Librido: Can drugs help a woman’s desire?

There has been a lot of media attention recently on the advent of 2 new drugs being tested for female sexual dysfunction: Lybrido and Lybridos. But those aren’t the only two drugs currently being tested. A drug called Flibanserin had been tested and went to the FDA a few years ago, testosterone supplements including Libigel are in the testing stages and another drug called PT 141 had also been in testing phase. And these are just the ones we know about. Additionally, there are drugs currently being used off-label for women.

So I think it’s a conversation worth having. Can a drug help a woman’s desire?

The answer is yes — and no.

The most important thing to remember is that lots of elements go into “desire.” Some of it is a question of intrinsic (or spontaneous) desire levels, some of it has to do with attraction to a particular person, some of it has to do with how easily or hard it is to have good sex, some of it has to do with the ease or quality of orgasms. And that is just the beginning of the list. When you say a woman doesn’t “have desire” you can actually mean a whole variety of things which fall into the “bucket” of low desire.

So the most important starting question to ask is WHY does a woman not want to have sex? And don’t get me wrong. This is usually not such an easy question to answer but unless you get at the reason(s), it’s going to be hard to fix.

  • Does she not want to have sex because she isn’t interested in sex in general or with this particular partner?
  • Does she not care whether or not she has sex or does she really not want to have sex?
  • Does she never want to have sex or is she only not interested in sex when she is stressed or exhausted?
  • Does she really not want to have sex or is it that she actually wants to have sex but the sex itself is disappointing or downright bad?
  • Has she never really wanted to have sex or is the lack of interest a new thing?
  • These questions are really important to ask because drugs can address some of these issues but not all (at least not yet).

Although the answer is probably more complicated than can be addressed glibly in a blog entry, I’m going to try…

There are drugs that can probably make you want sex more, but that might be helpful only in certain situations where you are neutral or “blah” and not in situations where you are downright negative or turned off. So if you are angry at your partner or turned off by him, drugs probably won’t be the solution. Drugs, again, might be able to help in a small way but probably won’t entirely solve the problem of 3 years of sleep deprivation, crazy stress levels or living with your in-laws (for example).

What drugs can do is make the sex itself easier to have and make it feel better. It can notch up your desire level a bit so that you find yourself thinking about sex or are able to respond positively when your partner approaches you. Basically, drugs can help, but they are not a magic bullet. They can’t do all the work for you but they can make it easier for YOU to do the work. And the converse is also true. Sometimes it is just too hard to work on other areas of your sex life when your body has completely shut down or is fighting you. Drugs can definitely help with that.

So, in the end, I suppose I am in the camp that says “Yes, drugs can help!” But even more importantly, I’m in the camp that believes that you owe it to yourself to try!

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