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I'm a girl. I take Zoloft. It lowers my sex drive, and when I do get horny it takes forever to come. I want to experiment with Viagra. My friend is afraid it might be dangerous. I say, "If Andrea N. and Violet Blue have tried it, I can too!" Who's right?
I did take it, and would happily take it again. My friend Violet Blue did take it and promised me she'd write a response for you, but has she? She has not! We'll just have to go ahead without her, won't we?
Viagra has been extensively tested only on men, and the small studies using women have not been encouraging, so we have little to go on here except anecdata and some common sense. If boy parts and girl parts are that similar, and both types require blood flow and lots of it in order to do their thing, why shouldn't Viagra and similar drugs work for women too? Anecdotal answer: They do, at least if you're moderately sexually functional to begin with. Neither my now husband nor I was looking to the drug to bring us back from the dead, as it were, and for neither of us did it serve to speed anything up, just so you know. It did increase arousal, both in the purely physical sense that there was more blood and more — ech, this word is never going to sound sexy to me — engorgement, and also, probably, in that it's just kind of titilutf8g to procure and take a drug to have hot sex. The latter phenomenon is not to be discounted.
Any drug might be dangerous, some more than others. Sildenafil citrate and its cousins seem remarkably safe, although the initially tiny number of deaths associated with the drugs has, inevitably, crept up over the years they've been in common use. The first wave of deaths was made up almost entirely of sick but optimistic old men overdoing it and either dropping dead on the spot or being given nitroglycerin when they showed up in the ER clutching their hearts. The next deaths to make a splash were among much younger men of the party-animal persuasion, who consumed mass amounts of some unholy cocktail of Viagra, nitrous, poppers, and/or crank. Don't do that. There have also been some deaths, recognized more recently, among apparently healthier, less reckless men, who simply dropped dead. This turned out to be due to the drug's unexpected effect on blood platelet clumping and is not likely to affect men without atherosclerosis or similar heart disease. Notice I say "men" because we have, as far as I know, no data on Viagra deaths among women at all.
So should you take it? Not for me to say. Should you fear it? As long as you have no heart disease or any of the other conditions for which it is contraindicated, I'd say no. It's not 100 percent safe but it's safer than almost any drug you will ever choose or be ordered to take, and it might allow you to come while still on your antidepressants. What do you think?
I've been divorced nearly 15 years. It was a very happy marriage except for my sudden inability to "perform," back in the pre-Viagra days. We were too embarrassed to seek any help. These days, there are chemical remedies for my marriage-killer. I've avoided dating since, probably because of fears of again disappointing a partner. I did get a trial prescription for Viagra and was able to achieve a measure of firmness. I have yet to attempt any intimacies for fear that my psychological problems might override any benefit provided by modern chemistry.
Oh dear. I can't help but cheer the arrival of the Sex Drug Era and wish you'd run into your problem a decade or two later than you did. Of course you did yourselves no favors refusing to seek help even then, since there were remedies available, just trickier and less palatable ones, like sticking yourself in the dick with a needleful of Papaverine. Not nice, but it did work. Still does.
You don't sound so terribly damaged to me, but the association you've learned to make (loss of erection equals loss of love) could be a hard one for anyone to shake. I'd think some short-term cognitive behavioral therapy plus a nice fat scrip for Viagra would fix you right up, but you'll have to believe in it. Neither one works if you insist on seeing yourself as too broken to be worth fixing.
There are legions of single women your age out there, most of them bemoaning the lack of decent men worth dating. Get shined up a little and prove them wrong.
Andrea Nemerson has spent the last 14 years as a sex educator and an instructor of sex educators. In her former life, she was a prop designer. Visit www.altsexcolumn.com  to view her previous columns.