It’s ThrowBack Thursday, so here’s a classic column that originally ran in October of 2009.
“I know you’re a Phillies fan, so you can probably get my situation. This World Series has me so stoked, my sex drive is out of control. All through the play-offs I could tell I was hornier than usual, but since the NLCS, I’ve been feeling like a wild animal. Is it a testosterone thing? Is it just coincidence? Either way, I’m loving it, my girlfriend is loving it and we’re looking forward to watching Cliff Lee demolish those over-paid princesses!”
Great insight, actually. The city of Philadelphia prepared for the inevitable celebration of the NLCS win over the Dodgers by watering down trash and greasing street poles because they knew the excited denizens would probably want to celebrate their fair city by destroying a small part of it. This is because not only are they probably drunk, but male fans also experience a testosterone boost comparable to the players on the team themselves. Add to that the fact testosterone rates are highest in the fall anyway (so our ancestors could go get knocked up, hibernate all winter and pop out summer babies) and it’s a perfect recipe for doing amazingly stupid stuff.
Out in the wild, animals who compete for things (resources, females during estrus, dominance, etc) get all geared up for big battles with an increase in testosterone and so we do too. The winner experiences a surge of T and the loser’s T rates drop a comparable amount. Women get a bump of T too, but in smaller doses because theirs is created in the ovaries and adrenal glands rather than the testes.
The interesting thing, though, is that experience happens in the fans too, even though they haven’t engaged in any physical activity, but merely associate with the athletes who did. Their alliance to the team is part of our innate desire to belong and to empathize with allies. The fans of winning teams feel sexier after a victory, even though they probably just drank 5 Golden Monkeys and downed a whole cheesesteak, while the losers feel less able to snag a date even though they live in a city of 8.3 million.
This effect is not isolated to sports competitions either. It’s any time there’s a battle for dominance. After the 2008 election results were made public, male McCain voters experienced a drop of T while Obama supporters had a bump. On the good side, this means plenty of celebration, the feeling of comradery, boosted self esteem and, as in your case, a libido so strong you want to bang your lady on the corner of Broad and Shunk. But on the bad side, a quick surge of testosterone and unchecked emotion can also catapult to riots and higher incidence of spousal abuse.
Sex and sports are inextricably intertwined since the origins of most athletic competition is contending for sex. Arguably, having sex makes you better at competing athletically and orgasm can even help block pain that might otherwise make your fight more difficult.
So, enjoy! Bask in the relationship building explosion that is this World Series and I hope to see you at the victory parade!