Placebo, Communication Aid Low Sex Drive

AUSTIN, Texas, Sept. 17 (UPI) — About one-third of women with low sex drives who participated in a study and were given a placebo reported better sex, U.S. researchers say.

Cindy Meston, a clinical psychology professor at The University of Texas at Austin, and Andrea Bradford, a postdoctoral fellow at Baylor College of Medicine, examined data from a previous clinical trial that followed 200 women during a 12-week period. Fifty of the women, ages 35-55, were randomly chosen to receive a placebo instead of a drug for low sexual arousal.


The findings, available online in the Journal of Sexual Medicine, show, on average, one in three of the women who took a placebo reported an overall improvement.

All women taking the placebo talked to a health provider about their sexual difficulties and monitored their sexual behaviors and feelings regularly.

“The findings from our study show how a woman’s expectations to improve sexually can have a substantial positive effect on her sexual well-being without any actual drug treatment,” Meston says in a statement. “Expecting to get better and trying to find a solution to a sexual problem by participating in a study seems to make couples feel closer, communicate more and even act differently towards each other during sexual encounters.”

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