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Bad sex is all on your head. Either that or sugar is now an aphrodisiac. One-third of women having sexual problems experienced a placebo effect from sugar pills. Why is it that some people feel that they have to rely on a pill for health problems? (Although this study applies specifically to women, men also experience the same placebo effect from Viagra.) Of course, medicines are many times warranted... but for bad sex? Is this an example of people looking to shirk responsibility (in this case, for their own arousal)? If a placebo can make an ailment go away, was it real? Positive thinking alone won't fix health problems, but do we need drugs to feel better about ourselves?


The power of a capsule of sugar to relieve depression or ease back pain is called the placebo response: as long as you believe you are taking medicine, you often get better...

But can a sugar pill fix a bad sex life? That question was the focus of a study published yesterday in the online edition of The Journal of Sexual Medicine. The study focused on 50 women who had received a placebo instead of tadalafil in an old clinical trial for the drug, which is now sold as Cialis (and which wouldn't have done much for the women anyway, since it's an erectile-dysfunction drug)...

The women, ages 35 to 55 and all premenopausal, had all been diagnosed with female sexual arousal disorder. But after a few weeks on the placebo, the women as a group reported less distress and more fun in their sex lives...

What about men? A study published about a year ago in the same journal found that placebo can improve erectile function, particularly by increasing the quality of erections.

How? One way placebos work is that the people taking them tend to *want* to get better: the women in the current study were "highly motivated, as evidenced by their willingness to engage in regular sexual activity as a condition of enrollment." The act of seeking treatment can often jump-start the body's own natural healing powers.

But in this case, placebo probably works for sexual dysfunction because sex is virtually all in the head anyway. If you seek a better sex life, you might start with not taking a pill but figuring out exactly what pleases you.

Not Faking It: Why a Placebo Can Improve Sex Life


Original posting by Braincrave Second Life staff on Sep 22, 2010 at http://www.braincrave.com/viewblog.php?id=332

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