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10 Things You Need to Know about Female Sexuality

There's a lot of pressure on women to be sexual. Why not let women define their own sexuality?

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8. Pursuit of pink Viagra. Drug companies have been busy trying to undress the complexities of human sexuality in a race to create a "pink Viagra" - a global sex drug for women. A plethora of drugs targeting the female libido are steadily being researched. Such drugs, whether creams, patches, sprays or pills, target genital blood flow, hormones, or brain chemistry.

Female sex drugs are not yet on sale at your local pharmacy. Many are currently being trialed - for the second or third time - while most have been flat-out rejected by the FDA because they haven't been considered safe or effective enough for public consumption. This hasn't stopped doctors from prescribing such drugs 'off-label:' using legal drugs for unapproved purposes. Describing this, one big league researcher says an "uncontrolled clinical trial of the safety of testosterone is already happening in the community."

9. Free range sexuality. In many ways female sexuality is still mysterious. And since scientists can't agree about what women's sexual response is, what constitutes female sexual dysfunction, or if women have a definitive sexual peak, it is unrealistic to expect us to have a similar sex drive. For women who no longer care for sex, or for those who never did, refuge may be found in this inability to prove what is 'normal.' Perhaps we can use this to free ourselves from comparing our sexuality to the sexuality of others and instead manifest our own sexual path.

Moreover, there has never been a culture where women have been encouraged to explore and experiment with their sensuality without censure. We don't understand the full potential of female sexuality, free range.

10. Getting sexy back. In pursuit of our full sex drive, if we are so inclined, we can explore a wide range of techniques and practices. Some engage in mindfulness or stillness exercises. Another novel approach is to create distance - particularly important as couples are spending more time together than ever before. For those seeking intensity, there are ways to manufacture a sense of danger, proven biochemically to heighten sexual interest. For the many of us who are leading busy lives, our libido can be rechanneled from other projects. But whatever road we choose, let us work toward defining our own jouissance: a personalized female sexuality. This process, as described in my book  Sex Drive: In Pursuit of Female Desire (Allen & Unwin), is not only possible but also liberating, leading to a more sensual life.

Bella Ellwood-Clayton is an internationally respected sexual anthropologist who holds a B.A. Hons, with a thesis on cross-cultural notions of beauty (Concordia University), and a Ph.D. on young women's sexuality (University of Melbourne). In addition to appearances on television and radio, Dr. Bella has written for many major newspapers and magazines. She also gives public talks and has made a popular documentary with  National Geographic.

 
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