Male and Female Viagra

Every year, I hear from women bewildered and upset by the fact that sexual desire has left them, even though they love their partners. As many as a quarter of women, depending on age and whether they have been through the menopause, are said to be affected by “lack of libido”. Look up “female loss of sexual desire” on the internet, and you’ll see the staggering number of women concerned about it. So you might assume that I am welcoming the new so-called “Female Viagra”, an anti- depressant called Flibanserin which has been found to boost women’s libido and which is set to become available within two years, with open arms. If it is used responsibly, and with respect I can see that it may be helpful for some women. But the truth is I have some reservations about the implications of this drug, and others like it, unless medically prescribed. If we treat them as a simple cure-all for “lack of libido”, we risk turning bedrooms into nothing more than loveless pharmacies. Libido-boosting drugs like Viagra, Cialis and others wrongly used separates sex from love having the potential to reduce love making to nothing more than a physical act. After all, if you can pop a pill, you can dispense with the need for the affection, friendship and comfort that make up a truly fulfilling love life. This holds true for both sexes. If sex is reduced to “I fancy a bit so take your pill”, I believe that more relationships will end up on the rocks, rather than fewer. Because taking a pill, whether it’s for men or women, fails to address the psychological, physical or emotional reasons that may be at the heart of the problem. I suspect that women who complain of a “lack of libido” are suffering from a physiological condition or have an emotional reason for not being turned on by their partner. A pill will not deal with the issues that might put women off sex, such as poor body image or stress, or a partner who is inept or selfish in bed. Those things need expert help or genuine discussion between the man and woman concerned. A pill will not deal with the permanent tiredness that comes with a frantically busy life, in which sex has become an afterthought for many women who are already fraught from trying to hold down jobs, run a home and care for their husbands and children. Begrudged sex is no sex at all, and requires more than a chemical answer. Sex is the best aphrodisiac and should be, a totally satisfying experience for men and women, and that means that heart, soul and brain need to be as involved as well as genitalia.

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