Health

Is It True That Testosterone Makes You Horny?

Taking T could boost your libido if you have this common condition.

30-Second Takeaway

  • Low testosterone can dampen sexual function by lowering libido, erectile function, mood, and energy levels.
  • More than half of men who have low testosterone experience low libido.
  • If your low libido is caused by low T, hormone therapy may improve your sex drive.

Testosterone is vital to a man’s sex life—from getting up to staying up. But the hormone also plays a key role in your desire to get it on, and a low sex drive can indicate your T levels have taken a nosedive (1). So, it begs the question if the inverse is also true: If your testosterone levels are low, can hormone therapy make you hornier?

It’s not that straightforward, urologists say. 

“It’s a myth that testosterone therapy is a cure-all for low libido,” says board-certified urologist Jamin Brahmbhatt, M.D.. “It can help those with clinically low levels, but it’s not a solution for libido issues caused by other factors like mental health, stress, relationship quality, and overall physical health.”

But getting your levels back to a healthy range could help you—and your friend—reclaim power in the bedroom.


About the Experts:

Amy Pearlman, M.D., is a board-certified urologist at Prime Institute, who specializes in men’s hormone and sexual health. 

Jamin Brahmbhatt, M.D., F.A.C.S., is a board-certified urologist and Assistant Professor of Urology at UCF College of Medicine. 


The Link Between Testosterone and Libido

While doctors agree there’s a link between testosterone and libido, Amy Pearlman, M.D., says the exact ways testosterone impacts your libido—and other aspects of sexual function like erectile function and ejaculation timing—is “not completely clear.” 

The leading theory: Testosterone targets receptors called neurotransmitters in the brain—particularly in the hypothalamus, a structure that is heavily involved in regulating sexual behavior (23).

Testosterone particularly influences the production of dopamine. This “feel good” neurotransmitter plays a key role in energy, sexual arousal, and desire, explains Jamin Brahmbhatt, M.D. When testosterone levels nose dive dopamine activity may also plummet. 

The result? Symptoms like low energy, irritability, and—you guessed it—low libido (4). 

However, not all research backs up this theory. Pearlman points to one study on the link between men’s health and aging (1). While libido and testosterone levels had a significant association, the difference in average testosterone levels between men with and without low libido was small. 

A loss of libido from low T can look different for everyone, according to men in the Hone community. Before treatment, some noticed that they wanted to have sex in theory—but had no energy or libido to follow through in the moment. Others said they wanted less sex than they used to or had no sex drive at all.

While sex drive naturally ebbs and flows when you’re sick, stressed, or injured, it’s worth getting your levels checked if your drop in libido becomes persistent and creates a barrier to the sex life you want. 

BOOST YOUR T

Does Testosterone Make You Horny?

If testosterone helps restore your sex drive, you’d think that pumping more into your system would give you a high libido, right? 

That’s partially true. Research shows testosterone therapy may improve libido for some men with low testosterone (5). Libido tends to climb during the first three months of treatment before leveling off, bringing you back to the level you may have enjoyed in your twenties (5). 

“Before I started treatment, my sex drive was noticeably lacking which was extremely frustrating,” says Dave, a Hone community member. “After I started TRT, my sex drive was restored to what it was when I was significantly younger.”

Greg, a Hone ambassador also says his libido ramped up on TRT. “Now, everything seems way more ‘normal.’”

But, if your testosterone levels are already in a healthy range, and your libido is already robust, taking T likely won’t rev up your sex drive any further (5).

How can you tell if low testosterone is causing low libido?

Your doctor can help you figure out if low testosterone or something else is driving your dip in sexual desire by doing a physical examination, reviewing your medication use, and assessing your mental health, Brahmbhatt explains. Your doctor will also test your hormones.

Pearlman usually starts with a hormone test. “Checking for low testosterone is probably the easiest potential cause to evaluate as it only takes a simple blood draw,” she says. 

If your testosterone assessment shows that you have low T with supporting symptoms, your doctor will likely recommend a form of hormone therapy (6). While most guidance suggests that low T falls below 300 ng/dL, this threshold may be different for each man (6). 

Can you start TRT and not get hornier?

While a boost in sex drive is a common perk of starting TRT, every man’s response to treatment will be a little different—similar to how symptoms of low testosterone can vary from person to person. 

Most men in the Hone community report gradual improvements in their sex drive and erections within 30 days of starting treatment. Others notice gradual improvements over a few months. If you are concerned that your libido isn’t improving after a few months, your doctor may test your levels again and adjust your dose to help further relieve your symptoms. 

If your libido still doesn’t revive, other factors—like physical health, stress, or relationship conflict—could be working against you, notes Pearlman. Bring up these concerns with your doctor, who can offer other suggestions or treatments alongside TRT. 

“I would recommend sex therapy for some patients and even consider off-label use of some of the medications we use in women with low libido like Addyi or Vyleesi,” Pearlman notes.

Can TRT make you too horny?

Going from a low libido to wanting to get it on again can be shocking for men as they start TRT. But is it possible for testosterone treatment to make you way too horny?

“I’ve actually had some patients who want to start TRT for other reasons including increasing lean muscle mass but are concerned it may raise their libido too much,” Pearlman says. “These patients usually have partners who are less interested in engaging in frequent sex.”

However, she rarely hears from men who are unsatisfied with their newfound, sky-high libido. 

“Because TRT certainly can increase libido, it very well may be an issue for some men. But my patients rarely have this issue,” Pearlman explains. “[If they did feel like their libido was too high], I would probably reduce their dose.”

BETTER SEX

Can testosterone boosters improve libido?

Men’s sexual health supplements line pharmacy shelves, touting benefits like boosted testosterone—which may lead to higher libido and more powerful erections. 

These supplements—which contain herbs, vitamins, and minerals—are believed to help increase T levels naturally. However, many of the popular herbal ingredients have yet to be studied for libido in humans, so it’s hard to say if you’ll achieve the same sex life as the lucky lab rats (7). 

At best, these over-the-counter testosterone boosters might give you a little boost but are unlikely to change your libido long-term if you have clinically low testosterone. You’ll have better results with hormone treatment monitored by your doctor. 

TRT and Fertility

While TRT is great for improving recreational sex for guys with low T, it’s a different story if you’re trying to conceive. 

Testosterone therapy can actually decrease your sperm count (8). Your brain closely tracks how much testosterone is in your system and churns out two hormones—luteinizing hormone (LH) and follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH)—when your levels are low. These hormones are also responsible for telling your testes to produce more testosterone and sperm (8).

But when you take TRT, your brain recognizes that you have plenty of testosterone and doesn’t try to kickstart the production of more—lowering the production of LH and FSH, too. Without enough LH and FSH, your sperm count drops. 

If you’re struggling with low libido due to low T and want to have kids, you don’t have to “just deal with it.” Your doctor may prescribe Clomid (also known as Clomiphene Citrate) to boost your testosterone and improve your fertility. 

The Bottom Line

If your hormone levels are healthy, TRT likely won’t make you hornier. But if you have a low sex drive as a result of low testosterone, getting your levels in check may improve your sexual desire.

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