Serotonin, mice and a good time
March 23, 2011 10:52 AM   Subscribe

Interesting effect on the lack of the neurotransmitter serotonin in male mice.
posted by Brandon Blatcher (37 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

 
Instead of responding aggressively to a challenge from another male, the mutant mice "showed significantly more mounting of male intruders."

Sounds like an aggressive response to me.


Also, this seems to support the idea that serotonin dysfunction tends to be related to impulsivity, i.e., rather than specifically suggesting it's involve in homosexual tendencies.
posted by logicpunk at 11:00 AM on March 23, 2011


The neat thing about these mice is that the serotonin deficiency can be easily fixed, as the chemical precursor can be supplied by injecting it into the abdomen.

Uh oh.
posted by nzero at 11:03 AM on March 23, 2011


The link to the scientific article from Ars Technica is broken - here's the Nature paper (you probably need a subscription to read more than the Abstract). I quote:
An unavoidable question raised by our findings is whether 5-HT has a role in sexual preference in other animals. In a positron emission tomography study of humans, the response of heterosexual men to the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) fluoxetine was found to be different from that of homosexual men. SSRIs inhibited compulsive sexual behaviours in homosexual and bisexual men. However, so far, none of these studies has investigated whether 5-HT has a role in sexual preference.
posted by exogenous at 11:06 AM on March 23, 2011


it's involve in homosexual tendencies.

Note, the male mice became bisexual, not homosexual.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:06 AM on March 23, 2011


It's pretty well known that your sex drive pretty much disappears while on ecstasy.
posted by empath at 11:09 AM on March 23, 2011 [5 favorites]


Finally, a cure for hetereosexuality!
posted by DU at 11:18 AM on March 23, 2011 [17 favorites]


SSRIs inhibited compulsive sexual behaviours in homosexual and bisexual men

That's because it nukes your sex drive. not a comment on non-het behavior; a complaint about SSRIs
posted by MikeKD at 11:33 AM on March 23, 2011 [3 favorites]


empath: "It's pretty well known that your sex drive pretty much disappears while on ecstasy"

I beg to differ... sexy.
posted by Splunge at 11:35 AM on March 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


It's pretty well known that your sex drive pretty much disappears while on ecstasy.

I, um, have a friend who would strongly disagree with that. This may just be down to the greatly diminished fear of getting shot down, and the greatly increased incidence of complimenting everyone you meet, because, wow, your hair is really nice, can I touch it?, of course.
posted by kersplunk at 11:39 AM on March 23, 2011


SSRIs inhibited compulsive sexual behaviours in homosexual and bisexual men.

Taken out of context this is a potentially volatile statement. What constitutes compulsive vs. non-compulsive behavior and is this behavior pattern (or patterns) the same as or similar to heterosexual behaviors? (I'm not saying this wasn't defined or properly studied, just that without better/fuller context the above statement is potentially conflagrative without much quantitative value.)
posted by BigHeartedGuy at 11:43 AM on March 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


I beg to differ... sexy.

I, um, have a friend who would strongly disagree with that. This may just be down to the greatly diminished fear of getting shot down, and the greatly increased incidence of complimenting everyone you meet, because, wow, your hair is really nice, can I touch it?, of course.


It's pretty well known that the ability to detect sarcasm pretty much disappears while on Metafilter.
posted by Ratio at 11:43 AM on March 23, 2011 [4 favorites]


It's pretty well known that the ability to detect sarcasm pretty much disappears while on Metafilter.

I'm actually not being sarcastic. People get touchy feely, but sex isn't generally the first thing on your mind, and guys often have a hard time performing. And that's basically nothing but a flood of serotonin.
posted by empath at 11:53 AM on March 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


It's pretty well known that the ability to detect sarcasm pretty much disappears while on Metafilter.

I don't think empath was being sarcastic. Here's an article about mixing MDMA with viagra to counteract the libido-killing effects. From the intro:
Despite the persistent and confusingly inaccurate reports in the national media that Ecstasy is either a "date rape drug" or a "sex drug", it is well known that for most men and women MDMA is not typically associated with actual intercourse. The two main reasons for this are that it blocks erection in a large portion of the male population and the feelings elicited in most people are more appropriate to cuddling than to sex.
posted by girih knot at 11:54 AM on March 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


I think that we need to be extremely careful about how we handle any kind of research that suggests sexual preference could be tied to any kind of deficiency or hormonal abnormality.
posted by Stagger Lee at 11:58 AM on March 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


I think that we need to be extremely careful about how we handle any kind of research that suggests sexual preference could be tied to any kind of deficiency or hormonal abnormality.

Why? Everything people do is mediated by hormones and neurotransmitters. Every psychological tendency, whether it be sex drive, or mood, or intellectual curiosity or wanderlust or whatever is going to probably be connected to differences in their levels or how their metabolized, etc, somehow.

If it were shown tomorrow that sexual orientation could be modified in either direction with a pill or an injection, what changes? Because, like it or not, this is a very possible future.
posted by empath at 12:08 PM on March 23, 2011 [6 favorites]


"Did you remember to take your gay pills?"
posted by klangklangston at 12:10 PM on March 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


Or I guess to put it another way. People change their sex with surgery all of the time. Should they not have the right to change their sexual orientation, instead, if they choose?
posted by empath at 12:10 PM on March 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


(though i wouldn't define a difference as an 'abnormality'. People are just different.)
posted by empath at 12:12 PM on March 23, 2011


Half way to the gay bomb!
posted by bonehead at 12:14 PM on March 23, 2011


I don't think empath was being sarcastic. Here's an article about mixing MDMA with viagra to counteract the libido-killing effects.

Viagra has nothing at all to do with libido, and taking it doesn't affect your libido at all.
posted by Justinian at 12:14 PM on March 23, 2011




If it were shown tomorrow that sexual orientation could be modified in either direction with a pill or an injection, what changes? Because, like it or not, this is a very possible future.


The framing is extremely important. The research is totally legitimate, and we should certainly be talking about it, but there are a lot of assholes ready to take the results and run off to crazy town with it.
posted by Stagger Lee at 12:15 PM on March 23, 2011


Viagra has nothing at all to do with libido, and taking it doesn't affect your libido at all.

To counteract the boner problem, then. I misspoke but I imagine you knew what I meant.
posted by girih knot at 12:15 PM on March 23, 2011




Half way to the gay bomb!


What, this one?
posted by Stagger Lee at 12:16 PM on March 23, 2011


"Did you remember to take your gay pills?"

Of course, the anti-gay will retreat to compounds with their own water supply, so no one can slip gay pills into them.

'cause damn if I wouldn't be trying to do just that.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:19 PM on March 23, 2011 [4 favorites]


Crap, that brings up the ethical question whether giving "gay pills" (or vice versa) might be legally considered rape. Maybe scratch the idea of slipping someone pills.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:22 PM on March 23, 2011


Here's what they cited for the "SSRIs inhibited compulsive sexual behaviours in homosexual and bisexual men" bit:
Wainberg, M. et al. A double-blind study of citalopram versus placebo in the treatment of compulsive sexual behaviors in gay and bisexual men. J. Clin. Psychiatry 67, 1968–1973 (2006).
posted by exogenous at 12:35 PM on March 23, 2011


Maybe scratch the idea of slipping someone pills.

Yeah I think that's best left on the drawing board.
posted by Mister_A at 12:43 PM on March 23, 2011


It's pretty well known that your sex drive pretty much disappears while on ecstasy.

The more intense the roll, the more true that is - in my own experience. Sexy time in that state can also be too intense to handle.

I'll toss an anecdotal narrative on this story - the worse my mood, the less picky I get.
posted by MillMan at 12:45 PM on March 23, 2011


Here's what they cited for the "SSRIs inhibited compulsive sexual behaviours in homosexual and bisexual men" bit:

Thanks Exogenous.
posted by BigHeartedGuy at 1:11 PM on March 23, 2011


(Sample experiment: "a slide with one half smeared with female genitals and the other half with male genitals was presented to a test male.")

A lack of seratonin turned the mice into rodent-sized Hannibal Lectors. "I had his genitals ground and smeared on a slide with some fava beans and a nice chianti. Yummmmmmm."
posted by FatherDagon at 1:11 PM on March 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


Of course, the anti-gay will retreat to compounds with their own water supply, so no one can slip gay pills into them.

I was under the impression that for most of the anti-gay leadership, gay pills would be.....unnecessary.
posted by Salvor Hardin at 1:26 PM on March 23, 2011 [5 favorites]


To counteract the boner problem, then. I misspoke but I imagine you knew what I meant.

Sorry, some people actually do think that Viagra acts as an aphrodisiac, so I wasn't quit sure!
posted by Justinian at 1:51 PM on March 23, 2011


"I was under the impression that for most of the anti-gay leadership, gay pills would be.....unnecessary."

"Look, if we both scowl while we rub our dicks together, it'll kill those urges and be totally hetero."
posted by klangklangston at 2:05 PM on March 23, 2011


So basically we create an environment that mimics 'Oz' for the mice by controlling serotonin?

Is that it?
posted by hal_c_on at 5:51 PM on March 23, 2011


If it were shown tomorrow that sexual orientation could be modified in either direction with a pill or an injection, what changes? Because, like it or not, this is a very possible future.

You think we haven't already been there? Read up on the death of Alan Turing for a crystal-clear example of how this is an unambiguously horrible idea.
posted by schmod at 10:08 PM on March 23, 2011


This article from 1996 is, I think, is a little more interesting.
posted by exogenous at 6:00 PM on March 24, 2011


You think we haven't already been there? Read up on the death of Alan Turing for a crystal-clear example of how this is an unambiguously horrible idea.

I didn't say it was a good idea to force people to do it. I'm just saying that pretending that it's not possible or trying to stop science so that we'll never found out its possible is a suckers game. It probably can be done, and if it can be done, it will eventually be done.
posted by empath at 6:10 PM on March 24, 2011


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