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Anchored by Jake Tapper, The Lead airs at 4 p.m. ET on CNN.

Anchored by Jake Tapper, The Lead airs at 4 p.m. ET on CNN.

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March 27th, 2013
06:30 PM ET

Why is there no Viagra for women?

For 15 years, Viagra has been a champion for its creator Pfizer; the little blue earned $2 billion dollars last year.

That got a rise out of the competition, and now there is a whole sub genre of Viagra copycat drugs.

It's been so successful, the movie "Love and Other Drugs" immortalized the Viagra salesman.

"Men without a useful erection for years. Boing! Minimum side effects. Long-term safety. This isn't a pill. This is a revolution," said the movie's character Jamie Randall, portrayed by actor Jake Gyllenhaal.

So if sex drugs for men are so profitable, why isn't anyone selling them to women? Women did try Viagra, by the thousands in clinical trials in the early 2000s, and it bombed. But that didn't stop other pharmaceutical companies from chasing chemical romance.

A glob of testosterone was supposed to give a dose of desire with LibiGel. But studies show LibiGel didn't really get libidos going, the company that made it never even brought it to the Federal Drug Administration.

Another drug, Flibanserin, did make it to the FDA,which rejected it, saying it had too many side effects and really didn't turn women on anyhow.

That left pharmaceutical companies asking - Why are women so hard to please?

"The most common sexual problem for women is low desire," says Sheryl Kingsberg, an expert on female sexual health. "And that's very complicated because really desire is in our brains."

That's why a Stanford researcher is delving into the female brain, seeing what makes it tick.

"You can see here this is a difference between women with low libido in the blue," said Dr. Leah Millheiser, of Stanford University, pointing  to a brain scan. "And the yellow is women with normal libido,"

Which may mean that for women, the cure for low libido is more likely to be found in their brains, than in a bottle.

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