Can a New Nasal Spray Really Help Women Orgasm?


When women hop into bed, whether alone or with a partner, reaching the big O may be a fleeting phenomenon. Luckily, researchers are currently developing a solution to sexual impotency that may only require a few quick inhales. Tefina is a testosterone nasal spray, designed by Trimel Pharmaceuticals, that aims to heighten sexual arousal by dilating blood vessels “down there.”   

Why It Matters

Having trouble orgasming is a medical condition called “female orgasmic disorder,” or FOD, and may affect up to (ready?) 41 percent of females around the globe [1]... Yikes. And this isn’t just a matter of physical pleasure: FOD can have a significant impact on women’s mental health, affecting relationship satisfaction, quality of life, and overall well-being [1].

Yet, the trouble with Tefina is there’s scientific discrepancy regarding why women have trouble orgasming, and if it can be fixed by a simple trip to the pharmacy. A number of researchers suggest a link between sexual dysfunction and poor communication between couples, some blame genetics, while others see orgasm rates independent of genetics and varying social factors like social class, number of sexual partners, and libido [3] [4] [5] [6]. And then there’s the camp that says FOD is not even a real disorder.

(Also Check Out: How Much Sex Is Too Much Sex?)

Is It Legit?

The idea to develop a drug that helps women orgasm is causing some controversy. Certain publications are jumping for joy at the possibility of the “female Viagra” hitting shelves, while others assert Tefina is simply a pharmaceutical marketing ploy that looks past the real problems of impotency [7]. Tefina isn’t the first drug developed to give women a (tender) hand, too. The Intrinsa testosterone patch made an appearance in Europe back in 2009, but was deemed unsafe and was not approved by the FDA [8].

Dr. Susan Davis, the lead researcher behind the drug, said that Tefina has had a 60 percent success rate among trial users (although “success” may be tough to measure; perhaps it was just really damn good sex?). Health Canada has approved the second round of Tefina’s clinical trials, but it’ll be a few years before Tefina will officially hit shelves, if it even makes it that far. So until then, ladies — rest assured that it’s completely normal to have trouble climaxing, and know that it doesn’t hurt to keep trying.

Photo by robin_24

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Laura Schwecherl
I'm the marketing director at Greatist, and when I'm not hanging at HQ with my best buds (aka co-workers...) you can find me training for...

Works Cited

  1. Female orgasmic disorder. Rellini, A.H., Clifton, J. Department of Psychology, University of Vermont, Burlington, VT. Advances in Psychosomatic Medicine, 2011;31:35-56. Epub 2011 Oct 10.
  2. Female orgasmic disorder. Rellini, A.H., Clifton, J. Department of Psychology, University of Vermont, Burlington, VT. Advances in Psychosomatic Medicine, 2011;31:35-56. Epub 2011 Oct 10.
  3. Behavioral assessment of couples' communication in female orgasmic disorder. Kelly, M.P., Strassberg, D.S., Turner, C.M. Department of Psychology, University of Utah, Salt Lake City. Journal of Sex and Marital Theory, 2006 Mar-Apr;32(2):81-95.
  4. Assessment and management of women's sexual dysfunctions: problematic desire and arousal. Basson, R., Brotto, L.A., Laan, E., et al. UBC Department of Psychiatry, B.C. Centre for Sexual Medicine, Vancouver, BC, Canada. Journal of Sexual Medicine, 2005 May;2(3):291-300.
  5. Genetic influences on variation in female orgasmic function: a twin study. Dunn, K.M , Cherkas, L.F., Spector, T.D. Biology Letters, 2005 September 22; 1(3): 260–263.
  6. Female orgasm rates are largely independent of other traits: implications for "female orgasmic disorder" and evolutionary theories of orgasm. Zietsch, B.P., Miller, G.F., Bailye, J.M., et al. School of Psychology, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia. Journal of Sexual Medicine, 2011 Aug;8(8):2305-16. doi: 10.1111/j.1743-6109.2011.02300.x. Epub 2011 May 13.
  7. A general look at female orgasm and anorgasmia. Redelman, M. Sydney Centre for Sexual and Relationship Therapy, Bondi Junction, NSW 2022, Australia. Sexual Health, 2006 Sep;3(3):143-53
  8. Drug utilization of Intrinsa (testosterone patch) in England: interim analysis of a prescription-event monitoring study to support risk management. Osborne, V., Hazell, L., Layton, D., et al. Drug Safety Research Unit, Bursledon Hall, Southampton, UK. Drug Safety, 2010 Mar 1;33(3):213-21.

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