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From Barnes & NobleThe Barnes & Noble Review
Improving Your Libido
Judith Reichman, an OB/GYN and the medical correspondent for the "Today" show, is the first to point out that she's not a sex therapist. But as she writes in the prologue to her new book, I'm Not in the Mood, her practice caring for women's health had become more and more focused on the myriad effects of the changes in hormone levels that women experience as they age. One of the effects her patients most often noticed, and asked for help with, was diminishing libido. But it wasn't until syndicated TV talk-show host Christina Ferrare announced on her program that she had lost her libido, and that Dr. Reichman (whose book I'm Too Young to Get Old: Health Care for Women After Forty was a national bestseller) had helped her get it back, that the real fun started: An "Oprah" appearance later, Reichman was confirmed as the country's new libido doctor.
Whatever reservations she had had about this designation were swept away by the stories that began to pour in. Letters and phone calls came from women around the country — from the 46-year-old, married for 20 years, whose doctor recommended finding a new partner to rev up her faltering libido, to the breast-feeding mother of two toddlers, her sex drive scuttled by sheer exhaustion, whose doctor told her to buy some lubricant and grin and bear it; from the 34-year-old who was told that she was lucky to be alive after a hysterectomy and that the loss of her libido was trivial, to a 50-year-old on hormone replacement therapy whose doctor told her that the decline she was feeling inhersexuality was a normal part of getting older and she'd get used to it. Reichman writes that learning of the "denial, dismissal, and discouragement" that women who seek help from their doctors are so often confronted with spurred her on to try to set the record straight on libido. And so in I'm Not in the Mood she looks at sexuality and libido from a medical point of view, exploring the role of hormones, the interaction between the physical, psychological, and social aspects of sexuality, and even the effects that illnesses like cancer and common over-the-counter and prescription drugs can have on libido.
Reichman emphasizes that "there are few cures in medicine with the exception of antibiotics, but there is help and improvement." She thoroughly explores the role that testosterone plays in female libido (natural levels decline markedly in the female body between ages 20 and 50), and recommends small doses of the hormone as one very promising potential solution. She provides full information on pros and cons of testosterone therapy and the specifics on a number of treatment options. Reichman also gives advice on evaluating how close to your biological sexual potential you are functioning; on talking to partners, doctors, and sex therapists; and on available herbs, medications, and products like lubricants that can have a beneficial effect. A complete resource list is included as well. With I'm Not in the Mood, Reichman goes a long way toward accomplishing what she believes is the most important part of being a doctor: "helping women understand their bodies so that they can make sense out of all the medical information, misinformation, sense and nonsense with which we are bombarded."