Pain may reduce sex drive of women, but not men
If a study of male and female mice is any indication, pain and inflammation reduces the sex drive of women more than men.
The study, published in The Journal of Neuroscience, found that pain and inflammation significantly dampened the sexual motivation of female mice, but not male mice. For the research, investigators watched the mating habits of mice that were placed in a mating chamber divided by a barrier with openings. The openings were too small for the male mice to fit through, which meant the female mice could choose when and how long they wanted to spend with their male partner.
The female mice that were experiencing inflammatory pain spent less time with a male partner and less sexual behavior occurred. Then researchers placed mice in a mating chamber in which the males had free access to the female mice in heat. When the male mice experienced the same inflammatory pain, their sexual behavior was not affected.
In addition, when the female mice were treated with a pain-relieving medication or a drug that boosted sexual desire, their sexual motivation was restored.
Researchers hope their findings will help shed light on how sexual response works in the human brain.