Explaining Female Viagra

VIAG(CNN)Does she really have a headache? And if not, could a little pink pill help?

For the most part, we know that for many women, the only “headache” that is causing her to avoid sex is fatigue or relationship issues. (If it were George Clooney asking for sex, that headache might miraculously disappear.)

But I don’t believe that being tired or out of sorts are the only reasons women lose desire. Which is why the possibility of a “female Viagra” is intriguing — and appealing: the idea that a pill could restore libido in women, just the way Viagra has improved the hydraulics for millions of men.

On Thursday, an advisory committee for the Food and Drug Administration voted to recommend approval of flibanserin, a desire-boosting pill that the agency has rejected twice before. The move came after an organization recently launched a pressure campaign, backed in part by the drug’s developer, to push the FDA for approval, saying gender bias has kept such a pill from women.

It’s a complicated issue, no question. But some women are genuinely upset about their loss of libido. They are searching for help and deserve to have it.

In so many sexuality and relationship workshops I have conducted with women, I have heard the following lament: “I love my husband. I used to crave making love with him. But now I feel nothing. I wish I could reclaim my sexual desire and sexual pleasure.” In these cases I don’t think it’s the relationship that’s the issue, or having a partner who is sexually inept, or the effect of memories from earlier sexual trauma. No, something else is going on.

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