Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity
Column Archive |  On Twitter: J Huget and MisFits  |  Fitness & Nutrition News  |  RSS Feeds RSS Feed

Sorry, ladies: Viagra for women still a fantasy

Yesterday afternoon Google listed 162 news stories about a recently published study regarding female sexual response. Many of the headlines noted that Viagra for women may be "coming soon."

Not so fast.

The way I read it, the study made clear that our understanding of women's sexual arousal -- and the condition known as female sexual arousal disorder, or FSAD -- remains so limited that a Viagra-like discovery isn't in the immediate offing.

Researchers at Pfizer -- the company that makes Viagra -- used anesthetized rabbits (which, as it happens, are commonly used in studying female sexual physiology -- more on that in a minute) to a.) learn whether electrical stimulation of the pelvic nerve would lead to engorgement of the female genitals and b.) whether an experimental drug would alter that response. Yes, that nerve stimulation did lead to increased blood flow to the genitals -- a phenomenon associated with sexual arousal -- and, yes, the drug did enhance the effect. The drug did not itself cause arousal in the absence of nerve stimulation.

The press release announcing the study features this rousing quote from the study's lead author Chris Wayman:

"While the particular chemical compound studied in this research did not prove appropriate for further development, the implications of the research could lead to the development of a product in future, although Pfizer has no current plans to develop medicines for FSAD."

And the study itself, in acknowledging its limitations, notes that

... the rabbit model we used has not been validated and the translation of results obtained in the rabbit to humans is currently unknown, especially when one considers that the link between blood flow and subjective arousal remains controversial.

Does that sound to you as though female Viagra's coming soon?

A commentary accompanying the study acknowledges that while the research yielded valuable information about how women's bodies behave, other factors affecting female sexual arousal -- including the role of desire or lack thereof -- remain poorly understood. The good news is that the study showed that such a drug can be targeted to the genitals (hence no rise in blood pressure) and thus would probably be safe to use.

As Diana Hoppe notes in her new book "Healthy Sex Drive, Healthy You," women's sexual response involves more than mere physiology. Restoring healthy sexual response for the many women who suffer arousal dysfunction -- according to the press release, that's about 40 percent of us -- will likely require much more than a pill that makes a certain part of the body swell.

It's worth noting that Viagra's salubrious effect on men was discovered by accident: When that drug was being tested as a treatment for angina, men in the study reported getting better erections when they took the pill. (So much for treating angina!)

Let's hope for a similar breakthrough for women one of these days. But I'm not holding my breath.

By Jennifer LaRue Huget  |  April 19, 2010; 7:00 AM ET
Categories:  Sex , Women's Health  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Is that right? Nutrition Facts are enough?
Next: Sifting through diet advice

Comments

We don't need better drugs for better sex, we need better men for better sex. Men and women work on different wave lengths, so big surprise there. Women need a reason to have sex, men only need a place and about 2 minutes' time.

Posted by: Baltimore11 | April 19, 2010 10:13 AM | Report abuse

Everything has to be all right with a woman before to have sex. Everything is all right with a man after sex.

Posted by: anti1 | April 19, 2010 11:06 AM | Report abuse

Women think with the big head and men with the little one. That's why we're always ready to go.

Posted by: FLvet | April 19, 2010 1:47 PM | Report abuse

Female sex drive is definitely more complex then male sex drive. However, there are already safe nonprescription and prescription solutions which have been proven in published studies to increase a woman’s sex drive. One example that comes to mind is the nonprescription arousal oil named Zestra. Two placebo-controlled studies published in the Journal of Sex and Marital Therapy showed that this blend of botanicals (including borage seed and evening primrose oils, Angelica root and vitamins C and E) provided a significant increase in arousal, desire, genital stimulation, ability to orgasm and pleasure. The treatment also worked equally well on women using SSRI antidepressant medicines.

Posted by: LauraGlav | April 20, 2010 1:45 AM | Report abuse

Female sex drive is more complex than male sex drive. However, there are already effective prescription and nonprescription solutions available that have been proven to increase a woman's sex drive. One example that comes to mind is the nonprescription arousal oil named Zestra.
Two placebo-controlled studies published in the Journal of Sex and Marital Therapy showed that this blend of botanicals (including borage seed and evening primrose oils, Angelica root and vitamins C and E) provided a significant increase in arousal, desire, genital stimulation, ability to orgasm and pleasure. The treatment also worked equally well on women using SSRI antidepressant medicines. Of course, whether you try something that is prescription or nonprescription, you should always see a doctor first.

Posted by: LauraGlav | April 20, 2010 1:49 AM | Report abuse

Thank you Laura, good stuff. Also note that sex drive in women is highly correlated to testosterone levels which wane in menopause. This is entirely “fixable” and safe with bio-identicals.
Kim Crawford,M.D./Anti-Aging Mind,Body,Skin Care
http://kimcrawfordmd.com

Posted by: doctorkim1 | April 20, 2010 5:04 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2010 The Washington Post Company