Episode 30: Sexual Desire and Arousal Disorders in Women - Part 1
Natasha Helfer Parker interviews neuroscientist Dr. James G. Pfaus, PhD, in regards to helping women understand sexual desire and arousal disorders as opposed to libido disparities with partners, vaginismus, an asexual orientation, etc. This podcast is so loaded with information that it will be worth listening to at least twice. This podcast covers everything from why the DSM-5 has organized female sexual disorders in the way it has, issues with how research and pharmacological entities approach women's issues, to evolutionary theory, to the benefits and limitations of the new drug Addyi (flibanserin), to feminine/masculine traits humans share, to brain plasticity, to opiod actions in the brain, to a variety of other topics. So informational!
Jim Pfaus received his Ph.D. in behavioral neuroscience from the University of British Columbia, Vancouver in 1990. After postdoctoral training in molecular biology and behavior at the Rockefeller University in New York City with Dr. Donald Pfaff, he joined Center for Studies in Behavioral Neurobiology, Department of Psychology at Concordia University in Montréal in 1992 where he is currently a professor of Neuroscience and Psychology, and a university research fellow, with cross-appointments to the graduate programs in Biology, Chemistry and Biochemistry, and Exercise Science. His research is generally concerned with the neurochemical and molecular events that subserve sexual behavior and neuroendocrine functions. His particular interests are in the role of brain monoamine and neuropeptide systems in sexual arousal, desire, reward, and inhibition in laboratory animals, and the role played by steroid hormones and cell‑signaling mechanisms in the neuronal and behavioral responses to primary and conditioned sexual stimuli, especially those that induce conditioned sexual excitation and inhibition, resulting in epigenetic changes to neurochemical systems that subserve sexual partner preferences. His research in human sexual function is focused on subjective and objective measures of sexual desire and pleasure in women and men using a combination of eye-tracking, EEG, brain imaging, and genital arousal measures. His research is funded by operating grants from CIHR and NSERC (Canada), FRQS (Québec), and NIH (USA). In addition, he has held consulting grants from several pharmaceutical and biotech companies to work on the sexual side-effects of different psychiatric medications and on the identification of new drugs to treat male and female sexual dysfunctions. He has published over 160 research papers, reviews, and book chapters in peer-reviewed journals and books, and presented his research at numerous scientific conferences and consultations worldwide. He is an Associate Editor of the Journal of Sexual Medicine and Sexual Medicine Reviews, Psychophysiology and Preclinical Models Section Editor for Current Reviews in Sexual Medicine, and sits on the editorial boards of the Behavioral Neuroscience and Physiology & Behavior. He is the President-Elect of the International Academy of Sex Research.
Resources mentioned during podcast:
Asexuality: An Extreme Variant of Sexual Desire Disorder? Research by Lori Brotto
Natasha Helfer Parker runs a private practice in Wichita, KS and writes at The Mormon Therapist for Patheos: Hosting the Conversation of Faith. She also hosts the popular podcast, Mormon Mental Health.