Posts Tagged "sexual dysfunction"

Wednesday Bubble: Fiagra

Posted by on Jan 13, 2010 in sexual desire, sexual health | 0 comments

Sex sells. Even when it comes to menopause.

There is no such thing as Fiagra. But why not, heck, this manufacturer is hoping to make a mint off of your declining hormones.

For two weeks now, I’ve been a member of a user study examining  aromatherapy for stimulating sexual desire and arousal. I won’t reveal what I have (or have not) experienced until the study is over. However, I have gained a few important insights into sexual desire during midlife and how manufacturers are approaching it.

In the meantime, if it smells like a rat, and looks like a rat, well…

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Wednesday Bubble: one pill makes you…

Posted by on Nov 18, 2009 in sexual desire, sexual health | 0 comments


Have you heard about Flibanserin? Pharma Giant Boehringer-Ingelheim is entering the bedroom with an antidepressant (with a new moniker) that may change the sex lives of women everywhere!

Sorry for the sarcasm but this Bubble has “Viagra for women” written all over it. In fact, the U.S. market for sexual desire is estimated to exceed a whopping $3.5 billion a year. No wonder other companies are so eager to market testosterone to women.

So what’s the story behind Flibanserin?

Flibanserin is an antidepressant compound that is is believed to affect brain receptors and neurotransmittors that play a role in sexual response. Data presented at the European Society for Sexual Medicine conference show that in clinical studies,  flibanserin significantly improved desire, sexual experience and sexual functioning in women when taken for at least six months. The majority of the women participating  were pre-menopausal and had been diagnosed with hypoactive sexual desire disorder (HSDD), a condition that is characterized by a decline in sexual desire, a loss of intimacy, and distress.

Declines in sexual desire at any point in life are terrible and not to be taken lightly. Should flibanserin becomes available in the United States, it is likely to be prescribed along with sex therapy, a move, that the company disagrees with. In fact, the company is quoted in Bloomberg News as saying that it hopes that the drug can be prescribed by itself and not as a complement to therapy. Importantly, this is where one has to start questioning the value of this drug and how it will ultimately be marketed should it ever be approved by the US Food & Drug Administration.

Many behavioral and mental health specialists will argue that “a pill has no place in the bedroom” and that sexual dysfunction is linked to factors other than physical ones, factors that need to be thoroughly explored and addressed. This holds true in particular, for  menopausal women. Indeed, evidence does show that t sexual desire in women can be affected not only by physiology but also, may vary depending on personal attitudes, experiences and context.

I don’t take issue with drugs when they are prescribed and used responsibly. But the answer to everything that ails is not a pill. With regards to sexual desire, this could not be truer.

Sex is big business. This has been borne out by the incredibly success of drugs geared towards erectile dysfunction. Companies have been racing to find an equivalent for women. Looks like Boehringher might have just gotten the gold ring.

What do you think?

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Wednesday Bubble: two thumbs down!

Posted by on Mar 4, 2009 in sexual desire, sexual health | 2 comments

[photo credit: Kristian Olsen,]

There’s a whole lotta buzz going on around testosterone these days…testosterone patches, that is.

The March online edition of the British Medical Journal’s Drug Therapeutics Bulletin has given two thumbs down to Intrinsa, a testosterone patch developed to boost sex drive in women with hypoactive sexual disorder (i.e.  who enter menopause due to removal of their wombs and ovaries).  Interestingly, the US Food and Drug Administration had enough questions about Intrinsa to refuse marketing approval. However, the European Union gave it’s safety approval rating in 2006, paving the way for launch in the UK last March.

So, what are the concerns?

According to the article’s authors, testosterone patches should not be recommended to address low sex drive in women. Although research has indicated a slight increase in sexual desire/drive  among women using the patch, the patches have primarily been tested in a small group of women who are taking HRT and not in other populations. What’s more, questions have been raised about study methodology; e.g. diagnosis was made on short, unvalidated questionnaires and some participants were already having sex regularly at the time they entered the trial, which begs the question – where was the improvement?

Concerns have also been raised about the long-term safety of the patches, which researchers say is unknown. Two pivotal trials demonstrated side effects rates in about 75% of women, mostly relating to sites on the body where the patches were applied. But 1% of women also experienced acne, excess hair growth, hair loss, breast pain, weight gain, insomnia, voice deepening and migraine headaches.  Testosterone can also increase cholesterol levels, which potentially prevents their use in women who have an increased risk of heart disease.

Although no firm conclusions have been made, the researchers do say that they “cannot recommend Intriansa for use in women with sexual dysfunction.”

So, the jury’s out. Avoid testosterone patches.  And focus on other methods to improve sexual desire and drive if it becomes problematic as hormone levels drop. Personally, I like Dr. Christina Northrup’s approach to boost nitric oxide levels — natural, empowering, pleasurable!

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Sexual healing

Posted by on Nov 23, 2008 in sexual desire, sexual health | 1 comment


I’ve written several posts about the use of testosterone for sexual dysfunction in menopausal women and its less than pleasant side effects, such as unwanted hair growth and development of the metabolic syndrome.

Fortunately, Dr. Christiane Northrup has a different and much healthier perspective about sexual dysfunction during the transition.

One of the first things she writes, in her newly published “The Secret Pleasures of Menopause,” is that an important key to achieving health and healthy sex during and after the menopause is to boost one’s nitric oxide levels. Nitric oxide, she explains, is a free radical produced in the lining of blood vessels, by lung and white blood cells, and nerve cells in the brain, that “resets your power grid and reboots your body, a secret weapon for optimal health.”

In order to produce more nitric oxide, you need to engage your mind, body an spirit in positive activities, such as:

  • associating with positive people
  • eating healthily and exercising
  • being kind/taking pride in yourself
  • realizing you are what you believe
  • letting go of the past and embracing the present
  • understanding that health and sex go hand-in-hand

Dr. Northrup suggests that we become “ardent explorers” of our own pleasure, in essence, become our own partners in sex. Turn ourselves on and tell ourselves often that a turned on woman is irresistible. Recognize and release anger as much as we can. Commit to regularly exploring our pleasure potential and live our lives in ways that “excite, motivate, and turns on” other people in our lives.

A few additional tidbits:

  • Think heartwarming, sexy, uplifting, kind, loving and positive thoughts about yourself and others EVERY DAY
  • Strive for commitment, trust and vulnerability with your partner
  • Do things that keep you in touch with your life force…cultivate your inner pleasure and exchange it for stress, and decide that this half of your life is really the best
  • Get out of your head and into your body….regularly

Desire pleasure, know that you deserve it, believe you can bring it into your life, overcome your resistance to accepting it, and embrace it.

Honestly, I’m not usually into this touchy feely stuff. But I encourage you to read Dr. Northup’s book and start to practice some of these positive, life affirming, love affirming steps. Pleasure truly starts within by changing our mindsets about our limitations, we can  fine tune our bodies in ways that make us and others feel great.

As Dr. Northrup says, our bodies were made to experience unlimited pleasure.

And of course, pleasure begets pleasure….

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Posted by on Aug 18, 2008 in sexual health | 2 comments

[Woody Allen, Sleeper 1973]

Remember the Orgasmatron from Woody Allen’s Classic, “Sleeper?” Seems that there’s a new device that’s going to give Woody a run for his money (no pun intended!).

An ad for Slightest Touch, an orgasm electronic enhancement agent, arrived in my inbox this morning. Hey, when over 11,000 women say that ‘sex has never been better,’ well, ya gotta wonder right? But I am especially intrigued by the idea that your orgasm will be so powerful that you should take electrolytes beforehand.

A painless electrical pulse travels up the leg’s nerve pathways to the pelvis, creating peak arousal. (Note the electrode patches around the ankles).

This device started as a foot massager (pretty kinky, eh?).  While it failed miserably at its orginal intention, subjects tended to get all hot and bothered during the experiment!

Hmm. Is this the answer for sexual desire and dysfunction issues in menopause?!

[Crossposted on Blogher]

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