Pain 'reduces female sex drive'

New research has suggested pain reduces the sex drive of women more than it does men.

A study, published in the Journal of Neuroscience, looked at how pain and inflammation affected the brains motivation to engage in sexual activity, Medical News Today reports.

The scientists involved used mice for their research, but Professor James Pfaus, co-author of the report, stated it gives us a better understanding of sexual responses in the human brain.

Melissa Farmer, who also worked on the study, claims analysis in animal models would encourage further investigation into the theory that sexual problems are a symptom of chronic pain.

For this particular research, the mice were placed into mating chambers with walls separating the males from the females.

There was a small hole that allowed the females to relocate to the males section, but it was too small for the latter to move the other way. Therefore, it was the females who decided whether or not they were together.

Of the mice with inflammatory pain, there was a lack of desire to move to the males side of the chamber and so less sexual activity occurred.

However, when both the males and females were placed in the same area, the males with inflammatory issues were found to have exactly the same sexual motivation as those without any pain.

Jeffrey Mogil, also a co-author of the report, said: "We know from other studies that women's sexual desire is far more dependent on context than men's, but whether this is due to biological or social and cultural factors, such as upbringing and media influence, isn't known.

"Our finding that female mice [also] show pain-inhibited sexual desire suggests there may be an evolutionary biology explanation for these effects in humans and not simply a sociocultural one."

Previous research has suggested women have a lower sex drive due to distinct blood flow patterns to the brain.