We all know that sexual encounters can be a phenomenal way to relax, unwind, and feel a rush of endorphins. Sex is usually amazing, but what happens if you experience a lapse in desire for sexual intimacy? We may not always be in the mood to put energy into satisfying our partner or ourselves, and that is ok. Over time, our sex drive can diminish, making it easier to lose focus or desire, and increasing self-consciousness and self-loathing towards ourselves. This experience is normal, especially for women. The difference between a lapse in sexual desire and a complete drop in libido is significant. A severe drop in libido out of nowhere, that is unrelated to health conditions or medications is known to be HSDD. Thankfully, the FDA has approved a drug in the US called Vyleesi, which has been shown to help women struggling with HSDD – hypoactive sexual desire disorder.
HSDD in women.
The FDA explains that “HSDD is typically characterized by low sexual desire that causes marked distress or interpersonal difficulty and is not due to a co-existing medical or psychiatric condition, problems within the relationship or the effects of a medication or other drug substance. Acquired HSDD develops in a patient who previously experienced no problems with sexual desire. Generalized HSDD refers to HSDD that occurs regardless of the type of sexual activity, situation or partner”. Essentially in laymans terms, HSDD is when a woman who has never experienced a low or nonexistent sex drive becomes uninterested in sexual activity with their partner – or with anyone at all. This diagnosis is made based on both her sexual and medical history, and does not classify as HSDD if this is caused by a pre-existing medical or psychological condition, or a side effect of other medications that she may be taking at the time.
The drug has been referred to as a form of Viagra for women. Vyleesi is a drug that is used to help boost the libido of women who are experiencing low libido and sexual desire. One of the unfortunate side effects of a reduced sexual drive in women is often a strain on their relationship or marriage. Their partners will often feel neglected, while the woman may experience a feeling of dislike towards herself since she feels like she is unable to satisfy herself and her partner, and doesn’t understand why she no longer feels arousal.
Bremelanotide is Vyleesi’s chemically known name. This ingredient is shown to activate melanocortin receptors in the brain, which have been linked to sexual desire in women. By activating these receptors, women may experience more of a drive and desire for sex! This means that interactions become more satisfying and exciting.
There is a similar medication called Addyi that was put on the market in 2015. However, Addyi didn’t perform well on the market because scientists gave it terrible reviews. Addyi was made to be taken every day, whereas Vyleesi is made to be injected 45 minutes before intimacy. Unlike Addyi, Vyleesi does not cause adverse reactions with alcohol, so you don’t have to put down your wine. The FDA advises to only take it once every 24 hours and only 8 shots per month. Vyleesi is not meant to be used every day. The most common side effects of Vyleesi are nausea and vomiting, and headaches. Vyleesi also has been shown to cause elevated blood pressure, so it is important to always talk to your doctor about any effects you may experience.
Vyleesi may be a saviour if you are experiencing HSDD- but only you can make that decision with your doctor. Know that you are not alone in experiencing this lowered sex drive, and there is nothing embarrasing about it.