"Hypoactive sexual desire disorder" is real — and it's not in your mind.
For years, women with low sex drives were assumed to have psychological bases for their lack of desire, but new research is making an argument for a physical cause. Here's how the BBC describes a new study that's brought more weight to the argument.
The latest study, carried out at Wayne State University in Detroit and presented to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine conference in Denver, highlights differences in mental processing in women who have low sex drives. Its author, Dr Michael Diamond, said it suggested that HSDD was a genuine physical problem. "This disorder is now a recognized medical condition, but it remains a mystery whether there is one cause or several"He recruited 19 women who had been diagnosed with the condition, and compared their brain responses with those of seven others using a functional magnetic resonance imaging scanner, which can measure levels of activation in different parts of the brain by detecting increased blood flow. The women were asked to watch a screen for half an hour, with everyday television programs interspersed with erotic videos. In the seven women who did not have the HSDD diagnosis, increased activity in the insular cortices - parts of the brain believed to be involved in the processing of emotion - could be seen. The same did not happen in the women with HSDD.
Some have argued that female sexual dysfunction is a myth created by drug companies, but if the study is to be believed, there's literally less blood flow to certain parts of the brain. Whether that translates into a literal headache is one thing (in fact, sex can sometimes help a bad headache) but it's certainly something going on in the head — as opposed to the mind. Whether the little blue (or will this one be pink?) pill can help is another question entirely — but one the drug companies are doubtless eager to find out.