The changes that a woman undergoes physically, emotionally and psychologically after giving birth are numerous. But there’s little information or attention paid to the changes men undergo, if any, once they become fathers.
One new study (via Scientific American) aims to change that.
According to a research paper published by Canadian psychologists in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences journal, the experience of fatherhood may result in a drop in testosterone, the vital sex hormone that makes men so very different from women. For example, testosterone makes men more aggressive pursuers of romantic partners. Fortunately, it’s also the same thing that makes them so darned attractive to would-be amours.
For the study, researchers from Memorial University in Newfoundland analyzed the testosterone levels of over 600 men in their early 20s twice over a four-year period. The researchers discovered two interesting facts.
First, the single men with the highest levels of testosterone fared better when it came to finding mates and were also more likely to have had children during that time. And two, the men who did have children in the group saw their testosterone levels drop significantly compared to the men who were still single or hadn’t had kids.
What’s so significant about the drop-off in testosterone when baby arrives?
For women, it’s good news as it makes men more domestic and less competitive. Some speculate that this reduction in testosterone is nature’s way of bonding men closer to their families.
The research paper also made one more observation that may encourage some women to leave the kids at home with dad more often. According to the paper’s findings, the men who spent more time with their kids showed further testosterone reductions than fathers who didn’t participate as actively in childcare.