When A Woman Doesn’t Want Sex

by: sabriya rice

When Cyndi met her husband at a picnic on the beach nearly 20 years ago, the two had instant physical chemistry. “We would kiss and my hormones would go riding. I’d want it to last forever, more and more and more.”

But shortly before her marriage, she noticed something had changed. “It took a few weeks for me to realize. But, I said, ‘Hey wait a minute. For the last few weeks, I haven’t responded when we kissed.'”

A 2008 survey of more than 30,000 U.S. women published in the journal Obstetrics & Gynecology found that nearly 40 percent reported that they’d had a sexual problem at some point in their lives, with low desire being the most common issue. Although it usually is a private matter, more women are sharing their frustrations online on sites like the Circle of Moms. The progress toward a drug that could boost women’s libido has also sparked more conversation, including responses to a recent CNNHealth blog. Now that possible solution may be one vote away.

Cyndi says she misses passion, and that the past 20 years have been a struggle.

On Friday, an advisory committee to the Food and Drug Administration declined to recommend approval of a highly anticipated new drug, flibanserin, saying it was not adequately effective at improving a woman’s sex drive. Although advisory panels’ advice is not a final decision, the FDA usually follows their recommendations.

Flibanserin, a type of antidepressant medication, works by balancing the brain chemicals linked to sexual desire. Hopes for its approval had been tempered Wednesday after an FDA review of studies found that when compared with a placebo, the response rate of flibanserin was “not compelling,” and the drug yielded only slight improvements for treating the condition.

Cyndi, 24 at the time, was in the process of planning her wedding and had just switched jobs. She attributed her low sex drive to stress. But when, months into her marriage, she still did not want to have sex with her husband, she knew the problem was greater.

“The hormones weren’t doing anything,” she said. “All I wanted to do was cry because I mourned what I had.”

Over the past 20 years, Cyndi said, she has explored various treatment options, including counselors, who told her to “just relax, have some wine, watch some porn,” and gynecologists who suggested she switch birth control pills. She even signed up for clinical trials, submitting her body to uncomfortable and probing tests. But in the end, nothing helped.

“Something in my body just stopped working the way it was supposed to,” Cyndi said through tears. “I’ve tried everything. I’m looking for a different level of solution here.”