Going out in the sun can boost your libido, according to a new study, which found that more exposure to sunlight releases higher levels of sexual hormones.
Tel Aviv University researchers exposed 32 adults to varying levels of ultraviolet radiation from sunlight while questioning them about how horny they felt.
When asked to avoid sunlight for two days and then sunbathe for 25 minutes, both the male and female volunteers were more sexually aroused, they found.
They also found that UV exposure increased levels of sexual hormones and also increased testosterone levels in the men, making them more aggressive.
In the future, this new discovery could lead to practical applications, such as UVB treatments for sexual hormone disorders, the team explained.
But they warned that a lot of research is needed before a treatment can be designed, saying people should be careful about too much sun exposure.
Going out in the sun can boost your libido, according to a new study, which found that more exposure to sunlight releases higher levels of sexual hormones. stock image
WHAT IS LIBIDO LOSS?
Loss of libido is a decreased sex drive.
Previous research suggests that it affects nearly half of all women at some point in their lives.
It is often related to relationship problems, stress or fatigue, but can also indicate an underlying health problem.
Sexual urges vary from person to person without libido being ‘normal’, but if it affects your relationship it may be worth seeking help from a primary care physician or psychosexual therapist.
- Relationship problems – such as becoming overly familiar with your partner, poor communication or trust issues
- Sexual Problems – including erectile dysfunction or vaginal dryness
- Stress, anxiety or depression
- Age – Sex hormones fall during menopause. Low libido can also occur due to the side effects of medication or mobility problems
- Pregnancy and breastfeeding – can cause changes in hormone levels, exhaustion or changed priorities when people focus on their child
- Underlying health problems – such as heart disease, cancer and diabetes
- medication – including antidepressants and medicines for high blood pressure
- alcohol and drugs
Source: NHS Choices
Before experimenting on humans, the team exposed animals to sunlight and found that female hormone levels “raised significantly” leading to enlarged ovaries.
They also found that attraction between males and females increased, and both were more willing to engage in sexual intercourse even outside the normal rutting season.
Study author, Professor Carmit Levy, said scientists have known for years that UV radiation from sunlight increases testosterone levels in men and plays a role in both the behavioral and hormonal regulation of mammalian sexuality.
However, the mechanism responsible for this regulation remained unknown, so the Israeli team created their experiments to discover the details.
They then removed a protein from the animals’ skin called p53, which identifies DNA damage and triggers pigment changes during sunlight exposure.
The removal of p53 eliminated the effect of UVB exposure on the animals’ sexual behavior, showing that radiation exposure through the skin was the cause of the hormonal, physiological and behavioral changes.
They also discovered that the protective system, via the protein p53, is responsible for regulating sexuality in response to sunlight.
The final phase of the study involved 32 human subjects, who completed questionnaires about romantic passion and aggression behaviors.
Treated with UVB phototherapy, both the men and the women showed an increase in romantic passion – with a higher libido and increased interest in sex.
The male volunteers were also more aggressive than before they were exposed to the UVB phototherapy – where they are exposed to UV radiation similar to sunlight.
Similar results were found when the subjects were asked to avoid sunlight for two days and then tan for about 25 minutes.
Blood tests showed that exposure to sunlight resulted in a higher release of hormones such as testosterone compared to a day before exposure.
“The skin contains several mechanisms for dealing with radiation from sunlight, one of which is the p53 protein,” says Professor Levy.
‘We must not forget that exposure to UV is dangerous and can damage DNA, such as with skin cancer.
Tel Aviv University researchers exposed 32 adults to varying levels of ultraviolet radiation from sunlight while questioning them about how horny they felt. stock image
‘At the same time, there are two built-in programs in the skin, activated after exposure to sunlight, to protect against DNA damage: the DNA repair system and pigmentation, namely the sunburn, based on the degree of exposure.
‘By activating both systems, the p53 protein regulates the extent of DNA damage. In our research we found that the same system also activates the endocrine system of sexuality and possibly reproduction.’
‘We are only now beginning to understand what this exposure does to us, and what key role it can play in various physiological and behavioral processes. It’s just the tip of the iceberg,” she added.
The findings are published in the journal Mobile Reports.