Sitting by a light box might increase a man’s testosterone levels and, in turn, his sexual satisfaction, according to new research.
Past research suggests that sexual interest can wax and wane with the passing of seasons. A group of Italian scientists wondered whether light therapy may help.
They worked with 38 men who were being treated for disorders related to sexual interest and desire. For two weeks, half of the men sat by a lightbox for a half hour each morning. The lightboxes were similar to the kind used to treat seasonal affective disorder (SAD) – depressed feelings that occur when people have less light exposure.
The rest of the men also sat by a lightbox daily for two weeks, but their device emitted much less light.
The scientists discovered that the men who received active light treatment saw their testosterone levels increase and their sexual satisfaction improve.
It was unclear why the therapy worked, but the researchers theorized that the light inhibited the pineal gland, thus increasing testosterone production and triggering other hormonal processes.
Still, it is too early to recommend light therapy for men with low testosterone or low sexual interest. More research is needed, the scientists noted.
“However if this treatment can be shown to work in a larger study, then light therapy may offer a way forward. It's a small study, so for the moment we need to treat it with appropriate caution," they wrote.
The findings were presented in September at a meeting of the European College of Neuropsychopharmacology (ECNP) in Vienna.
European College of Neuropsychopharmacology (ECNP)
“Light therapy as a treatment for sexual dysfunction; focus on testosterone levels”
(Abstract presented at 2016 ECNP Conference in Vienna. Presentation P.4.b.010. September 19, 2016)
“Study shows lack of interest in sex successfully treated by exposure to bright light”
(Press release. September 19, 2016)