Are you able to keep in mind a time while you’d by no means heard of Viagra? I’m certain the timeframe existed, however the standard remedy (or Cialis, or the quite a few different FDA-approved medicine that enhance male sexual efficiency) has at all times felt as obtainable as one thing like Excedrin (albeit a bit extra taboo). It’s commonplace, whether or not you employ it or not. Now, attempt to consider the ladies’s equal to Viagra. Stumped? That’s not on you. The feminine libido has been understudied and misunderstood. However fortunately, that’s all beginning to change.
A ladies’s model of Viagra isn’t fully nonexistent, nonetheless. Flibanserin (aka “Addyi” or “the little pink tablet”) was lastly FDA-approved in 2015. It really works a bit otherwise than Viagra, targeting desire quite than sexual efficiency (the psychological quite than the bodily), with greater than 10% of sufferers reporting significant enhancements to their libidos in clinical trials. Sadly, the most important distinction between Addyi and Viagra is that the previous, which nonetheless has no generic equal, is never lined by insurance coverage.
Featured picture by Michelle Nash.
What Doctors Have Gotten Wrong About Female Libido
It’s a frustrating symptom of an even more infuriating problem: the topic of women’s sexual health is woefully misunderstood and underserved.
“There are decades of progress needed with payers to recognize that women deserve sexual healthcare,” shares board-certified OB/GYN Dr. Lyndsey Harper. “The problems are not just in our heads… we deserve access to these medications.”
Low Sex Drive? You’re Far From Alone
Dr. Harper’s journey into the world of women’s sexual healthcare began in 2018 while working in private practice. Countless women began expressing the same concern: they didn’t feel like having sex with their accomplice—ever.
“My sufferers have been needing much more help than I used to be educated to supply them,” Dr. Harper recollects. “I didn’t even notice I used to be lacking such an important a part of ladies’s well being in my coaching till ladies started sharing.”
The dominoes fell suddenly as she started recalling medical faculty and residency. “I used to be like, Wait a minute… why don’t I do know something about ladies’s sexual well being?” she thought. “And wait, why did I spend two weeks in an erectile dysfunction clinic in medical faculty? And why are there no FDA-approved [sexual health] medicines for girls which might be lined by insurance coverage and there are 26 which might be lined for males?”
A Shift in Women’s Sexual Health Studies
In 2019, Dr. Harper founded Rosy, a freemium app that has linked over 200,000 ladies with personalized solutions for sexual wellness considerations. As of 2023, greater than 11% of the nation’s OB/GYNs suggest the Texas-based femtech startup, which has raised upwards of $4.2 million in funding.
And whereas there may be a lot work to be performed, Dr. Harper has famous a need for change within the medical group since Rosy first launched.
“What we’re beginning to see is the awakening of the medical group to the truth that there may be this hole, which is resulting in much more curiosity, which is resulting in extra individuals getting individually educated after residency like I did,” Dr. Harper explains. “Then we are able to practice up future residents. Huge shifts like this in medication take a long time, however I feel by way of consciousness, pleasure, and openness to the subject, we now have made a ton of progress up to now 4 years.”
Reframing the Manner We Consider Ladies’s Sexual Well being
It’s not simply the medical group that should reframe the way it thinks about ladies’s sexual well being, nonetheless. Dr. Harper factors to a just lately printed article in The New York Instances, “Women Have Been Misled About Menopause,” which discusses the methods by which menopausal ladies have been underserved. “It means that we now have a excessive cultural tolerance for girls’s struggling,” Rebecca Thurston, a professor of psychiatry on the College of Pittsburgh, shares within the article.
“We settle for issues that we shouldn’t be accepting,” Dr. Harper provides. “But it surely’s not our fault. We simply haven’t been given permission by society.”