Skip to content
My WebMD Sign In, Sign Up

Health & Sex

Font Size
A
A
A

Revving Up Women's Sex Drive

Will there ever be a 'Viagra' for women?

Herbal Remedies

With names like Lioness, Xzite, and Rekindle, dozens of nutritional supplements line drugstore shelves with promises to enhance women's libido. Some of them even have an eye-opening price tag to go with claims. The daily supplement Avlimil, for instance, costs $324-$360 for a one-year supply.

Do any of them work?

Whipple says she knows of only two dietary supplements for sexual dysfunction that have been studied in double-blind, placebo-controlled trials: ArginMax and Zestra. The ArginMax trial looked at the supplement's effect on sexual desire, while the Zestra study looked at its effect on sexual arousal (libido is intact, but the woman has trouble becoming or maintaining aroused).

ArginMax appeared to not only have a positive effect on women's libido, but also showed satisfaction with sex lives -- an important, but often ignored factor, says Whipple.

Polan was one of the researchers involved in the studies on ArginMax. She says the supplement is safe for women to try on their own, but she still recommends that they first check in with their physicians.

"You don't want to miss what a doctor may pick up," says Polan. "You want to make sure there is not some organic, or metabolic, or physical reason for [the lack of sexual desire]."

Plus, it is important to make sure that herbal ingredients don't negatively interact with any medications you may be taking, says Whipple. For example, ArginMax contains ginkgo, which can promote bleeding. It is not an ingredient that would mix well with blood thinners such as aspirin or Coumadin.

Leiblum further warns that the FDA doesn't regulate natural ingredients. "Women may be getting very high levels, or very low levels, or totally zero levels of these supposed herbs."

Instead of looking at herbal remedies for lost libido, she recommends taking self-inventory. "It's more important to try to figure out why you lost [your libido], instead of trying to find a quick fix."

Looking Within

Changes in lifestyle, attitude, and relationships may not be bought in drugstores, but experts say they hold keys to unlocking libido woes.

"For women, sex drive is critically dependent on being healthy and really feeling good about a relationship. There will never be anything that we'll be able to pull out of our medicine cabinet that will be more important than those two things," says Shifren.

Part of being physically and emotionally healthy is having a sensible dose of realism. It's normal to have low libido, says Ellison. In fact, she says it's unrealistic to expect to feel a burst of desire all the time, as shown on TV.

In real life, where people are in long-term, one-on-one relationships with jobs, commutes, and kids, she says sexual drive isn't always present.

Instead of looking for libido, Ellison recommends creating opportunities to make time together special. "Maybe what you need to look for is a way to be more interested in your partner," she says.

Today on WebMD

flowers behind back
Article
Upset woman sitting on bed
Article
 
couple kissing
Article
Exercises for Better Sex
Video
 
Life Cycle of a Penis
Article
HIV Myth Facts
Slideshow
 
How Healthy is Your Sex Life
Quiz
Couple in bed
Video
 
6 Tips For Teens
Article
Close-up of young man
Article
 
screening tests for men
Slideshow
HPV Vaccine Future
Article