At the young age of 38, Pamela Tames lost her hormones. Her early menopause seemed to happen overnight, throwing her body into a tailspin.
“Hormones are these little lights that make you feel vibrant. When your hormones flat line, your lights go off,” Tames said.
Along with menopause came a complete lack of desire in sex. She felt like she was losing herself in a dark tunnel of intense anxiety, despair and an uncontrollable sense of rage.
Tames was in such denial about what was happening to her that she never thought about talking to her girlfriends. “You mention hormones, sex and menopause and your girlfriends will all clam up. It’s like the pink elephant in the room – everyone knows it’s there,” said Tames, 46.
Like many menopausal women, Tames completely shut down sexually as she began having problems with her sexual health that ranged from low libido to discomfort associated with vaginal dryness. Even worse, she didn’t talk about it.
Tames is not alone. A recent Datamonitor Research study showed that less that 20 percent of women are even talking to their doctors about their sexual health issues. And only 9 percent of women aged 40 to 80 years of age were asked about sexual concerns by their doctors in the last three years.
According to a landmark sex survey published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, sexual health issues are more prevalent for women (43%) than for men (31%). And yet for years there has been open discussion about men’s sexual dysfunction among the medical community and in the media. Men have had access to erectile dysfunction medications ever since Pfizer introduced Viagra to the market in 1998.
Since then, dozens of companies have attempted to develop a “Viagra” for women, but according to Jonathan Hall of DreamBrands, a personal care product company, these companies are missing the mark.
“Currently, female sexual health issues have been associated with the phrase ‘female sexual dysfunction’ or FSD, which is like the male version of male erectile dysfunction or ED. The problem with this is that it dramatically understates the true level of female sexual health concerns,” Hall said.