How DHEA Skyrockets Libido by Lowering Stress and How Trauma Causes Sex Addiction

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My sex drive is still hit and miss, as is my sense of pleasure, euphoria, social cleverness, wit (basically everything associated with dopaminergic activity and high testosterone.) As shown by my crystal clear vision (as opposed to my previous myopia), serotonin seems quite low. Are there any other methods that you have found to raise dopamine and testosterone aside from anabolic steroids, and would these translate to an increased libido and greater wittiness? I experienced both when I initially took caffeine.

⁠Dave Foster in 2015

Taking as little as 5mg DHEA, and up to 15mg per day in divided doses usually does wonders for one’s sex drive. DHEA also stimulated oxidative metabolism in the brain, so it should increase dopamine. DHEA also inhibits TPH, which is the enzyme that produces serotonin. So, try it out and let me know how it goes. Most people that tried it swear by DHEA for libido and overall energy.

Georgi Dinkov in 2015

Stress underlies addiction.  The HPA axis controls the human response to stress, and HPA hyperactivation appears in behavioral disorders including hypersexuality:

A dysregulation of the hypothalamic pituitary adrenal (HPA) axis has been shown in psychiatric disorders…the diagnosis of hypersexual disorder was significantly associated DST non-suppression and higher plasma DST-ACTH even when adjusted for childhood trauma. The results suggest HPA axis dysregulation in male patients with hypersexual disorder.”

Researchers administered dexamethasone, which inhibits the stress-response, but hypersexual patients had a resistance to the drug.

“Patients with hypersexual disorder were significantly more often DST non-suppressors and had significantly higher DST-ACTH levels compared to healthy volunteers.”

Those with hypersexuality suffer from childhood trauma and depression with the degree of trauma corresponding to HPA activation in adulthood:

“The patients reported significantly more childhood trauma and depression symptoms compared to healthy volunteers. Childhood trauma questionnaire (CQT) scores showed a significant negative correlation with DST-ACTH whereas SCS and HD:CAS scores showed a negative correlation with baseline cortisol in patients.”

Sexual thoughts elevate testosterone in women:

“Previous research suggests that sexual stimuli increase testosterone (T) in women and shows inconsistent effects of sexual arousal on cortisol (C), but effects of cognitive aspects of arousal, rather than behaviors or sensory stimuli, are unclear. The present study examined whether sexual thoughts affect T or C and whether hormonal contraceptive (HC) use moderated this effect, given mixed findings of HC use confounding hormone responses. Participants (79 women) provided a baseline saliva sample for radioimmunoassay. We created the Imagined Social Situation Exercise (ISSE) to test effects of imagining social interactions on hormones, and participants were assigned to the experimental (sexual) or one of three control (positive, neutral, stressful) conditions. Participants provided a second saliva sample 15 min post-activity. Results indicated that for women not using HCs, the sexual condition increased T compared to the stressful or positive conditions. In contrast, HC using women in the sexual condition had decreased T relative to the stressful condition and similar T to the positive condition. The effect was specific to T, as sexual thoughts did not change C. For participants in the sexual condition, higher baseline T predicted larger increases in sexual arousal but smaller increases in T, likely due to ceiling effects on T. Our results suggest that sexual thoughts change T but not C, baseline T levels and HC use may contribute to variation in the T response to sexual thoughts, and cognitive aspects of sexual arousal affect physiology.”

Sexual thoughts stimulate an increase in testosterone and cortisol:

“Sexual stimuli increase testosterone (T) or cortisol (C) in males of a variety of species, including humans, and just thinking about sex increases T in women. We investigated whether sexual thoughts change T or C in men and whether hormone measures (baseline, post-activity, and changes) correlate with psychological sexual arousal.  We used the Imagined Social Situation Exercise to assess how hormones respond to and correlate with sexual thoughts and arousal relative to three control conditions: neutral, stressful, and positive.  A total of 99 men provided a baseline saliva sample, imagined and wrote about a sexual or control situation, and provided a second saliva sample 15 min later. Results indicated that, for participants in the sexual condition, higher baseline and post-activity C [cortisol] corresponded to larger increases in self- reported sexual and autonomic arousal. Although sexual thoughts increased sexual arousal, they did not change T or C compared to control conditions. Our results suggest that sexual thoughts are not sufficient to change T or C in men, but C [cortisol] may facilitate sexual arousal by directing energy towards a sexual situation.

Lowered cortisol increases individual resilience to stress and suppresses addictive behaviors.

References

Chatzittofis, A., Arver, S., Öberg, K., Hallberg, J., Nordström, P., & Jokinen, J. (2016). HPA axis dysregulation in men with hypersexual disorder. Psychoneuroendocrinology, 63, 247–253. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.psyneuen.2015.10.002
Hypersexual disorder integrating pathophysiological aspects such as sexual desire deregulation, sexual addiction, impulsivity and compulsivity was suggested as a diagnosis for the DSM-5. However, little is known about the neurobiology behind this disorder. A dysregulation of the hypothalamic pituitary adrenal (HPA) axis has been shown in psychiatric disorders but has not been investigated in hypersexual disorder. The aim of this study was to investigate the function of the HPA axis in hypersexual disorder. The study includes 67 male patients with hypersexual disorder and 39 healthy male volunteers. Basal morning plasma levels of cortisol and ACTH were assessed and low dose (0.5mg) dexamethasone suppression test was performed with cortisol and ACTH measured post dexamethasone administration. Non-suppression status was defined with DST-cortisol levels ≥ 138 nmol/l. The Sexual Compulsive scale (SCS), Hypersexual disorder current assessment scale (HD:CAS), Montgomery-Åsberg Depression Scale-self rating (MADRS-S) and Childhood trauma questionnaire (CTQ), were used for assessing hypersexual behavior, depression severity and early life adversity. Patients with hypersexual disorder were significantly more often DST non-suppressors and had significantly higher DST-ACTH levels compared to healthy volunteers. The patients reported significantly more childhood trauma and depression symptoms compared to healthy volunteers. CTQ scores showed a significant negative correlation with DST-ACTH whereas SCS and HD:CAS scores showed a negative correlation with baseline cortisol in patients. The diagnosis of hypersexual disorder was significantly associated DST non-suppression and higher plasma DST-ACTH even when adjusted for childhood trauma. The results suggest HPA axis dysregulation in male patients with hypersexual disorder.

Goldey, K. L., & van Anders, S. M. (2012). Sexual thoughts: links to testosterone and cortisol in men. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 41(6), 1461–1470. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10508-011-9858-6 Sexual stimuli increase testosterone (T) or cortisol (C) in males of a variety of species, including humans, and just thinking about sex increases T in women. We investigated whether sexual thoughts change T or C in men and whether hormone measures (baseline, post-activity, and changes) correlate with psychological sexual arousal. We used the Imagined Social Situation Exercise to assess how hormones respond to and correlate with sexual thoughts and arousal relative to three control conditions: neutral, stressful, and positive. A total of 99 men provided a baseline saliva sample, imagined and wrote about a sexual or control situation, and provided a second saliva sample 15 min later. Results indicated that, for participants in the sexual condition, higher baseline and post-activity C corresponded to larger increases in self- reported sexual and autonomic arousal. Although sexual thoughts increased sexual arousal, they did not change T or C compared to control conditions. Our results suggest that sexual thoughts are not sufficient to change T or C in men, but C may facilitate sexual arousal by directing energy towards a sexual situation.  

Goldey, K. L., & van Anders, S. M. (2011). Sexy thoughts: effects of sexual cognitions on testosterone, cortisol, and arousal in women. Hormones and Behavior, 59(5), 754–764. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.yhbeh.2010.12.005 Previous research suggests that sexual stimuli increase testosterone (T) in women and shows inconsistent effects of sexual arousal on cortisol (C), but effects of cognitive aspects of arousal, rather than behaviors or sensory stimuli, are unclear. The present study examined whether sexual thoughts affect T or C and whether hormonal contraceptive (HC) use moderated this effect, given mixed findings of HC use confounding hormone responses. Participants (79 women) provided a baseline saliva sample for radioimmunoassay. We created the Imagined Social Situation Exercise (ISSE) to test effects of imagining social interactions on hormones, and participants were assigned to the experimental (sexual) or one of three control (positive, neutral, stressful) conditions. Participants provided a second saliva sample 15 min post-activity. Results indicated that for women not using HCs, the sexual condition increased T compared to the stressful or positive conditions. In contrast, HC using women in the sexual condition had decreased T relative to the stressful condition and similar T to the positive condition. The effect was specific to T, as sexual thoughts did not change C. For participants in the sexual condition, higher baseline T predicted larger increases in sexual arousal but smaller increases in T, likely due to ceiling effects on T. Our results suggest that sexual thoughts change T but not C, baseline T levels and HC use may contribute to variation in the T response to sexual thoughts, and cognitive aspects of sexual arousal affect physiology.

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