RSS
Is low female sex drive a mental illness?
As drugmakers gets closer to a "female Viagra," sexologists and psychiatrists disagree over whether low sex drive is an illness
S

ex experts are all worked up over female desire — specifically whether to bulk up the terse, unisex definition of hypoactive sexual desire disorder (HSDD) in the psychiatric “bible,” the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. The expanded definition would treat a low sex drive in women as a mental “condition.” That would be great news for German drugmaker Boehringer Ingelheim, which just announced positive results for its female libido-booster Filbanserin. But should a woman with a weak libido be treated as mentally ill? (Watch a CBS report about the libido-lifting drug Flibanserin)

Flibanserin is a man's dream—and a woman's nightmare: The HSDD "diagnosis" is just man's latest attempt to medicate female emotion, says Laurie Penny in Britain’s Morning Star. If women don't want sex, they'll be told "you have a disease called hypoactive sexual desire disorder, and Flibanserin can fix you." This is just the latest attempt in our "hypersexed" culture to exploit sexual insecurity.
“Don’t swallow that sedative”

HSDD is real: Don’t tell me female sex problems are "too complicated to treat, or, worse, purely mythical," says Leah McLaren in The Globe and Mail. It’s "shortsighted and obtuse" to deny women dealing with sexual dysfunction a "female Viagra," if such a drug exists. Women are wired differently than men — but that's why Flibanserin affects brain chemistry, while Viagra works like a "hydraulic lift."
“Is ‘female Viagra’ a much-needed remedy or just hard to swallow?”

Low libido is a problem; a pill isn’t the solution: What woman doesn’t want a "magic bullet solution" to her sex problems? says Christine Ottery in The Guardian. But, while "it’s a tempting idea in our time-poor lives to pop a pill," Fliblanserin should be a last resort. The best solution is identifying and working out the "root cause" of a low sex drive.
“Pill-popping approach to female libido”

EDITORS' PICKS

THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER

Subscribe to the Week