Health  

‘Kiss hormone’ fuels sex drive, helps women orgasm, paves way for new libido treatment


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.The findings were published in the journal Nature Communications.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.

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

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.”

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