Pamela Madsen

Shameless Woman


Is There a Pill for Keeping Desire Alive in Monogamy?

Female libido plummets one to four years into a monogamous relationship.

Posted May 29, 2013

Lybrido and Lybridos, the newly heralded possible “cures” for diminished lady lust are poised to reheat the marriage bed.  According to the recent Sunday New York Times Magazine cover story:"Unexcited? There May Be A  Pill For That", women’s libdos plummet somewhere between one and four years into a monogamous relationship. These medications are supposed to rekindle her fire to prevent extinction of the marriage bond and fidelity. Now, mind you, women --even those who have become quite creative at dodging the sex bullet at home -- are perfectly capable of getting hot and bothered when there's someone new and sexy around. That dopamine rush can still hit the nether regions when an anti-partner hunk saunters onto the scene.

The article, a foretaste of Dan Bergner’s new book, "What Do Women Want? Adventures in the Science of Female Desire,”  underscores that monogamy and its common companion, boredom, may be the culprits.

So, if it’s the case, then why a pill? I don’t see any sign of disease or dysfunction. Are we saying that to preserve a grand social fiction of happily ever after we need to pharmaceutically prime the lust pump?

The waters get even murkier when we put antidepressants, known sex-flame retardants,  in the mix. Women are two-and-a-half times more likely than men to be on those buggers; 23% of women in their 40s and 50s, a higher percentage than any other group by age or sex swallow them down to make it through (Harvard Health blog).

So now we have a big class of antidepressants, SSRI’s, that muck about with the way the body handles one neurotransmitter, seratonin and is notorious for crushing libido in both women and men.

Along comes “female Viagra,” which unlike the male counterpart goes after another neurotransmitter, dopamine, not just the pipes. It doesn’t take much to imagine lots of women on a “go ask Alice” mind-bender, taking one pill to counteract the other.

Is playing with the body’s delicate biochemical balance the only solution to limp libido?

There just might be another way And it’s organic! Holistic!! And renewable!!!

I’ve got first hand experience that women, even those who feel  numb and disconnected from their own sexuality, possess a deep reservoir of lust and desire.  It all starts with learning how to stimulate and access arousal, the ignition switch of the dopamine engine. It’s unfamiliar to most women and forbidden for many.  After all, how many of us get lessons in understanding and identifying the mechanisms of our own sexuality, let alone how to use it.

What women do get taught is how to shut it down and keep it quiet.  The first step is to give women tools, language and permission to recognize and welcome their own arousal. 

This can look like self touching practices, working with Sexological Body Workers, or even experimenting with one way touch practices within the relationship such as Orgasmic Meditation (OM).

When my clients get a feel for their own embodiment, and get a handle of what arousal feels like, they report that sex with their partners went from dry to juicy even when the moves were predictable and nothing changed on the surface. They say they’re more receptive and feel enlivened by touch, a far cry from the fatigue of the familiar. And all of it without a pill.