Effects of endogenous testosterone and estradiol on sexual behavior in normal young men

J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 1994 Mar;78(3):711-6. doi: 10.1210/jcem.78.3.8126146.


The importance of androgens in establishing and maintaining sexual function in males of most species is well recognized. Estrogens also stimulate male sexual function in some species. In men, most studies of androgen effects on behavior have used hypogonadal men as an experimental model; much less is known about the role of endogenous testosterone (T) or estradiol (E2) in the regulation of behavior in healthy, eugonadal men. In a randomized, double-blind study, we used a GnRH antagonist, Nal-Glu, without T replacement, to induce acute, profound, reversible gonadal steroid deficiency in 9 normal men for 6 weeks (Nal-Glu alone). We also studied the effects of partial androgen replacement by administering Nal-Glu together with T enanthate, 50 mg im weekly, to 10 other men. A third group of 10 men received Nal-Glu plus T, 100 mg im weekly. We studied the role of endogenous E2 by administering Nal-Glu plus T, 100 mg im weekly, plus an aromatase inhibitor, testolactone (Teslac), 250 mg po qid, to 10 additional men (Nal - Glu + T + Teslac). Nine men received placebo injections and tablets. All subjects completed a behavioral questionnaire during the pretreatment period, at weeks 2, 4, and 6 of treatment, and at 3 weeks posttreatment. Men who received Nal-Glu alone became profoundly hypogonadal within 1 week after treatment began. Serum T levels did not change significantly in the controls and in the men who received full T replacement but decreased to approximately half the baseline level in men who received partial T replacement. E2 levels decreased profoundly in men who received Nal-Glu alone or Nal - Glu + T + Teslac and to a lesser degree in men who received partial T replacement. In men who received Nal-Glu alone, there were clinically and statistically significant decreases in the frequency of sexual desire, sexual fantasies, and intercourse at 4-6 weeks. These men also showed a strong trend (P = 0.55) towards decreased spontaneous erections after 4 and 6 weeks of treatment. A significant decrease in the frequency of masturbation was evident after 6 weeks. All measures returned to normal by posttreatment week 3. There was a trend toward increased aggression in the hypogonadal men, but this did not reach statistical significance. No changes in satisfaction or happiness with their partners were observed.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 400 WORDS)

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aggression / drug effects
  • Aggression / physiology
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Estradiol / blood
  • Estradiol / physiology*
  • Gonadotropin-Releasing Hormone / adverse effects
  • Gonadotropin-Releasing Hormone / analogs & derivatives
  • Gonadotropin-Releasing Hormone / pharmacology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Placebos
  • Reference Values
  • Sexual Behavior / drug effects
  • Sexual Behavior / physiology*
  • Testosterone / blood
  • Testosterone / physiology*


  • LHRH, N-Ac-2-Nal(1)-4-Cl-Phe(2)-3-Pal(3)-Arg(5)-Glu(6)-AlaNH2(10)-
  • Placebos
  • Gonadotropin-Releasing Hormone
  • Testosterone
  • Estradiol