As the leaves turn colors and we lose an hour of daylight, our male counterparts may be losing something far more frustrating: their libidos. As highlighted by a small study recently presented at the European College of Neuropsychopharmacology conference, sexual interest can actually dissipate during the colder months—for men in particular. On the bright side, light therapy can be used to treat the low testosterone levels associated with Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), as recently discovered by researchers at the University of Siena in Italy.
After first evaluating the baseline sexual interest and testosterone levels of 38 men with low sex drives, the researchers then divided them into two groups: one that was exposed to bright light for a half-hour in the morning and one that spent each morning exposed to significantly less light. After two weeks of this, scientists re-tested libido and sex drive and found that the bright, ambient light successfully increased testosterone levels and overall sexual satisfaction in the test group.
"We found fairly significant differences between those who received the active light treatment, and the controls," said Professor Fagiolini, an author of the study. "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." The control group, meanwhile, only improved by 0.7 percentage points throughout the two-week experiment.
Have you experienced seasonal changes with your partner? Share your experience below, and pick up a copy of Winter Blues to learn more about SAD.