01/10/2010 08:28 BST | Updated 22/05/2015 06:12 BST

Is Low Sex Drive In Women A Marketing Ploy?

It may have medical-sounding names such as hypoactive sexual desire disorder and female sexual dysfunction, but an expert claims low sex drive in women is merely an idea hyped up by pharmaceutical companies to sell new drugs.

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Writing in the British Medical Journal, researcher Ray Moynihan says drug companies are guilty of the 'corporate sponsorship' of the condition, and that low sex drive in women isn't the widespread problem we're led to believe it is.

It's difficult to put a figure on low sex drive in women, since nobody really knows how many are affected but never talk about it. Some experts say as many as 40 of women have no sex drive at all (though some only experience the problem at certain times, such as during or after pregnancy or menopause).

On the other hand Moynihan, a lecturer at Newcastle University in Australia, suggests the pharmaceutical industry has a vested interest in supporting the misconception that female sexual problems are common.

For instance, he claims a course for US doctors funded by the maker of Viagra states up to 63% of women suffer from sexual dysfunction and that certain drugs (including Viagra) could be the answer. But studies suggest Viagra has no such effect on women - in fact, psychologists recently claimed talking about their sexual problems is more effective for women than taking pills.

What's your opinion? Do you think the prevalence of female sex drive problems has been blown up out of all proportion?