Question: I have discovered that my sexual arousal has drastically decreased. While my husband would happily make love to me every day, I feel inspired only about once a week. I’ve seen ads for natural supplements that are supposed to increase sexual desire, but I don’t know if they are safe or effective. Would any of these supplements actually work?
As couples stay together longer, they tend to have less frequent sex. Although both partners may feel some changes to their desire, it is somewhat more common for women to experience less desire or arousal when compared with men. This is true for women in relationships with men as well as for women in relationships with other women.
Ever since Viagra was approved for use among men, there has been an increased interest by pharmaceutical companies to identify a medication for women that would enhance their desire, arousal or interest in sex.
At this writing, no such medication is approved for use in the United States, although every now and then a pharmaceutical company gets close – and, at the moment, there is one such company that is hoping to secure FDA approval for their medication.
Safe and Effective?
But you make a good point: whether one is talking about supplements or medications, it is important to be able to tell whether a substance is safe or effective.
The supplements that are currently on the market have not been subject to the sorts of medical and scientific tests that one would have to undergo if they were marketing the substance as a medication. Therefore there is no way to tell if the substance is safe, if it works, or what the side effects are. If you have questions about the safety or risks of such supplements, please ask your healthcare provider about them.
In addition to concerns about safety and risks of supplements, there will be similar questions raised for any so-called desire medications that may or may not get approved in the coming months or years.
After all, any drug that gets approved will be brand new and there may be long term risks that are as yet unknown. Should a medication get FDA approval, you might ask yourself whether you want to be one of the first women to take it or whether you want to wait and see how others do with it before you try it.
You might also want to ask yourself and your doctor what the benefits are. One such drug that is being considered for approval only resulted in women having about 0.8 more satisfying sexual events in a given month compared to women in a placebo condition.
For some women, this may be a meaningful change. Others may feel that they could make such a difference in their own lives without taking medication.
Affecting Change on Your Own
After all, many issues of desire or arousal are influenced by relationships and lifestyle. Some people find that when they eat, exercise and sleep well, and when they spend quality time together, they feel greater desire or arousal.
Many couples are helped by reading books about sex together. Check out Because It Feels Good, or Mating in Captivity for ideas about how you might enhance your own desire and arousal as well as better connect with your partner.