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Environment & Climate Change

U of M researchers say sex-starved flies live shorter lives

Drosophila melanogaster, mating couple. Male is the smaller one on top.

There’s new research out of the University of Michigan that suggests that being sexually frustrated can shorten lifespans. The lifespans of male fruit flies, that is.

U of M researchers toyed with the affections of male fruit flies for their study of sex and health.

The researchers immersed male fruit flies in an environment thick with female pheromones, but with no female fruit flies to mate with.

The researchers found the sexually frustrated male fruit flies experienced a rapid decreases in fat stores and resistance to starvation, as well as other problems. The flies actually lived shorter lives than other males that actually had the chance to mate.

The U of M study suggests, for fruit flies at least, the myth that sexual frustration has serious consequences may not be a myth after all.

The study appears in the journal Science.

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