Partner cuddling: testosterone plays a role

Sari van Anders’ research in social neuroendocrinology challenges widely-held assumptions about the roles of so-called sex hormones.  For instance, a common misunderstanding is that levels of sex steroids are sexually dimorphic.  In fact, mean levels of estradiol and progesteroneare similar in women and men (van Anders 2010).  As for testosterone, “A lifetime of gender socialization could contribute to “sex differences in testosterone” (van Anders et al. 2015)

Theoretically her work uses “innovative paradigms, models, and theories” to explore sexual diversity both in an evolutionary context and with respect to social construction.  For instance, using partner cuddling as a test case, she illustrated the usefulness of looking at both sex hormones and peptide hormones together in exploring the mechanisms by which pair bonds are made.  Her theories provide a comparative basis for examining mechanisms behind social behavior  across, species, context, and gender (van Anders et al. 2011).

A co-authored 2019 paper examines the future of sex and gender in psychology by exploring 5 sets of empirical data, from neuroanatomy to development, that undermine a gender-binary framework (Hyde et al. 2019).

van Anders research lab at Queens University, Kingston, Ontario:

Hyde, J.S., R. S. Bigler, D. Joel., C.C. Tate, and S.M. van Anders.  2019.  The future of sex and gender in psychology.  American Psychologist 74(2):171-194.

van Anders, S.M., J. Steiger and K. L. Goldey.  2015.  Effects of gendered behavior on testosterone in women and men.  Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 112(45):13805-13810.

van Anders, S.M. K. L. Goldey, and P.X. Kuo.  2011.  The steroid/peptide theory of social bonds: integrating testosteron and peptide responses for classifying social behavioral contexts.

van Anders, S. M., L. D. Hamilton, N. Schmidt, and N.V. Watson.  2007.  Associations between testosterone secretion and sexual activity in women.  Hormones and Behavior 51:477-482.