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Women Want 'Pink Viagra' to Make Sex Better, Not More Frequent

Feb 16 2017 3:50 PM
Women Want 'Pink Viagra' to Make Sex Better, Not More Frequent

Illustration by Katarina Radovic via Stocksy

"Women's sexuality does not necessarily follow a male paradigm."


There were high hopes the arrival of "pink Viagra" would herald a blissful new age of pharmaceutically enhanced female libidos. But the uptake of flibanserin, approved by the FDA in 2015 for the treatment of low sex drive in women (also known as hypoactive sexual desire disorder), has failed to sparked the revolution it might have.

The effects of the drug, which is currently being sold under the trade name Addyi, are reportedly small: somewhere between eight and 13 percent. Secondly, its potential side effects include nausea, sleepiness, and dizziness—decidedly unsexy states of being for most of us.

Read More: The Post-SSRI Orgasmic High

Another crucial factor, highlighted by a new study by the University of Zurich, is that while Addyi promises a higher frequency of sexual encounters for women, that's not necessarily what women want.

The study focused on 159 Swiss women aged 18 to 73, and found 61 percent of women were willing to take "sexuality-boosting medication." But these women "were clearly less interested in increasing sexual satisfaction by boosting the frequency of sexual encounters, and more so in making sex more fun—and by having more intensive and frequent orgasms," Dr. Andrea Burri, the lead author, told Broadly.

"That is somewhat in contrast to the claims of Addyi, which promises to lead more sexually satisfying encounters per month."

In other words, women want better sex, not more sex. Dr Burri, a clinical psychologist at Auckland University of Technology, says this is valuable knowledge for pharmaceutical companies: Women are interested in taking medication for their sex drive, just maybe not in its current form—because not all can be contented by increased libido alone.

Dr. Burri hopes the study encourages more people to view women's sexuality in a more holistic way. "Meaning that it's not necessarily about increasing or improving one specific aspect of a woman's sexual response and functioning... for the majority of women, the most important thing is overall sexual satisfaction.

"It's about much more than just physiological functioning—it is about intimacy, affect, relationship satisfaction, and trust. In other words, we should remind ourselves that women's sexuality does not necessarily follow a male paradigm."

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