Men compelled to find myriad new partners and ways to have sex may be driven by high levels of the so-called "love hormone," oxytocin, new research suggests.
Oxytocin, which is produced by the hypothalamus and secreted by the pituitary gland, plays a key role in sexual behavior, and abnormal levels are believed to play a role in sexual addiction.
To learn more, researchers analyzed blood samples from 64 men with sex addiction and 38 men with normal sex drives.
"We discovered that men with compulsive sexual behavior disorder (CSBD) had higher oxytocin levels compared with healthy men," Dr. Andreas Chatzittofis, of the University of Cyprus Medical School in Nicosia, Cyprus and Umeå University in Umeå, Sweden, said in an Endocrine Society news release.
However, as part of the study, 30 of the men with sex addiction completed a cognitive behavioral counseling program. Their oxytocin levels dropped significantly after the therapy, according to findings published Feb. 2 in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.
The psychological intervention "led to a reduction in both hypersexual behavior and oxytocin levels," Chatzittofis noted.
His conclusion: "Oxytocin plays an important role in sex addiction and may be a potential drug target for future pharmacological treatment."
For more about compulsive sexual behavior, visit the American Psychological Association.
SOURCE: Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, news release, Feb. 2, 2022