It turns out that headaches are not just an excuse for women to get out of having sex. A new study on mice found that male mice in pain were still receptive to mating, while female mice were less receptive to mating, regardless of where they felt the pain. Researchers found that the female mice experienced a biological reaction to pain that lowered their sex drive.
The study shows that even in different species, the female body is more receptive to having sex under the right circumstances for reproduction. The slightest pain, even when caused by a headache, can trigger a natural response to deny any sexual behavior.
The results of the study were published in the Journal of Neuroscience on April 23. It showed that women’s low sex drive is due to a biological reaction to pain. During the study, both male and female mice were given pain shots at various points on their bodies. They experienced pain in their genitals, rear paws and cheeks to show that no matter where the pain was felt, the females has a lowered sex drive. The researchers then set the stage by making the females chemically attractive to the males and left the pairs in cages with each other, with an option for the female to retreat and be by itself and not engage with the male.
The females in pain retreated to their private space and were not interested in mating. The reason appears to be biological. The female mice were able to tell that their bodies were not in ideal shape for breeding, so they chose not to participate. But males in pain did not experience a change in sex drive when they were in pain. Their job ends after conception and they have no need to prepare their bodies to have babies.
The researchers then gave the female mice who experienced pain a dose of Lyrica, as well as apomorphine and melanotan-II, which are libido-enhancing drugs. It took care of the pain, but it also revved up their sex drive. The researchers also stated that the libido-enhancing drugs only worked on the female mice who were in pain.
The study helps explain sexual behavior of people in pain as well. Women who experience pain are less likely to engage. “Not tonight, I have a headache,” may be recognized as an age-old excuse for women to not have sex, but there may be some biological truth to it.
Jeffrey Mogil, of McGill University in Canada was the lead researcher. He said that the biological explanation for a woman’s low sex drive challenges the belief that their sex drive is based on cultural expectations.
Furthermore, the study sheds light on how drugs may be developed as a type of female Viagra that addresses the pain and low sex drive to restore normal sexual behavior. Women in chronic pain often experience a low sex drive and the results of this study may help figure out why and how to help boost their libido.
By Tracy Rose