Shining the light on passion & libido


Shining the light on passion & libido

At PHF we are often asked about ways to increase libido for both our male and female patients. It is a growing field and we strive hard to keep up with the latest research. Today we share with you a lifestyle behaviour that has shown to increase your passion and enhance your libido!

Sadly many people live a very indoor lifestyle. They sleep, get into their car, travel to work, work inside, travel home again, perhaps exercise indoors at the gym, socialise in a café or bar and most of their 24 hour day is spent inside. Now we know this indoor lifestyle is very likely a contributor to a declining libido!

So here is what you need to know. Men and women both have the hormones testosterone, oestrogen and progesterone – men and women just have them in different ratios. Men and women need both testosterone and oestrogen to have the desire to mate and the ability to mate. It is important to know men and women need BOTH testosterone and oestrogen to want to mate!

A study published in 2021 called Skin Exposure to UVB light induces a skin, brain, gonad axis and sexual behaviour has shown the benefits of sunlight on our skin for increasing many aspects of our sexual health. The study was done on both humans and mice. Mice are often studied, as interventions can be done on animals that explain mechanisms of action, that are not able to be done on humans.

What the study showed us was that SUNLIGHT on our skin is very beneficial for our reproductive hormones. Exposure to UVB light on the skin triggers increases in testosterone and oestrogen and the desire to mate. Note, it is NOT the exposure of light to the eye, it is the exposure of your skin to sun light that triggers the increase in levels of testosterone and oestrogen and subsequently your desire to mate.

Your skin is actually an endocrine organ. This means the skin is a hormone producing and hormone influencing organ. The above study looked at the impact of light on both animals and humans (both men and women). When mice or humans were exposed to UVB light, the source that comes from sunshine, there were increases to testosterone that occurred very quickly, also increases in oestrogen, and progesterone. It is also important to note that the proper ratio of testosterone to oestrogen were maintained for men and women. The animal studies showed the mice exposed to sunlight sought out mating more frequently and mated more often. It also showed increases in gonad weight, so larger testicles in the male mice and larger ovaries in the female mice. In humans they did not look at testicle or ovary size, but they did address the psychology of the human and they monitored passionate feelings and how their perception of other people changed when they had increased UVB exposure to the skin.

The protocol used in the study was 20-30 minutes of midday sun exposure 2 to 3 times week for 4 weeks. The subjects were asked to wear shorts and t-shirts to expose the skin of the arms and the legs. On average it was 10 – 12 sessions over 4 weeks. The test subjects were allowed to continue normal activities, they were not told to sunbathe, just allow skin exposure as they continued normal activities outside.

Please note this would need to be done safely relative on where you live in the world (and culturally sensitively). Obviously the time in the sun will change depending on time of the year and the latitude where you live and any skin damage or burning would need to be avoided.

The researchers found that sunlight (UVB exposure) to the skin of humans resulted in increased testosterone and oestrogen levels for all men and women. Sunlight exposure enhanced males seeing their partners as attractive. The study also found UVB light exposure to the skin increased the desire to mate in both males and females.

Increased UVB exposure to the skin increased romantic passion in both men and women. Interestingly many of the subjects noted increased passion after only 1 or 2 UVB treatments (sunlight exposure). NOTE – the researchers looked at passion in 2 ways, as sexual passion and emotional passion. Women receiving the UVB light exposure had increased levels of physical arousal and sexual passion whereas the men scored higher on the cognitive effects of passion – increased thoughts of their partner etc. Both males and females reported an increase in sexual passion and a desire to mate.

UVB light exposure also changed aspects of female fertility, in particular follicle growth. Follicle and egg maturation are well known markers of fertility and are related to the female fertility and pregnancy success. UVB light exposure meant more healthy eggs were being produced.

So what can we learn from this study? A great way to increase your hormone levels, your feelings of passion, your libido and your fertility is to get outside and get some sunlight (safely) on your skin. At PHF when we address libido issues for women we look at vaginal lubrication, stress management, sleep issue, fatigue, nutritional deficiencies and hormonal issues, for men we look at blood flow to the penis as well as all of the other issues listed for women. We also use herbal medicine and nutritional supplementation for increasing oestrogen and testosterone. Now we can add the powerful tool of understanding sunlight exposure to the skin to help you get your libido sparking again!


Anna X