August 18th, 2011
07:30 AM ET
Modern life rough on men
Didn’t men use to be more masculine? They were more ready to fight back, right? They walked with more swagger, and just did more things their way.
Researchers can’t measure swagger – but they can measure testosterone, the male sex hormone most responsible for masculine behaviors – and studies show that testosterone levels in men have been on the decline for decades.
Two major studies have confirmed the phenomenon, one in U.S. men and another in Danish men. In the U.S. study, the total testosterone levels measured in men’s blood dropped approximately 22% between 1987 and 2004.
Of course testosterone levels drop as men get older, but what makes the study shocking is that men today actually have less testosterone than men used to have at the same age.
The challenges to men’s health may not be limited to testosterone levels. The amount of sperm in ejaculated semen may be falling too.
A 1992 Danish analysis of sperm quality from other studies concluded that sperm quality has been dropping for decades, and a 1997 reanalysis using different mathematical modeling confirmed the decline, estimating a drop in sperm levels of about 1.5% per year in the United States.
But researchers have been gathering new data since 1996, this time using semen from Danish 18-year olds testing for military service.
That data shows no such decline at all. Oddly, the results have not been published in a peer-reviewed journal, but were instead released early to the Danish government, which then published them online.
If there’s strong evidence that testosterone is dropping, and the jury is still out on the decline of sperm, what other health challenges are men facing?
Male sex organ malformations are certainly among them. Hypospadias for example, a condition in which the man’s urethra opens somewhere before the tip of the penis, nearly doubled in prevalence from 1970 to 1993 according to national Birth Defects Monitoring Program.
Another study found that the percentage of babies in neonatal intensive care units with hypospadias jumped from just .4% in 1987 to 4% in 2000.
Boys also suffer higher rates of once-rare disorders like ADHD and autism. A comprehensive study of South Korean schoolchildren published earlier this year estimates 3.74% of all boys in that country have some form of autism, compared to 1.74% of girls.
To top it all off: there’s evidence that the percentage of babies born male is declining.
In the general population the difference is slight, but statistically relevant. One group of epidemiologists found that in the United States, the percentage of Caucasian babies born male decreased from 51.43% in 1970 to 51.22% in 2002. That’s equivalent to about 21 fewer men per 10,000 births.
In some populations, the drop is far more significant.
A group of Native Americans – the Chippewas of Aamjiwnaang – live on a reserve surrounded by large industrial chemical plants in Ontario, Canada. The percentage of male births there dropped from a normal rate of 55.1% in the years 1989-1993 to just 34.8% in the years 1999-2003.
Why is this happening?
Many researchers cited here mention changes in our environment, like an increase in the number of chemicals we’re exposed to in the womb, and throughout life.
Precisely how it all happens though is somewhat outside our scientific understanding, and of course something like testosterone levels affects each man very differently.
“Two men of the same age may have exactly the same testosterone level but feel very different physically, emotionally, and sexually,” says Ian Kerner, CNN’s sex counselor. “I try to work with men to re-define sex in a way that works with their situation.”
What is clear is that for whatever reason – men are taking some big biological punches from modern life.
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Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.
I believe it. All the men I've been out with recently have been total losers.
There seems to be one common denominator...
That says more about you than it does about the men you date.
Ashley, try looking somewhere else than the bar for possible dates.
Sounds like a personal problem to me.
So THATS why I've been watching the lifetime channel.
that does not make sense....because then your saying anyone with low levels of testosterone are losers? does that include all women then? dumb.
Sounds like some one is fat and ugly
That's not the point-–I keep o n thinking of Alphonso Cuaron's 2006 move "Children of Men", where all the planet stops producing kids and chaos erupts because of the prospect of no future generations. Kinda creepy.
Ash, I hear you and feel your pain. Same here. And has anybody noticed there are a lot more moobs bouncing around? I don't remember so many soft male boobs. Ick.
This has to be the evil doings of the Tea Party or Obama admin.
If your're a failure with men – try women.
does that mean most men will have feelings??? o man...
With a more populated, closer (via technology) world, is agressiveness (swagger/willingness to fight) really what we need? Maybe it's just evolution. Lower testosterone & lower sperm counts work better for adapting to a social, but overpopulated world. Nature can move quickly when necessary.
Willingness to fight has been greatly limited by the modern concept of lawsuits.
I agree. We don't need as many bucks with such an overpopulated forest.
Personally I think the world should impose a 2 child maximum rule in order to save the planet... No, you can't call me a hippie or a fascist because honestly what are we going to do in 100 years when the population hits 10 billion?? Colonize the moon? Go to Pandora? Yeah....
that could possibly be true. but the more likely reality is that we are poisoning ourselves...
100% with you Releena. Except I think it should be a 1-child limit and you should have to undergo psychological, financial, and physical testing before being allowed to procreate. We need to start halving the population instead of doubling it.
RIght. Nature. Sure.
Thats why our world is going to hell.
Blame mother nature.
releena195: Agree 100%, we desperately need this.
Jennifer: I don't think the blame for the world going wrong was on nature just maybe the reduction in male population. This happens in nature in other places where there is an over population.
Yup. "Evolution" caused by PCBs and other environmental estrogens. Why not go the "full Monte" and just castrate all newborns.
Aggressiveness and willingness to fight is not greatly needed until your home is invaded and you must defend yourself, as in a war or riot or mass starvation.
That's what I was thinking too. It would make sense from an evolutionary POV. At least we aren't running over a cliff like lemmings do when overpopulated. Or do we?
Way to support men Ash and fully understand the article. On behalf of all men. Way to go!
Women seem to prefer men who look like women.
yeah if they are gay. i prefer my men to be very very mascilen!
strong, smart, hard working, can fix anything 😛 ha, love the outdoors and can make his own money!
now thats a good man 🙂
but anyway the whole thing is men are lossing it bc the US is keeps going down hill i men the whole world is becoming to populated w cant feed everybody, we have wayyyyy toooo manny factories, wayyyy tooo much procesed foods, cemicals in every thing you touch, eat, smell, its horible and were all are slowly dying! we need to start eating local in season foods, not tryin to have fresh straberry short cakes in the dead of winter and then proccesed prepackeged food 3 times a day not to mention fast food....witch the meat, god only knows how many anitbiotices and hormons r shot up into it, ughhhh it all makes me kringe....
it really makes me want to live in the middle of nowhere. with lots of land on the water. have a big farm a cuple cattle chickens pigs hunting for deer rabbits squrrels what ever!!!!!!! growing fresh produce and canning it so you can eat just as well in the dead of winter but with no proservites or anything proccesed. its just the way it should be.
over the past few decades thanks to the 'feminist' revolution women are becoming more and more like men, that men are feeling less and less like men.
curious to find out if this study would have the same results across different parts of the world/cultures where men are still men and women are still women.
I guess you really hate that women have equal rights, and the right to not be abused. Perhaps the middle east would suit your needs better, you can slaughter women with impunity there.
I'd love to see the comparison between abuzayd's and Ted's testosterone levels. I'll bet Ted's results will conclude he's actually a woman.
I agree, we don't really get to act like men anymore. The majority of our work consists of office type jobs, you can't say or do anything without being sued, most men get little to no exercise, we eat like crap, and so yeah, it's not suprising testosterone has decreased in a more technological environment. If we were out there hunting for our food, tending to a home and farm that wasn't made by immigrants, and having to be what we were made to be, probably be a different story.
It's a chicken or the egg argument. Are mens testosterone levels declining due to evolution thus causing men to be more wimpy and women to look more "manly"? Or are women so intimidating in their new role in the work place that mens testosterone is declining in response to their feelings of inferiority? Yeah, I think it's the latter too HAHA.
@wouldntulike2no, i don't think it's inferiority/intimidation rather it could be the craze for women to become more like men that they try to over compensate and wind up going beyond what is appealing or desirable. why should women have to try to be just like men for the sake of 'equalness' let them be women who are naturally created to be DIFFERENT then men, not inferior or less equal, just different for a purpose.
Sooner or later neither men nor women will be needed. In fact we're really not needed now. Worst thing to happen to the planet.
It is true that heavy physical exercise stimulates the production of testosterone. Men are performing less labour oriented tasks and more and more are working desk jobs or operator panels. Less exercise may be a factor.
abuzayd is right. if men are less masculine now the blame has to lie with women and mostly it's just the feminists to blame. those pesky feminists are getting into the work place, having careers, having opinions and personalities, just basically poking around where they're not wanted. In fact how can a guy like abuzayd feel manly when most women make more than him and he is basically worthless (whereas maybe in a third world country where women aren't even allowed to work, he would still have some kind of value and not be the totally worthless shell of a man he is in America.)
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...other epidemiological studies show that the testosterone levels in women are rising. White Caucasian women in the US have the highest levels of testosterone in the world, and some actually have levels comparable to men!
Did this study take into account the fact the estrogen is fat soluble and the fatter people get, the more estrogen their bodies store? Add to the the fact that fat men exercise less, and it's quite easy to see why so many of them have bigger breasts than their wives.
Don'[t get hysterical. On average, women have about 1/10th to 1/20th of the testoterone of men and it has changed very little for years. I would like to see if the results are replicated in other mammalian species to see if this is a 'human' phenomenon or a 'male' phenomenon.
Moreover, though the results are 'statistically significant,' the changes are actually very small and require enormous numbers of subjects to yield statistical significance.
What concerns me more is how U.S. television depicts white males as fools; apparently all other demographic groups (e.g. women,blacks, muslims) are for some reason. off-limits.
this has nothing to do with "feeling masculine", the statistics are relating the results of our increased exposure to chemicals, especially those that are finally being labeled as "endocrine disrupters". These affect both men and women's ability to reproduce healthy offspring, decreasing testosterone levels in the womb. Thus, the cycle snowballs, from one generation to the next. Too bad so many of our congresspersons are willing to be bribed by the big chemical companies, which hinders true human-interest legislation.
Totally agree with you @healthfan! We are barraged by tons of chemicals in the modern world. Genetically modified plants and hormone pumped cows and chickens who grow to maturity in 1/3 the time it takes an average animal. Where do you think those hormones go? You wonder why we have nine year old girls developing breasts and young boys 6' 2"! Corporate greed is destroying the modern world along with an ignorant population.
I also agree with HealthFan. It's the chemicals that we are slowly killing ourselves with. There are already studies out there that are linking the rising rates of autism and ADHD with our ever-increasing exposure to computers (particularly the monitors). 15-20 years ago the higher autism rates were being found in areas like Silicon Valley, now they're rising everywhere.
i know! and how does it affect women too ? These chemicals, I mean. Why just study men's fertility, etc... what about women?
I'm surprised that they failed to mention the amount of obesity increases since that year too in our general population. Weight gain and obesity WILL lead to lower testosterone and increased estrogen in men.
I was thinking the same thing as I was reading the article.
In the study looking at 18 year old military recruits, they didn't find the same outcome, my guess is because they are likely to be just as healthy now as they were 20 years ago.
Maybe it's because men keep getting hair cuts like that.
real men resist oppression. scientifically, it is prudent for a global elite to eradicate the threat.
What Ash wants... is a man with a few million and a house in the Hamptons. She wants him to buy her a pimped out Escalade. This is the typical woman today... she only wants from a man what he can give her.
Sorry but it ain't happening... you can drive my 12 year old Chrysler convertible if you wish. It's all I am willing to give ...
I'd believe it. Get out and do something for God's sake. You increase testosterone by doing physical, crazy, stupid, manly things. This does not include hours of XBox followed by Grey's Anatomy. Play some sports, take your car out to the strip, donate some money to a college girl's g-string, anything other than rot away in suburbia.
YES. Real men support single moms and girls working their way through college!
I think the problem with the guy in the photo is his hair. He lost any masculinity when he went with that cut. Also, I suspect he's not that interested in women to begin with!
Men don't, and haven't had a violent outlet for a long time aside from a few sports. But hey, at least they can all troll internet comments now, right?
Just like previous comments said, why wasn't obesity and lack of physical exercise mentioned. Trust me hitting the gym twice a day has kept my levels up making me feel 20 something and my waistline down even though I am nearing 40. (all while maintaining a decent career) But people watching at local amusement parks tells me that as a population men's levels are going down while their waistlines are going up...come on women wake up and stop accepting your man's six pack going from on the body at 20 to in the fridge at 40.
This explains why my boyfriend likes Chik flicks more than I do...
forget your boyfriend then....ill make your night every night...i like being rough but pleasing my girl in every way...respond back and lets figure something out...
And ancient life wasn't?
haha.. the headline is sorta a "pun" on that. It's "rough" in a different way today: it's taking away certain attributes from men–like testosterone, birth rate quality, etc... that's all.
Ancient life was rough, yes, which was precisely why men had more testosterone then
Dude in the picture is clearly gay.
Anyway, my testosterone is apparently through the roof. I can get a girl pregnant almost by just looking at her.
DON'T look at me!!!
Just a light thought or two to brighten your morning.
I don't have answers to the problems, but I do have some, what I consider, probable causes. Some species of animals limit reproduction when overcrowded. Rats turn on themselves, killing each other. Sound familiar?
What I think is the most likely cause is the chemicals in everything we eat. Even our water has chemicals added to it. We are what we eat.
Take this brew of chemicals, add genetic engineering, and you have Pandora's Box.
We're not overcrowded... Yet
I agree, it's most likely the chemicals, which we have so much of nowadays. How does it affect women too, I wonder??
"But researchers have been gathering new data since 1996, this time using semen from Danish 18-year olds testing for military service."
Is anyone else disturbed by this? You need a semen sample to get into the military?
LOL - I thought the same thing when I 1st read that and had to go back and re read just to be sure. Now we have recruiting stations asking these young guys to whank off for them just so we can test your sperm...... Just what I wanted to do at 18... whank off in a room full of other guys trying to get in the military while still showing how masculine I was..... hmmmmm now that i think about it.... thats exactly what I wanted to do.
Its the BPH that is everywhere, acts like estrogen...
Judging by the pattern of comments here, there's still plenty of testosterone to go around. Someone makes a stupid comment and twenty people get offended and feel the need to respond. The world is fine.
haha funny 🙂
Has women's biology been affected too? Geez. These chemicals sound dangerous.. where's the other half of the study?
Lots of women have trouble conceiving.
"Boys also suffer higher rates of once-rare disorders like ADHD and autism." Many years ago people still had these disorders, medical science just wasn't sophisticated enough to identify them. Worthless article.
Read Adams Curse: A Future Without Men, by Bryan SIkes. Where he describes his theory that in 125,000 years, all male humans will vanish. "Sykes concludes by noting that, as evidenced by declining sperm counts and high percentages of abnormal sperm, among other variables, the Y chromosome is a genetic mess and is deteriorating so quickly that men could become extinct."
shortly after that, studies found that the Y chromosome was actually self-repairing itself much better than we thought.
That book has long been obsolete.
Also, just cuz the Y disappears, doesn't men would necessarily. It's simplistic.
The opening lines of the article have less to do with biology, and more to do with a primitive cultural view of masculinity. It is sad that this is what the author thinks has been lost. A lot of men in older days walked with their heads down, humiliated, were mutilated from wars they were forced to fight in, had the powerful, wealthy men take their daughters, were beaten if they looked to wrong powerful man in the eyes - dream on about the past. If men want to live more "resilient" and active lives, check on the Transition cities movement." And stop whining and sniping, and the guy who thinks that real men and real women live in the "rest" of the world, try reading up on what they would want to change in their lives, especially the "real" women, and on economic opportunity and justice. Dream on, you too.
i agree with that. all creatures evolve.. granted, the low sperm rate/defect factors are bad.
But to imply that we all have to be "manly he-men" is not necessary.
Looks like you two had a fun weekend! That ndcniag Frosty is awesome! Haha! Oh, I'm so looking forward to the slow-cooker recipes! Our tiny little studio apartment doesn't have an oven, so I try to use our slow-cooker often. I made a really good Chicken Soup this weekend! And we have enough leftovers to feed my bf and I for a week! Haha! I love slow-cookers!
It makes sense if this is some form of population control, but why are more girls being born as a percentage to men? That seems counter-intuitive to population control. It only takes one man to populate "infinite" women. Also, things like ADHD, hypospadias, autism likely haven't increased in rate, just in diagnosis. We've definitely "enhanced" our medical skills over the last 30 years.
well, "boys" in the womb might be more fragile than girls. They're more delicate as embryos, I read somewhere.
And you're right–in terms of population control, it doesn't make sense. I guess it's not about that.
We are fatter, which changes our hormone levels. It could also be the hormones and/or chemicals in our foods and plastics. I also wonder if the bc pill could possiblily have something to do with it as well.
Society and political correctness is pussifying men. It may also involve PCBs leaching into water supplies from all the plastic we use. Shame of it is, cowardice is encouraged by our society. And if you reject it, people call you a jerk.
Maybe long down the line when the dwindling Y chromosome is gone, an all-female world will reproduce by parthenogenesis like some species of lizard.
The new reproductive organ will be know as a "pengina"
Watch "Fight Club" that will explain why 🙂 haha
"The percentage of Caucasian babies born male decreased from 51.43% in 1970 to 51.22% in 2002."
Seriously? Talk about 'alarmist' ....these guys couldn't sell 'climate change' on a 101 degree day in Alaska!
Speaking strictly in evolutionary terms, it is possible females are working toward self-reproduction (unknowingly of course). A female shark reproduced with no male partner. A species of lizard reproduces with no male, and a species of fish produces only females, who all follow the alpha male – when he dies, the alpha female transforms into a male to lead the "harem" (talk about futuristically prehistoric!). Also all the changes in our environments and way of lives are very likely to be contributing.
Deals with a few things, pollution, over population, and lack of a need for higher testosterone. Mother Nature is trying to fight back....and by looking back in history I'm sure its bound to win out.
" ... this time using semen from Danish 18-year olds testing for military service."
Masturbation is a required part of their testing?
What's failing? Not being able to switch hands faster enough?
I blame bush.
I blame it on not enough bush... ; )
After hitting the gym the past few weeks, I certainly do feel more manly. Probably not going to go club down sabertooth tigers for food though.
Those are the prime ingredients for "Ball-Buster Women".
Much ado about nothing this is.
This is probably due to all the chemicals in birth control pills. England has especially been noted for rising levels of female hormones in the water and food and the men have steadily declining levels of testosterone so they are slowly becoming more feminine. and that IS from birth control pills.
Maybe we should find a way to dope the taliban and al queada. they could certainly stand to lose a bit of testosterone and pick up a bit of estrogen. It sure couldn't hurt.
Women have p*ssified men. They can't win. And I'm a woman! Be men...and stop letting women boss you around. And please...don't walk teeny tiny dogs!
I have teeny tiny dogs and I love them. I also kill bambi every year and flip people off when I'm driving. I don't put up with crap from anybody. I'm all man and I ain't ashamed of my tiny pooches.
Read or listen to Adam's Curse. Biologist predicts that sooner or later males will not be needed. Fascinating read.
the irony is, it's mostly a bunch of MALE scientists who are working to create the biological tools that eventually will enable reproduction without males..
Yes males will no longer be needed, because human beings won't exist. See you in hell.
haha ^ I agree, the whole human race is more likely to be completely obliterated, before any of this stuff happens anyway
Other studies have suggested men average 50% the testosterone of men the same age a century ago. While cultural factors surely are involved, it's highly likely that chemical effects are also involved.
We're all in it together people. As men go, so go women....
The cause of this is that woman are fat...the end. You think I'm joking? Fat women store more estrogen, and thus are exposing the male fetus to a higher percentage of estrogen. The development of the fetus/child is affected by hormone exposure. So you now have boys who develop physically into a more feminine adult.
women are having a rough time with modern life too.
That's ok. Old-fashioned men weren't good for women. I can still remember what my grandmothers had to put up with because they had to stay married. They did not have the same education opportunities or the ability to get a good paying job to support themselves and their children. The police would not even answer domestic abuse complaints.
There have been some studies recently showing environmental pesticides and other chemicals have mimicked female hormones causing such symptoms. The example of the Chippewa correlates with this well.
Xenoestrogens are in everything, especially anything plastic. Young men generally have a ratio of 50:1 testosterone over estrogen. Xenoestrogens can change that ratio. Anything that drops the ratio to 30:1 or worse might cause problems with sperm production and can lead to 'moobs' and related problems.
less posturing, chest-pounding, stabby, bludgeony men? fewer babies being born? my only question is: how do we speed this process up?