SCIENCE

Does a Female Viagra Exist?

17 April, 2021

The short answer: well, no. First things first: what does Viagra® do for men? It increases blood flow to the penis to help a man get and stay erect with stimulation. Men with sexual dysfunction have a varied selection of medications and many products that aim to achieve this or similar effect.

But what do we have? Where’s our Viagra? Experts say, erectile dysfunction (ED) is a straightforward medical problem with a medical cure, while female arousal challenges are more complex. Some even believe they’re strictly psychological. But, we shouldn’t tell female sexual dysfunction is all in their heads, because it isn’t.   

The medical community has a few ways to frame female sexual challenges: 

“We shouldn’t tell females sexual dysfunction is all in their heads, because it isn’t.

Female Sexual Interest/Arousal Disorder (FSIAD). The definition is lack or absence of sexual fantasies and desire for sexual activity in situations where you would normally be aroused. But lack of arousal isn’t always to blame. Other causes include depression, stress, hormonal imbalances, reduced regional blood flow, nerve damage and SSRI medications. Signs are vaginal dryness, lack of vaginal lengthening, decreased genital swelling and lowered nipple sensation.  

Hypoactive sexual desire disorder (HSDD). Not to be confused with sexual arousal disorder, HSDD is characterized by a lack of interest in sex, and the distress that causes. It’s also considered chronic.  

Many recommended treatments for women don’t necessarily make sex better or more pleasurable or more likely to end in orgasm. HSSD treatments include things like doing Kegel exercises, talking with your partner or a therapist, or reducing stress and exercising to improve mood. While these may work to make women more likely to feel in the mood, they focus on the interest in sex but not the act. There are a few drug therapies available for women, but they too focus on the brain and aim to increase sex drive, desire and feelings of arousal. 

The biggest hurdle for developing an effective and easy arousal therapy for women was the female orgasm being labelled as ‘too complicated’,” said Dr. Harin Padma-Nathan, the lead Principal Investigator for Viagra® and Cialis®, Co-founder and Chief Scientific Officer at Vella Bioscience, Inc. “Sexual arousal in men is an erection, Sexual arousal in women is not desire. Female arousal is lubrication and clitoral engorgement. The basic physiology is the same and physiological arousal is a precursor to orgasm in both men and women.” 

Sexual arousal in men is an erection, Sexual arousal in women is not desire. Female arousal is lubrication and clitoral engorgement. The basic physiology is the same and physiological arousal is a precursor to orgasm in both men and women.

Together, with Dr. Michael Frid, Harin developed Vella Women’s Pleasure Serum, finding a solution that encouraged a woman’s arousal by not focusing the science in the brain, but on the body. Vella Women’s Pleasure Serum works deep beyond the skin to locally relax the vaginal and clitoral smooth muscle, the same smooth muscle both sexes share, resulting in more frequent, more intense and more satisfying orgasms. So while there aren’t direct comparisons for Viagra for women, there are now other paths to power over your pleasure.  

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