The Modern Female Eunuch - Kirsten Kukula & Richard Wassersug - the Atlantic
Both historical accounts and contemporary research on how testosterone affects personality reveal that eunuchs had traits that made them different from intact males, and in some ways more like females. Their astuteness and objectivity in assessing others’ strengths and weaknesses made them particularly effective as bureaucrats, diplomats and tacticians — quite the opposite of what most people now think of when they hear the word “eunuch.”
It benefits senior strategists in both military and non-military situations to have low, or even castrate levels, of testosterone.
When researchers examine how males and females differ in personality, one of the most consistently documented differences has been in agreeableness.
Women in the maternal role, who have multiple offspring, need to be good negotiators in order to resolve conflict among their children in a way that maximizes their number of surviving descendants. It is thus not surprising that many studies show that agreeability is higher in women than men. That alone could lead natural selection to favor females to be low in testosterone. Indeed recent data from our own and our colleagues’ labs on the effect of testosterone deprivation on adult males indicates that castration increases agreeableness and tends to push male behavior towards that of the female end of the spectrum.
High testosterone males are more disagreeable — rather than only being more aggressive — than females or low-testosterone males. In his book about testosterone and behavior, Heros, Rogues, and Lovers, James McBride Dabbs said that if there was one word that characterized an excessively high testosteronic individual, it was “obnoxious.”
There is little doubt that testosterone makes many men more abrasive, insensitive, less contemplative, less empathetic, and less tactful than most women. These are not beneficial traits for someone in a position of power with the mission of solving problems by avoiding, rather than entering into, conflict.