Each woman was shown a variety of videos: nature scenes, sports, and erotica.
With Addyi, I was to take one pill every night for a month. On the evening of the third, I experience a moment of dizziness that quickly passes. I do have sex with my husband that weekend because he asks and it seems unkind to refuse. At the same time, something odd is happening: I’m suddenly thinking more about sex.
The effects would not be immediate, I was counseled, and the drug doesn’t work for everyone: A full half of the women who took it in clinical trials reported no boost in desire. I am not obsessed, just newly alert to erotic possibility, scanning the world around me for any sign of it. What does the brain look like in the grip of desire?
I can think of no possession more thrilling—one I have coveted for months.
Now it’s tucked away in my purse, close enough for my fingertips to graze its contours throughout the day.
’ ” Later I experience this phenomenon firsthand after a routine doctor’s visit, when a young nurse who has seen my chart follows me out of the examining room. Getting mine required several visits to New York’s (aptly named) Maze Women’s Sexual Health center, whose associate medical director, Melissa Ferrara, F. P., was among the first clinicians certified to prescribe it.
Ferrara asked me a battery of questions about my relationship, current medications, and psychological and physical health.When the women with low desire watched, the comma barely flickered.That was the game changer, says Leah Millheiser, M.A nurse checked my blood pressure, hormone levels, and kidney and liver functions. In my case, sexual desire had become elusive—less a basic instinct than a distant place on a map that had been rolled up and locked away.My hard-won prescription could be filled only by a specialty pharmacy in Pennsylvania, 200 miles from my home—and then only after an Addyi-certified pharmacist had called to review a list of warnings and possible side effects.“The biggest risk is dizziness—possible fainting—which is why they want you to stay away from alcohol completely,” the pharmacist said. I was still having sex with a man I loved, after four children and many years of marriage.Initially developed as an antidepressant, the drug caused a curious side effect: increased libido.