ANN ARBOR, MI (CBS) – Could sexual frustration cut down on life expectancy?

According to researchers at the University of Michigan, the answer may be yes – at least for fruit flies.

In a new study published in the journal Science, male fruit flies were exposed to other male fruit flies that had been genetically engineered to give off female pheromones.

The flies that perceived the female pheromones but were not able to mate experienced more stress, a decrease in fat stores and became increasingly vulnerable to starvation, cutting their lives short.

“The cutting-edge genetics and neurobiology used in this research suggests to us that for fruit flies at least, it may not be a myth that sexual frustration is a health issue. Expecting sex without any sexual reward was detrimental to their health and cut their lives short,” says senior author Scott D. Pletcher, Ph.D, a professor in the Department of Molecular and Integrative Physiology at U-M Medical School and a research professor at the university’s Geriatrics Center.

Researchers say fruit flies are valuable to the study of aging because though they live just 60 days on average, findings from previous studies involving the insects have held up when tested on animals that live longer, such as mice.

To see the study, click here.

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