Children Health

Did Don Draper Have More Testosterone Than Men Today? | by David Steinman | Jan, 2024

How exposure to chemical toxins is changing our bodies.

I admit it. I love Mad Men, the series Matthew Weiner created and that ran on AMC from 2007 to 2015. Watching Don Draper, Roger Sterling, Joan Harris, Peggy Olsen, and the rest of the characters, whose lives are wrapped up in the mid-1960s ad firm Sterling Cooper, is like riding in a tour vehicle among the dinosaurs of Jurassic Park.

Set in another time and place — Manhattan circa 1960–1970 — Mad Men might as well have taken place 65-million years ago, at the end of the Cretaceous Period, when T-Rex was disappearing from the planet.

Don Draper, the highly sought-after Madison Avenue ad man, is the testosterone-driven alpha predator incarnate and prime example of the powerful influence that the male hormone has on our lives.

However, scientific evidence has been accumulating in the last decade that men’s levels of testosterone are declining as the result of exposure to chemical toxins. Scientists are discovering that our modern lifestyle has massive trade-offs, and they are just beginning to discern the extent of those consequences by comparing our current health to that of past generations.

We will never know with certainty how much testosterone circulated in Don Draper’s bloodstream or the tissues of the other lesser males of the Mad Men characters. But we do know that men like Don tend to have higher amounts than other males, according to a 2010 study in the journal Management Science on the relationship between the hormone’s concentration in the blood and men’s success in business.

The study found that executives with the highest testosterone tend to be short-tempered, lack patience when negotiating, are more likely to fail at takeovers, and subject their own companies to hostile actions. They are workplace disasters when it comes to leadership and professional relationships.

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Studies since then continue to uncover evidence of the negative effects of testosterone. A 2019 report from Psychoneuroendocrinology found “causal evidence that testosterone reduces generosity in human…


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