Has your little lost sex drive gone into hiding? Have you forgotten what it feels like to be hot for your lover? Do you feel like you want to be sexual, but you’re just not, like a switch within you just flipped to the permanent OFF position? If you do, you’re one of the millions of women out there who feel this way. Studies suggest that 10% of women suffer from hypoactive sexual desire disorder (HSDD), the unexplained loss or reduction of sexual thoughts, fantasies and desire. The number is probably even higher if you look at women who are postpartum, depressed, overworked, or otherwise distracted from making sex a priority.
Lack of desire
My patient Gina told me that, after her baby was born, she honestly wished she never had to have sex again. She loves her husband and finds him sexy in an academic sort of way, and technically, he knows all the right moves to get her juices flowing. When she forces herself to be intimate with him, her body responds. She gets wet, her nipples become aroused, and she can achieve orgasm. She just doesn’t want to. And she’s afraid her marriage is in jeopardy.
As a gynecologist, I’m intimately in touch with how big an issue this is. Many women force themselves to go through the motions of sex, even when they feel no desire. They fear that if they don’t, they will lose a partner to an affair- or divorce. So they dread bedtime, when the issue of sex may arise. Although their bodies may respond to sexual touch, their minds fail to catch up. Many say they “feel dead inside.” As a result, they lose their mojo, that connection with another and with Source that gives us that spring in our step, signaling how vital we feel.
Viagra’s not the answer
When Viagra came out, many anticipated that it might be the magic bullet women need to spice up their sexual desire. But it didn’t work. Turns out that you can bring blood flow to the clitoris and it still doesn’t help with the complex neural mechanisms that turn a woman on. Since then, drug companies have been clamoring to discover the drug that might serve the needs of women with decreased libido (anticipating a multi-billion dollar pay out, of course).
The Pink Viagra
Word on the street is that they may have found something. A new medication with the uber unsexy name of flibanserin may be the Viagra-for-women many have been seeking. Originally developed as an anti-depressant, it failed to prove effective at treating depression, but researchers noted an unanticipated side effect- a libido boost in women.
The company that created flibanserin sponsored studies that demonstrated that women taking this drug experienced an increase in satisfying sexual experiences- from 2.7 to 4.5/month. (Keep in mind that the placebo group felt sexier too- from 2.7 to 3.7 sexy events/month.
The FDA is set to consider putting this drug on the market in June, so stay tuned. Will this be the end-all be-all for women? No. Often, in my experience, decreased libido is a red flag waving to help you realize that your relationship needs work, you may be working too hard, you need to get more sleep, you need to focus on your health, or some other important facet of your life that you need to own. In these circumstances, a pill is just a band-aid on a deeper issue. But for those who have optimized the other facets of their lives, gotten their hormones balanced, and still find their libidos lacking, reflecting alterations in brain chemistry, this may be good news.
What are your thoughts?
Are you one of those women who has lost touch with her inner sexy vixen? Do you long to flip the switch back to ON? What works for you? How do you deal with the factors that threaten to damage not just your relationships, but your sense of self? Is a pill the answer for you? What would put you back in touch with your juiciness? What tips do you have that might help others? Let’s connect with each other and tap into our desiring, sexy, luscious selves.
Cheering for your sex life,
Dr. Lissa Rankin
Lissa Rankin is an OB/GYN physician, artist, and author of the forthcoming book, What’s Up Down There: Questions You’d Only Ask Your Gynecologist If She Was Your Best Friend (St. Martin’s Press, September 2010). Lissa is also the founder of Owning Pink, a popular women’s website and Integrative Medical Center in Mill Valley, CA.