Finding men's cerebral G-spot could lead to new treatments for lost libido

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The Independent Online

Scientists may have found man's cerebral G-spot. Brain mappers have found the part of the brain that gets excited the most when a man is sexually aroused by what he sees.

Scientists may have found man's cerebral G-spot. Brain mappers have found the part of the brain that gets excited the most when a man is sexually aroused by what he sees.

When male volunteers were exposed to blue movies, the little-understood claustrum area of their brains lit up and became highly active. Researchers say this knowledge about the way the brain handles the process of sexual arousal from visual images may lead to better targeted treatments for people with sexual problems.

The scientists, who report their findings in the British science journal Human Brain Mapping, say that although there have been theories about how the brain is involved in sexual arousal, there has been no detailed study.

In the research, right-handed, healthy, heterosexual male volunteers were exposed to a series of three-minute clips from a variety of films while having their brains scanned to see which parts responded. When an area of the brain is working, blood flow to that part increases and a change in flow can be detected by scanning.

Heart rate, blood pressure and testosterone levels were also measured for the study. The men's heads were kept in a fixed position by individually moulded face masks.

The researchers from Lyon who used brain-mapping technology from Wellcome, said: "Video clips used were a series of photographic stimuli of graded intensity - non-sexually arousing, moderately arousing, highly arousing, photographs representing women, and two sexually explicit films depicting heterosexual coitus.

"The claustrum displayed one of the highest activations... There is now accumulating evidence of the involvement of the claustrum in motivational processes... These results should help to better identify, and potentially to better treat, the functional changes characterising pathological alterations of sexual desire."

Tonmoy Sharma, of the Institute of Psychiatry in London, said the study was a good one. "In evolutionary terms the claustrum is a primitive area. The greater activation they found means there was greater signal strength. Increased activation means that area is more involved in it. In memory studies, for example, the hippocampus is more active, more so than other areas," Professor Sharma said.

The team says that afterwards, the volunteers only commented on the beauty of those women involved in clips of the moderately arousing images. When the more sexually explicit images were shown, the men appeared oblivious to looks.

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