New Pill May Help Women Who Lack Sexual Desire

Patient Expert
Thinkstock

According to a study from The National Institutes of Health, one third of women in the US will lack sexual desire, also known as female hypoactive sexual desire disorder (HSDD). The cause of this disorder can be hard to pinpoint and could involve a variety of factors, including:

  • Hormonal imbalances
  • Physical changes
  • Mental health
  • Emotional stress
  • Situational changes

This disorder is complicated and hard to officially diagnose. It takes an assessment from a doctor to determine whether a woman has HSDD and the possible cause. According to the NIH study, female HSDD is characterized by “a deficiency or absence of sexual fantasies and desire for sexual activity that causes marked distress or interpersonal difficulty.” One interesting thing about this disorder is doctors only deem it an issue if it has an effect on your relationship or if it has a direct effect on how you feel about yourself. If your lack of sexual desire isn’t affecting your life, they do not consider it an issue.

There are many ways to combat the lack of sexual desire, including therapy, and treatment is also available in the form of a pill: the "female version of Viagra," which is called Addyi. Addyi is a little pink pill a woman is instructed to take once a day specifically before bedtime (because, according to the pill’s website, taking it at any other time could increase your risk of low blood pressure, fainting, accidental injury, and drowsiness).

The difference between Addyi and Viagra

When you think about the lack of sexual desire in a man, namely, erectile dysfunction, one can imagine it is difficult to fake: The penis has to be erect in order for sexual intercourse to take place. But if a woman lacks sexual desire, a little help with lubricant and she can fake her way through sex, although she may not mentally be there. Both of these pills promise to give an individual the ability to have sex, but they both work in very different ways. Viagra is aimed at physical performance, helping a man maintain an erection by creating blood flow to the penis. Addyi, on the other hand, aims to increase the chemicals associated with sexual desire. The common side effects for both of these pills are also different:

As you can see, the possible side effects of sexual enhancement drugs are much more extensive than for Addyi. There are some other differences as well: Women are not to drink alcohol while on the Addyi, while for a man, alcohol won't affect Viagra.

I remember years ago, due to stress from school and work, not wanting to have sex with my current boyfriend. I would cringe at the thought of that nightly tap on the shoulder that most women can relate to. It was not that I didn’t desire him, I was just physically and mentally drained. I eventually moved past that issue, and looking back, I’m not sure if I would have used a pill to combat it. However, I do wonder how the drug makes you feel and if it really makes you “get your groove back.” While studies show most women of a variety of ages will encounter HSDD, women of premenopausal age are hit the hardest. Unfortunately, this pill is not for those going through menopause.

So what’s your take on this new pill? Would you use it?