Sex, Testosterone, and Iron

The readers of Lift Big Eat Big are no strangers to the surge of testosterone that comes from heavy compound movements in training. Testosterone is the powerful hormone release from the testicles in males, the ovaries in females, with small amount also being released by the adrenal glands. Testosterone is directly linked to health status in men and low levels lead to a host of problems, including decreased insulin sensitivity and diabetes risk, kidney disease, fat gain and muscle loss, anemia, and overall poor health. Additionally, low testosterone has been shown to lead to feelings of greater aggression, lower mood, and depression in men.

What has not been made clear, however, is the link between lifting heavy ass iron objects, our sex drive, and the testosterone that is released from both of these actions. So lock up your daughters and lock up your wives, because this is the sex and iron issue of Lift Big Eat Big.

Although testosterone is usually thought of as a male hormone, it is also present in women’s bodies, at about 1/10th of the levels. Testosterone is directly linked to the sex drive of both males and females. Low levels have been called the “male version of menopause” contributing directly to a lack of sex drive and erectile dysfunction.

How do we manipulate our testosterone levels to get our sex drive back? By lifting heavy iron objects, of course! As well as eating large amounts of animal flesh. Heavy compound lifts and animal protein consumption are both directly linked to as much as a 50% increase in testosterone secretion, this in turn has an immense impact on the sex lives of both men and women. Cholesterol is a steroid that also helps the body secrete testosterone, so you are doing yourself a disservice by sticking to an egg white-only diet and avoiding the cholesterol-rich yolks. While it may take more than just testosterone to desire sex (being attracted to your partner helps too), without it, you may be experiencing a sex life that is at half-mast.

Sexual stimulation in both females and males is known to cause an increase of testosterone to be secreted, as well as an increase of proestrogen in females. Females involved with testosterone & HGH therapy reported increased levels of sexual thoughts, fantasies, and satisfaction. Whether or not this high level of sexuality can be replicated with an increase of animal protein and heavy lifting has not been tested as of yet.

Contrary to what the latest bodybuilding forum will tell you, ejaculation prior to training has not been linked to a decrease in training performance. Ancient military leaders would forbid their troops to have sex the night before battle because they felt it would take their men’s focus off of the task at hand the next day. Even in relatively current times, Muhammed Ali would abstain from sex for 6 weeks before a fight, while Sugar Ray Leonard on the opposite end would have sex up to the day of his fight, with no ill effects reported.

Some researchers believed that sex before training would result in lowered energy levels, this has since been disproven. In fact, the testosterone boost that is secreted during sex can actually increase performance, whether it is in the squat cage or the fighting ring. The claim that sex can affect psychological performance has yet to be tested, although I am sure there are plenty of my readers who would be willing to put this claim to the test.

As competitive athletes, fighters, and general lifters in search of recreational hugeness, it is in our best interest to have as high of testosterone levels as possible. Engaging in progressively heavier lifting, maintaining an active sex life (giggity), and consuming a diet high in animal protein, cholesterol and vegetables will help us maintain muscle mass, bone density, and lifelong health.

I suggest you go raise your testosterone levels right now.


-Shifren JL (2004). The role of androgens in female sexual dysfunction. Mayo Clinic Proceedings, 79(Suppl): S19-S24.


-Aeron Life Cycles Clinical Laboratory. (2007). Bodies in Motion, Hormones in Action, Hormonal Update, Volume 3 Number 4 (Online).



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