Researchers have found that testosterone therapy has no bearing on young women's sex drive ordesire. In comparison, low levels of dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), a chemical that can be turnedinto testosterone, are associated with decreased sexual desire in women. Despite the body's naturalability to produce DHEA, in recent years it has become a popular OTC supplement.
The study, the findings of which were presented at the annual meeting of the Endocrine Society (June17, 2004), involved 1432 women between 18 and 75 years of age. The participants were randomly selectedfrom the population in Victoria, Australia, over a 15-month period. Each participant gave a blood samplefor hormone testing and completed a sexual function questionnaire on the same day. The researchersfocused on women younger than 45 years because they had the broadest range in sex hormone levels.
The results showed that sexual function (ie, desire, arousal, and orgasm) declined with age. A lowDHEA level also was tied to low sexual desire and arousal. Testosterone levels, however, were notassociated with either of these factors. The researchers also noted that neither DHEA nor testosteronelevels were tied to sexual responsiveness, orgasm, or pleasure.