Medical Mystery: Persistent Sexual Arousal Syndrome

Dr. Goldstein is also experimenting with a new drug that affects the brain's dopamine levels. So far it has shown some success, but more research will be needed to decide if it is effective.

Desperate Measures

Dearmon, a poet and artist, kept trying to tame what she called her "beast." But the beast kept winning until she decided there was only one way out -- to take her own life.

"I was going to commit suicide, I mean it was that bad," Dearmon said.

"She just really got to the end of her rope," Jeremy said.

Frightened by her suicidal thoughts, Dearmon committed herself to a psychiatric hospital

"And the nurse came in and said, 'Honey, I wish I could stay home and masturbate all day long.' I'm like in the psychiatric ward because I'm going to take my life and, and here you are belittling me," Dearmon said.

And then one day, while glancing at a magazine at the barbershop, Jeremy discovered an article that described his wife's symptoms exactly.

"She immediately started crying — like oh my God, you know, I'm not alone," Jeremy said.

Dearmon now takes an anti-depressant. It doesn't work for everyone with PSAS, but it does help reduce her symptoms to a more manageable level. Even so, PSAS permeates every aspect of her life and marriage. Because sex triggers even stronger symptoms Dearmon sometimes avoids it altogether.

"I would tell him that, you know, I, I was having my problems bad," Heather said.

"You can't fix it, so it's like, hard, you know, hard to respond sometimes," Jeremy said. "It's not like he couldn't satisfy me sexually," Dearmon said. "It had nothing to do with him, there was just something going on in my body that I had no control over."

"We can only be affectionate at certain times so there's not like the casual kissing for us, so yeah, we need to take that easy," Jeremy said. "That's part of dealing with our — problem."

Despite PSAS Dearmon and Jeremy remain committed.

"I believe we're honestly happily married — it's what we still choose, you know, we love one another," Jeremy said.

For more information about PSAS please visit the Persistent Sexual Arousal Syndrome Support Group, or the San Diego Sexual Medicine Web site, and click here to read stories written by women for women who have suffered from sexual dysfunction.

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