What message does the approval of flibanserin send to women about the importance of their sexuality?
Even though there’s been lots of controversy surrounding the new medication flibanserin to help with low sexual arousal in women, I believe that it’s a mistake to focus on just the negative aspects of its approval without discussing what benefits it brings to women. In my first post on the topic, I discussed how the research and development of flibanserin validate women’s sexuality by making a statement on its importance. This article is the second part of a 3-part-post answer to why I believe flibanserin is a positive step for women’s sexuality.
Having a medication as an option for low sexual desire is only the beginning.
As imperfect as the drug is (what drug isn’t?), I believe that the approval of flibanserin has created a lively conversation about women’s sexual desire, providing women with hope. I’ve seen a significant number of women who had given up on ever having a joyful and robust sex life because they felt that either they were alone in their difficulty or that there was nothing that would help them. The existence of a medication helps send the message that there are options available, and also that science and medicine haven’t given up – so neither should you!
If you are a women with low sexual desire, you aren’t the only one.
There is a constant flood of messages in society about women’s beauty and sexiness. But there is very little discussion about the actual internal state of women regarding their sex lives and their own libido. Looking at magazine covers, social media, and television, it easy to assume that all of these women have a strong sexual desire to match their external beauty—which is of course not necessarily the case. Now that the approval of flibanserin (brand name Addyi) is really opening up that conversation, women with low sexual desire are realizing that they aren’t the only ones out there with this issue.
Women should find a great deal of hope in options for improving their sex life.
Even though it seems that people today are very comfortable talking about sex, there still is quite a bit of silence when it comes to low sexual desire. Many women have stayed silent, thinking there were no options for them, or certainly no good options. Existence of this medication highlights the issue and encourages conversations between the public and their doctors and therapist that might not have happened otherwise. Hope is such an important part of any treatment, the power of which we don’t fully have to understand completely to witness its power in action. I believe that giving women hope about their sex lives is paramount.
Hopefully there will be many more conversations which help to educate the public about the utility of sex therapy, the role of physical health and lifestyle in good sexual functioning, and careful decision-making as to who exactly would benefit from using this medication. Let’s keep the conversation going!
Dr. Castellanos is a psychiatrist specializing in sex therapy, bio-identical hormones, and functional medicine consultation. You can follow her on Facebook at The Sex MD, and Twitter at @DrCastellanos.