light, van Anders said.
Therefore, she said, the ‘social risk' of insisting on using a condom might require more boldness and confidence then having unprotected sex.
Testosterone is linked to boldness and confidence, as well as making risky decisions, such as making costly financial bets.
But the concept of risk is culturally defined, van Anders said.
In the case of sex, the obvious risk would be of pregnancy or sexually transmitted infections (STI). But for some people, those risks seem unlikely, she said, while the risk of having a partner think you are untrustworthy or already infected if you insist on using a condom is very immediate.
‘Do you care more about the possibility of acquiring an STI, which might seem unlikely despite all these educational efforts, or do you care more about your partner right now, potentially thinking negative things about you?' van Anders said.
The results revealed that men with higher testosterone levels had more positive attitudes about safe sex.
They were also more likely to say they had used a condom even if there were obstacles such as social stigma in the way, the researchers reported in the Journal of Sexual Medicine.
The lower-testosterone men showed less acceptance toward condoms, and were less likely have tried to use a condom in a situation where doing so was awkward or otherwise difficult, Live Science reports.
In the study, researchers asked 78 men, who were mostly heterosexual and from high-income families, to answer questionnaires about their health, sexual activity and attitudes toward condom use and other safe-sex practices.
Each participant provided a saliva sample, from which the researchers were able to measure their testosterone levels.