Published today in the British Journal of Pharmacology, Pfizer researchers in England have discovered that providing an electric stimulus to the pelvic nerve boosts blood flow to the genitalia, thus aiding female sexual arousal. This effect was enhanced further by the experimental drug, UK-414,495. The drug is believed to work by preventing the breakdown of a chemical messenger that is key to promoting blood flow during sexual arousal.
During arousal, blood flow increases to the vagina, labia, and clitoris. The organs swell. The vagina relaxes as natural lubricants and sensitivity increase.
As many as 40% of women experience
female sexual arousal disorder (FSAD) regardless of age. Their genitalia doesn’t react to sexual stimulation, making it more difficult to become sexually responsive.
This is a breakthrough as very little was previously known about the female sexual arousal process. Lead researcher, Chris Wayman, believes that these new discoveries will lead to more effective treatments of FSAD.
Providing an electric charge to the nerve ignites the release of vasoactive intestinal peptide (VIP), a neurotransmitter which may be the key to genital arousal. However, VIP’s effects are limited, as it's quickly broken down by the enzyme Neutral Endopeptidase (NEP). Researchers theorize that the experimental drug helps prevent NEP’s ability to break down VIP, allowing VIP time to work.
Also, the drug didn’t impact arousal without stimulus. This is important as the drug may only work with stimulus, reducing the number of unwanted side effects.