Higher testosterone levels are associated with unfaithful behavior in men

Biol Psychol. 2019 Sep:146:107730. doi: 10.1016/j.biopsycho.2019.107730. Epub 2019 Jul 18.


Background: Infidelity in romantic relationships is a common, but severe issue often causing breakup and severe psychological impairment. Higher levels of testosterone are related to mating-behavior, sexual desire, and infidelity in men with sexual dysfunctions. Previous studies, have insufficiently addressed the potential role of testosterone in infidelity in healthy men.

Methods: A sample of 224 middle-aged self-reporting healthy men being currently in a relationship completed questionnaires on relationship characteristics, infidelity, and provided overnight-fasting saliva samples for testosterone quantification.

Results: In the sample, 37.5% men answered having been unfaithful in the current relationship, while 29% were identified as fulfilling criteria for a sexual dysfunction. Adjusting for covariates, a significant positive association for the frequency of unfaithful behavior and testosterone levels emerged. Subsample analysis indicates a positive association between testosterone and infidelity only to be present in men without sexual dysfunction.

Conclusion: Unfaithful behavior in males is associated with higher testosterone levels.

Keywords: Infidelity; Men; Relationship satisfaction; Sexual activity; Sexual dysfunction; Sexuality; Testosterone; Unfaithful behavior.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations*
  • Libido
  • Male
  • Marriage
  • Middle Aged
  • Saliva / chemistry
  • Sexual Behavior / physiology*
  • Social Desirability
  • Testosterone / metabolism*


  • Testosterone