Homosexual men taking bicalutamide for prostate cancer were much more likely to report sexual problems during treatment than heterosexual patients, according to a study in the July issue of the urology journal BJUI.
Researchers from Romania and the USA studied 17 heterosexual men and 12 homosexual men receiving a 50mg daily dose of bicalutamide, a fast-acting, non-steroidal anti-androgen, which is similar to other anti-androgens, but with reportedly fewer side effects.
They discovered that homosexual men reported that their sexual performance and satisfaction more than halved in four of the six categories studied. Heterosexual men, on the other hand, reported fewer problems and were considerably more satisfied with intercourse.
The patients were asked to compare their sexual functioning -- erectile function, orgasmic function, sexual desire and overall functioning -- before treatment started and five weeks after it commenced.
"Anti-androgens are given to men with prostate cancer to stop the male hormones stimulating the growth of the cancer cells" explains Dr Ion G Motofei from Carol Davila University, Romania. "The aim of this study was to see whether this hormone treatment affected heterosexual and homosexual men in different ways and our results clearly show that it does.
"The homosexual patients in our study reported significant reductions in all aspects of their sexual functioning and satisfaction, ranging from 23 per cent to 54 per cent.
"However, the heterosexual group only reported slight reductions in two of the six categories, ranging from one per cent to four per cent. They also reported no change in one category and improvements in the remaining three, including a 45 per cent increase in intercourse satisfaction."
The 28 men had an average age of 61, with no significant difference between the heterosexual and homosexual patient groups. Each completed the International Index of Erectile Function questionnaire. The detailed results showed that:
"The results of our study suggest that androgens play a role in cerebral sexual processes such as libido, sexual arousal and orgasm and that this response may be different in heterosexual and homosexual men" says co-author Dr David L Rowland from Valparaiso University, Indiana, USA.
"However, it is important that we do not underestimate the effect that androgens can have on heterosexual men just because the effect on homosexual men appears to be greater."
The prostate cancer study is part of wider research into the cerebral mechanisms of sexuality and cognition by Motofei and Rowland, who are promoting a new theory on psychosexual cerebral dualism. They believe that this new dual concept will radically change the fundamental bases of psychiatry, psychology and sexuality, opening up new therapeutical approaches for human mental and sexual disturbances. The most recent article on the topic is published online early by BJUI ahead of print publication.
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