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Exposure to bright light can help men with low sexual drive: Study

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Washington: A recent research conducted at the University of Siena in Italy has found that the radiant glow of bright light may actually help some men combat their flagging sexual desire. Researchers recruited 38 men suffering from clinically low libido to take part in a randomized, controlled experiment.

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With the help of a specialized box, half the men were exposed to light that mimicked natural outdoor sunlight for a half-hour in the morning each day for 2 weeks, while the other half were exposed to much less intense light, says ANI.


After two weeks, the men, who received genuine light therapy not only had higher amounts of testosterone in their blood, but they also reported a substantial increase in sexual desire and function compared to the placebo group.

Senior author of the study professor Andrea Fagiolini said, “Before treatment, both groups averaged a sexual satisfaction score of around 2 out of 10, but after treatment the group exposed to the bright light was scoring sexual satisfaction scores of around 6.3, a more than 3-fold increase on the scale we used.

In contrast, the control group only showed an average score of around 2.7 after treatment.” Though the findings are small in scale and not formally peer-reviewed, earlier research has provided encouraging evidence for using light therapy to treat low libido.

Unlike these previous efforts, the authors were able to directly test how the light treatment affected testosterone levels this time around. “The increased levels of testosterone explain the greater reported sexual satisfaction,” said Fagiolini.

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And the relationship between light exposure and testosterone levels is one that’s become well-established, he added.

“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. You see the effect of this in reproductive rates, with the month of June showing the highest rate of conception. The use of the light box really mimics what nature does”, he added.

Biologically, in addition to boosting testosterone, the added burst of light may also inhibit the ability of our brain’s pineal gland to produce melatonin, which in turn produces prolactin, a protein that not only helps women lactate but is also responsible for driving down men’s sexual desire following an orgasm.