11 Mar Single, married or living with someone? Your answer reveals something surprising about your hormones
Quick–what’s your relationship status: Single? Or living with a partner or spouse?
Strange as it sounds, your answer reveals a bit about your hormone levels. Here’s how:
If you’re single: Your testosterone is higher and your estrogen and progesterone are lower than women living with a mate.
If you’re living with a partner or spouse: Your testosterone is lower and your estrogen and progesterone are higher than single women.
That’s the word from a new study in the American Journal of Human Biology and a 2010 study and 2013 study in the journal Hormones and Behavior.
Why would your hormones be different based on your relationship status?
The researchers have a few interesting theories:
Testosterone may be higher in single women because this hormone revs your desire to seek out a mate. Once you’re married, you no longer need this extra push to look for a partner, so the level of this hormone dips, helping you focus more on the sweetie you landed.
But, you’re not alone with this testosterone dip. Men who are married and have children also stop churning out as much testosterone likely for the same reason–to rein in their desire to seek out a new mate and become more loyal to the one they have, several studies show including this one and this one.
As for why estrogen and progesterone are higher in paired-off women, researchers speculate that it could be the body raises the levels of these hormones once you’re in a long-term relationship as a way to up your chances of conceiving.
Or, it could be that women with naturally higher levels of estrogen and progesterone are more likely to end up in a marriage or living with someone.
Until scientists study women who start out single, then get married or begin cohabitating or remain single over the years, they can’t know for sure. But, if they ever do find willing volunteers who don’t mind getting their hormone levels checked regularly–and their love lives scrutinized and reported on–I’ll let you know the results!
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