5 Alternatives To Female Viagra, Because You Shouldn't Need A Prescription Just To Get Horny

Tuesday's news that the FDA has officially approved flibanserin — a drug known to many as "female Viagra," which works to raise women's libidos — is a groundbreaking moment in the history of female sexuality. But while a lot of press has heralded the drug as a miracle solution to the "epidemic" of low female sex drives (a 2010 study showed that 10 percent of women ages 18 to 44 reported a low libido), and though many of us would love to pop a pill that would take us from zero to "watching Y Tu Mama Tambien" in no time flat, the reality of the pill is a bit more complex.

Flibanserin's clinical research has shown women taking the drug reported .5 to one additional satisfying sexual event per month than women taking the placebo — nothing to turn your nose up at, to be sure. But those who oppose the drug claim that most low female libidos are caused by stress, fatigue, prescription drug interactions and other issues that don't constitute a medical disorder, and that the raised libidos caused by the drug don't hold a candle to the drug's possible health risks like low blood pressure, nausea, fainting, dizziness, and tiredness (which, to be fair, sound comparable to male Viagra's side effects).

But no matter whether you think flibanserin has been overhyped or are camping out now to get your prescription when it becomes available, the fact that many women would like to up their libidos is undeniable. So what can we do about it? The five libido-raising tips below won't work for everyone — but they do get at many of the primary causes of low libido in premenopausal women. Sure, they're more work than popping a pill — but hey, so is sex (I mean, if you're doing it right, anyway).

1. Reconsider Your Hormonal Birth Control

While the libido-lessening effects of hormonal birth control have yet to be formally recognized by the medial community, if you bring the subject up around any group of women, you're bound to hear plenty of anecdotal stories about sex drives that were annihilated by the Pill. And science is finally beginning to back up this line of thinking — one 2013 study found that 15 percent of women experienced a sharp drop in sexual desire when they started taking hormonal birth control, while a 2010 study by Germany's University of Heidelberg found that women on any kind of hormonal birth control were at higher risk for a lowered libido than women using non-hormonal forms of birth control.

Though not all women develop dysfunctional libidos while on the Pill, enough women do experience it that researchers have begun to theorize why. Some have hypothesized that this is because the pill can reduce the amount of testosterone in your body – which can lead to a decrease in overall horniness.

What You Can Do: Only you know your own life and priorities, so only you can tell if dropping the Pill makes sense for you personally — maybe you're using it to control other medical problems, or maybe you're certain that it's not the source of your troubles. But if you think it might be, it is worth discussing other birth control options with your doctor — and remembering that the copper IUD, condoms, and the oh-so-retro diaphragm have no impact on your sex drive.

2. Manage Your Health Problems

Low libidos don't always exist in a vacuum — they can often be a sign of another health problem, especially when they turn up in younger women. A low sex drive can be a symptom or side effect in a wide variety of health problems, including chronic migraines, underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism), adrenal fatigue, type 2 diabetes, chronic pain disorders and high blood pressure.

What You Can Do: Luckily, a lowered sex drive is often only a symptom when your health issue is going unmanaged — getting on top of it by working with a doctor and getting properly medicated can often vastly improve your pants partying prospects.

3. Examine Your Antidepressants

Messing around with your psychological meds is a huge deal, and not something to be taken lightly — for many of us, the benefits of our particular pills outweigh any of the drawbacks, including a lowered libido. But a lowered sex drive is one of the most common complaints users give about antidepressants (and also one of the most common reasons people stop taking them). So if you've noticed that your sex drive dropped around when you started on your meds, it's worth getting in touch with your psychiatrist and exploring your options.

What You Can Do: Talk the issue over with your psychiatrist, and see if they think that your meds could have lowered your libido. They may urge you to wait it out — sometimes, a lowered libido is just a side effect while your body adjusts to your new meds, one that goes away on its own in a couple of months. If it's already been a couple of months, you may want to discuss trying a med with different side effects or lowering your dosage — but only if your doctor thinks it is a good idea. You can also adjust the time of day you take your meds to minimize the impact it makes on your sex life.

4. Drink More Red Wine

Ha ha, yes, I know — this is the oldest "libido-improving" trick in the book. But I'm not talking about chugging malbec until your partner looks like a professional underpants model — I'm reporting on a 2009 study out of the University of Florence reported that women who drank one to two glasses of red wine a day reported higher libidos, better vaginal lubrication, and an overall more satisfying sex life.

What You Can Do: Enjoy some wine with dinner for a few weeks, and see if it improves your even libido when you're not actively enjoying a glass of grown-up juice. Even if it doesn't work...hey, more wine!

5. Reassess Your Sex Life With Your Partner

"Oh, shut up," you're saying right now. "I am into my partner; that's why I wanna take female Viagra!" Fair enough. But I'd be irresponsible if I didn't note that your low libido could be related to various aspects of your romantic relationship — even if things are going really well.

It's not breaking news that many people suffer weak libidos when their relationships are in trouble. Maybe you've been together a long time, you work a lot, and you're both too exhausted to do much in bed (or much of anything) at the end of the day; maybe you've grown apart and you're not quite ready to face it. Either way, strain within a relationship can express itself in low libido, even if the parties involved are happily in denial about it.

But your relationship doesn't have to be unhappy to show some sexual wear-and-tear — a 2012 study of heterosexual couples published in the Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy found that women's desire for their partners dropped 0.02 points on the Female Sexual Function Index every month they were together, after the first nine months the couple was together (male subjects did not show a similar drop in desire). So even if your love story is perfect, well, the odds are pretty high that no one told your vagina.

What You Can Do: If you look into your heart and see that you still love your boo, you two can look into new sexual experiences you could integrate into your shared sex life; luckily, you've got a whole universe of sex toys, porn and new techniques to try out. But if you know, deep down, that your relationship is on life support, don't try to drown things out with a pill. You owe yourself (and your junk) more than sticking around floundering in a bad relationship.

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