Oxytocin Discovered to Help Men With Asperger’s Syndrome

By Emily Murray

You may not be familiar with the exact name of the hormone, but you have likely been affected by it.

Oxytocin is known as the ‘love hormone’ as it is responsible for making couples feel closer and also for bonding mothers with their newborns. It has also been noted that women are typically more affected by it than their male partners. After sex, there are higher levels of the hormone present in women and often this makes them feel closer to their partner and often leads them to want to be physically closer as well. Are men being insensitive when they fall asleep post-sex? Many scientists believe it may just be because of the differences chemically in men and women.

The newest study has found out yet another interesting property of oxytocin.

Men who have been diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome, a type of autism that is high-functioning, may benefit by receiving oxytocin if their sex lives are being impacted negatively.

Doctors from the San Diego Medical Center in California recently came to this conclusion by complete ccident. They were treating a 32-year-old man who had three children and had trouble interacting with anyone outside his family as a result of his Asperger’s. He was considered a successful businessman in his career however, he was just socially uncomfortable.  When doctors attempted to improve his ability to function in social situations through the use of oxytocin, it was more of an experiment than anything else as it is sometimes said to be an “off-label” use for the hormone. What happened however was a shock to both doctor and patient- his sexual function improved and not just a little but a lot! He reported a 46% improvement in sexual function. If he forgot to take the oxytocin accidentally, he would notice that the affect would not remain.

The case study was recently published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine. While additional testing would be required for a proper conclusion to be drawn, it is believed that the doctors who discovered this side effect may be on to something.

As a result of the nasal spray form of oxytocin, the patient reported that he wanted to be closer to his wife and as  a result he saw an increase in his sexual performance. How does this tie in to Asperger’s?

Some men may experience sexual difficulty as a result of their inability to interact socially. For these men, oxytocin may help these feelings of awkwardness or anxiety begin to dissipate and as a result, their sexual performance may see an improvement.

As far as the impact that the love hormone could have on non-Asperger’s men, the results are still not confirmed.