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The Medicalization of Female Sexual Dysfunction

 
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The advent of Viagra resulted in life-altering changes for many men who no longer had to rely on penis pumps, surgery, and unreliable drugs to get an erection.

Many people hope this type of drug to ease female sexual dysfunction (FSD) can have similar results for women, and the race to create and market a drug for women has already begun.

But there are serious doubts about how well a drug to treat FSD might actually work, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has already refused to allow drug companies to market several drugs due to concerns about their safety and efficacy.

FSD can be extremely complex and in many cases may not be the result of a medical condition at all.

What Is FSD?
Male sexuality is often defined solely according to the ability to get and maintain an erection, but doctors have had much more difficulty defining FSD.

Women qualify for a diagnosis of FSD when they exhibit one of a huge variety of symptoms, including pain during intercourse, low libido, inability to orgasm, and insufficient lubrication.

While hormonal changes and some health conditions can cause these symptoms, the symptoms of FSD can also be caused by psychological problems, exhaustion, and misunderstandings about how female sexuality works.

These causes cannot easily be treated with medication, and therefore a female Viagra equivalent may not be the miracle drug doctors hope for.

The Elusive Female Orgasm
For centuries, experts have debated the existence, meaning, and worth of the female orgasm. But we now know that the clitoris is key to orgasm and that about 80 percent of women can’t orgasm without clitoral stimulation.

This means that, for most women, intercourse alone will be insufficient to attain orgasm. This is not a sexual dysfunction. Rather, it is the normal state of female sexuality.

Inadequate sex education means that many women and men are still unaware of this and may label normal female sexuality as dysfunctional. In her documentary on FSD, filmmaker Liz Canner interviews a woman undergoing treatment for FSD.

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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