How Testosterone Replacement Therapy (TRT) Saved Andrew Sullivan’s Career

In the late 1990s, accomplished writer Andrew Sullivan saw his career take a nose dive. Sullivan, a gay man who contracted HIV, had low testosterone levels. Hormonally speaking, he was no longer a man. That’s when Andrew Sullivan went on testosterone replacement therapy and changed his life forever.

Andrew Sullivan

He then began what we now call TRT – testosterone replacement therapy. Anyhow who follows politics knows that, when it comes to Sullivan and testosterone, “The rest his history.”

I read Sullivan’s insightful article on testosterone when it first came out – back when people used to read these things called “magazines.”¬†Although the article is from 2000, it is even more relevant today, as testosterone levels are at record lows.

Sullivan describes a feeling I know well:

Because the testosterone is injected every two weeks, and it quickly leaves the bloodstream, I can actually feel its power on almost a daily basis. Within hours, and at most a day, I feel a deep surge of energy. It is less edgy than a double espresso, but just as powerful. My attention span shortens. In the two or three days after my shot, I find it harder to concentrate on writing and feel the need to exercise more. My wit is quicker, my mind faster, but my judgment is more impulsive. It is not unlike the kind of rush I get before talking in front of a large audience, or going on a first date, or getting on an airplane, but it suffuses me in a less abrupt and more consistent way. In a word, I feel braced. For what? It scarcely seems to matter.

I am not able to suffer fools because my testosterone levels have traditionally been high. I unilaterally delete moronic comments because stupidity infuriates me. This is only natural:

That was an extreme example, but other, milder ones come to mind: losing my temper in a petty argument; innumerable traffic confrontations; even the occasional slightly too prickly column or e-mail flame-out. No doubt my previous awareness of the mythology of testosterone had subtly primed me for these feelings of irritation and impatience. But when I place them in the larger context of my new testosterone-associated energy, and of what we know about what testosterone tends to do to people, then it seems plausible enough to ascribe some of this increased edginess and self-confidence to that biweekly encounter with a syringe full of manhood.

Long before anyone had thought to start a game blog, Sullivan had this to say about testosterone and mating:

But the picture, as most good evolutionary psychologists point out, is more complex than this. Men who are excessively testosteroned are not that attractive to most women. Although they have the genes that turn women on — strong jaws and pronounced cheekbones, for example, are correlated with high testosterone — they can also be precisely the unstable, highly sexed creatures that childbearing, stability-seeking women want to avoid. There are two ways, evolutionary psychologists hazard, that women have successfully squared this particular circle. One is to marry the sweet class nerd and have an affair with the college quarterback: that way you get the good genes, the good sex and the stable home. The other is to find a man with variable T levels, who can be both stable and nurturing when you want him to be and yet¬†become a muscle-bound, bristly gladiator when the need arises. The latter strategy, as Emma Bovary realized, is sadly more easily said than done.

If you’ve wondered why game blogs and forums have gotten more catty and negative, it’s because men have the lowest testosterone in centuries. Today’s male has about half of the testosterone his grandfather had. Men with high testosterone don’t hate on everything and cry about life. Men with high testosterone feel like conquerers:

The behavioral traits associated with testosterone are largely the cliche-ridden ones you might expect. The Big T correlates with energy, self-confidence, competitiveness, tenacity, strength and sexual drive. When you talk to men in testosterone therapy, several themes recur. ”People talk about extremes,” one man in his late 30’s told me. ”But that’s not what testosterone does for me. It makes me think more clearly. It makes me think more positively. It’s my Saint Johnswort.” A man in his 20’s said: ”Usually, I cycle up the hill to my apartment in 12th gear. In the days after my shot, I ride it easily in 16th.” A 40-year-old executive who took testosterone for bodybuilding purposes told me: ”I walk into a business meeting now and I just exude self-confidence. I know there are lots of other reasons for this, but my company has just exploded since my treatment. I’m on a roll. I feel capable of almost anything.”

When you hear comments like these, it’s no big surprise that strutting peacocks with their extravagant tails and bright colors are supercharged with testosterone and that mousy little male sparrows aren’t. ”It turned my life around,” another man said. ”I felt stronger — and not just in a physical sense. It was a deep sense of being strong, almost spiritually strong.”

A large part of the decline is attributable to obesity:

Obese teenage boys are at risk for more than diabetes and heart disease, a new study has found. They also have alarmingly low levels of testosterone – between 40 to 50% less than males of the same age with a normal body mass index.

Fat is estrogenic. If you are fat, your testosterone level is lower than it should be.

Although there are dozens of testosterone boosters and other expensive products, the truth is that once you’re past 35, you can’t really raise your testosterone much taking an injection. Yes, Vitamin D and squats help. Avoiding plastics helps. Not wearing a burlap sack of fat around your torso helps.

Yet as Sullivan learned, boosting your testosterone to he-man levels requires “assistance.” According to official Nevada State Athletic Commission records, 42-year old Dan Henderson is on TRT:

testosterone replacement therapy

If “lifestyle changes” were all we needed in order to boost testosterone, athletes would simply pop Vitamin D and not be fat.

An appropriate TRT protocol is something to discuss with one’s physician.

Don’t miss: Testosterone Replacement Therapy.

  • BDM

    A little maca powder in your morning protein shake goes a long way.

  • Krauser

    Have there been any longitudinal studies? That’s the big question for me – what happens to these guys 20 years down the line. The upside is very clear and immediate but I’m not keen on volunteering myself for a public health experiment. Fucking with nature’s balance has consequences.

    In this case I simply don’t know the consequences. Have you read anything on the long term effects?

    • Danger & Play

      Well there are three things to consider.

      The first is that the consequences of doing nothing are well established. Look around at any old guy. Ask if that’s how you want to look and feel.

      The second is that TRT is nothing new. Bodybuilders have been on test since the 1960s. The dosage bodybuilders use is far more than a TRT dose. A TRT dose is generally 200 mg every week (or 100 mg every three days). Bodybuilders and lifters use 500 mg up to a gram.

      No one from the cast of Pumping Iron died from testosterone usage. I’ve run into Louie at Gold’s in Venice countless times. All that HGH and test hasn’t seem to kill him yet.

      Stallone is still alive.

      Third is that there are a lot of steroid haters – most of the medical establishment, in fact. If there were a way to show a causal relationship to testosterone usage (even “hardcore” steroid usage) and death, it’d be done.

      But the best anyone can do is show a list of pro wrestlers are proof that steroids kill. That list isn’t relevant to TRT, since pro wrestlers aren’t on a therapeutic list.

      The list is insidious and dishonest, however, as it’s multiple concussions that killed. (A pro wrestler suffers more concussions than a football player or pro boxer.) Wrestlers also develop addictions to pain killers, as wrestling is brutal on the body.

      So basically no bodybuilder has died from steroids, despite having used them for 4 decades. The best steroid haters can do is show that pro wrestlers killed themselves. But as recent research has shown with NFL players, those deaths/suicides are attributable to multiple concussive events.

      Since I know what “aging naturally” entails and since there aren’t a pile of bodies of dead steroid users, using TRT seems less harmful than not using.

      • Krauser

        Thanks for that explanation. I agree on pro-wrestlers – I used to read the Wrestling Observer newsletter and lots of pro wrestler biographies. Those guys died from a cocktail of drugs, excessive weight, and terrible lifestyle on the road.

  • Kuraje

    Always wondered what it was like for other guys who experimented with this sort of thing. I’ve never tried TRT but experimented with the Tripling Testosterone ala 4 Hour Body by Tim Ferriss here:

    I’ve used both protocols on and off for the about a year or more.

    Sex Drive: Highest I’d felt in my life. Stopped counting orgasms after the 5th one in a 4 – 6 hour session with girlfriend at the time.

    Workouts: Felt this overwhelming urge to crush every personal best on squats, deads, bench and chin-ups every time I hit the rack.

    Martial Arts: Sparring felt ‘alive’. Overwhelming feeling of this is exactly I need in my life.

    Attitude: Extremely low tolerance for flakiness in men or women. Didn’t give two shits about what the other person thought about what I said. Here’s the truth. Deal with it. I’m moving forward.

    Found myself cutting people from my life without 2 thoughts about it (haven’t missed em)

    The last 2 years have been the most productive ever.

    The key thing I think is that it can be Destructive or constructive. Chaos or creation. Both are needed. Upping T levels is like swapping out the Honda civic engine for something double the horsepower. Unless you know how to drive it and handle the extra strength, your ass will end up in a ditch.

    • liam

      Gonna have to have a crack at this.

  • Turling

    I sparred with Dan Henderson a couple of times in my younger days. I was surprised he’s still around. Apparently, TRT does a body good.

  • ASF

    If you were going to use one, would it be TRT or HGH?

    • Danger & Play

      HGH. I have a lot of nagging injuries and growth is great for tendons/collagen regrowth. HGH is also responsible for the beautiful skin of hollywood actors. There’s a Vanity Fair article about HGH in Hollywood. Google for it and it should turn up.

  • sfer

    I got my testosterone tested. It was 880 ng/dL and I am in my late 40s. My vitamin D was low normal though.

    • Danger & Play

      That’s outstanding.

      • daniel

        I got mine tested, and was around that level too, but i am only 28 years old. But, i was very low T prior to lifting ( which i do for less than 1 year ). I tried to find if my levels were good, because of course i was a little skeptical of the parameters which the lab put on the paper. Do you have any resource to what my T really should be?

  • Geirge

    How do I go find out my T levels?

    Any Aussies here know the difference between getting any TRT or HGH here compared to US?

  • dc1000

    that article was pretty much the foundation of today’s game discussions. he used terms like sexual market place. he pushed ideas about the differences between men and women that we’re all talking about today.

    fascinating article especially to think it was 13 years ago.

    • Danger & Play

      Yeah, also a harbinger of things to come. Only gay men are allowed to write about masculinity.

  • anon1

    Great article! i’ve definitely noticed the link between obesity and lack of T. The more i worked my gut off, the more stronger and sexually aggressive i became.

    i have a question though, it’s a very VERY newb type one, so apologies.

    Does prolonged use of steroids actually negatively affect one’s penis size?

  • Jeremy

    Look up Deer Antler Velvet Extract.

  • Tricky

    I tested at 562 at age 55 and I haven’t done anything special recently other than the free 5×5 program and don’t eat junk. Those squats and deadlifts are brutal, but there are no substitutes and I’ve learned to love them. I’ve had very little use for viagra and similar. Now gonna check out diet, etc. That 4 hour cheat sheet looked interesting.