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So what’s the big deal with female viagra?

It’s not got a sexy name – Addyi – and yet it’s apparently going to revolutionise women’s sex drives. But while it’s being hailed as the ‘female viagra’ this overhyped wonderdrug may turn out to be a big flop.


You know those days when you just can’t be bothered to shag? Don’t be coy, we all get them – even me, whose literal actual job is having sex and writing about it. Maybe you’re knackered. Maybe you just don’t fancy it. Maybe your other half has pissed you off by not remembering to close the back door properly, and you wake up to realise that you could easily have been burgled then murdered in your sleep. OK, maybe that last one’s a bit specific to me.

Enter: Addyi – the female viagra. Just one pill per day purports to increase your libido and get you more excited about shagging. Brilliant? Well… hmm… maybe.

Unfortunately it doesn’t quite live up to the headlines.

Addyi is nothing like Viagra

The brilliant thing about Viagra is that it’s a pretty whim-friendly drug. You think you might fancy a shag, and you know you’re at the start of a quiet night in, so you pop one in your gob and hey presto: you’re instantly harder than a maths A-level.

Addyi, on the other hand, is not like that. It’s designed to treat Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder (HSDD), which is a condition that causes women to suffer from a low sex drive. You don’t just take the pill when you’re having a sexy evening, either – you have to take one every day. Forever.

Small price to pay, perhaps, for a horn you can really rely on? Well, not really. The women in the test groups who took the pill reported around one more sexually satisfying event per month, compared to a placebo. All this for a risk of side-effects which can include low blood pressure, nausea and fainting. What’s more, you shouldn’t drink when you’re on it, which means that starting your sexytime with champagne and strawberries is definitely off the cards.

Downsides of Addyi

Off the top of my head, I can think of plenty of downsides of Addyi – not least the side effects which can include things like fainting and sickness.

What if some people feel under pressure to take it? Your sex drive might have dropped off for a whole host of different reasons – you’re tired, stressed or your partner keeps pissing you off (see above). Not all of these issues can – or should – be magicked away with a pill. And we need to squash that idea before any horny partners get it into their heads that it can.

What if people are perfectly happy with their sex drive as it is, thanks very much? Remember that Viagra is an instant-hardon drug: you can take it when you feel like it. Addyi is something you have to commit to taking once a day forever, with the aim of changing your sex drive in the long term. Call me odd, though, but there are plenty of people who may be perfectly happy with their sex drive the way it is. Offering pills to ‘fix’ things usually implies that there’s something wrong – and while there may be many unhappy women with HSDD, implying that the pill is there to fix everyone makes the mistaken assumption that everyone should have the same kind of sex drive.

What should you do if you struggle with sex?

In all honesty, I’m not trying to put you off taking Addyi, if your doctor is to offer it to you. Nor am I saying that people who suffer from HSDD don’t deserve any help (everyone deserves to get help when they need it!). What I am saying though is that this pill has been sold as a kind of magic bullet – newspaper headlines scream about the magical wonder drug, and there’ll be plenty of people with high hopes that all their sexual problems will be solved.

So here’s the advice bit: if you’re worried that you’re not enjoying sex as much as you want to, take some time to think about why that might be. Give yourself a break from sex if you like – to give you time and space to work out what it is that isn’t working. Are you stressed? Tired? Bored of the same routine? Do you want to try something new, or are you keen to get back into old and familiar habits? Are you just – and this might shock you – not as into sex as people tell you that you should be? Seriously: there are plenty of people who just don’t fancy it. There’s nowt wrong with being one of those people, as long as you’re not being put under pressure to do things you don’t want to.

Once you’ve worked out why things aren’t working for you, there are tonnes of things you might want to try:

  • If your problem is physical arousal, then do what I do and slap on tonnes of lube. If your problems is erection-based, then trying cock rings or cock cages can help you to stay erect once you’re up there. Some guys also report that penis pumps help them to get hard, or maintain an erection for longer, too.
  • If your problem is emotional or related to your relationship, then please talk to your partner about it if you can. If that’s difficult then there are other people you can talk to, such as Relate.
  • If you think you may be depressed, or suffering from another health condition, then visit your doctor and have a chat with them about it.

Bottom line: everyone has different sex drives, and our desires wax and wane on a very regular basis. You shouldn’t be made to feel like you’re wrong for wanting a different thing, or pressured into taking anything if you don’t think it will help you. If you’re struggling with this, I hope you can find the help that you need.

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