September 16th, 2010
10:57 AM ET

Fake pill improved sex drive in women

"Faking it" has long been associated with bad sex for some women, but a new study provides a pleasant twist on that phrase. According to a paper released today in the Journal of Sexual Medicine, the placebo effect may increase sex drive for women suffering from sexual dysfunction.

"It may be that their behavior changed as part of getting treatment, even if the treatment itself was an inert tablet," said Andrea Bradford, lead study author.

It was a small study: 200 women who had been diagnosed with female sexual arousal disorder - difficulty becoming aroused or maintaining sexual activity - participated in a study to find out whether a popular male erectile dysfunction drug - Cialis - could also treat female sexual dysfunction.  The women agreed to engage in sex acts over the course of 12 weeks and keep a diary. Fifty women were chosen at random to receive a placebo rather than the investigational drug.

Prior to each sexual encounter the women took the placebo (a sugar pill) and after the encounter filled out a questionnaire about whether sex was satisfying or whether they had experienced an orgasm.

To qualify for the study, women had to be premenopausal (between 35-55 years of age) and have no medical conditions that could explain their diminished sexual desire (for example, pelvic surgery or a radical hysterectomy).

By the end of the study, researchers discovered that while Cialis did not markedly improve sexual dysfunction in women, one out of three women had their previously low level of desire restored to one considered to be normal with placebo.

"It's not that these women simply believed, 'a sugar pill will help me,'" said Bradford, a post-doctoral fellow at Baylor College of Medicine and the Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center. "Other elements were probably therapeutic, regardless of the tablet."

Those other elements may be largely psychological, said Bradford - a function of the women simply focusing more attention on their sex lives.

The study raises more questions than it answers, but the idea of a sham medical intervention addressing female sexual dysfunction speaks to the complexities of female sexuality. It may mean that addressing sexual dysfunction among women will never be as simple as prescribing a "little pink pill" (much like the "little blue pill" marketed to men with erectile dysfunction).

"Maybe we're calling something a disease that is not a disease in the same way as diabetes is," said Bradford. "There may be physical causes for lower sexual desire, but one thing that is clear is there's not one cause."

One implied message in the study: A psychological investment in improving their sex life could obviate the need for a drug for some women.

"It would be great if we had a drug but it may not be your only hope and there may be some real simple steps you can take toward improving your sex life that don't need to involve medication," said Bradford.

« Previous entry
soundoff (852 Responses)
  1. Digital Marketing Company

    Good blog post. I definitely love this website. Continue the good work!


    June 20, 2021 at 06:22 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Internet Marketing Agencies Near Me


    June 20, 2021 at 06:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Annamaria Paten


    June 20, 2021 at 11:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. Deandrea Contreras


    June 20, 2021 at 16:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. Toshia Cedeno

    Hello there! I simply wish to give you a big thumbs up for your great info you've got right here on this post. I will be returning to your website for more soon.


    June 20, 2021 at 17:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. Kali Kulbeth

    bookmarked!!, I like your site!


    June 20, 2021 at 18:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. Jonas Reilley

    The next time I read a blog, Hopefully it does not fail me just as much as this particular one. After all, I know it was my choice to read through, however I truly thought you would have something useful to say. All I hear is a bunch of crying about something you could fix if you weren't too busy seeking attention.


    June 20, 2021 at 19:22 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. circle k near me


    June 20, 2021 at 22:07 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. RV Repair


    June 20, 2021 at 22:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. coronavirus testing near me

    I wanted to thank you for this excellent read!! I definitely enjoyed every little bit of it. I have you bookmarked to look at new stuff you postÖ


    June 20, 2021 at 22:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. kohls near me


    June 21, 2021 at 01:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. Sprinter Repair Costa Mesa

    You have made some decent points there. I checked on the internet to find out more about the issue and found most individuals will go along with your views on this site.


    June 21, 2021 at 02:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. Sprinter Repair Near Me


    June 21, 2021 at 03:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. RV Repairs Near My Location


    June 21, 2021 at 04:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. RV Repair Near My Location


    June 21, 2021 at 05:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. amazon jobs near me


    June 21, 2021 at 09:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. assisted living near me


    June 21, 2021 at 13:07 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. Ford Connect Van Floor Repair

    Hello there, I do think your blog may be having web browser compatibility problems. Whenever I take a look at your blog in Safari, it looks fine however when opening in I.E., it's got some overlapping issues. I just wanted to provide you with a quick heads up! Besides that, great site!


    June 21, 2021 at 13:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. RV Repairs Near Me

    A motivating discussion is worth comment. There's no doubt that that you ought to write more about this issue, it may not be a taboo matter but usually folks don't speak about such subjects. To the next! All the best!!


    June 21, 2021 at 14:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. Mercedes Sprinter Service Centers

    Great post. I will be experiencing a few of these issues as well..


    June 21, 2021 at 14:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. Sprinter Van Side Repair


    June 21, 2021 at 16:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. RV Repairs Near Me


    June 21, 2021 at 18:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. RV Repair Orange County


    June 21, 2021 at 19:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. Sprinter Repair Shops Near Me

    Oh my goodness! Amazing article dude! Thanks, However I am going through issues with your RSS. I donít understand the reason why I can't join it. Is there anybody else getting identical RSS problems? Anyone who knows the answer will you kindly respond? Thanx!!


    June 21, 2021 at 20:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. RV Repair Garden Grove


    June 21, 2021 at 21:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. Airport Van Repair Shop Near Me


    June 22, 2021 at 00:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. transformation coach

    I blog quite often and I genuinely appreciate your information. This great article has really peaked my interest. I will book mark your blog and keep checking for new information about once a week. I subscribed to your RSS feed too.


    June 22, 2021 at 02:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. meditation group


    June 22, 2021 at 03:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. Sprinter Van Collision Repair

    Oh my goodness! Incredible article dude! Thank you, However I am encountering troubles with your RSS. I donít know the reason why I can't subscribe to it. Is there anyone else getting the same RSS issues? Anybody who knows the answer will you kindly respond? Thanx!!


    June 22, 2021 at 04:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. RV Repair Mission Viejo


    June 22, 2021 at 07:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. RV Furnace Repair Near Me

    Itís nearly impossible to find well-informed people on this subject, however, you sound like you know what youíre talking about! Thanks


    June 22, 2021 at 08:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. Zachariah Blassingame


    June 22, 2021 at 15:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. RV And Camper Repair Near Me


    June 22, 2021 at 15:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. RV Repair Parts Near Me

    You need to be a part of a contest for one of the best blogs on the web. I'm going to recommend this web site!


    June 22, 2021 at 16:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. how to create a podcast


    June 22, 2021 at 18:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. SEO Marketing Business

    Great information. Lucky me I found your website by accident (stumbleupon). I have saved it for later!


    June 22, 2021 at 19:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. podcast transcript

    I truly love your website.. Great colors & theme. Did you develop this website yourself? Please reply back as Iím attempting to create my own blog and would love to learn where you got this from or what the theme is named. Thank you!


    June 22, 2021 at 23:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. RV Roof Repair Near Me


    June 23, 2021 at 01:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. RV Repair Centers Near Me

    You've made some good points there. I checked on the internet to find out more about the issue and found most individuals will go along with your views on this website.


    June 23, 2021 at 05:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. RV Brake Repair Near Me

    Excellent article! We are linking to this particularly great article on our site. Keep up the good writing.


    June 23, 2021 at 07:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. RV Repair Services Near Me

    Hello there! This post couldnít be written any better! Going through this post reminds me of my previous roommate! He constantly kept preaching about this. I most certainly will send this information to him. Fairly certain he's going to have a good read. Thanks for sharing!


    June 23, 2021 at 07:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. Google Marketing Service


    June 23, 2021 at 07:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. last podcast network

    Spot on with this write-up, I really think this amazing site needs a great deal more attention. Iíll probably be returning to read more, thanks for the information!


    June 23, 2021 at 08:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. ross tucker podcast


    June 23, 2021 at 10:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. Internet Marketing Companies


    June 23, 2021 at 14:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. RV Brake Repair Near Me


    June 23, 2021 at 22:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. fishing near me


    June 24, 2021 at 00:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. Digital Marketing Consultants

    I'm extremely pleased to find this site. I want to to thank you for ones time just for this wonderful read!! I definitely appreciated every bit of it and i also have you book marked to check out new things in your site.


    June 24, 2021 at 01:07 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. RV Exhaust Repair Near Me

    An interesting discussion is definitely worth comment. There's no doubt that that you should write more about this issue, it may not be a taboo subject but usually folks don't discuss such topics. To the next! Cheers!!


    June 24, 2021 at 02:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. Social Media Marketing Firm


    June 24, 2021 at 02:29 | Report abuse | Reply
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15

Post a comment


CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.

« Previous entry
About this blog

Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.