Placebo Effect Significantly Improves Women’s Sexual Satisfaction, Study Shows

Sept. 15, 2010

AUSTIN, Texas — Many women with low sex drives reported greater sexual satisfaction after taking a placebo, according to new psychology research from The University of Texas at Austin and Baylor College of Medicine.

The study was conducted by Cindy Meston, a clinical psychology professor at The University of Texas at Austin, and Andrea Bradford, a 2009 University of Texas at Austin graduate and postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Family and Community Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine. They found that opening a new line of communication about sex can have a positive effect in many women with low libidos.

The researchers examined data from a previous clinical trial that followed 200 women over a 12-week period. Fifty of those women, ages 35-55, were randomly chosen to receive a placebo instead of a drug treatment for low sexual arousal. None of the participants knew which treatment they were given. To measure the effect of the treatment, women were asked to rate symptoms of sexual dysfunction such as low sexual desire, low sexual arousal and problems with orgasm.

The findings, available online in the Journal of Sexual Medicine, show that on average, one in three of the women who took a placebo showed an overall improvement. Most of that improvement seemed to happen during the first four weeks.

Symptom changes were measured by the frequency of satisfying sexual encounters that the women reported during the treatment. Many women reported they received more stimulation during sexual activity while they participated in the trial, even though their partners were not given any special instructions.

All women taking the placebo talked to a health provider about their difficulties and monitored their sexual behaviors and feelings regularly.

"The findings from our study show how a woman's expectations to improve sexually can have a substantial positive effect on her sexual well-being without any actual drug treatment," Meston says. "Expecting to get better and trying to find a solution to a sexual problem by participating in a study seems to make couples feel closer, communicate more and even act differently towards each other during sexual encounters."

For more information, contact: Jessica Sinn, College of Liberal Arts, 512-471-2404; Cindy Meston, professor, Department of Psychology, 512-232-4644; Graciela Gutierrez, communications specialist, Baylor School of Medicine, 713-798-4710.

3 Comments to "Placebo Effect Significantly Improves Women’s Sexual Satisfaction, Study Shows"

1.  jdk said on Sept. 16, 2010

Where can I buy a placebo?

2.  teslo said on Sept. 20, 2010

@jdk You can make a placebo yourself, too. Just fill a glass with water and put some sugar in it. Say hello to increased sex drive.

3.  L K Tucker said on June 3, 2012

The placebo effect may be in response to hyper-suggestibility that can be shown an outcome of Subliminal Distraction.

The most well known event was Jumping Frenchmen of Maine, 1880. French Canadian and American lumberjacks would perform any action demonstrated to them even if it were harmful to them.

A later study said the behavior could be explained by operant conditioning. But unaware of Subliminal Distraction they could not find the source of stimulation to cause it.

Subliminal Distraction was discovered to cause mental breaks for office workers in 1964. The cubicle was designed to block peripheral vision to stop it by 1968. VisionAndPsychosis.Net