What treatments for sexual dysfunction are in the pipeline?
Michael Perelman, PhD, Sex and Marital Therapist:
Right now, there's a movement that a number of us are involved in and really working together with urology,gynecology, endocrinology, primary care medicine on really helping people understand that sexual health is like other areas of health.It involves both a healthy lifestyle, sometimes medications to assist in that, and sometimes some counseling to assist in that. So that's where things are at now.The future I think is going to bring remarkable changes, both in terms of pharmaceuticals that will aid people, to go back to when I was sort of a kid in the 60s,you know Dow Chemical used to say better living through chemistry. There will be an element of that, but that's not going to be enough.That has to be integrated within the culture, within a larger understanding of what's meaningful and important to us, back to the poets and writers and philosophers again.But we're also going to have gene therapy, so that instead of taking a pill to be able to facilitate erectile function, let's say,or lubrication, you may be able to have genes introduced directly into those cells to grow new cells,so that essentially you are restoring from within, and there's data on this already in the experimental stages, where these kinds of things are being looked at and developed.That's one thing. Another thing is we're going to get more sophisticated about how to effect chemicals in the brain that control and affect memory in terms of Alzheimer's, but also sexuality.The trick with sex is to make sure that we're enhancing something that people want to do, as opposed to God forbid, providing a means for a sort of 'date rape' drug.So the whole notion of how to look at the brain,and adjust things chemically, to facilitate what people want to happen without leaving people vulnerable to criminal intent will become a tricky issue, but these will be some of the issues for the future.