Androgens and Behavior in Men

  • G. M. Alexander
Part of the Mineralogical Society Series book series (ENDO, volume 5)


In most mammalian species, androgens play an important role in the development and maintenance of sex-typed behavior. Sex steroids acting during fetal life are critical for sexual differentiation of the brain and development of sex-appropriate internal and external genitalia (Wilson et al, 1981). Exposure to androgens secreted by the testes during critical periods of fetal development is necessary for the masculinization and defeminization of brain areas (Arnold and Gorski, 1984), most notably in the preoptic area and ventromedial nucleus of the hypothalamus (Goy and McEwen, 1980; MacLusky and Naftolin, 1981). One area of hormone-behavior research is focused on this “hardwiring” of the brain substrates of sexually dimorphic behavior, termed “organizational effects”. A second area of hormone-behavior research is focused on sexually dimorphic behavior patterns in postnatal development, which usually depend to some degree on circulating levels of gonadal steroids acting on mediating brain areas and possibly also peripheral effects of sex hormones, termed “activational effects” (Young et al, 1964).


Sexual Behavior Sexual Arousal Androgen Level Sexual Stimulus Testosterone Replacement Therapy 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Alexander GM, Packard MG, and Hines M. Testosterone has rewarding affective properties in male rats: Implications for the biological bases of sexual motivation. Behav Neurosci 1994; 108: 424–428.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Alexander GM, Swerdloff RS, Wang C, Davidson T, McDonald V, Steiner B, Hines M. Androgen-behavior correlations in hypogonadal and eugonadal men: I Mood and response to auditory sexual stimuli Horm Behav 1997; 31: 110–119.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Alexander GM, Swerdloff RS, Wang C, Davidson T, McDonald V, Steiner B, Hines M. Androgen-behavior correlations in hypogonadal and eugonadal men: II Cognitive behavior, Horm Behav 1998; in press. Google Scholar
  4. Anderson RA, Bancroft J, and Wu FCW. The effects of exogenous testosterone on sexual and mood of normal men. J Clin Endocrinol Metab 1992; 75: 1503–1507.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Archer J. The influence of testosterone on human aggression. Br J Psychol 1991; 82: 1–28PubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. Arnold AP, and Gorski RA. Gonadal steroid induction of structural sex differences in the central nervous system. Ann Rev Neurosci 1984; 7: 413–442.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Bancroft J. Endocrinology of sexual function. Clin Obstet Gynecol 1980; 7: 253–281.Google Scholar
  8. Bancroft J. Sexual desire and the brain. Sex Marital Ther 1988; 3: 11–27.Google Scholar
  9. Bancroft J, and Wu FCW. Changes in erectile responsiveness during androgen replacement therapy. Arch Sex Behav 1983; 12: 59–66PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Bagatell CJ, Heiman JR, Matsumoto AM, Rivier JE, and Bremner WJ. Metabolic and behavioral effects of high-dose exogenous testosterone in healthy men. J Clin Endocrinol Metab 1994; 79: 561–567.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Barrett-Connor E, and Edelstein SL. A prospective study of dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate and cognitive function in an older population: The Rancho Bernardo Study. J Am Geriatrics Soc 1994; 42: 420–423.Google Scholar
  12. Baulieu EE. Studies on dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) and its sulphate during aging. C R Acad Sci Paris 1995; 318: 7–11PubMedGoogle Scholar
  13. Beatty WW. Hormonal organization of sex differences in play fighting and spatial behavior. Prog Brain Res 1984; 61: 315–330.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  14. Buschbaum MS, and Henkin RI. Perceptual abnormalities in patients with chromatin negative gonadal dysgenesis and hypogonadotropic hypogonadism. Internat J Neurosci. 1980; 11: 201–209.Google Scholar
  15. Berkman LF, Seeman RE, Albert M, Blazer D, Kahn R, Mohs R, Finch K, Schneider E, Cotman C, McClearn G, Nesselroade J, Featherman D, Garmezy N, McKhann G, Brim G, Prager D, and Rowe J. High, usual and impaired functioning in community dwelling older men and women: Findings from the MacArthur Foundation Research Network on Successful Aging. J Clin Epidemiol. 1993; 46: 1129–1140.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Bellino DL, Daynes RA, Hornsby PJ, Lavrin DH, and Nestler JE. Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) and aging. Ann New York Acad Sci 1995, vol 774.Google Scholar
  17. Brown WA, Monti PM, and Corriveau DP. Serum testosterone and sexual activity and interest in men. Arch Sex Behav 1970; 7: 97–103.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Broverman DM, Klaiber EL, Koboyashi Y, and Vogel W. Roles of activation and inhibition in sex differences in cognitive abilities. Psychol Rev 1968; 75: 23–50.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Buena F, Swerdloff RS, Steiner BS, Lutchmansingh P, Peterson MA, Pandian MR, Galmarini M, and Bhasin S. Sexual function does not change when serum testosterone levels are pharmacologically varied within the normal male range. Fertil Steril 1993; 59: 1118–1123.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  20. Burris AS, Banks SM, Carter CS, Davidson TM, and Sheris RJ. A long-term prospective study of the physiologic and behavioral effects of hormone replacement in untreated hypogonadal men. J Andrology 1992; 13: 297–304.Google Scholar
  21. Cappa SF, Guariglia C, Papgno C, Pizzamiglio L, Vallar G, Zoccolotti P, Ambrosi B, and Santiemma V. Patterns of lateralization and performance levels for verbal and spatial tasks in congenital androgen deficiency. Behav Brain Res 1988; 31: 177–183.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Caprara GV and Pastrelli C. Toward a reorientation of research on aggression. Eur J Personality 1989; 3: 121–138.Google Scholar
  23. Carani C, Granata AR, Bancroft J, Marrama P. The effects of testosterone replacement on nocturnal penile tumescence and rigidity and erectile response to visual erotic stimuli in hypogonadal men. Psychoneuroendocrinology 1995; 20: 743–753.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Carr GD, Fibiger HC, and Phillips AG. Conditioned place preference as a measure of drug reward In J M Leibman and S J Cooper, Eds. Oxford Reviews in Psychopharmacology: Vol 1 Neuropharmacological Basis of Reward. New York: Oxford University Press, pp 265–319, 1989.Google Scholar
  25. Cawood EHH and Bancroft J. Steroid hormones, the menopause, sexuality and well-being of women. Psychol Med 1996; 26: 925–936.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  26. Christiansen K. Sex hormone-related variations of cognitive performance in !Kung San hunger-gatherers of Namibia. Neuropsychobiology 1993; 27:97–107.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  27. Christiansen K, and Knussman R. Sex hormones and cognitive functioning in men. Neuropsychobiology 1987; 18: 27–36.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  28. Clark AS, and Goldman-Rakic PS. Gonadal hormones influence the emergence of cortical function in nonhuman primates. Behav Neurosci 1989; 103: 1287–1295.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Collaer ML, and Hines M. Human behavioral sex differences: A role for gonadal hormones during early development? Psychol Bull 1995; 118: 55–107.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Dabbs JM. Testosterone, aggression, and delinquency. In S Bhasin, H Gabelnick, J Spieler, RS Swerdloff, C Wang, (Eds), Pharmacology, Biology and Clinical Applications of Androgens: Current Status and Future Prospects. New York: Wiley-Liss, 1996.Google Scholar
  31. Davidson JM, Carmargo CA, and Smith ER. Effects of androgens on sexual behavior of hypogonadal men. J Clin Endocrinol Metab 1979; 48: 955–958.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  32. Davidson JM, Chen JJ, Crapo L, Gary GD, Greenleaf WJ, and Catania JA Hormonal changes and sexual function in aging men.. J Clin Endocrinol Metab 1983; 57: 71–77.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  33. Davidson JM, Kwan M and Greenleaf WJ. Hormone replacement and sexuality in men. Clin Endocrinol Metab 1982; 11: 599–623.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. DeBeun R, Jansen R, Slagen JL, and Van de Poll NE. Testosterone as an appetitive and discriminative stimulus in rats: sex-dose-dependent effects. Physiol Behav 1992; 52: 629–634.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. DePeretti E, and Forest MG. Unconjugated dehydroepiandrosterone plasma levels in normal subjects from birth to adolescence in humans: The use of a sensitive radioimmunoassay. J Clin Endocrinol Metab 1976; 42: 982–991.Google Scholar
  36. Ekstrom RB, French JW, and Harman HH. Kit of Factor Referenced Cognitive Tests Princeton, NJ, Educational Testing Service, 1976.Google Scholar
  37. Everitt BJ. Sexual motivation: A neural and behavioral analysis of the mechanisms underlying appetitive and copulatory responses of male rats. Neurosci Biobehav Rev 1990; 14:217–232.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Feder HH. Hormones and sexual behavior. Ann Rev Psychol 1984; 35: 165–200.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Fleshner M, Pugh CR, Tremblay D, and Rudy JW. DHEA-S selectively impairs contextual-fear conditioning: Support for the anti-glucocorticoid hypothesis. Behav Neurosci 1997; 111:512–517.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Flood JF, Morely JE, Roberts E. Memory-enhancing effects in male mice of pregnenolone and steroids metabolically derived from it. Proc Nat Acad Sci 1992; 89: 1567–1571.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Ford CS and Beach FA. Patterns of Sexual Behavior, New York: Harper, 1951.Google Scholar
  42. Gouchie C and Kimura D. The relation between testosterone levels and cognitive ability patterns. Psychoneuroendocrinology 1991; 16: 323–324.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Gooren LJG. Androgen levels and sex functions in testosterone-treated men. Arch Sex Behav 1987;16: 463–473.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Goy RW, and McEwen BS. Sexual Differentiation of the Brain, Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1980.Google Scholar
  45. Halpern DF. Sex Differences in Cognitive Abilities, Erlbaum, Hillsdale, NJ, 1992.Google Scholar
  46. Hampson E. Variations in sex-related cognitive abilities across the menstrual cycle. Brain and Cognition 1990; 14: 26–43.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Hier DB, and Crowley WF. Spatial ability in androgen-deficient men. New Eng J Med 1982; 306: 1202–1205.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  48. Hyde JS, and Linn MC. Gender differences in verbal ability: A meta-analyses. Psychol Bull 1988; 104:53–69.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Janowsky JS, Oviatt SK, and Orwoll ES. Testosterone influences spatial cognition in older men. Behav Neurosci 1994; 108: 324–332.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Kampen DL, and Sherwin BB. Estrogen is related to visual memory in healthy young men. Behav Neurosci 1996; 110: 613–617.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Kashkin KB, and Kleber HD. Hooked on hormones? An anabolic steroid addiction hypothesis. J Am Med Assoc 1989; 262: 3166–3170.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Kertzman C, Robinson DL, Sherins RJ, Schwankhaus JD, and McClurkin JW. Abnormalities in visual spatial attention in men with mirror movements associated with isolated hypogonadotropic hypogonadism. Neurology 1990; 40: 1057–1063.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  53. Kimura D, and Hampson E. Cognitive pattern in men and women is influenced by fluctuations in sex hormones. Cur Dir Psychol Sci 1994; 3: 57–61.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Kinsey AC, Pomeroy WB, and Martin CE. Sexual Behavior in the Human Male, Saunders, Philadelphia, 1948.Google Scholar
  55. Kinsey AC, Pomeroy WB, Martin CE, and Gebhard PH. Sexual Behavior in the Human Female, Saunders: Philadelphia, 1953.Google Scholar
  56. Korenman SG, Morley JE, Mooradian AD, Davis SS, Kaiser FE, Silver AJ, Viosca SP, Garza, D. Secondary hypogonadism in older men: its relation to impotence. J Clin Endocrinol Metab 1990; 71: 963–969.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  57. Kraemer HC, Becker HB, Brodie HKH, Doering CH, Moos RH, and Hamburg DA. Orgasmic frequency and plasma testosterone levels in normal human males. Arch Sex Behav 1976; 5: 125–132.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Kwan M, Greenleaf WJ, Mann J, Crapo L, and Davidson JM. The nature of androgen action on male sexuality: A combined laboratory-self-report study on hypogonadal men. J Clin Endocrinol Metab 1983; 57: 557–562.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  59. Labrie F. Intracrinology. Mol Cell Endocrinol 1991; 78: C113–C118.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Linn MC, and Petersen AC. Emergence and characterization of sex difference in spatial ability: A meta-analyses. Child Dev 1985; 56: 1479–1498.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Maccoby EE, and Jacklin CN. The Psychology of Sex Differences, Stanford University Press, Stanford, 1974.Google Scholar
  62. MacLusky NJ, and Naftolin F. Sexual differentiation of the central nervous system. Science 1981; 211: 1294–1303.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. McClintock MK, and Herdt G. Rethinking puberty: the development of sexual attraction. Cur Dir Psychol Sci 1996; 5: 178–183.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. McKeever WF, Rich DA, Deyo RA, and Conner RL. Androgens and spatial ability: Failure to find a relationship between testosterone and ability measures. Bull Psychon Soc 1987; 25: 438–440.Google Scholar
  65. Meaney MJ. The sexual differentiation of social play. Psychiatric Dev 1989; 3: 247–261.Google Scholar
  66. Micheal RP, and Wilson M. Effects of castration and hormone replacement in fully adult male rhesus monkeys (Macaca mulatta). Endocrinology 1974; 95: 150–159.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  67. Morales A, Johnston BA, Heaton JW, and Clark A. Oral androgens in the treatment of hypogonadal impotent men. J Urology 1994; 152: 1115–1118.Google Scholar
  68. Morales AJ, Nolan JJ, Nelson JC, and Yen SSC. Effects of replacement dose of dehydroepiandrosterone in men and women of advancing age. J Clin Endocrinol Metab 1994; 78: 1360–1367.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  69. O’Carroll R. Androgen administration to hypogonadal and eugonadal men-effects on measures of sensation seeking, personality, and spatial ability. Pers Ind Diff 1984; 5: 595–598.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  70. O’Carroll R, and Bancroft J. Testosterone therapy for low sexual interest and erectile dysfunction in men: A controlled study. Br J Psychiatry 1984; 145: 146–151.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  71. O’Carroll R, Shapiro C, and Bancroft J. Androgens, behavior, and nocturnal erection in hypogonadal men: The effects of varying the replacement dose. Clin Endocrinol 1985; 23: 527–338.Google Scholar
  72. Orentreich N, Brind JL, Rizer RL, Vogelman JH. Age changes and sex differences in serum dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate concentration throughout adulthood. J Clin Endocrinol Metáb 1984; 59: 551–555.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  73. Packard MG. Post-training estrogen and memory modulation. Horm Behav 1998; in press Google Scholar
  74. Packard MG, Cornell A, and Alexander GM. Rewarding affective properties of intranucleus accumbens injections of testosterone. Behav Neurosci 1997; 111: 219–224.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  75. Packard MG, Schroeder JP, and Alexander GM. Expression of testosterone conditioned place preference is blocked by peripheral or intra-accumbens injection of α-flupenthixol. Horm Behav 1998, in press Google Scholar
  76. Parks RW, Loewenstein DA, Dodrill KL, Barker WW, Yoshi F, Chang JY, Emran A, Apicella A, Sheramata WA, and Duara R. Cerebral metabolic effects of a verbal fluency test: a PET scan study. J Clin Exp Neuropsychol 1988; 10: 565–575.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  77. Papp M. Differential effects of short-and long-term treatment with imipramine. on the apomorphine-and food-induced place preference conditioning in rats. Pharmacol, Biochem Behav 1989; 30: 889–893.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  78. Puy L, MacLusky NH, Becker L, Karsan N, Trachtenberg J, and Brown TJ. Immuncytochemical detection of androgen receptor in human temporal cortex: Characterization and application of polychlonal androgen receptor antibodies in frozen and paraffin-embedded tissues. J Ster Biochem Mol Biol 1995; 55: 197–209.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  79. Raboch J, and Starka L. Reported coital activity of men and levels of plasma testosterone. Arch Sex Behav 1973; 2: 309–315.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  80. Reicher MA, and Holman EW. Location preference and flavor aversion reinforced by amphetamine in rats. Animal Learning Behav 1977; 5: 343–346.Google Scholar
  81. Roof RL, and Ravens MD. Testosterone improves maze performance and induces development of male hippocampus in females. Brain Res 1992; 572: 310–313.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  82. Salehian B, Wang C, Alexander G, Davidson T, McDonald B, Berman N, Dudley RE, Ziel F, and Swerdloff RS. Pharmacokinetics, bioefficacy and safety of sublingual testosterone cyclodextrin in hypogonadal men: Comparison to testosterone enanthate. J Clin Endocrinol Metab 1995; 80: 3567–3575.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  83. Salmimies P, Kockott G, Pirke KM, Vogt JJ, and Schill WB. Effects of testosterone replacement on sexual behavior in hypogonadal men. Arch Sex Behav 1982; 11: 345–353.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  84. Sarrieau A, Mitchell JB, Lal S, Olivier A, Quirion R, and Meaney MJ. Androgen binding sites in human temporal cortex. Neuroendocrinology 1990; 51:713–716.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  85. Schiavi RC, White D, Mandeli J, and Levine AC. Effect of testosterone administration on sexual behavior and mood in men with erectile dysfunction. Arch Sex Behav 1997; 26: 231–241.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  86. Silverman I, and Eals M. The hunter-gatherer theory of spatial sex differences: Proximate factors mediating the female advantage in recall of object arrays. Etholog Sociobiol 1994; 15: 95–105.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  87. Skakkeback NE, Bancroft J, Davidson DN, and Warner P. Androgen replacement with oral testosterone undecanoate in hypogonadal men: A double blind controlled study. Clin Endocrinol 1981; 14:49–61.Google Scholar
  88. Stuenkel CA, Dudley RE, and Yen SSC. Sublingual administration of testosterone-hydroxypropyl-β-cylodextrin inclusion complex stimulates episodic androgen release in hypogonadal men. J Clin Endocrinol Metab 1991; 72: 1054–1059.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  89. Su T, Pagliaro M, Schmidt PJ, Pickar D, Wolkowitz O, and Rubinow DR. Neuropsychiatric effects of anabolic steroids in male normal volunteers. J Am Med Assoc 1993; 269: 2760–2764.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  90. Tauber ES. Effects of castration upon the sexuality of the adult male. Psychoso Med 1940; 2: 74–87.Google Scholar
  91. Tricher R, Casaburi R, Storer TW, Clevenger B, Berman N, Shirazi A, and Bhasin S. The effects of supraphysiological doses of testosterone on angry behavior in healthy eugonadal men-a clinical research center study. J Clin Endocrinol Metab 1996; 81: 3754–3758.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  92. Tsitouras PD, Martin CE, and Hartman SM. Relationship of serum testosterone to sexual activity in healthy elderly men. J Gerontol 1982; 37:288–293.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  93. VanGoozen S, Cohen-Kettenis PT, Gooren LJG, Frijda NH, and Van de Poll NE. Gender differences in behavior: Activation effects of cross-sex hormones. Psychoneuro-endocrinology 1994; 20: 343–363.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  94. Wang C, Alexander G, Berman N, Salehian B, Davidson T, McDonald V, Steiner B, Hull L, Callegari C, and Swerdloff R. Testosterone replacement therapy improves mood in hypogonadal men. J Clin Endocrinol Metab 1996; 81: 3578–3583.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  95. White NM, Messier C, and Carr CD. Operationalizing and measuring the organizing influence of drugs on behavior In MA Bozarth (Ed), Methods of Assessing the Reinforcing Properties of Abused Drugs, New York: Springer-Verlag, pp 591–617, 1987.Google Scholar
  96. Williams CL, and Meck WH. Organizational effects of gonadal hormones induce qualitative differences in visuospatial navigation In M Haug et al, (Eds), The Development of Sex Differences and Similarities in Behavior, Kluwer Academic, Dordrecht, The Netherlands, pp 175–189, 1993.Google Scholar
  97. Wilson JD, Griffen JE, George RW, and Leshen M. The role of gonadal steroids in sexual differentiation. Recent Progress in Horm Res 1981; 37: 1–39.Google Scholar
  98. Wolf OT, Neumann O, Hellhammer DH, Geiben AC, Strasburger CH, Dressendorfer RA, Pirke K, and Kirschbaum C. Effects of a two-week physiological dehydroepiandrosterone substitution on cognitive performance and well-being in healthy elderly women and men. J Clin Endocrinol Metab 1997; 82: 2362–2367.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  99. Young WC, Goy RW, Phoenix CH. Hormones and sexual behavior. Science 1964; 143: 212–218.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • G. M. Alexander
    • 1
  1. 1.University of New OrleansNew Orleans

Personalised recommendations