Androgen enhances sexual motivation in females: a prospective, crossover study of sex steroid administration in the surgical menopause.

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Various parameters of sexual functioning were assessed in a prospective, crossover investigation of 53 surgically menopausal women. Patients randomly received either an estrogen-androgen combined preparation, an estrogen-alone drug, an androgen-alone drug, or a placebo. Also included were a group of women who had undergone hysterectomy and whose ovaries had been left intact. Two treatment phases, each of 3 months' duration, were separated by an intervening placebo month. Additionally, plasma levels of total estrogens and testosterone were assayed four times during the study concurrent with monitoring of sexual behaviors. It was clear that exogenous androgen enhanced the intensity of sexual desire and arousal and the frequency of sexual fantasies in hysterectomized and oophorectomized women. However, there was no evidence that testosterone affected physiologic response or interpersonal aspects of sexual behavior. These findings suggest that the major impact of androgen in women is on sexual motivation and not on sexual activity per se.

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