Bright lights a turn-on for men
MEN who have lost their sexual appetite may regain their libido with repeated exposure to bright light, according to an Italian study released recently by the European College of Neuropsychopharmacology (ECNP).
Scientists at the University of Siena recruited 38 men with low sex drive and subjected them to 30-minute, early-morning sessions of light therapy using a ‘light box’.
One group was exposed to an intense, artificial light, while a control group was treated with a dimmer light.
After two weeks, the first group’s average sexual satisfaction scores jumped from 2.0 to 6.3 out of 10, and their testosterone levels increased from 2.1 nanogram per millilitre (ng/ml) to 3.6ng/ml, the ECNP said in a statement.
Subjects in the control group showed no significant improvements in sex drive.
“Light therapy has been used successfully in the past to treat some forms of depression,” said Eduard Vieta, chair of psychiatry and psychology department at the University of Barcelona Hospital Clinic.
“This study suggests now that it may also work to treat low sexual desire in men.”
The leader of the Italian research, Prof Andrea Fagiolini, said it was already known that child conception rates drop markedly in northern Europe during the dark winter months, and peak in the summer month of June.
“The use of the light box really mimics what nature does,” he commented.
Low sexual drive in men is currently treated via testosterone injections, antidepressants and other medications.
Before light therapy can become a viable alternative, its effectiveness will have to be confirmed by larger studies, Fagiolini stressed.
The Italian doctor, who heads the Department of Mental Health at Siena’s university, said the new treatment may anyway be unsuitable for patients with eye conditions or taking medicines that increase sensitivity to light, such as antibiotics or antidepressants. – dpa