In the Spring a young man’s fancy lightly turns to thoughts of love.

Alfred, Lord Tennyson

Spring may be far away, but research presented last month at 29th European College of Neuropsychopharmacology Congress in Vienna throws a new light on young (and older) men’s fancies. Men with low levels of sexual desire and arousal were randomly treated with either “standard” light therapy (10,000 lux for 30 minutes in the early morning) or placebo (the same light box fitted with a filter that reduced brightness). After just two weeks of treatment, there was an impressive rise in sexual satisfaction in the bright light group but not the placebo group. And a rise in testosterone levels that didn’t happen in the placebo group. You could say that Spring arrived early for the men who started their day with bright light. [http://www.ecnp-congress.eu/programme/provisional_programme.aspx#]

In an interview with Medscape Medical News (Sep 20,2016), Andrea Fagiolini MD, the principal investigator, said that although it cannot be said at this time that light therapy “will replace Viagra, we did see a very strong effect.” He’s beginning a larger study and wants to wait for those results before recommending the treatment. But he also spoke about how safe bright light is, in contrast to the medications now available. “If somebody wants to use it, it’s not going to give too many problems.”

Just one more intriguing hint at how much the cycles of light and darkness shape our lives.