Dear men, did you know you had a sex gene that regulates your sexual desires?
Yep, you do! The gene controls an enzyme, called aromatase, which is responsible for converting testosterone into oestrogen in the brain, which drives male sexual activity.
I know what you’re thinking, isn’t oestrogen the female sex hormone? Yes, it is. But it is also needed in high levels to drive libido and is essential for erectile function.
Without some oestrogen, a man has a very low sex drive.
Scientists at Northwestern University are particularly excited about this discovery as they believe is can pave the way for new treatments for sex addiction and dysfunction.
“This is the first key finding to explain how testosterone stimulates sexual desire,” said senior author Dr Serdar Bulun at Northwestern University.
“For the first time, we demonstrated conclusively that the conversion of testosterone to oestrogen in the brain is critical to maintain full sexual activity or desire in males. Aromatase drives that.”
Aromatase is produced by a single gene, called Cyp19a1. Researchers removed the Cyp19a1 gene from the brain of male lab mice and put them in cages with a female mouse.
They observed that subsequent sexual activity was slashed in half, despite the rodents having higher than normal levels of testosterone.
The inability to convert the hormone from testosterone to oestrogen had a clear impact on sexual desire.
The full findings are published in the journal Endocrinology.