Testosterone, that most male of hormones, takes a dive after a man becomes a parent. And the more he gets involved in caring for his children - changing diapers, jiggling the kid on his knee, reading "Goodnight Moon" for the umpteenth time - the lower his testosterone drops.
So says the first large study measuring testosterone in men when they were single and childless and several years after they had children. Experts say the research has implications for understanding the biology of fatherhood, hormone roles in men and even health issues like prostate cancer.
"The real take-home message," said Peter Ellison, a professor of human evolutionary biology at Harvard not involved in the study, is that "male parental care is important. It's important enough that it's actually shaped the physiology of men."
"Unfortunately," he added, "I think American males have been brainwashed" to believe lower testosterone means that "maybe you're a wimp, that it's because you're not really a man. My hope would be that this kind of research has an impact on the American male. It would make them realize that we're meant to be active fathers and participate in the care of our offspring."....
"This is part of the guy being invested in the "This is part of the guy being invested in the marriage," said Carol Worthman, an anthropologist at Emory University in Atlanta who also was not involved in the study. Lower testosterone, she said, is the father's way of saying, " 'I'm here,I'm not looking around, I'm really toning things down so I can have good relationships.' What's great about this study is it lays it on the table that more is not always better. Faster, bigger, stronger - no, not always."
This study reminds me of George Gilder's book, "Men and Marriage" which talks of the civilizing influence of marriage and family in the lives of males. When those influences aren't present we get the fall out of males without responsibility in their lives. They're listless, directionless, and often drift into activities which aren't helpful for society.
More evidence on the importance of men being and staying married.