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The chemistry of attraction – weird reasons you might be feeling frisky

The chemistry of attraction – weird reasons you might be feeling frisky

This article was published by SBS Life in March 2017.

From beer goggles to bacteria.

Dim the lights and ignite your Bunsen burner – let’s get down to the science behind the sexy.

1. The microbiome – our bacterial bunk-mates

For a long time, people weren’t all too keen on bacteria.

While it’s true that some microorganisms can cause infection and disease, many of them are harmless - and some even helpful.

Enter the modern fascination with the microbiome – that’s the assortment of bacteria that live on and inside us all the time.

While you might have heard that your microbiome can affect your digestion and immunity, did you know it’s probably affecting your hormones, too?

In humans, hormones regulate many different things, including sleep, mood, our immune systems – and our sex drive.

Amazingly, performing a fecal transplant (or ‘transpoosion’) from male to female mice has been seen to increase testosterone levels in the receptive females – which suggests that our microbiome is sex-specific. It also suggests that we might be able to modify our live-in bacterial buddies to optimise how they interact with our sex hormones.

Women on antibiotics might have noticed unusual changes in their sexual appetite.

That’s because antibiotics have the potential tointerfere with ALL of the bacteria in or bodies – not just the infection causing ones. Disruption of the microbiome in this way has been shown to decrease estrogen levels.

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