Psychological Challenges in the Andropause
Throughout the life of a male there are several psychological issues that he struggles with, and these challenges are often amplified during the time of the Andropause: -
The sexuality of a youthful man aged between 15 to 30 years when his testosterone was at an all time high, drops to the ebb during the Andropause. Young men often have testosterone levels exceeding 1000ng/dl. Compare this with 80 year-old men, whose average testosterone is 200ng/dl. You might say the sexuality of a man in the Andropause is down 80%, a seemingly disastrous event.
- His sexuality
- His emotions
- His mind
- His courage
- His productivity
- His personality
- His character
- His boyish behaviors
I have noticed that older men tend to be closer to their family and are more interested in domestic issues than when they were younger. It is as if the lack of testosterone makes them more "feminine". They take on more homely roles of cooking, cleaning and looking after children. More often than not, they devote much more time and attention to their grandchildren than they had previously to their own children when they were parents themselves. Perhaps it is because they have more time during the andropausal years as they have probably retired by then. They usually also have more disposable income, having saved most of their lives, and are more willing to enjoy little pleasures around them, stopping to smell the roses. Their emotions become less "fiery" and take on a gentler aspect, so in a sense, the decline of testosterone enhances domestication skills.
In the andropausal years the mind becomes less sharp and nimble. The older male becomes less swift in mental calculations and his judgment is not as accurate as before. Perhaps he used to make razor-sharp business deals, but now he makes blatant mistakes and incurs painful financial losses. Oftentimes, he attributes it to aging, but in truth it may be partly due to the decline of testosterone. In more severe cases, the memory gets impaired too, and with time, dementia may even set in.
Although once willing to take risks of all sorts, the andropausal man becomes more conservative and fears treading in unclear waters. They no longer participate in roller coasters and bungee jumping, but rather watch these on TV instead. Most loose courage to take on new ventures and feel it is a time to retire and to "take it easy". However, fear and courage take on a different perspective in the andropausal years, especially in the older age group of the eighties and nineties. A study on fear was done whereby two groups of people were asked what they feared most. The younger group in the twenties said "death", but death was not what the eighty year olds feared most. It was their loss of independence. It is almost as if the elderly chide, "Death, where is thy sting?"
Productivity is at the core of a man's being. He feels happy when he creates something and is being noticed for it. He wants to feel contributory to his family and society. All his life he struggles to be the breadwinner for the family, and to get recognition at work for his efforts. In the days of early man, hunting and providing for his family and society was at the hub of function. For modern man, there may not be a need for barbaric hunting, but the board room still makes the same demands on his skills and abilities, and managing those complex business deals is akin to modern hunting. Andropause is a time of decline, when he is no longer as productive as he was before. Often he makes even less money than when he was younger, and feels threatened by younger more aggressive males biting into his turf. A man's personality may not stay the same over the years of his life. In younger days the fiery younger male is impulsive, intolerant and ambitious. With the passage of time, various experiences and the fall in testosterone, quite a different male may emerge in later years. The red hot male often converts to a mellow yellow version, becoming more "feminine" and "domesticated", and taking on less challenges in the outside world, often preferring the cozy security of family and close friends. He is much less active, prefers his couch to watch television, and becomes weaker from lack of exercise. Deep inside every man is the desire to remain young and be that little boy that he once was. This may become more marked after retirement as usually there is more spare time at hand. The andropausal man may relive his childhood days, often to the amazement of his partner or spouse! The mischief may be an extramarital affair, a new red sports car, a sudden passion for toy train sets, riding a bicycle, which he hadn't done for years, and so on. Sometimes of these childish acts may even be mistaken for Alzheimer's dementia!