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Brain chemical that fuels sex drive has been discovered

A brain chemical that fuels sex drive and could help women achieve better orgasms has been discovered.

Kisspeptin, which is better known as the ‘kiss hormone’, has previously been linked to puberty and fertility, but new research suggests it could benefit women suffering from extremely low sex drives, or hypoactive sexual desire disorder (HSDD).

Testosterone is sometimes given to improve women’s desires between the sheets, however, this can cause ‘male’ side effects, including facial hair and a deeper voice. Kisspeptin’s potential complications are unclear.

Study author Professor Julie Bakker from Liege University, Belgium, said: ‘There are no good treatments available for women suffering from low sexual desire.

‘The discovery that kisspeptin controls both attraction and sexual desire opens up exciting new possibilities for the development of treatments for low sexual desire.’ 

HSDD is thought to affect up to 40 per cent of women at some point in their lives in the US and UK. Five-to-15 per cent suffer continuously.

A brain chemical fuels sex drive and could help women achieve better orgasms (stock)

WHAT IS HYPOACTIVE SEXUAL DESIRE DISORDER? 

Hypoactive sexual desire disorder (HSDD) is a woman’s ongoing disinterest in sex to the point it causes personal distress or affects her relationships.

It is thought to affect up to 40 per cent of women at some point in their lives in the US and UK. 

Five-to-15 per cent suffer continuously.

Causes are often complex but may be due to an underlying condition, such as cancer, or medications that reduce sex drive.

Hormonal changes around the menopause or pregnancy can also be to blame.

Mental health conditions, such as depression, have been associated with the condition, while emotional distress such as being cheated on or suffering sexual abuse are also linked to the disorder.

Treating any underlying conditions or issues, such as seeing a sex therapist, may be effective at easing HSDD. 

Hormonal therapies like oestrogen or progesterone-based treatment may also be prescribed. 

Testosterone therapy is not approved for women in the US. 

Source: Sex Health Matters

Hormone triggers sexual behaviour

The researchers discovered kisspeptin drives both attraction and sexual behavior in female mice.

They also found that pheromones, the chemical scents animals give off, are secreted by male brain cells, which transmit a signal to other nerve cells, known as neurons.

Known as gonadotropin-releasing hormone neurons, these signals drive attraction.

The neurons also transmit this signal to cells that produce the neurotransmitter nitric oxide, which triggers sexual behavior.

Mice were chosen as the nocturnal animals heavily rely on pheromones to identify partners.

‘New possibilities for treatments for low sexual desire’

Professor Bakker said: ‘There are no good treatments available for women suffering from low sexual desire.

‘The discovery that kisspeptin controls both attraction and sexual desire opens up exciting new possibilities for the development of treatments for low sexual desire.’   

Study author Professor Ulrich Boehm, from Saarland University, Germany, added: ‘Until now, little was known about how the brain ties together ovulation, attraction and sex.

‘Now we know that a single molecule – kisspeptin – controls all of these aspects through different brain circuits running in parallel with one another.’ 

The findings were published in the journal Nature Communications.      



Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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