Hormones occur naturally in the body and play a crucial role in sexual function. They are responsible for sexual differences between men and women. They govern many aspects of human sexuality including sexual thoughts and dreams, the urge to have sex, genital arousal (vaginal lubrication and genital engorgement in women and penile erection in men), and the ability to reach orgasm. Hormones are also essential to reproduction: they regulate the menstrual cycle and ovulation in women, and sperm production in men.
Hormone levels constantly vary depending on the time of day and month, your general health, what medications you're taking, and many other factors. The changes in hormone levels can have a dramatic impact on sexual desire and pleasure. As a result of a natural hormonal decline, one-third of menopausal women in the United States and a growing number of men choose to take hormones in the form of prescription medication. This treatment, known as hormone replacement therapy (HRT), boosts diminishing hormone levels in order to combat negative health effects, as well as to restore libido and sexual function.
While HRT can prove beneficial, specifically to those suffering from a hormone deficiency, the decision to use these powerful drugs should not be taken lightly. Hormones can have a powerful impact on sexuality as well as general health and wellness. But we are only just beginning to fully understand the subtle and long-term effects of hormone supplementation on our minds and bodies.