Doctor Anna BDSM

Doctor Anna spent her teenage years drinking moonshine and listening to metal in the north-Swedish countryside. By the age of 17, she understood that the world had more to offer and went traveling before settling down in England where she received a BA and an MA from Cambridge University, U.K., in genetics and signal-transduction.

Her interests in the biological world guided her to Germany and Max-Planck-Institute for Plant Breeding Research in Cologne. Here, she had to come to terms with acute and chronic pain when she was diagnosed with stage III endometriosis and was involved in an almost deadly tram accident. Luckily, she has a thick skull.

Her thick skull led to a Ph. D, and a guest researcher position at the Leibniz-Institute (IGB), as well as a position as a scientific collaborator at University Hospital Charité. She currently resides in Berlin, Germany, and is Head of Content at ZAGENO GmbH. However, her dream and passion are scientific outreach and communication, which she is conducting over the “Doctor Anna” blog and Doctor Anna’s Imaginarium social media platform.

Her partner, Joa Helgesson, is an opera singer and her muse. They have several projects together marrying the arts with the sciences; to show the wonders of these meat-bags we call our bodies; the ugliness and the beauty.

Viagra: the science supporting an erection

Viagra and other medications treating erectile dysfunction in men have been available since 1998. Where is the quick-fix pill for women who experience a lack-of-lust?

Well, first and foremost, it is important to understand that Viagra does not directly make men hornier, but is a rather simple biotech fix to a hydraulic issue: getting it up. Viagra cannot cause an erection, it just maintains one.

Viagra (sildenafil), Cialis (tadalafil) or Levitra (vardenafil) are all so-called phosphodiesterase 5 (PDE5) inhibitors causing smooth muscle relaxation and increased blood flow to support an erection. The drugs work well with relatively few side-effects, except some rare instances of heart failures and priapism (when the erection does not go away). The drug has to be taken 30-60 min before planned intercourse.

Since women generally lack cocks, the situation is quite different and rather more complex. There is no simple hydraulics issue to fix.

Doctor Anna banana

Why is a “Viagra” for women needed?

It is estimated that 22-43 % of women suffer from female sexual interest/arousal disorder (FSIAD, the medical term of lack of sexual desire). Guys, this is about a third of all women. A third! Let that sink in, please!

Female sexuality has been questioned and frowned upon for years, and I wouldn’t be surprised if more money has been spent researching the sexual lives of baboons than that of women. The higher complexity of the issue at hand compared to our male counterparts should not, in my opinion, result in less money spent, but rather more.

Doctor Anna dragonfly

So, why is there no famous “Viagra” for women?

Well, firstly there is no obvious thing as just “sorting out the hydraulics”. Secondly, little research has been conducted in comparison to sexual dysfunction in men. Also, many women do not go see a doctor when they experience long-term lack of desire as they still can perform sex with a bit of lubricant. Thus, the condition might go undetected, though they probably do not enjoy the sex very much.  Erectile dysfunction is simply somewhat easier to detect.

Reasons for lack of libido in women

As I already mentioned, female sexual interest/arousal disorder (FSIAD) is the medical term for not having an interest in sex. In a woman, as with men, there are many things that govern sexual appetite. A change in libido over a lifetime is normal and is often a response to things that happen in life: pregnancies, menopause, hormonal fluctuations over a month, chronic and acute illness…

However, the reported number one killer of female libido is everyday stress. Wow, much surprise. Another complete no-brainer, but often forgotten, is reduced sex drive resulting from no longer being attracted to your partner.

However, when lack of desire becomes an experienced problem, you should seek help.

What happens when women take Viagra?

When Viagra was given to a group of women, they generally did not feel more aroused than the ones given placebos (though a small group did). This is despite a similar physiological effect in the clitoris as in the penis. Not much success, as expected.  Unfortunately.

Doctor Anna lips

The Viagra alternatives for women

Due to all these different reasons for FSIAD in women and the lack of a hydraulic system to fix, female sexual dysfunction cannot be treated with a one-thing-solves-all method.

For menopausal women, estrogen can be given as a hormone replacement therapy, but it comes with side-effects such as an increased risk for stroke. Bummer.

However, sexual desire is not only governed by sex hormones such as estrogen and testosterone, but also by several signaling molecules that operate in the brain, so-called neurotransmitters. The neurotransmitters norepinephrine and dopamine can increase desire whereas serotonin has a dampening effect.

Due to the involvement of the brain in this response (!!!) much research has over the past few years focused on neurotransmitters in the treatment of female FSIAD.

Hence, a third medical solution has been presented: the so-called “female Viagra”, Flibanserin, which frequently has been discussed in media over the past years. Flibanserin works inhibitory on the brain serotonin receptors, which in turn increases the downstream production of norepinephrine and dopamine, and these neurotransmitters, in turn, increase sexual desire.

The negative effects are that it has to be taken daily and side effects such as tiredness and fatigue. The responses have also varied quite a lot.

Technically, Flibanserin is not a “female Viagra” with a quick fix as for men, but more like a long-term treatment. Therefore, to call it “female Viagra” is misleading.

Doctor Anna mating

Is the future sexier?

Studies are also being conducted in which testosterone treatments and PDE5-inhibitors are combined so as to increase the so-called satisfying sexual events (SSE) in women. Also, prostaglandin vasodilators, dopamine agonists, and other substances are currently being researched as medical solutions to this wide-spread issue.

This is good news as it means that money is spent on research and that this issue is finally taken seriously.

What to do now?

I think it is a matter of “try and see if it works for You”. For some women, Flibanserin seems to work, for others not. The success of Flibanserin might be related to the origin of your FSIAD; is it a physical matter or are other things bothering you in life?

For many women, the key to getting their sex drive back might be to stop fretting so much about other people and start focusing more on themselves. Maybe, you’ll discover surprising things that you enjoy, like chaining and whipping, your husband of 20 years. I would suggest that you ask him beforehand though.

Sci Hard!

Doctor Anna who has struggled with endometriosis and intercourse-associated pain her entire grown-up life.

More from Doctor Anna

How I realized that my sex life is quite vanilla

If you are into kink

Visit PM Leather for some really nice hobble belts – greet them from Doctor Anna

References

International Journal of Clinical Practice. Comparison of Phosphodiesterase Type 5 (PDE5) Inhibitors. P. J. Wright Disclosures. Int J Clin Pract. 2006;60(8):967-975.
Pharmacotherapy for Erectile Dysfunction. By: Eardley, Ian; Donatucci, Craig; Corbin, Jackie; et al. JOURNAL OF SEXUAL MEDICINE  Volume: 7   Issue: 1   Pages: 524-540   Part: 2   Published: JAN 2010
Feldhau-Dahir M. Treatment options for female sexual arousal disorder. Urologic Nursing. 2010;30:247.
Female sexual problems. American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy. http://www.aamft.org/imis15/Content/Consumer_Updates/Female_Sexual_Problems.aspx. Accessed Jan. 23, 2014.
Female sexual disorders: Treatment options in the pipeiine. Michael L. Krychman, MD, Sheryl A. Kingsberg, PhD. Formularyjoumal.com | March 2013 | Vol.48
Discovery of NO in the penis. By: Rajfer, J. INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF IMPOTENCE RESEARCH  Volume: 20   Issue: 5   Pages: 431-436   Published: SEP-OCT 2008
Mechanism of action of ibanserin, a multifunctional serotonin agonist and antagonist (MSAA), in hypoactive sexual desire disorder. Stephen M. Stahl. CNS Spectrums / Volume 20 / Issue 01 / February 2015, pp 1 – 6. DOI: 10.1017/S1092852914000832, Published online: 09 February 2015

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