female viagra, Lucy Rowett

No, you don’t need female viagra

“Women are not desiring more sex. They want better sex.

Dr. Julie Krop

A few days ago, I saw in the news that a new drug designed to boost women’s sex drive has been approved by the FDA in the United States.

Vyleesi is a shot that you take that is supposed to last for several hours and is being touted as “The Female Viagra” because it’s meant to increase a woman’s desire for sex (despite the very unsexy side effects of headaches and nausea).

Ever since the release of erectile drugs like Viagra and Cialis in the 1990s to help men with erectile difficulties, there’s been a search to create the female alternative. If you Google, “Female Viagra”, you’ll find many herbs and potions that are supposed to work like magic on a woman’s desire.

It would be so simple to just take a pill, a shot, or some herbs to supposedly, “cure” low libido in a woman rather than look at the underlying factors.

I have serious reservations about a Female Viagra, and here’s why:

Are you too tired for sex? Is your partner not a skilled or attentive lover? Are you feeling ashamed and confused about your body? Don’t know how to ask for what you want, or know what you want in the first place? Are your hormones out of balance? 

This isn’t something a shot or a pill can fix by itself. You just have to ask any professional who works with sex- be they a sex coach, sex therapist, bodyworker, Tantrika, or sex worker- and they’ll tell you the same: 

Desire isn’t something you can medicate away because desire is complex.  

It’s affected by how you feel about your body, how well you know your body, your relationship with pleasure, your stress levels, communication skills, being able to ask for what you want, your hormones, health conditions, chronic pain, side effects from medication, an un-diagnosed health concern, going through the menopause, pelvic or vulvar pain, and a myriad of other factors.

Sexual desire complex and multifaceted. 

Many studies have been done that apparently show that women are less interested in sex than men. Let me preface this by saying that these studies were often done by men, and never seemed to ask the most important question:

Is it sex that women don’t want? Or is is the sex they’ve been having they don’t want?

Maybe the sex you’ve been having hasn’t been particularly pleasurable for you? Or what if your definition of “sex” doesn’t feel particularly sexy to you?

It’s only recently that we are understanding more about how desire and pleasure work in the body. When I was at a sexology conference last year, one phrase stuck with me: “Sex is supposed to start with an erection and end with an ejaculation.”

For too long, female sexual pleasure has been completely ignored and not considered an essential part of sexual health, isn’t that sad?

Female sexuality has been thought of as working the same as male sexuality, so if there’s something wrong, a woman is diagnosed as having a “sexual dysfunction”. As a sex coach, I am very careful with language and deliberately don’t use the word, “sexual dysfunction”, because I believe that you do not have something that needs, “curing”.

Is it any surprise that when we live in a culture where female pleasure isn’t prioritized or explored- in fact, it’s still seen as something taboo and obscene- that we have an epidemic of sexually un-satisfied women?

Other studies show that women are just as horny as men (I am overgeneralizing here) given the right circumstances and contexts.

Here’s what I mean by the right circumstances:

  • Do you know your sexual response cycle?
  • Do you know your accelerators and brakes?
  • Do you know what brings you pleasure?
  • Do you know your unique pleasure spots?
  • Can you communicate what you want to your partner?
  • Is your partner open to your feedback?
  • Are you working with whatever triggers and traumatic responses are coming up for you?
  • Are you well rested?
  • Are your emotional needs being met?
  • Are you suffering from chronic pain that isn’t being managed properly?

And so, so much more.

You can understand more about how your contexts affect your desire in Come As You Are, by Emily Nagoski, and The Return of Desire, by Gina Ogden.

Taking a shot or a pill isn’t going to cure this or fix your libido long-term– unless you can pinpoint that the reason for your decreased libido is due to medication side effects or a recent medical condition. In which case, it could be a short-term solution, but I bet there are other factors going on underneath that also needs to be looked at.

When we live in a culture where female sexual pleasure is already not taught about or well understood, with many women feeling completely in the dark about how their bodies respond, medication is not going to fix this.

Pleasure-based sex education, and taking responsibility for your desire, pleasure, and sexuality is what’s going to boost your sex drive long-term.

Here are some questions for you to think about if you’re feeling a drop in your libido:

  • What is most pleasurable for you?
  • What do you need to happen in order to feel horny and to climax?
  • Are your hormones in balance?
  • How do you feel about your body and your genitals?
  • What are your turn-on’s and turn-off’s?
  • Can you ask for what you want?

This is why I work with women, to explore desire, sensuality, and pleasure on their own terms so that you can come back to you. I wrote a blog post on how to revive a flagging libido, which you can read here. 

What do you think? Do you think a Female Viagra could be helpful?


If you want to give your libido the kiss of life and you’re fed up of feeling nothing, then it’s time to get in touch. Release shame, embrace pleasure, and create intimacy by working 1:1 with me. Learn more here.

Or join my exclusive membership for women online, your space to become sexually empowered and sensually alive, The Liberated Collective here.

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