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Would You Boost Your Libido with Brain Stimulation? New Study Suggests It’s Possible

A treatment for depression could also improve sexual experiences.

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Researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles, have released a new study that shows that, through transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), we may someday be able to control, or even increase, sexual desire.

At first, Dr. Nicole Prause’s team began by equipping 20 volunteers with specialized genital vibrators—which must have been quite an interesting job.

Once wired up, they then hooked up a different part of their anatomy: their brains, via electrodes. This part of the experiment was to get a baseline for the volunteers’ level of arousal. In short, switch on the vibrators and measure their alpha brain waves, which tend to be shallower the more people are aroused.

“You want to see if they want what you’re offering,” Prause said to New Scientist. “This is a good model for sexual desire.”

Next, they used TMS to give the volunteers a low-intensity jolt to their dorsolateral prefrontal cortex. Participants’ brains were either given excitatory or inhibitory zaps of magnetic stimulation.

Then, after the zap, the researchers put the electrodes and the vibrators back on the volunteers. They were then given an interesting test: quickly push a button in response to shapes on a video screen. If they were fast enough, they got a nifty reward with a pleasant vibration to their genitals.

The result? As Prause hypothesized, the volunteers who had received an “exciting” TMS jolt experienced increased sexual arousal—and those who got the opposite charge had the opposite result. The former even reported enhanced sexual experiences after the session.

Alas, TMS zaps don’t last very long, but that may be just a technical hurdle to overcome.

In the meantime, Prause’s research seems to indicate that at some point in the future it may be possible to ramp up, or tune down, anyone’s sexual desire via tiny amounts of voltage applied to the human brain.

Or, in other words, tune in, switch on, and have fun!

Image source: John M

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