Some day soon, a single hormone injection could give you your groove back.
Researchers at Imperial College London are trialing a hormone associated with feelings of sexiness and romance that they believe could be a cure for psychological sexual problems.
Following early-stage trials that showed positive results, scientists believe an injection of the hormone – cutely coined ‘kisspeptin’ – could stimulate sexual arousal and feelings of romance in the brain.
The scientists gave injections of kisspeptin - a naturally occurring hormone essential to the body’s reproductive system - to 29 healthy young men. They found the hormone boosted the brain’s response to pictures of people in romantic or sexual scenarios.
Through MRI scans, the scientists observed how regions of the brain stimulated by romance and sexual arousal experienced enhanced activity. This boost didn’t take place when the men looked at non-sexual images, say the researchers.
Researcher leader Waljit Dhillo called the results “encouraging”, as they indicate the hormone could be used to treat emotional factors that can result in infertility.
“Our initial findings are novel and exciting as they indicate that kisspeptin plays a role in stimulating some of the emotions and responses that lead to sex and reproduction,” said Dhillo.
“Ultimately, we are keen to look into whether kisspeptin could be an effective treatment for psychosexual disorders, and potentially help countless couples who struggle to conceive.”
The scientists also found that kisspeptin may be able to decrease negative moods, as it boosts activity in parts of the brain linked with maternal and unconditional love.
“Our study shows that kisspeptin boosts sexual and romantic brain activity as well as decreasing negative mood,” report co-author Alexander Comninos said.
“This raises the interesting possibility that kisspeptin may have uses in treating psychosexual disorders and depression which are major health problems which often occur together, but further studies would be needed to investigate this.
“The team, whose findings were reported in the Journal of Clinical Investigation, plans to study the effects of kisspeptin in a larger group including women as well as men.”