Cuddle chemical boosts flagging male libido

London: Can Oxytocin, the `trust and love hormone` that helps mothers bond with their babies, boost a flagging male libido?

Mike Wyllie, one of the scientists that discovered and developed Viagra for pharma giant Pfizer, said that an oxytocin based drug could have `blockbuster potential` in improving male desire.

University of California researchers report that a married man boosted his sexual performance after he sprayed himself twice daily with oxytocin, the Journal of Sexual Medicine reports.

His relationship with his wife was also in difficulties, because he suffered from attention deficit disorder and had troubled social relationships. Conventional drugs either were not suitable or had unwanted side-effects.

Spraying the hormone up his nose twice a day did little to help his social phobia but worked wonders for his love life.

His libido went from `very weak` to `somewhat strong`, his sexual arousal from `somewhat difficult` to `somewhat easy` and the act itself was easier to perform and more satisfying.

The spray also produced emotional benefits. The man said he found it easier to be affectionate towards his wife, while she said he wanted to be closer to her and was more tactile. But not all its effects may be quite so welcome.

The man, identified only as B, also hugged a work colleague in an inappropriate way. The positive effects vanished if he stopped using the spray.

However, a blog in warns: "Many claims about oxytocin regarding love, sex and bonding cite some science, but often very selectively and dubiously, so much so that some scientists whose studies have been used to make agenda-driven claims have strongly objected to the use of their studies to do so."

Wyllie also warned that drug watchdogs may be cautious about approving a medicine that has emotional as well as physical effects.