DENVER -- It can be difficult to talk about, but it's a growing problem. Forty-three percent of women in the U.S. suffer from sexual dysfunction according to a study published in the Journal Obstetrics and Gynecology.
Psychologists say no matter the type of couple, or type of relationship, when sex is a problem it can be a serious roadblock to happiness.
Millions of couples struggling with sexual dysfunction saw hope on the horizon when Viagra, the little blue pill for men, hit the market in 1998. Now a company called Sprout Pharmaceuticals is closer to making a little "pink" pill for women a reality.
The medication Flibanserin, currently being submitted for FDA approval, shows hope for women with a low desire for sex.
Experts say that while men tend to have problems with sexual function, many women face a lack of willingness to become intimate. CEO Cindy Whitehead said, “(Flibanserin) works on key chemicals in the brain to increase desire and decrease distress.”
Amanda Parish participated in clinical trials for Flibanserin in Nashville, Tennessee. She said her low level of desire for sex was harming her marriage and her self-esteem. “I began to not feel as flirty and as excited and take the initiative like I used to."
Amanda’s husband Ben said, “It made me think is there something I`m doing, are you no longer attracted to me?”
Amanda was diagnosed with hypoactive sexual desire disorder. She said after taking Flibanserin for two weeks, she was a new person. “I felt this flutter ... and I thought Holy Toledo what is this?”
Many women are afraid to discuss sexual problems due to embarrassment or shame.
Dr. Annette Nunez, a Denver psychotherapist, said ignoring sexual problems will only make them worse. “It takes two people to tango. Sex is just as important for women as it is for men.”
Dr. Nunez also said that if a couple is experiencing a problem, the first step is to make sex a priority. “If we have a sprained ankle we don't put that on the back burner so why would we put our sexual needs on the back burner?”
Experts say addressing concerns about intimacy can stop the problem from launching a series of complications that can lead to issues that can take years to recover from.
“If one person in the relationship has a problem it can go with feelings of denial, not feeling wanted, not feeling loved especially on the woman's end.” Dr. Nunez said. Doctors also say in many cases, a low sex drive can be caused by hormonal imbalances or problems in a relationship.
If you have these problems you should schedule an appointment with your physician or therapist.