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What about Tesosterone and my sex life?

Testosterone therapy in women. Do we need it? Is it important? Should you consider testosterone therapy for yourself? Testosterone in women helps to increase libido, decrease fatigue, decrease joint pain, and overall makes women feel better.

There are studies that support the use of testosterone and have found improvements in sexual activity, satisfaction and pleasure when compared to women not using testosterone. Is the answer testosterone and testosterone alone?

Testosterone is a sex hormone found in both males and females. Testosterone is an androgen, which is one of our sex steroids. As women we have lower circulating levels (about a tenth less than men during our reproductive years), but it is still present and does play an important role, just like our other hormones.

As women age there is a natural decline in our testosterone levels as we age. In fact by the time we are forty we will have lost about 40% of our testosterone. But what does testosterone do? In women, testosterone is produced from our adrenal glands and ovaries mostly, but fat can also produce androgens, just not as much.

Our body produces different types of testosterones, all of which are androgens.

1. Testosterone

2. dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate (DHEAS),

3. dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA)

4. Androstenedione

5. Androstenediol

Ok so we have circulating testosterone, but did you know that 80% of that testosterone is bound to Sex Hormone Binding Globulin (SHBG). Meaning that it is there but not able to activate anything. So, we have 20% testosterone, right? No, the other 19% is bound to our albumin (part of our blood), leaving 1% available testosterone. Now there are some things that can increase and decrease that 1%, but the other 99% are there but not available. Remember as we age there is a decline in our testosterone levels, so that 1% gets even lower. Does this decline affect our sexual desire?

To start there is more than just one factor that affects women’s sexual desire. Of course, our hormones play a role but so does the situation, our mood, body image and relationship status (to name a few)

But, back to the questions...Does testosterone increase sexual desire in women?

What is interesting about that question is that for many women desires is not the motivating factor for engaging in sex. Desire tends to be a side effect of becoming aroused. It is not surprising that if you turn a woman on, she will be more likely to want to have sex, but if you just have sex does not necessarily mean that you were aroused or really even had desire to have sex?

What I will say is that Testosterone therapy tends to increase sexual thoughts in most women. The more sexual thoughts you have typically led to increase in sexual desire and wanting to follow through on your sexual thoughts. The more you think about something the more you want that something.

Research has shown that although there are other factors that can and will affect women’s desire, testosterone does appear to be the primary sex steroid influencing desire, not the only hormone but it may have a big role in influencing our desire.

Sexual desire in women involves more than just one hormone. It appears that that they all work together, it takes both estrogen and testosterone. Both help to release one of our neurotransmitters Dopamine. When released dopamine enhances desire and is one of the reasons we continue to participate. So yes, testosterone is important to our sexual drive and desire, but it is not testosterone alone. Keep in mind that as we age desire may decline but satisfaction may not. Not just one thing influences our desire. Our life situation plays a role in desire as well as body image, partner, emotional, situational, and so on. Desires is directly affected by our life and that also fluctuates on a day-to-day basis. Just like our testosterone.


Clayton, A. (2010). The pathology of hypoactive sexual desire disorder in women. International Journal of Gynecology and Obstetrics, 7-11.

Davison, S. & Davis, S. (2011). Androgenic hormones and again- The link with female sexual function. Hormones and Behavior, 745-753.

Krapf, J. & Simon, J. (2009). The role of testosterone in the management of hypoactive sexual desire disorder in postmenopausal women. Maturitas, 213-219.

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