Bright Light 'Increases Sexual Satisfaction in Men'

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Exposure to bright light can lead to greater sexual satisfaction in men who have low sexual desire, a new study suggests.

Exposure to bright light raises testosterone levels, leading to greater sexual satisfaction in men with a low sexual desire or libido. These were the observations of a pilot randomized placebo-controlled trial, presented at the European College of Neuropsychopharmacology (ECNP) conference in Vienna.

Scientists at the University of Siena in Italy found that regular, early-morning use of a light box -similar to those used to combat Seasonal Affective Disorder or SAD -helped men increase testosterone and improved their sex lives. Andrea Fagiolini, a professor who led the study and presented it at the European College of Neuropsychopharmacology conference in Vienna on Monday, said the treatment may prove useful during the northern hemisphere’s darker winter months.

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“The increased levels of testosterone explain the greater reported sexual satisfaction,” he said, “In the northern hemisphere, the body’s testosterone production naturally declines from November through April, and then rises steadily through the spring and summer with a peak in October.” Low sexual desire can affect significant numbers of men after the age of 40, with studies finding that up to 25% of men report problems.

What is light box treatment?

Light therapy is where a special lamp called a light box is used to simulate exposure to sunlight.

A light box contains very bright fluorescent tubes – usually at least 10 times the intensity of household lights.

They are commonly used to treat Seasonal Affective Disorder.

A patient looks into the light box and when light hits the back of the eye, messages are passed to the part of the brain that controls sleep, appetite, sex drive, temperature, mood and activity.

Some people seem to need a lot more light than others for their body to function normally.

Currently Available Treatment Options For Low Sexual Drive

The researchers observe that several possible reasons may exist for lack of sexual drive, and treatment depends on the underlying cause. However, currently available therapeutic options include testosterone injections, antidepressants, and other medications. The researchers believe that light therapy could provide similar benefits as medications, but with far lesser side effects.

Future hope

There are several possible reasons for lack of sexual desire and treatment depends on the underlying cause.

It can be treated with testosterone injections, antidepressants, and other medications.

The researchers believe that light therapy in the future may offer the benefits of medication, but with fewer side effects.

It will be some time before a clinically approved treatment emerges from this work – it may not be suitable for people with eye conditions, as bright light could have a negative health impact.

But he said they were not yet at the stage where they could recommend it as a clinical treatment.

The paper will be presented at the European College of Neuropsychopharmacology (ECNP) Congress in Vienna.

References:

  1. Konstantinos Hatzimouratidis, MD; Epidemiology of Male Sexual DysfunctionAmerican Journal of Men’s Health

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