The Unrelenting Search for the Female ViagraFor as long as Viagra has been on the market for men (1998, if you’re keeping tabs), scientists have been hard at work trying to find a female equivalent. What will make women as horny as men on Viagra?

The answer has been elusive. That’s probably because sexuality isn’t just about blood flow to your sexual organs, but also the blood flow to your primary sexual organ — your brain. Research has suggested that for women, the brain is as important as any other body parts. And for researchers looking for a female sexuality pill, that presents a unique set of challenges.

The New York Times talks about researchers’ latest attempts at crafting such a pill, called Lybrido. It’s an in-depth story that explores women’s personal experiences — and frustrations — with their decreased sexual desire.

Daniel Bergner has the story of married couples who lose that lovin’ feeling. Here Linneah, one of the women Bergner interviewed, tells her story:

Around the arrival of their second child in 2004, something insidious crept in, partly fatigue but partly something else that she couldn’t name. She talked about her to-do lists, the demands of the kids, “but let’s face it,” she said, “sex doesn’t take that much time.” Rather than feeling as if she still wanted to grab her husband’s hand and hurry him up the stairs in their small brick house, on many nights she waited in bed, somewhat like prey, though the predator was tender, though he was cherished.

Around once a week, her husband tried to reach through the invisible barriers she built — the going up to bed early, the intense concentration on a book, the hoping he was too tired to want anything but sleep. “He’ll move closer to me in bed, or put his arm around me, or rub my back.” She willed herself not to refuse him.

And mostly, she didn’t. Usually they had sex about four times each month. But it upset her that she had to force herself and that she put up those barriers to deter him from reaching more often.

“I’m scared that if it’s slimmed to this by now, what’s going to happen as we get older?” she said. “I want to stay close, not just psychologically, physically. I want to stay in love. I have a friend, they have sex so intermittently, every three months. She is so unhappy. I don’t want that to happen to me.”

She longed for a cure, a tab of magic. As she got into her car in the parking lot at the center, she hoped that her first set of pills had been placebos, that she’d been given fakes for the first eight weeks, that today she was driving away with the real drug and that their sex life would be transformed.

The long article delves into a lot of detail and individual stories I found fascinating. Especially interesting was the description of the strange, uncomfortable science of exploring female libidos:

The equipment can seem bizarre and the laboratory situations comical — picture a woman in a lounge chair with her pants around her knees, a tampon-shaped tube in her vagina and a cord running from this device to a console while she stares at a video of gay men partaking in foreplay — but then, sex research has always had an absurd if valiant quality.

In the ‘50s and ‘60s, William H. Masters and Virginia E. Johnson filmed and observed hundreds of subjects having intercourse in their lab, in an effort to determine whether all female climaxes are clitoral in origin. That debate goes on even today. Barry Komisaruk, a neuroscientist at Rutgers University, buys plastic rods, heats them in his oven at home, bends them into dildos shaped to isolate different genital sensations and aims to settle the orgasm question once and for all.

Lest you think only women get this sort of treatment, the science of exploring men’s erections is no less humiliating, with the use of a penile plethsmograph. Ah, psychological science… Isn’t it… weird?

Today, there’s no magic bullet for women as there is for men. But scientists are hard at work trying to unravel the mysteries of the female libido. And it’s likely that in the next decade, we’ll see something for women whose sexual desire has waned in their relationship.

 

Read the full article: Unexcited? There May Be a Pill for That

 


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    Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 23 May 2013
    Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.

APA Reference
Grohol, J. (2013). The Unrelenting Search for the Female Viagra. Psych Central. Retrieved on July 25, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2013/05/23/the-unrelenting-search-for-the-female-viagra/

 

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