How Many Men Fake Orgasms?

Couple in bed (Nairobi Today)

Couple in bed (Nairobi Today)

That headline made you do a double-take, right? “But…but only women fake it…right?!” No, apparently it’s not just women. (I’ll let that sink in for a moment now that everything in your world has come crashing down.)

A study published last month in a volume of “Sexual and Relationship Therapy” examines whether faking it, and why, is correlated with sexual and relationship satisfaction. Researchers looked at a sample size of 230 men ages 18-29 years old. Men reported faking it on average about 25% of sexual encounters within their current relationship, and mostly within penetrative (a.k.a. vaginal) sex. (Granted, this is self-reported data, so it’s highly possible some men are lying about their frequency of this act.) It’s unclear as to the sexual orientations of the subjects.

Faking orgasms were found to be related to relationship and sexual satisfaction, but could vary with motivation. Men with lower levels of attraction to their partners indicated that they faked it more frequently. But men who were happy with their partners also faked it “to support a partner’s emotional well-being.” Also, men who faked it when they were drunk correlated to higher levels of sexual satisfaction.

These results parallel a 2010 study published in the “Journal of Sex Research” that also examined rates of faking orgasm (though this one looked at faking for both men and women). And the numbers were near-identical: 25% of men reported faking orgasm, with 28% of men reporting that it occurred during penetrative/vaginal sex.

(Side note: each of these studies referred to faking orgasm as “pretend/pretending orgasm.” I tried to use that phrase in this post, but every time I typed it, I started giggling. Because I’m 12 years old.)

These are interesting stats, and definitely not something I knew before. But does this mean we’ll now have a cultural conversation regarding the faking-orgasm gap?

 

 

FDA Approves “Female Viagra” Addyi

The experimental drug flibanserin, made by Sprout Pharmaceuticals, is at the center of a regulatory controversy.

The experimental drug flibanserin, made by Sprout Pharmaceuticals, is at the center of a regulatory controversy.

Yesterday, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Addyi (also known by its generic name Flibanserin) for public consumption. The drug, produced by Sprout Pharmaceuticals, is being touted as a “female Viagra,” a way to “even the score” sexually against men (who have many option to treat waning sexual desire). In some circles, it’s seen as a big breakthrough for women’s sexual health.

Interestingly, Addyi is the first drug to specifically treat waning sex drives for both men and women. (Viagra solved a purely medical/physical issue rather than a psychological one.) Addyi targets the central nervous system, putting it in line with an antidepressant.

Addyi purports to help women with hypoactive sexual disorder (i.e. lack of sexual desire.) But it works on a woman’s mind instead of her body. Rather than facilitating blood flow to the genital region, as Viagra does, the drug takes a two-pronged approach:

Flibanserin targets two neurotransmitters in the brain that can help inspire sexual desire. The first is dopamine, which helps control the brain’s reward and pleasure centers and could help drive up our interest in sex. The second is norepinephrine, which affects parts of the brain that control our attention and our response to things in our environment and could help direct our attention to a sexual partner.

The ultimate goal is that a woman’s level of desire would increase over time.

(Side note: Apparently, Viagra was marketed to women in 2004. The drug did increase blood flow to the women’s genitals, but didn’t affect their level of sexual desire.)

But the drug isn’t completely out of the woods yet: there are still some concerns regarding side effects. Doctors and pharmacists will need to undergo specific training of the drug before dispensing it, and will need to keep track of the women who take it. The biggest side effects include low blood pressure, sleepiness and “sudden fainting,” especially when taken with alcohol. (I have to say, I don’t really understand the point of making a drug to help with sex that can’t be paired with alcohol, but that’s just me.)

There’s also an argument that the drug “doesn’t work safely enough to justify its approval:” Women who took the drug during clinical trials reported a 37% increase in sexual desire, which averaged out to not even two more “satisfying sexual experiences” per month. The boost over the placebo group was even smaller.

It’s expected that Addyi will be covered under most health insurance plans, requiring a co-pay, and will inhabit a price range similar to that of Viagra. The drug should hit the market as soon as October (i.e. less than two months), with some outlets reporting an exact date of Oct. 17th.

I have to say, I’m really curious to see how this will do. I want to see how well it’ll perform (heh) sales-wise, and how many women report the side effects. But most of all, I want to see how this drug will influence the female-desire drugs that will surely come after it.

Google Trends: How Many People Are Searching for a Female Viagra?

Little pink pill (Stuff NZ)

Little pink pill (Stuff NZ)

Hot on the heels of the news that a female Viagra is edging closer to public consumption, I wanted to see how often U.S. Internet users (which would be basically everyone) were searching for information related to female Viagra. I used “2004-present” as my timeframe.

First, here’s how often “female viagra” (red line) against “viagra” (blue line):

Google Trends: 'Female Viagra' vs. 'Viagra,' U.S. 2004-Present

Google Trends: ‘Female Viagra’ vs. ‘Viagra,’ U.S. 2004-Present

As you can see, there’s a lot less searching for the former term versus the latter.

Now, let’s look at “female Viagra” on its own:

Google Trends: 'Female Viagra,' U.S. 2004-Present

Google Trends: ‘Female Viagra,’ U.S. 2004-Present

It’s hard to ignore that huge spike at the end of the timeframe. That occurred this month. It’s no coincidence: Sprout Pharmaceuticals announced that their female desire pill Flibanserin/ADDYI was recommended for Food & Drug Administration (FDA) approval on Jun. 5th.

Flibanserin/ADDYI will treat women with low libidos, known medically as hypoactive sexual desire disorder (HSDD). I wanted to see how common Google searches for low sex drives appeared.

First, I searched “low sex drive in women,” which was the first specific option Google autofilled for me:

Google Trends: 'Low Sex Drive in Women,' U.S. 2004-Present

Google Trends: ‘Low Sex Drive in Women,’ U.S. 2004-Present

Interesting. It appears that the term hit its peak (ha) around a spike in 2011, and then crested in 2013. It’s dipped since then, but is starting to come back up. (Also, I’d love to know what happened in 2007.)

But let’s put this in context. Here’s “low sex drive in women” (blue line) versus “low sex drive” (red line):

Google Trends: 'Low Sex Drive in Women' vs. 'Low Sex Drive,' U.S. 2004-Present

Google Trends: ‘Low Sex Drive in Women’ vs. ‘Low Sex Drive,’ U.S. 2004-Present

It’s interesting that the female-specific searches don’t make up that much of the overall searches.

Now let’s find out how many men are searching for information on low desire. Here’s “low sex drive in women” (blue line) versus “low sex drive in men” (red line):

Google Trends: 'Low Sex Drive in Women' vs. 'Low Sex Drive in Men,' U.S. 2004-Present

Google Trends: ‘Low Sex Drive in Women’ vs. ‘Low Sex Drive in Men,’ U.S. 2004-Present

OK, now we can see that low libidos in women are an issue, insofar as they’re being Googled.

So a lot of people (we could probably reasonably assume women) are searching for information on low sex drives in women. But how many are searching for a solution? Maybe a cure, call it “female viagra” (red line)?

Google Trends: 'Low Sex Drive in Women' vs. 'Female Viagra,' U.S. 2004-Present

Google Trends: ‘Low Sex Drive in Women’ vs. ‘Female Viagra,’ U.S. 2004-Present

Holy shit, this is amazing. Sure, users are searching for (presumably) information on women having low sex drives, but they’re searching a lot more for a solution. At no point in this graph are there more searches for “low sex drive in women” than there are for “female viagra.” Also, note how the “female viagra” searches spike at the end, halfway through 2015. As noted above, that’s when Sprout announced their “little pink pill.”

Conclusion:

The evidence here points to the fact that people are actively searching for solutions to cure women’s low sex drives. This certainly warrants a female Viagra pill to be brought to market, but why the hell wasn’t this developed sooner?!

Sprout Pharmaceuticals’ Female Viagra Closer to Becoming Publicly Available

The experimental drug flibanserin, made by Sprout Pharmaceuticals, is at the center of a regulatory controversy.

The experimental drug flibanserin, made by Sprout Pharmaceuticals, is at the center of a regulatory controversy.

Sprout Pharmaceuticals has developed what they’re calling the Viagra for women. The new drug, named Flibanserin, purports to treat hypoactive sexual desire disorder (low sex drive, in other words) in pre-menopausal women. So far, $50M has been raised in preparation for the drug’s launch, and the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) has approved its benefits/risk profile.

The drug, now known as ADDYI, has had a long road thus far:  The drug was first rejected in 2010, when it was determined that the risks outweighed the dubious (at the time) benefits. Sprout began working on the drug in 2011, after being sold by the drug’s initial developer Boehringer Ingelheim. In December 2013, the FDA had rejected the drug for the second time.

In February 2014, the FDA wanted to see more tests done, specifically how the drug behaved when used with other medications. (Almost 10% of women taking the pill reported sleepiness during the trial.) The company resubmitted New Drug Application (NDA) this past February. The “little pink pill” was approved by an FDA advisory committee (done one step before final FDA approval), provided that more safety restrictions were added.

So far, Flibanserin/ADDYI has been tested on 11K+ women, and claims to be the “one of the most studied women’s health products in history.” Here’s what Sprout found after some recent trials:

In three 24-week randomized Phase 3, six-month, double-blind, placebo-controlled, parallel-group North American studies of premenopausal women with a mean age of 36 years, ADDYI consistently demonstrated a highly statistically significant difference over placebo on three key endpoints, including increase in sexual desire, decrease in distress from the loss of sexual desire and increase in the frequency of satisfying sex. Women treated with ADDYI showed significant improvements at every point of measurement in all pivotal clinical trials, with benefits seen as early as four weeks and sustained over the 24-week treatment period.

It’s too early to know when the drug will hit the public market. But it’ll be interesting to see how it performs (haha).

How Many People Identify as Asexual?

AVEN Logo (Asexuality.org)

AVEN Logo (Asexuality.org)

Along the spectrum of sexuality sits asexuality. (Actually for Alfred Kinsey, he put the concept outside his famous Kinsey Scale, marking it with an “X.”) Those who identify as asexual do not feel sexual desire and/or want sexual intercourse (though they may still have romantic feelings).

Asexuality and its nuances have been misunderstood for decades, as have those who self-identify with the term. So how many people identify as asexual?

It’s hard to say. Like many sexual statistics, it’s all self-reported. But there have been a few studies done.

 

Kinsey estimated that asexuals numbered around 1.5% of the adult male population in the later 1940s to early 1950s. But he didn’t mention female asexuals, and we don’t know how thorough his methodology was.

Elsewhere, a 2004 British study analyzed data and found that around 1.1% of Brits claimed the label. A recent article on “Wired” named estimates ranging from .6% to 5.5%.

There’s no definitive way to tell. But hopefully more data will be uncovered as research into asexuality grows.