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Female Viagra: Bringing Sexy Back

We’ve all heard of the magical little blue pill for men, but is there such a creative concoction for women, a female viagra of sorts? Heck yes, there is, and we’re here to tell you all about what it is, how it works, and who it’ll work for, but first, we need you to answer a question. A few, actually. And yes, it’s about to get personal. Just remember, this is in your best interest here.

Are you satisfied with your level of sexual desire? Have you ever been?

Has your sex drive gotten lower?

Does your lack of libido bother you?

Would you like it to increase?

Are there other things that could be impacting your sex life (i.e., medication, surgery, stress)?

If you answered yes to the first few questions, you likely have something which used to be called HHSD, or hypoactive sexual desire disorder. It’s now referred to as female sexual interest/arousal disorder, or FSIAD. Some studies show roughly one in ten women have this condition, while others put that number as high as one in three, so don’t feel alone. There is help. 

Flibanserin (Addyi) 

Fiib a what? Flibanserin, officially known as Addyi, is a daily pill that was initially created as an antidepressant, but a fun side effect was discovered: An increased sexual desire in women. The drug was originally studied in premenopausal women, but more recent studies have shown some success in women in menopause, as well.

How Does It Work?

Female viagra pill

Well, contrary to the male version of Viagra, which relaxes muscles and adjusts blood flow, the female version has more of an impact on willpower. It boosts your neurotransmitters, or the chemical messages to your brain, that are key to helping you feel “turned on.” You take the pill each day, whether you intend to have sex or not. The goal is to help you “get into the mood” or increase your libido. That said, it’s not a miracle cure if you don’t actually like the person you’re planning to have sex with, such as a significant other who you no longer care for and truly aren’t attracted to. That requires something bigger than a pill, including therapy. 

The Downside

Flibanserin has potentially serious side effects. They include low blood pressure, dizziness, and fainting, especially if mixed with alcohol. Less serious side effects include nausea, headache, and fatigue. If you take it for two months and don’t feel a difference, you should stop taking it and talk with your doctor about other options. You should avoid it if you have liver disease, cardiovascular disease, or take medicine for HIV, Hepatitis C, or high blood pressure. It can also interact with other drugs women may take for a yeast infection and some antibiotics.

Another Option

Female viagra shot in stomach

There’s another option approved by the FDA called Bremelanotide, or Vyleesi. It’s a shot you inject into your stomach or thigh before sex (about 45 minutes before). You only need one for a 24-hour period. However, don’t go wild every day. Doctors recommend just eight shots a month. Potential side effects can include nausea, headache, vomiting, and reactions at the site of the shot. Also, it may cause your skin and gums to get darker.

How Can I Get Some and What Does it Cost?

Your doctor has to prescribe it, no matter which option you prefer, and the questions we asked earlier are part of their screening process. Some insurance companies will cover the medication, but not all. In many cases, the out-of-pocket cost is about $100 for a month’s supply of flibanserin. Vyleesi can be found for a $0 copay through the drug’s copay assistance program.

What About Using the Guy’s Stuff?

There are women who’ve tried the men’s version of Viagra, but it’s important to understand it is NOT FDA-approved for use in females. That said, studies have shown it may increase blood flow to the genital area in women, as it does with men, along with increased sensitivity in the area. There’s little data on whether it’s safe for the gals, though.

Do the FDA-Approved Versions Work?

That’s a matter of opinion. Studies show those who take the prescription have one more encounter each month than before they took the meds. To some, that’s enough. It’s a personal opinion since there’s no right or wrong answer for how much sex is satisfactory. 

Other Issues Could be Involved

not in the mood for sex

Remember that part about how this won’t help if the person you’re anticipating having sex with is no longer attractive to you? Well, there are other reasons your libido may be low, and they’re not things the meds will help with. Sexual dysfunction can include issues with the ability to enjoy sex that go beyond decreased desire.

There’s also impaired arousal, which is not the same as a lower libido. Arousal is the ability to be sexually stimulated and may require different treatment, as will impaired climax and painful sex. The low libido could have other causes that are much more complicated, including cultural and emotional views toward sex. Having a history of depression can also impact desire, along with hormonal swings and/or taking certain medications.

On top of all that is the extreme stress and fatigue that many women face on a daily basis. There truly are times in our lives when, based on pressure from our partner, sex becomes one more thing to cross off on the to-do list, and that doesn’t make it very fun anymore. It’s hard to get excited when sex feels like a chore. 

The Bottom Line

Talk to your physician to get more information on whether medication might be right for you. It’s not a situation you should ignore because, unlike the song, the thrill doesn’t have to be gone. Here’s hoping you get the results you want and/or need.

Read Next:

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