Can Taking Testosterone Change Who You're Attracted To?
With TikTok recently updating its community guidelines to ban misgendering, deadnaming, misogyny, and any content that promotes conversion therapy, the social media space is rapidly becoming a more inclusive place for many LGBTQ+ individuals. Whether people are looking to find a more queer-friendly community or searching for answers about their sexuality or identity, the social media platform seems to be offering a lot of resources in an environment relatively safeguarded against queerphobia.
One question that's gained popularity among content creators is whether or not hormone replacement therapy (HRT) — and, more specifically, taking testosterone — can change who you're attracted to.
In one video, a TikTok creator says, "I think it's worth talking about. Why does testosterone make me gay in the guy way? Are guys more gay? Do guys who naturally have a lot of testosterone really want pee pee?"
Another creator stitched the video by sharing his personal experience, noting that when he started testosterone, doctors asked about sexual activity and pregnancy prevention. "'I was like, 'No, no, no, bestie, the parts that I have and the parts of the people I'm attracted to have, we don't have to worry about that, I'm good.' They were like, 'No, when you start testosterone, you may become more attracted to men,' and I was like, 'Absolutely not.'"
But things changed for this creator. "Well, you see, a couple months into taking testosterone, long story short, I'm 11 months on T and I have a boyfriend — a cisgender man . . . And so I would also like to ask the question, because how did I become a gay man? Gay? Like, gay? Women, but gay?"
As expected, the viral videos are flooded with comments from other TikTok users wondering the same question. "I need more research on thissss," writes one person. Some are also sharing their personal experiences: "I'm not even on T, but once I started my transition, I became attracted to men again🧍."
Because this seems to be a common experience for those taking testosterone — and there are lots of unanswered questions surrounding the idea — we spoke with Michelle Forcier, MD, a clinician for Folx Health, a company that offers hormone therapy and other services specifically for those who are transgender, nonbinary, and intersex. Here's what she has to say about whether or not testosterone can actually influence your sexual orientation.
When Someone Starts Taking Testosterone, Is It Possible It Could Make Them More Attracted to Men?
Because sexual preferences are extremely nuanced, it's possible for your attraction to change over time — even without taking testosterone. But Dr. Forcier points out that when taking testosterone, there are a few reasons why you may become more sexually attracted to men. For one, when someone starts taking testosterone, "their body and brain will now be living and experiencing themselves and others in a new body and brain hormone milieu," Dr. Forcier says. They describe it as if "changing from salt-water ocean to a lake or pool."
With a person experiencing life differently in a new body and with a different mindset, Dr. Forcier confirms it's possible that your sexual attraction may shift. "Sexual attraction, orientation, and behaviors are super affected by hormones, by experiencing ourselves, by experiencing others," they add.
Another thing to consider is that testosterone is a libido-enhancing hormone, says Dr. Forcier. For those just starting on T, this could mean they feel hornier than, well, ever. "A person who has a boost in sex drive and a whole lot of other new feelings might want to test things out, explore, and try new things sexually as well," Dr. Forcier says. "So for some, T may present new feelings, new needs, and new ways to explore sex."
It's also possible that once a transgender man starts taking testosterone and feeling closer to the way they know themselves to be, they could experience attraction differently. In some cases, once someone is on T and no longer experiencing dysphoria, it may make them more comfortable being attracted to a certain gender. In a Reddit thread on the subject, one user wrote, "As soon as men [started] seeing me as a man and treating me like a man and I felt like a man, I had no problems with my attractions to them."
That said, Dr. Forcier clarifies that sexuality is constantly evolving. Your sexual attraction and preferences can change over time depending on lots of factors.
Could This Also Mean That Individuals Taking Estrogen Might Find Themselves More Attracted to Women?
All hormones — including testosterone and estrogen — could potentially impact someone's attraction scale depending on the circumstances, Dr. Forcier confirms. "People with too low of levels of estrogen may feel fatigued, be more anxious or depressed, or not have strong libido. People with normal or higher levels of estrogen or who receive either estrogen or testosterone supplementation might have a shift in their sex drive, which could factor into sexual interests, exploration, and activities," Dr. Forcier says.
Experts haven't confirmed a direct, one-to-one relationship between hormone types and levels for sexual attraction and identity, "but we do know gender hormones do impact how we feel inside and out, as well as how we might feel sexually," Dr. Forcier explains.
All and all, while it's absolutely OK to question why your sexual attraction is changing during HRT, it's important to remember that sexual preferences are fluid, T or no T. You don't have to label your sexual orientation or even consider what it means for you to be attracted to someone you previously might not have normally been into.
In a comment one TikTok user left on the viral videos mentioned above, the user wrote: "Life just has a funny way of telling us we don't need to fit into a box/label." Maybe, if it's what makes you happy, it's not necessary to question the "why" behind your attraction levels, and instead, it's best to embrace them — regardless of the gender (or genders) you're attracted to.