For many, the art of seduction starts with dimming the lights. But a new study suggests that bright light may help men with flagging sex drives to shine in bed.
Exposure to bright light – similar to daylight – boosts levels of the male hormone testosterone and can triple sexual satisfaction, the research found.
Low sexual desire affects significant numbers of men after the age of 40.
According to some studies, up to a quarter of men report problems depending on age and other factors.
Because sexual interest varies with the seasons, scientists have suspected that it might be influenced by ambient light levels.
To test the theory, researchers from the University of Siena in Italy recruited 38 men diagnosed with low libidos and treated half of them with daily doses of bright light.
Early each morning for two weeks the men spent half an hour in a room with a light box, a panel designed to emit bright white light.
At the end of the trial tests showed that their testosterone levels had risen significantly. They also reported higher levels of self-rated sexual satisfaction.
Similar effects were not seen in the other group of men whose light box was adapted to emit a low non-therapeutic level of light.
Lead researcher Professor Andrea Fagiolini said: “We found fairly significant differences between those who received the active light treatment, and the controls.
“Before treatment, both groups averaged a sexual satisfaction score of around two 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 three-fold increase on the scale we used. In contrast, the control group only showed an average score of around 2.7 after treatment.”