Tag Archive: hormones

No Go, Cialis

In trolling the message boards and advice columns as I am wont to do in advertising this blog, one of the most common concerns I see voiced (especially by women) is about sexual dysfunction: am I having enough sex?  Too much?  Why can’t I orgasm?  Why doesn’t my partner feel any pleasure when I do ______?  Is watching porn hurting my sex life?  All these questions make me sad, particularly because I’ve had some of them myself.  It doesn’t seem to matter how open your parents, how knowledgeable your healthcare provider, or how open to experimentation you are, there are still bound to be problems in your perceived sexual health.  That’s seriously depressing.

But, as I’ve found out the hard way, often times “sexual dysfunction” is mental, and the more pressure you put on yourself to perform, the worse you’ll do at “being normal.  Now, this kind of advice is totally infuriating, I know, because being told to relax and let things happen naturally does not solve your problems.  The very passive nature of it tends to aggravate your problems even more, by completely disempowering you.  It makes you desperate to try anything.

Which is why I’m sure a lot of people were excited when the female Viagra came out.  The promises were enticing: an increased sex drive, more pleasure from sex, all around improvement.  *sigh* Ah, hate to break it to you folks, but Cialis and the like are not all their cracked up to be when it comes to the complex and exciting world of female sexuality.  This study at the Sexual Psychophysiology Laboratory at the University of Texas-Austin found that Cialis worked about as well as a placebo at increasing female sexual response.

You can take this one of two ways: a glass-half-empty kinda gal would see this development as incredibly negative, only further disempowering women who want to take control of their sex lives.  However, a glass-half-full person will see the other side of the equation, which is light on the pocketbook and heavy on inspiration.  Because the placebo works as well as Cialis at increasing sex drive and satisfaction in women (at about 30% for each group), women who are frustrated with their sex lives don’t need to rely on drugs or hormones to artificially inspire them.  The power is in their own minds.  Placebos are designed to see how the brain’s response to implied medication works.  In this case, when a woman thinks her sex problems are being solved with a drug (even a sugar pill), they are solved not because of the pill, but because she thinks about the pill.

This is actually pretty awesome.  As many researchers have theorized and experimented to prove, the female state of arousal is highly circumstantial and emotional/mental, as opposed to almost exclusively physical like men.   That means that the ball really is in your court.  You are in charge of your own sexuality.  Maybe the cause of so much sexual dysfunction is simply the feeling of foreignness and helplessness that our relationship to our bodies engenders.  So the doctor’s advice?  Get to know yourself.  Get yourself in the mood.  Enjoy your own body.  And don’t rush it.  A woman’s sexual arousal is entirely of her own design.  Own it.




Hey all,

Sorry I’ve been so out-of-touch with the blog.  My computer died on me and I had to go on an epic quest for a new laptop and to get my bookmarked sources back to start writing again.  So, here’s what I’ve been waiting to write about for a while:


Now, according to this article (from which I stole the title of my post) by Carnal Nation, if you are an American, you probably have a very negative view on condoms: that they’re uncomfortable, awkward, desensitizing, or even downright painful- and that sex is WAY better without them.

However, apparently men in the UK have very different cultural feelings about this- wearing condoms is just seen as the normal, responsible thing to do, rather than a chore or an unpleasant barrier between partners.

Likewise, the differences between the US and the Netherlands are stark.

In the research I’ve been doing for my Sex, Gender, and Culture class, I’ve found that the condom is the most common form of birth control when young people are losing their virginity, even among couples where both people are virgins (and thus, there would be no risk of STI transmission).  To me, this means one of two things: one, that the correlation is circumstantial based on the fact that almost all of the respondents were under 18 and thus could not get other forms of birth control without going to their doctor, which would mostly likely require them to consult their parents.  Or two, that the condom is a simpler means of birth control that was merely more convenient than taking the pill every day or getting a Depa-Provera injection, and more effective than inserting a diaphragm or cervical cap.

There’s also the question of hormones- the aspect of the pill, NuvaRings, and other hormone-based birth control methods is the chemical alteration of the body which inevitably comes with them.  The excess levels of estrogen and progestin that enter the body from these forms of birth control can cause mood swings, depression, and any number of other unpleasant psychological and physiological side effects.  Progestin, a variant form of progesterone, has also been shown as a link to breast cancer.  So, all in all, I’m not a big fan.  However, hormonal treatments are the MOST EFFECTIVE forms of birth control (short of abstinence and vasectomy/tubal ligation) out there, so I did use the pill for a little less than a year.  It alleviated so much worry when it came to sex, and was fairly convenient.  Even now, I’m not sure I would recommend otherwise for my daughter or any woman who asked for my advice.  

Granted there are other options- the most appealing healthwise and costwise is a combination of spermicide and a cervical cap, which when used together have a similar protection rate against pregnancy as a condom.  Spermicide is cheap and a cervical cap is reusable, so they are cost effective and neither have negative health effects for the body.  But almost no one uses them.  For me, it was simply because I didn’t know where to find a cervical cap, and I didn’t 100% trust them.  Now, of course, I know that they are a fairly legitimate option, and cervical caps can be ordered through any doctors office.

So since I got such great feedback from the circumcision article, I’d love your input again.  Men and women, please.  Do condoms change anything about your sexual experiences?  Why did you choose to use a condom when you lost your virginity?  If you use a different form of birth control, why do you use it?  Does anyone use cervical caps?  Why or why not?  Any and all input is appreciated.  But please keep comments courteous and as inwardly reflective as possible.  Do not attack other people’s views or practices.  In the name of research, thank you!


Also, if you have a few seconds, fill out my survey about losing your virginity:  https://spreadsheets.google.com/gform?key=tzkdh9orTagQy8uDaUlaqKw&pli=1#invite

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