Female Viagra and Desire

Female Viagra and DesireAfter three FDA applications, a ton of money and a bit of influence, the FDA finally approved a treatment for low sexual desire in pre-menopausal women in August, 2015. The sex and medical communities were buzzing as the peachy-pink pill became prescription ready in October of 2015. Many thought that Addyi, also known by the generic name Flibanserin, was going to be like Viagra for women.  A year later, has it left a lasting impression?

The short answer is no, not really.

But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t inspire women…both those who use it, and those who don’t.

Wait! There’s a Disorder for Low Sexual Desire?

Before we even get into what Addyi does and doesn’t do, let’s just take a moment and acknowledge that there is a diagnosis for low sexual desire. In the 5th edition of Diagnostic and Statistical Manu
al of Mental Disorders
 it’s called Female Sexual Interest/Arousal Disorder. In order to make it diagnosable, there has to be a noticeable reduction in desire, erotic thoughts and a woman’s sex drive for the past six months, or more. Along with this, a woman who receives a diagnosis of hypo-desire must present with some significant distress around her lack of wanting to get it on.

How is Addyi Different Than Viagra?

Taking Addyi doesn’t make you want to rip your clothes of and rock steady all night long. Addyi is NOT Viagra. For starters, Viagra works by pumping blood to an erection to help it become a working stiff. Addyi works on a higher level, literally, because Addyi is about changing a woman’s brain chemistry. Originally created to be an antidepressant, Addyi blocks serotonin and helps increase the release of the neurochemicals that make us feel good; primarily dopamine and norephinephrine. On top of the boner/brain difference, Viagra is a pill you pop an hour before you want to use it. Addyi is a pill that needs to be taken once a day, every day.

Addyi also has some serious side effects, the biggest one being that drinking alcohol on Addyi is a really, really, really bad idea. There are also some other major ones, and none of them will make you feel good. Plus, none of them include seeing a slight blue haze.

What Addyi has done is increase desire in approximately 9-14% of the women who use it. That’s still significant. On top of that, Addyi has driven a lot of attention to a bigger issue in relationships…mainly, the desire discrepancy. And if it makes a woman think about sex more, or at least lets her think that she wants sex more, then why not try something new?

Ways to Increase Desire

Not all women who experience a lack of desire need or want a pill, which gets us to the next point…Desire waxes and wanes in every relationship. And talking about a lack of desire doesn’t usually work in increasing it. So what can you do to get your desire hormones flowing? Try watching a movie with your favorite sexy bits (and no, it doesn’t need to be porn). Drink caffeine later in the day – that is if caffeine stimulates you to stay alert and awake.  Try taking a pole dancing class and share the moves when you get home. Make an aphrodisiac inspired appetizer (think figs, avocados, chocolate, oysters and strawberries), or set up an erotic date night.

Whatever you decide to do in the name of desire, sometimes we are not in the mood to get it on. It’s not just a female thing. It can be a work thing. A relationship thing. A life-changing event thing. Addyi is not the perfect drug and there is no quick fix for desire. It takes time, patience and lots of loving support.


Beginning medication can be a big decision. If you’re still unsure, but are looking for some help in increasing your desire, sex toys may be a good solution. They can help change things up in the bedroom, and novelty may be just what you need to get those familiar juices flowing. Or use them for some alone-time buildup before intimacy so you’re “pre-heated”.

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