Good communication better than pills?

16 February 2016

In a week when we were told that talking therapies are just as effective as antidepressants, the comparative benefits of a new pill for low libido in women have also been brought into question.

Popularly described as Viagra for women, Flibanserin is taken daily and aims to treat low desire, but has potential side-effects such as dizziness, nausea, fatigue and insomnia. In a similar way to antidepressants, it can take weeks to have an effect.

One study showed that women who took Flibanserin had just 0.8 more satisfying sexual events per month on average than women on a placebo – who also found their sex lives had improved!

Reasons for lack of sexual desire

Medics say that low or lack of sexual desire is the most common sexual complaint of women of all ages. Libido is affected by hormonal changes during childbirth, breastfeeding, menstruation, contraception and the menopause. The added stress of caring for children and older relations, work commitments and money worries can feel overwhelming, in addition to media pressures and pressures women place upon themselves to be perfect.

Communication improves sexual satisfaction

Often there are simple solutions. Researchers at the Medical University of Vienna found that sniffing oxytocin, the hormone associated with bonding, improves sexual experience. Oxytocin is known as the feel-good hormone because it increases overall happiness and well-being and is easy to get simply by hugging someone, shaking their hand or stroking a pet.

However, the control group who sniffed a placebo also showed similar results – which led the study author to conclude that many of the women thought more about their sexuality and sexual needs during the trial, and therefore spoke to their partners about sex during the study.

The benefits of good communication were also indicated in a 2012 study at Cleveland State University which showed that people who are more comfortable talking about sex are more likely to do so during sex which, in turn, can enhance sexual pleasure.

Our Relate counsellors report that poor communication is the most common cause of couples not experiencing sexual satisfaction. Many people are uncomfortable talking about sex with their partner, yet communicating what you like and don’t like about sex, what turns you on and how you feel about sex, can greatly improve satisfaction.

If you’d like to talk about these issues with a specialist Relate counsellor why not give us a call on 01234 356350.


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