It’s long been established that male group activities causes a spike in testosterone, but a recent study has suggested that the solitary act of hunting and putting food on the table leads to a spike in the ‘love hormone’ oxytocin.
The spikes in ‘love hormone’ oxytocin is believed to be caused by the feeling a man has when he provides food for his family. That bringing the bacon home elicits a hormonal response in males, a ‘love’ response that causes the spike in oxytocin (or vice versa, it’s a chicken/egg thing).
So what does this mean for you? Well, it means you can ditch viagra and just start hunting animals with that big ass gun that you’re going to purchase, but ONLY if you then slaughter that animal and cook it up.
Melissa Healy of The LA Times and The Courier-Journal reports:
From hunting grounds to athletic fields to trading floors, men moving together in packs, and sometimes alone, are typically engaged in what anthropologists term “male status competition.” And their levels of testosterone — the hallmark hormone of maleness — tend to rise accordingly.
But a new study explores the nurturing, familial side of men who engage in such primal activities, often to support, feed or bring honor to their families. It finds that that side, too, is expressed hormonally, when a man arrives home to his family bearing dinner (or perhaps a paycheck or a trophy).
Indeed, the higher a man’s testosterone has risen in the course of his engagement in traditionally male activity, the more the “love hormone” oxytocin tends to surge upon his arrival home, researchers have found. The longer his workday, researchers also found, the higher his oxytocin levels when he returns to his family.
That finding — one of the first to measure oxytocin release in a naturalistic setting — emerged after anthropologists from UC Santa Barbara followed male members of an Amerindian tribe in the Amazon Basin of Bolivia as they hunted for food.
The 31 men studied were members of the Tsimane hunter-gatherer tribe of Bolivia. UCSB anthropologist Benjamin C. Trumble collected salivary samples — spit — from the hunters, first as they departed on their daylong, and often solitary hunts; again after their first shot at a prey animal; and finally, about 10 minutes after they returned home.
Published in the Royal Society’s Biology Letters, the resulting findings discovered — to their surprise — that men whose “day at the office” drove their testosterone highest experienced the highest levels of oxytocin when they came home.
“Testosterone, whatever the reason for the increase, is liable to make you more asocial, and that might not be a good thing when you’re coming home to your family and community,” Jaeggi said. “Oxytocin on the other hand makes you more empathetic, which would be useful in a social context.”
Both hormones may play another role for returning hunters: After the physical exertions of the hunt, testosterone and oxytocin also have been shown to assist in rebuilding muscle. That tonic effect may be a happy coincidence, or it may have been the hormonal influence that helped men in early human societies to form bonds with their partners and children.
So bros, if you’re looking for a spike in oxytocin not only should you get to shooting some animals, but it might help if you head on down to the Amazon and kill the same ones that the tribe from the study did.