Don’t care

Pub date June 29, 2010

Dear Andrea:

I’m 41 and finally starting to wonder why sex has never been as big a deal for me as it seems to be for most people. Early on in a relationship it’s pretty interesting, but that fades pretty fast (for me, not the guy) and then … nothing. Am I dysfunctional? Or asexual? Is there a pill for this?


Dreary Doris

Dear Doris:

Sadly, no. I’m a big fan of the quick fix and if there were a pill I would be all over that sucker, but there is not.

Not that people aren’t trying. Female sexual dysfunction is a matter of some keen interest over there in Big Pharma and in the herbal remedies section of the Crunchy Mart. Hippie chick or desperate housewife, everyone wants that pill, and everyone else wants to sell it to them. It’s just, there’s no such thing and possibly never will be. Sigh.

We ‘re forever hearing that some 40 percent of women report some sort of dysfunction or major dissatisfaction. Most are desire disorders and anorgasmia, but true sexual aversion and physical pain are also players. None of these are anywhere near as well-understood as one might wish. There is even some controversy over whether low desire is even dysfunctional as much as just a regular point along the human spectrum. As ever, it’s only a problem if it’s a problem for you.

So, is it possible your low libido is hormonal or caused by a current situation like exhaustion or resentment or a partner’s perceived lack of affection or support? Is it a leftover from some earlier traumatic event or equally desire-snuffing history of bad sex? Where does anorgasmia leave off and lack of interest set in? Is it a woman’s duty to “fix” something she really doesn’t think is broken, just to please a partner? How about to save a marriage?

There is nothing yet available in the way of an “aphrodisiac” for women. Plus, needing to feel loved, respected, desired, and appreciated before the sexual response cycle can fire up is going to be pretty hard to “fix” with a pill. I’d like to own stock in the company that comes up with one, though.

There is no universal aphrodisiac out there. The closest thing we’ve got is testosterone, in that both female and male desire looks to be T-driven at some level. But supplemental hormones are tricky bastards and do weird stuff, and you can’t just throw extra T into the mix and expect it to neatly adjust one system without messing with another. This is serious see-your-doctor stuff.

All this is interesting but beside the point for you. You don’t sound all that dysfunctional; maybe on the cool end of the sexy-o-meter but by no means all the way to “cold fish.” You’re into it enough with a new guy. Are these the wrong guys? Or are you somehow shutting yourself down, or shutting them out? I think this is more about partner choice or relationship skills, yours or theirs, and I know for sure they don’t make a pill for those.



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