Given the success of drugs to treat erectile dysfunction, such as sildenafil (Viagra), tadalafil (Cialis) and vardenafil (Levitra), pharmaceutical companies have sought a comparable drug for women. Viagra has even been tried as a treatment for sexual dysfunction in women. However, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not approved this use of Viagra. Indeed, there are no FDA-approved medications for treating sexual arousal problems in women.
Female sexual response is complex. For most women, simply addressing difficulties with arousal may not get to the actual problem — which is often a lack of sexual desire. Many factors can influence a woman's sexual desire. For example:
- Many women find that the stresses of daily life deplete their desire for sex.
- Highs and lows in sexual desire may coincide with the beginning or end of a relationship or major life changes, such as pregnancy or menopause.
- For some women, orgasm can be elusive — causing concerns or preoccupations that lead to a loss of interest in sex.
- Desire is often connected to a woman's sense of intimacy with her partner, as well her past experiences. Over time, psychological troubles can contribute to biological problems and vice versa.
- Some chronic conditions, such as diabetes or multiple sclerosis, can alter a woman's sexual-response cycle — causing changes in arousal or orgasmic response.
If you're experiencing changes or difficulties with sexual function, consult your doctor. In some cases, hormones, creams, clitoral-stimulating products or other treatments may be helpful. These products don't work for everyone, however. Your doctor may also recommend consulting a sex therapist.