Gay men taking bicalutamide for prostate cancer are more likely to experience sexual dysfunction than straight men, a study says.

Researchers in Romania and the US studied 17 straight men and 12 gay men receiving a 50mg daily dose of bicalutamide before and after their treatment.

The men were asked to rate their sexual functioning in six categories, including erectile function, orgasmic function and sexual desire.

Gay men reported that their sexual performance and satisfaction more than halved in four of the six categories studied

Conversely, straight men reported fewer problems and were considerably more satisfied with sex.

Dr Ion G Motofei from Carol Davila University, Romania, said: “Anti-androgens are given to men with prostate cancer to stop the male hormones stimulating the growth of the cancer cells.

“The aim of this study was to see whether this hormone treatment affected heterosexual and homosexual men in different ways and our results clearly show that it does.

“The homosexual patients in our study reported significant reductions in all aspects of their sexual functioning and satisfaction, ranging from 23 per cent to 54 per cent.

“However, the heterosexual group only reported slight reductions in two of the six categories, ranging from one per cent to four per cent. They also reported no change in one category and improvements in the remaining three, including a 45 per cent increase in intercourse satisfaction.”

Study co-author Dr David L Rowland from Valparaiso University, Indiana, US, added: “The results of our study suggest that androgens play a role in cerebral sexual processes such as libido, sexual arousal and orgasm and that this response may be different in heterosexual and homosexual men.

“However, it is important that we do not underestimate the effect that androgens can have on heterosexual men just because the effect on homosexual men appears to be greater.”