HUNTERS & SEX: Men Returning from the Hunt Experience Rush of “Love Hormones”

Published on March 20, 2015

Ladies, you might wanna tell your man to go hunting if you want him to be more romantic.

Outdoor Hub – How do you feel after a hunt? Exhilarated? Hungry? Just plain tired? According to a study by researchers at UC Santa Barbara, male hunters returning from the field may experience a sudden rise in oxytocin, the so-called “love hormone.” This nickname is somewhat misleading since oxytocin not only promotes sexual arousal, but also a wide range of other benefits such as increasing sociability, reducing stress, reducing pain, healing wounds, and there is even some evidence of the hormone acting as anti-depressant. Overall, scientists say the hormone may make hunters more empathetic, which helps in allowing them to reintegrate with their families, share a meal, and “calm down” after the hunt.

The study, which was recently published in the Royal Society’s Biology Letters, followed a group of subsistence hunters in Boliva called the Tsimane. Researchers accompanied the Tsimane men on the hunt and routinely collected saliva samples from the volunteers, which allowed the scientists to keep track of the hunters’ hormone levels during and after the trip. According to the researchers, increased oxytocin made the hunters kinder, more generous, and more likely to share their harvest. The hormone also appears to tap into certain male nurturing behaviors, which allowed hunters to more easily reconnect with their families after a long absence.

Hunting naturally increases testosterone, especially if a hunt is successful. Researchers found that the higher a hunter’s testosterone is raised, the higher his oxytocin level will surge when he returns. In many ways, this allows the hunter to “sober up” from the negative effects of high testosterone levels. Although women are also affected by oxytocin, the study followed mostly male hunters.

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