The academic - director of the Human Reproductive Scences Unit at the Medical Research Council - has been working on a treatment for loss of sex drive in women - a problem which affects millions.

"The musk shrew is a primitive ancestor of primates and when given to the females, they displayed reproductive behaviour and the males would mate with them. In marmoset monkeys the females given the hormone also solicited sex.

"So the next stage is to produce a drug that simulates the actions of this hormone." Although rare in men, lack of sex drive is common among women, with up to 40 per cent thought to be affected at some point.

"When couples come to Don't go me and they are not having sex, the last thing they want to do is examine their relationship. They want to believe that it's nothing to do with their relationship.

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