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Contribution of dihydrotestosterone to male sexual behaviour

BMJ 1995; 310 doi: (Published 20 May 1995) Cite this as: BMJ 1995;310:1289
  1. Christos S Mantzoros,
  2. Emmanuel I Georgiadis, head, Endocrine Unita,
  3. Dimitrios Trichopoulos, professor and chiefb
  1. a 401 Military Hospital, Athens, Greece Christos Mantzoros, resident in medicine
  2. b Department of Epidemiology, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts 02215, USA
  1. Correspondence to: Dr Mantzouros, Department of Endocrinology, RN 324, Beth Israel Hospital, Harvard Medical School, 330 Brookline Avenue, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, USA.
  • Accepted 21 March 1995


Objective: To document the relative importance of endogenous sex steroids in modulating the frequency of orgasms, the dominant aspect of sexual behaviour in healthy eugonadal men.

Design: Measurement of adrenal and testicular sex steroids in a sample of army recruits and study of their relation to frequency of orgasms ascertained by questionnaire after potential confounding variables were controlled for.

Setting: Military campus and military hospital laboratories in Athens, Greece.

Subjects: 92 consecutively enrolled healthy male recruits aged 18-22 years.

Main outcome measures: Weekly number of orgasms. Serum concentrations of testosterone, dehydroepiandrosterone sulphate, dihydrotestosterone, oestradiol, oestrone, δ-4-androstenedione, and sex hormone binding globulin.

Results: Serum dihydrotestosterone concentration was the only independent hormonal predictor of the frequency of orgasms; an increase in concentration of 1.36 nmol/l (about 2 SD) corresponded to an average increase of one orgasm a week.

Conclusions: Differences in concentrations of circulating dihydrotestosterone within the normal range may represent a major predictor of sexual activity in healthy young men.

Key messages

  • Key messages

  • The hormone that determines sexual behavior has not yet been conclusively identified in healthy adults

  • This study shows that dihydrotestosterone is the dominant hormonal determinant of the frequency of orgasms in young healthy adults

  • The frequency of orgasms depends not only on psychosocial factors but on variation of dihydrotestosterone concentrations within the normal range


    • Accepted 21 March 1995
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