Testosterone Does Stuff

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Dear Dawson,

We now come to what used to be quaintly called “the facts of life.” But instead of dealing with what we used to have, which was embarrassed fathers talking over sexual matters with embarrassed sons, we are now living on the tail end of a generation or more of what we have called “sex ed.” That unrelenting sex ed drive in our government schools has been a potent mixture of grooming and lies.

And leave it to the government. After a generation or more of government-sponsored sex ed, the end result is that nobody is quite sure what sex even is anymore.

It is the lies you have been told that I am chiefly concerned with in this letter. The central lie is that sexual differentiation is an outside/in matter, instead of an inside/out affair.

This is what I mean. The fact that people can seriously maintain that making a man a eunuch is the same thing as making a man a woman, and that they can do this while maintaining a straight face, maintaining their medical credentials, and maintaining their driver’s license, is a plain indicator of how many flights of stairs we have fallen down.

A man is a man from the inside out. A woman is a woman from the inside out. The XX chromosomes are found in every cell of the body, as are the XY chromosomes on the other side of the aisle. The idea that a man can achieve “womanhood” by cutting off the male protuberance and putting on a dress is a howler for the ages. Try taking a steer to your nearest veterinarian and asking him why your cow can give no milk. Put him on a monthly retainer and ask him to research it for you.

And these XX and XY chromosomes are not just cellular signage down in the cell, like the words on old-fashioned restroom doors. These chromosomes are blueprints, sets of instructions, directives, decrees, and ordinances. And one of the things they dictate is that a body like yours is going to have about ten times the amount of testosterone sloshing around inside you than your future wife will have. The amount of testosterone in our bodies varies according to circumstance, but taking one thing with another, a man will have way more of it that a woman will have.

This will result in things like you not understanding her at all, and her not understanding you at all. But remember that this is a design feature. God made it this way for a purpose.

Now this testosterone does stuff. It is not what you would call an inert substance. Testosterone is rowdy, aggressive, combative, interested in women, along with a few other things that used to give your mother fits.

If a man full of testosterone is disobedient to the law of God, then that will make him toxic, true enough. But if a woman full of estrogen is disobedient to the law of God, then that can make her bitchy. That also is true enough. But it is the disobedience that does the damage, not the base line starting point.

In an earlier letter I used the example of a man hitting his pitch, and a woman hitting her pitch, with the result being harmony. But if a man sings sharp then he is doing the blustering machismo thing. If he sings flat, then he is being an effeminate pajama boy. If a woman sings sharp she is a harridan, and if she sings flat she is a mousy little doormat. I will develop this more later on but we living in a time when a man hitting his masculine pitch, just the way he ought to sing it, will be described as toxic. Our generation is not musical, and hates the harmony most of all.

In the meantime, if a man and a woman insist on singing sharp or flat, then we should pray that they find and marry one another, thus making only two people miserable instead of four.

If you get in an argument with testosterone or estrogen considered as such, you are complaining about gravity making you stick to the sidewalk. If you take up a quarrel with XX or XY chromosomes considered as such, then you are arguing with deep creation. If you get into a spat with beards and breasts, you are arguing with Jehovah God. Not the way of wisdom.

In fact, because I am feeling mischievous, let us call testosterone the Great Stereotyping Hormone. Testosterone is like a caricaturist, sitting at his drawing table down in the cellular basement, trying to figure out how to convey things like beard, brawny forearms, deep voice, upper body strength, and many other suchlike hurtful generalizations. Left to his own devices, the caricaturist will come up with someone like Gaston.

Now here is the thing—we live in a generation that wants to throw everything in a gender blender and come up with some kind of androgynous bi-pedal carbon unit. You can be anything you want to be, so long as it does not reflect the image of the Creator, male and female (Gen. 1:27). “Whatever turns you on . . . no, no, not that.” If you tell them that traditional heterosexual normativity turns you on, they will denounce you for a perverted hater. They would rather you be turned on by your sis than by your cis.

The sexual revolution, at the end of the day, turned out to be a war on sex itself—because sex itself is ineradicably binary. The revolutionaries wanted to overthrow the old sexual order, and thought they had it within them to come up with a new one. But all they could do with this intricate sexual clock we were given was to smash it, and then play with the pieces. When someone points out that they can’t tell what time it is anymore, they reply that “telling time is a social construct.”

The reason they wanted to do this is because testosterone is angular and unwieldy. In order to build their brave new world, they needed a population that was a lot more docile than the one God gave us. As Lewis has Filostrato say in That Hideous Strength, because they were after absolute control, they wanted to work with geldings and oxen instead of stallions and bulls. As that wicked man put it, “There will never be peace and order and discipline so long as there is sex.”

Now to my point. One of the principal tools they have used for the accomplishment of this has been the widespread acceptance of pornography. Porn is a lying cheat, a flatterer. Some layabout male living in his divorced mother’s basement is told that he is the master of a thousand women—he has an entire seraglio down there, the kind that Suleiman the Magnificent himself might have envied. The porn tells him that he is “so bwave, so hansum,” which is kind of like him playing Call of Duty all night and coming up to breakfast in the morning expecting to be given the Medal of Honor.

Porn is enervating, emasculating. Porn and masturbation in tandem are a great engine of our modern plague of effeminacy in men. And this happens while the man concerned is being lied to—the porn makes him feel like he is running a surplus of testosterone. He is a sexual being, after all, and he has needs after all. He is so masculine that needs an relief valve. So he thinks he is overflowing in all his excess masculinity when he is actually dampening it. Just as smoking pot makes you feel wise and insightful, so porn makes you feel like a dude. But it is an optical illusion. It is a lie. This generation has welcomed in pornography wholesale, and one of the observable results is that you are not the man your great grandfather was. Testosterone levels are dropping at a rate of about 1% annually.

I am not making a simplistic point here—that drop in testosterone levels does have multiple factors going into it. But none of them are good. Another one of the factors is the unrelenting propaganda campaign being conducted against the kind of masculinity that remains a standing threat to their entire project. True masculinity is attracted to risk, and standing up to despots is risky. And enervated males want the security of cradle-to-grave government health care.

So that caricaturist down in your DNA wants to do more than put a beard on you. He also wants you to conquer something, climb something, collide with something. What is it that makes two rams run straight at each other in an epic battle on that mountainside? Is it the patriarchy? Is it stereotypes they picked up in kindergarten? Or is it the testosterone?

And testosterone is a package deal. You cannot limit its effects to sexual interest and activities. With a lot of testosterone you do get a generation of men who are highly-sexed. But you also get skyscrapers, football games, sky-diving, and moon landings.

Civilization is a device that God has given us that is capable of harnessing this testosterone. Men are the dominant sex, and will always be dominant. The only question concerns whether that dominance will be constructive or destructive. If it is destructive, then it will be destructive and brittle machismo or it will be destructive and limp effeminacy—a wreck either way.

But if masculinity is to be constructive, then it must be assigned responsibility, and honored for taking up that responsibility. If you do what our generation has done, which is to revile all men who take up such responsibility, then you will drive a number of them into destructive forms of masculinity, and drive the remaining responsible men into hiding. These responsible men are the ones who keep the whole thing going, but “off-budget” if you will.

So if you outlaw constructive responsibility on the part of men, you should not be shocked or dismayed with the devastating results you get. Civilizations are built by men who have families to feed. Civilizations are maintained by men who care what happens to the children they beget.

Now I am saying nothing about your relationship to porn because I do not know, and I am not accusing you of anything. But you would have to be a block of wood not to be allured by the ubiquity of porn—because the lie involved is both sweet and dangerous. But please know they are lying to you about the sweetness and the danger both. Sexual uncleanness promises a really good time, but the end is not sweet at all. “How I hated correction” (Prov. 5:12). And that is related to the danger I am describing, which is that of a massive cultural castration—the devastating results of which you can see all around you. Porn separates the fun from the fertility, and as a long term consequence loses both the fun and the fertility.

There should be no shame in pursuing a woman because you know that you need a lawful sexual relationship. That is not all that is involved, but that is involved. At your stage of life, you should have this as your number one goal or priority. Find a woman of good character who loves the Lord, who is submissive to His Word, a woman you are attracted to. Then buy a ring, rent a church, and promise before God and the assembled witnesses that you will pay for all the orthodontic work for however many kids you have.

From your most recent description, your girl Lauren sounds to me like she is that one. So what are you waiting for? You are burning daylight, man. Don’t you want to sleep with her?

And if you flinched at that comment because you think that Lauren would be miffed if she thought you might be thinking “that way” about all of this, remember that you have ten times the amount of testosterone that she does. Of course you are thinking about it differently. You don’t expect her to think like you do. Why should she expect you to think like she does?

Your uncle,