‘Female Viagra’ Doesn’t Exist — So What Are The Options For Women’s Sexual Health?

“It’s only recently that people have come to understand how this can affect someone’s quality of life.”
 

By Lauren SilvermanOctober 19, 2016 9:30 am| , ,

From KERA

According to some research, two of every five women have sexual concerns or difficulties at some point in their lives. Yet no one has been able to create the “female viagra.” The most recent attempt, a pill called Addyi hasn’t met expectations. Still, big pharmaceuticals and startups are trying to tap into the female sexual health market.

Jennifer Buck and her husband always had a good, intimate relationship.They had two young kids and lived in a house near Flower Mound with their dog. Then, last year, when Buck was 37, she had to have a hysterectomy. When she lost her uterus, she says, it’s like her sex drive went with it.

“Now, not only was I stressed about being a mom and working,” she says, “But now there’s the whole hormone issue of I don’t really want to have sex.”

Buck says it was putting a serious strain on her relationship. She was avoiding physical contact altogether — even cuddling — and she could tell her husband felt responsible for them drifting apart.

“When he did finally say something to me, it broke my heart,” she says. “Because it wasn’t him.”

Up to 40 percent of women struggle with sex

There are a lot of women like Buck. Dr. Joseph Schaffer, chief of gynecology at UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas says up to 40 percent of women struggle some type sexual dysfunction. That can mean problems with pain, arousal, or orgasm.

“It is something people haven’t freely talked about in the past,” Schaffer says. “It’s only recently that people have come to understand how this can affect someone’s quality of life.”

The causes of decreased sexual arousal can be tough to unravel. Schaffer says sometimes hormones or creams can help, sometimes counseling or physical therapy — often times, a combination of approaches is necessary. What he does know is female sexual health is an untapped market — and startups are hoping to get in.

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