Why the FDA approval of Flibanserin is important.

Here is the most significant thing to remember: sex is not just about what happens in the bedroom.

My friend used to say that sex in a relationship is like the third leg of a stool. When it’s there, you don’t spend much time thinking about it, but when it’s gone the whole stool starts to shake. In my experience, working with thousands of woman with sexual problems, that could not be more true. Sex matters. It matters, not so much because of what happens during sexual activity itself (although that matters also) but it matters because of the ripple effect that a good, happy sex life has on the rest of the relationship: the playfulness, the intimacy, the laughter. Put plainly, if you take away the sex, a couple often feels like roommates. They might be well suited roommates but the “it’s you and me against the world” feeling dissipates.

When a woman has no desire, sex becomes a chore. It is something she neither looks forward to, nor thinks about during her day to day life. She may go along with her partner and have sex because she thinks she should, but doing so is neither appealing nor very satisfying. And while what happens in the bedroom may be passable or even sometimes good, the effects of her disinterest begin to be felt outside the bedroom. The playfulness disappears. The hello and goodbye kiss become rote. One of the most important components of sex is the feeling of being “wanted” by your partner, feeling as though you are desired in the most elemental way by the other person in your life. When the “wanting” is gone, sex can never be the same.

Flibanserin, or Addyi, the first female sexual dysfunction drug to be approved by the FDA, may help the “wanting”. It works on the neurotransmitters in the brain. If successful, it will raise Dopamine levels, or allow pleasurable impulses to transmit more easily. Drug trials have shown those women who take the drug are more receptive to sexual stimulation and have more satisfying sexual activities. I like to think of it as helping you feel your sexual hunger.

Think about it like this. You used to like sex. It was the crème Brule or chocolate mousse of your life. It was “dessert”, fun, decadent, enjoyable and just a bit naughty. But then you got older, and sex became more like dried toast. You might need it for basic sustenance (or to keep the marriage going) but you avoided it and only ate it when necessary. What Addyi is attempting to do is reconnect your brain wiring so that you begin to think of sex again as chocolate mousse, and it is something that you look forward to and think about in a positive way (even if you might not be able to eat it as often as you used to.)

That feeling can ultimately change the entire tenor of your relationship. And that is why this drug is so important.

Not because of the sex itself — but because nearly every element of relationships are impacted by the quality of our sex life. And you and your partner deserve to have the dessert back in the relationship. It makes the whole meal so much more fun.