Viagra for women – a brief perspective

In August 2015, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) of the United States approved the sale of flibanserin, a pink pill, under the generic name Addyi, to enhance libido of pre-menopausal women. The media hyped it as ‘Viagra for women’. Those concerned about gender inequities were satisfied to see that women now have Viagra to boost their sexual desire like men have been doing since 1998 – when Pfizer began to sell sildenafil, a blue pill, under the trade name ‘Viagra’. Is this gender-specific Viagra going to be effective as it is designed to be?

Let us look at it briefly in this post.

Viagra for men
The drug was introduced as a potential cure for erectile dysfunction (ED) – i.e., a man’s inability to have erection to perform sexually. A good proportion of men in the forties and over lose their ability to have desired erection, as with age, they are more vulnerable to diseases like diabetes, cardiovascular, prostate, kidney/liver ailments, etc. All of such diseases, in turn, constrain the blood flow in their body organs, including penis. What this pill is supposed to do is to improve the blood flow in the nerve chamber of a mans’ penis, fill it up with blood, harden it enough to complete his so-called ‘manly act’. In a way, this magic pill has given males a ‘chemically induced’ power to boost their ‘manhood’, uplifted their egos, and sexual participation and domination. Alas! This euphoria doesn’t last long because the lasting effect of this pill has been limited. Now other pharmaceutical companies are selling similar drugs like Cialis and Levitra with longer lasting effects. Still, this is all ‘chemically induced’ short-term euphoria.

Depending on a man’s age and other physical conditions including how serious the ED issue is, a doctor can prescribe a dose of Viagra anywhere from 25 mg to a maximum of 100 mg. The pill is supposed to be taken four hours before the couple plans to indulge in a sexual interlude.

Like any other drug with side effects, this magic blue pill for men also has its share, including headache, flushing, upset stomach, stuffy or runny nose, dizziness, abnormal vision (such as having a blue colour tinge) – to name a few. Doctors won’t recommend Viagra to those taking any drug containing nitrates, or to those allergic to sildenafil. In the same manner, they recommend to their patient to go to a hospital for emergency treatment if the erection wouldn’t go away after four hours or more.

One of the reasons Viagra for men has been working is because men, by nature, can easily compartmentalize their feelings, emotions, or any distractions prior to sexual indulgence. Once they are determined, excited, or stimulated (chemically or non-chemically) to have sex, and their organ is all up and ready, they are all set to go and complete the act. Worries and distractions may again engulf them right after the act, that’s a different story.

Viagra for women
Women, on the other hand, are unable to compartmentalize their emotions – personal, physiological, and psychological – before sex. They may appear fit physically and be willing to give-in to their partner, but their brain may be on a totally different wave-length. They may be thinking about anything but sex. It could be their inter-personal relationship with their partner, job, children, personal physical looks, ailments, or any other stressful or depressive thought, causing invisible distraction. They don’t need this sort of distraction before sex.

For women, the thoughts of arousal, or desire to make love, always arise first in their brain, which in turn, transmits signals to other organs of their bodies, creating arousal, sensation, or tenseness. It’s well-known that a man mostly gets aroused by visual means whereas a woman by signals of desire transmitted by her brain. Unless a woman is totally relaxed, in full control of her emotions, free of any stress or depression, she can’t fully enjoy sex, climaxing to achieve orgasm. And, there is no pill as yet that can enable a woman to reach that kind of happy, calm, and relaxed position to fully participate and enjoy sex.

Even the current pink pill, or ‘Viagra for women’, is simply meant to increase a woman’s sexual desire and likely to wet her key genital areas. That really doesn’t mean that she is all ready to enjoy sex. She could still be distracted for any reason, which in turn, may leave her dissatisfied and/or unfulfilled.

For those not yet familiar with this new pill, it’s worth mentioning that the FDA approved it after initially rejecting it twice – in 2010 and 2014. Finally, the pharmaceutical company, seeking FDA’s approval to sell this drug, conducted a clinical trial (its technical details are omitted here, but can be found on the FDA’s site) on a sample of 2,400 women, with an average age of 36, and who were suffering from hypoactive sexual desire disorder (HSDD) – or put simply, a low sexual desire. The results showed that the group taking the drug had experienced slightly more sexual arousal as well as sexual participation than the one on placebo. That was enough to convince the FDA to approve the drug for commercial sale.

A woman is supposed to take a dose of 100 mg of flibanserin (or female Viagra) once daily just before bedtime. She can discontinue it after eight weeks if she finds no improvement in her sexual desire.

While she is on this pill, she shouldn’t consume alcohol.

Some of the most common side effects of this drug include nausea, dizziness, dry mouth, and insomnia.

Last word
Based on what I have read on this drug so far, I believe we are still a long way from creating a magic pill that would make a woman not only just want more sex, but also enjoy it to the best of her ability – to feel its ultimate orgasmic pleasure.

In my opinion, the current pill is a step in the right direction. I am sure the researchers of pharmaceutical companies will eventually find a pill, ideally suited to treat sexual dysfunction of both pre-and-post menopausal women.

Tags: Erectile dysfunction (ED), Sexual desire, Sexual interlude, Slidenafil (Vigra for men), Flibanserin (Viagra for women), Orgasm

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