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Appears in Collections:Psychology Journal Articles
Peer Review Status: Refereed
Title: Women's Sexual Desire: Challenging Narratives of "Dysfunction"
Author(s): Graham, Cynthia A
Boynton, Petra M
Gould, Kate
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Keywords: sexuality
sexual desire
pharmacological treatment
Issue Date: Jan-2017
Citation: Graham CA, Boynton PM & Gould K (2017) Women's Sexual Desire: Challenging Narratives of "Dysfunction", European Psychologist, 22 (1), pp. 27-38.
Abstract: Recent changes in the classification of female sexual dysfunction in the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) and the US Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) approval of the first drug to treat low sexual desire in women (flibanserin) have highlighted the intense focus on sexual desire problems in women. We first discuss the rationale for the DSM changes and outline the DSM-5 criteria for Female Sexual Interest/Arousal Disorder. We provide an overview of some of the key events leading up to the approval of flibanserin for the treatment of hypoactive sexual desire disorder in women, including the role of the “Even the Score” advocacy campaign, that accused the FDA of gender bias in not giving women with sexual desire problems access to treatment options. Incorporating narratives from testimonials of female patients attending the 2014 FDA Patient-Focused Drug Development Public Meeting, we examine some of the prevalent beliefs around sexual “normalcy” and the immutability of sexual desire. We critique how the media and pharmaceutical companies depict sexual norms and female sexual desire and how pharmaceutical trials often narrowly define and assess sexual desire and “sex.” We end with some recommendations for how researchers, clinicians, and journalists can better acknowledge that sex and desire have multiple meanings and interpretations with a view to women being offered a truly informed choice when seeking help for sexual problems.
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Rights: This item has been embargoed for a period. During the embargo please use the Request a Copy feature at the foot of the Repository record to request a copy directly from the author. You can only request a copy if you wish to use this work for your own research or private study. © 2017 by Hogrefe Publishing Published in European Psychologist (2017), 22, pp. 27-38 DOI: This version of the article may not completely replicate the final version published in European Psychologist. It is not the version of record and is therefore not suitable for citation.

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