The Magic Pill for Women’s Sexual Desire, Part Two
Part One of this blog series dealt with most of the issues presented in the New York Times article called, “There May Be A Pill For That: The pharmaceutical quest to give women a better sex life.” by Daniel Bergner. This post covers the rest. First on the list is:
the role of SSRI’s, or anti-depressants, in female sexual dysfunction.The article indicates that many women are currently taking anti-depressants for a wide variety of reasons far beyond clinical depression. They are used as anti-anxiety drugs. I’ve been told by plenty of SSRI users that their therapists or physicians prescribed anti-depressants as a go-to measure. The solution at the top of the list. Not diet or lifestyle changes, not vitamin deficiency tests, just a chill out pill and keep going with everything else they were already doing.
The article also states that SSRI’s have the side effect of reducing libido because they increase the levels of serotonin in the brain, which counteracts the effects of dopamine– the desire hormone. I have further information to add. I and my mentor have seen plenty of cases of women who lost their ability to orgasm while taking certain forms of anti-depressants. Another variation is libido isn’t quite so affected, but orgasm is more difficult to reach. The descriptions that have been given to me are along the lines of, “It’s like I can build toward orgasm, but then the rise hits a glass ceiling and my body won’t get any closer.”
The desire-inducing experimental drug, Lybrido/Lybridos (two lightly different formulations) would also be prescribed for women who are already on anti-depressants in order to give them back their natural urge for sex. This of course leads us to the old discussion of where does the sequence end when one pill is taken to counteract the side effect of another? And another? One could argue the legitimacy of walking down this path when clinical depression is a debilitating force in a woman’s life and her anti-depressant plus her desire pill give her back what she wants and has a birthright to.
Then there are those who have been taking anti-depressants but were not diagnosed clinically depressed that then take another med to light the spark. People have a right to put into their bodies what they want. There can also be consequences in the short or long-term. Lybrido/Lybridos has a direct effect on the brain like SSRI’s do. I’m very interested to find out what side effects it has.
The article goes off on a bit of a tangent to describe studies done where women watched porn clips with vaginal and brain activity monitored. When the clips changed, there was a consistent spike in her arousal with a falloff afterward, vs the men in the study who had much less falloff. This is one study that made me laugh. So much of adult video out there is directed to cater to a male audience.
What if they chose videos with content that was reported to be more interesting to women to watch? One simple example, a video where there are identifiable means taken to create the best pleasure possible for that woman and are there signs of authentic orgasm(s)? The majority of women enjoy seeing in adult video a woman who is thoroughly enjoying the sex she’s having. Would the falloff still be there if there were videos like this in the study? They do exist, so why aren’t researchers utilizing them?
We must be careful with scientific studies of sex, like I said in Part One of this series. If you set up conditions with porn that are not that interesting for the majority of women to watch, you get skewed data. I’ve see it happen in sex studies all the time. You then make conclusions for woman or mankind based off of bad data.
Men sometimes have to develop an erotic trigger to seeing and hearing a woman having the time of her life in bed because as a gender, we are often ruled by the visual and what we take pleasure in. Have both, gentlemen. Believe me, it is much hotter that way. Demand both. One of the reasons why there has been an increase in women watching gay porn is the men depicted are equally enjoying what they’re doing and there’s no confusion about that.
Another issue was brought up in the look at how women lose interest in their partners much sooner. Men experience this less often and it’s assumed male sex drive is the difference. I can’t disagree more. I have seen this over and over: when you place a woman in a short or long-term relationship where her partner is more sexually sophisticated (even without her being as sophisticated) she will almost always have a stronger sex drive or at the very least a more much more positive willingness to have sex more often because there is equal or sometimes better pleasure payoff for her.
The idea of Lybrido/Lybridos becoming a recreational drug occurred to me. There was another section of the article which questioned whether or not the FDA would approve such a drug at all due to conservative/old timey fears of “the sexually aggressive woman.” Meaning, would women become nymphomaniacs running amok? I do see some women making bad decisions particularly when combining Lybrido with alcohol and drugs. Drinks spiked with Lybrido will become a new form of roofie.
The mind reels at the possibilities, positive and negative. First of all, the data described by the woman who had confirmed effects of Lybrido(s) said that she felt the urge for sex. The buzzing down below. It wouldn’t stop until the drug wore off. However, she did not describe a shift in mindset that caused her to make dangerous decisions just by virtue of taking the drug, no pun intended. She remained in control of her decision-making faculties and if it’s one thing the majority of women do better than the majority of men, it’s making more prudent decisions around having sex. No “Nymphomata!!” spell, or whatever, was cast over her. Would things have been different had she had a few drinks too many? I’m sure there are women who would make less than perfect decisions under the influence when combined with other substances legal and otherwise, but the majority would be horny and still clear on their course.
Another interesting point was brought up in the article. A study was done with two groups of women. One group wired to a lie detector and the other not. They were asked questions about their sex lives, sexual histories, and sexual opinions. The ones connected to the lie detector tests admitted to many more sexual partners than those not connected. This study was done to try to determine societal messaging and influence over the expression of female sexuality. Whether it is something more like male sexuality, but kept stifled. I liked this study. Very smart and presented good data.
The last thing I want to bring up is the very end of the article. I liked how the author brought up that Linneah, the woman who was in the Lybrido(s) study, didn’t care about the fact that one drug induces desire to help the fact that another, an SSRI, takes it away. The pill culture with people in it thinking there’s a pill for everything (there isn’t, plus the safety of taking the pill short-term or long.) Linneah said if there’s pills for a bunch of other psychiatric issues, something has to come along that will fix this one. She’s making an assumption that desire is wholly psychiatric. That it’s a mode you’re either in or not and with the assumption that there are no outside influences that can affect sexual desire. You can’t take a pill for everything. You can’t take a pill so that you’ll be transformed into an athlete or wealthy person. Sometimes skill building is the path to success.