Since Viagra came on the scene in the late '90s, men with sexual disfunction have been able to pop a pill and get busy to their hearts' content. For women, it's harder: There's not yet a cure for a lack of female arousal, though as many as 30 percent of women between 20 and 60 years old may suffer from some degree of hypoactive sexual-desire disorder (H.S.D.D.), a lack of lust so dire it creates emotional distress, according to a New York Times Magazine story.
In an adaptation from his forthcoming book, What Do Women Want? Adventures in the Science of Female Desire, Daniel Bergner explores a new drug called Lybrido, a potential pharmaceutical answer to H.S.D.D. in women being heralded as the "female Viagra"--a drug that could save the sex lives of women whose desire has disappeared.
The scientific process of female desire isn't entirely understood, and we certainly haven't figured out how to bend it to our will. Women aren't as in tune to rises in genital blood flow, according to some research, and a possible reason why Viagra-like drugs haven't yet succeeded in increasing their desire.
Viagra's approach to impotence is a physical one: increase blood flow and let the magic happen. Lybrido and its sister medication, Lybridos, wouldn't be that, although the former does contain a Viagra-like component. "A female-desire drug would be something else," Bergner writes. "It would adjust the primal and executive regions of the brain. It would reach into the psyche."
The drug's inventor, Dutch psychopharmacologist Adriaan Tuiten, says he was inspired by his own heartbreak:
Tuiten's drugs come at arousal in two ways--a testosterone coating helps the body produce dopamine, creating a rush of lust. A delayed-release tablet left when the coating wears off works desire from another angle: Lybrido increases genital blood flow, much like Viagra, while Lybridos works by suppressing serotonin, a calming molecule that fosters self-control, and in the short term, pushing the body's balance of serotonin/dopamine in favor of the latter.
Lybrido has gone through a few smaller-stage trials, and early results for both drugs are looking positive. Tuiten hopes to get F.D.A. approval for larger trials, and pending success, the drug could hit the market by 2016.
Though Lybrido isn't the first drug to be developed with the hopes of helping women boost their sex drive, previous attempts have been largely unsuccessful. FDA trials of LibiGel, a testosterone gel that could be applied to the skin, failed to create any more sexual interest in women than a placebo. Another drug, Bremelanotide, had some success in putting passion back in the sex lives of women who were plagued by sexual disinterest, but also came with nasty side effects like vomiting and sudden blood pressure increases.
The existence of so many women who struggle to retain their sex drive in long-term relationships challenges widely held beliefs about female sexuality: namely, that women are hard-wired for commitment. The women Bergner interviews are, for the most part, in love with their partners and attracted, but for whatever reason, feel "sexually deadened." One wonders "Am I going to get my freak back?" Despite the evolutionary psychology theory that women have evolved to look for steady, monogamous partners to care for them and their offspring, studies on women's desire for casual sex have shown that women respond better to novel sexual stimuli--like pornography viewed for the first time, rather than repeatedly, or a photo of a handsome stranger.
Development of female arousal drugs also seems to be hampered by the fear that a pharmacological way to induce desire might create a society of raging nymphomaniacs, according to Bergner. Even as they work to ramp up female desire, researchers worry that they might create a brave new world of sexually aggressive women, he writes: "Companies worried about the prospect that their study results would be too strong, that the F.D.A. would reject an application out of concern that a chemical would lead to female excesses, crazed binges of infidelity, societal splintering."
In other words, a pill that works too well to create female arousal might create mass hysteria and THE END OF THE WORLD. Or perhaps it would just add an extra complication to the already complicated world of relationships.
As Bergner puts it:
Head over to The New York Times for the full story, and some great photo illustrations.
dude. that is a photo of two men.
Way to go popsci. Put two mans having sex on an article about woman libido.
time to quit my subscription.
All along I thought we already had such a drug, I thought it was called something like alka haul.
Well at first I assumed that since the hairy man's legs were pretty scrawny, that it just created an optical illusion. However, the actual wikimedia page of the picture states that it is two men. That's pretty funny for a women's libido article. Maybe they're suggesting that if your wife doesn't want to, there are other options. Haha.
What an odd and wrong comparison. Viagra et al have nothing to do with desir,e as far as I know. Old goats ( like me) can't get the machinery working -- doesn't mean we don't want to!
Women, as far as I know, can nearly always have intercourse, although it certainly will be painful if they don't want it.
Whatever the causes of lowered female desire, I can't see women wanting to take 'instant horny' ( men might want them to, however). But, then again, I don't claim to understand women.
So, I was going to defend PopSci with the assumption of laziness, but doing a wikimedia search for desire or libido or female desire results in nothing like this. This leads to the conclusion that the staff had to work to find a completely inappropriate photo for an article about a drug for women.
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from what I can tell not even women understand women.
I think the two men photo was a comment that there are only working drugs for men.
That or the editor is gay and thought it was funny. There is also the posiblity that, this being pop sci, that the editor has never seen a naked woman. For future refrence: men have their knees strung a bit differently than women.
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I see 4 one legged men in one bed for an illustration of an article with the opening lines, "Will 'Libido In A Pill' Help Women Get It On?".
This is so confusing on so many different levels!!!