The People's Perspective on Medicine

Advice on Lowering Libido Raises Ire

Q. I am incensed about your response to the woman who wrote asking about differences in libido. She reported they only have sex three times a month “if she is lucky.” Her partner’s excuse was stress from work. She asked how to slow down her own sex drive.
After suggesting blood work “to rule out low testosterone” in the male partner, you told her to consider an antidepressant to lower her own libido. Are you nuts or drug company stooges?
Hormone levels drop as we age, and this man obviously needs some kind of supplement. Perhaps he has hypothyroidism, which could cause depression and low libido.
A. Stress can have a negative impact on sex drive. So can an imbalance of hormones such as testosterone or thyroid. That’s why we suggested he should see his doctor for a checkup of his hormone levels. Even so, that couple should not have to give up sex. He could find ways to satisfy her other than intercourse.
This woman specifically asked about a way to dampen her desire. There are no FDA-approved treatments for this purpose. Rather than leave her with no options, we noted that progesterone and antidepressants can cause low libido as a side effect, as does the herb vitex (chaste tree berry).
Many readers were upset that we would suggest a way for her to lower her libido. Many others have sought help for similar problems. It seems that many couples have a difficult time discussing sex and finding ways to negotiate differences in desire. Open communication won’t solve all such problems, but it is a good place to start.

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About the Author
Terry Graedon, PhD, is a medical anthropologist and co-host of The People’s Pharmacy radio show, co-author of The People’s Pharmacy syndicated newspaper columns and numerous books, and co-founder of The People’s Pharmacy website. Terry taught in the Duke University School of Nursing and was an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology. She is a Fellow of the Society of Applied Anthropology. Terry is one of the country's leading authorities on the science behind folk remedies. .
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This is actually the first time I have been surprised by a Peoples Pharmacy response. I cannot see how Peoples Pharmacy could recommend a drug not needed by the person to correct the problem of the person’ partner. This is just not right.

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