Can Gwyneth’s £ 40 Supplement Actually Boost Female Libido?
She brought us rose quartz vaginal eggs, a “V steam” (a gadget that claims to steam clean your uterus) and a candle called “This Smells Like My Orgasm”. And now, Gwyneth Paltrow has further strengthened her grip on the sexual wellness market by producing a supplement that claims to boost female libido. Her new little 60-capsule bottle known as DTF (as in ‘down to fuck’) sells on her Goop Lifestyle website for $ 55 – around £ 40 – and aims to support “sexual desire, women’s excitement and mood ”and should be taken twice a day, every day, for two months to work.
The supplement contains ingredients such as shatavari, saffron, and fenugreek extract, all of which are well known in the sexual wellness market as libido boosters and helpful arousal aids. But is the complexity of female libido really something that can be resolved just by taking a pill twice a day?
Marian O’Connor, consultant psychosexual therapist and psychoanalytic couple psychotherapist at Tavistock Relationships thinks this idea is absurd. “A woman’s libido is much more complicated than that,” says O’Connor. “A supplement can make you feel craving the same as putting on sexy underwear. It will work if you are in a happy, sexual, and playful relationship. But if you’re in a relationship where you constantly row or are physically exhausted from work and family life, or struggling with symptoms of perimenopause, taking a supplement will do absolutely nothing.
“A woman’s libido is much more complicated than that,” says O’Connor. “A supplement can make you feel craving the same as putting on sexy underwear. It will work if you are in a happy, sexual, and playful relationship. But if you’re in a relationship where you constantly row or are physically exhausted from juggling work and kids or battling the symptoms of perimenopause, taking a supplement will do absolutely nothing.
The problem with low libido so often in women, says O’Connor, is the gap between physiological and psychological arousal – and the way that desire often begins and ends in the head. “A man can stroke a woman’s breasts and her nipples can become engorged and she can become lubricated, but if in her head she just thinks that she wants to go to sleep because she has to get up early to work, she won’t feel the urge, she says. Put simply, the same way most personal trainers will tell you, you can’t beat a terrible diet, you can’t just complete your path to a better one. gender, no matter how glossy the packaging is.
According to O’Connor, having good sex depends on so many factors; how long you have slept, how stressed you are at work, how you feel about your body, what hormonal changes you go through, such as pregnancy, motherhood or perimenopause, and how you feel about the person lying next to you in bed. It’s not only naive to suggest that a supplement can eliminate all of these, but coaxing women into parting with their hard-earned money by promising to rekindle their declining libido seems wrong. “Companies have been desperate to monetize female libido and they’ve already marketed testosterone for that purpose and it’s potentially such a big market – look at Viagra for men,” O’Connor adds. “But essentially, a stronger libido and desire is being close to your partner and wanting to have sex with him.”
Indeed, a 2012 study in The Journal of Sexual Medicine found that psychological, not physical, factors predict whether women regain their libido after childbirth. The greatest motivation: to feel connected to your partner. “In long-term relationships, you aren’t overwhelmed with lust and desire like you were in the beginning and that connection can weaken and it becomes harder to get aroused,” says O’Connor. “Studies show that divorcing your partner and finding a new relationship stimulates desire, as new experiences pump the chemical dopamine out of the brain and give you endorphins that trigger your libido.”
That doesn’t mean you have to give up on your partner if you want better sex. Scheduling him into a long-term relationship – boring as it sounds – could be helpful in boosting dormant libido. “The more you do, the more you’ll want,” said O’Connor. It’s also important to find the time to stimulate your own sexual imagination. “Whether it’s reading erotic literature or watching a sexy movie, try to take time for your own sexual pleasure and fantasies, as this might inspire you to explore them with your partner,” she adds.
While O’Connor is skeptical of Paltrow’s new supplement, she believes her work to broaden the conversation about sexual well-being and female pleasure is welcome. “Women’s sexual pleasure has historically been overlooked and not talked about enough, so the fact that she is focusing on it – with products and advice – widens the playing field and makes it less taboo and is that a good thing. “
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