Saturday, June 19, 2010

All I Need is a Miracle

Ever since Viagra met blockbuster success in 1998, the drug industry has sought a similar pill for women.

Now, Boehringer Ingelheim, a German drug giant, says it has developed such a pill and is trying to persuade the FDA that its drug can help restore a depressed female sex drive. The effort has set off a debate over what constitutes a normal range of sexual desire among women, with critics saying the company is trying to turn low libido into medical pathology.

It would be the first drug aimed specifically at low sex drive in premenopausal women and includes side effects of dizziness, nausea and fatigue. The idea of women performing normal non-sexual activities like driving while experiencing potentially dangerous side effects makes it sound like the main benefit of this drug would be for men. Also objectionable is making women who already carry more than their share of life's burdens feel inadequate because their libido does not measure up to the imagined sex drives of "other women." I think we would all like to know who those other women are, and how they got so lucky. As far as I know, these libidinous populations have not been determined or at least, disclosed. Or maybe they are in protective custody.

Needless to say, the drug companies are gleefully rubbing their hands together in anticipation of raking in huge profits at least equal to those reaped by the sale of Viagra, Cialis and Levitra.

It is too easy to label women as suffering from sexual dysfunction, especially without taking into consideration other legitimate demands on their energy. The willingness and ability of their partners to arouse them should also not be ignored. Perhaps it's a generational thing, but today's postmenopausal women were often encouraged to feel generally inadequate. It's hard to imagine that the drug companies are not attempting to capitalize on such tendencies to sell their product.

Leonore Tiefer, a psychologist and professor at New York University who has researched female sexual desire for more than a decade, says Boehringer has gone too far with its publicity effort. “Women’s sex lives are often a struggle, a disappointment, an archipelago of regret,” she said. “Is there a small group of women who could benefit from medical intervention — probably.”

But she believes that if the drug were approved, “the much larger group of women without any medical reason for their sexual distress will inevitably be misinformed and misled into thinking that there is a pill that can get them the sex life they read about, the one they think everyone else is having.”

The drug companies have even come up with a name for this brand new medical malady: Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder, which will doubtless soon be abbreviated to HSDD as we become more comfortable with the idea that many women are basically flawed and need medication to make them "normal." It's well known that women have a more complicated response system than men, so finding us abnormal by male standards is both impractical and stupid.

I think that inventing a drug to alleviate some of the passion-stealing concerns that consume most women might bring about an amazing recovery in sluggish female libidos. And if treatment consisted of a few weeks in Hawaii or Montego Bay, we could probably be very healthy indeed.


Molly said...

Dear God! Would they just all go away and let me sleep??

nick said...

Hear hear. The idea that millions of women are sexually dysfunctional and need a hazardous drug to put them right is ridiculous. If women are not very interested in sex, it's surely for very straightforward reasons - they don't find intercourse pleasurable, or they find other activities more fulfilling, or as you say they have a more complicated response system and won't feel aroused unless all the circumstances are right including the man being sufficiently sensitive to her needs.

It might help a few women, but for most women it has to be a phoney solution to a non-existent problem.

TechnoBabe said...

You touched upon (hmmm) a way of thinking that would eliminate the overblown sales ads showing poor lowly women with low libidos. Touching, sensual looks and sweet touching, occasionally and often, may be a whole new way of thinking for most men. Oh my goodness, touching just because and not leading to sex? I for one choose not to take pills of any kind, instead, I like to figure out ways I can get what I want in a natural and healthy way. Some women have sexual partners who touch only when the partner wants to have sex. After that they don't pay much attention until they want to have sex again. Excuse me, that is such a turn off. Thank God I am married to a sensitive and caring man.

Jo said...

"A Book of Verses underneath the Bough,
A Jug of Wine, a Loaf of Bread--and Thou
Beside me singing in the Wilderness--
Oh, Wilderness were Paradise enow!"

What woman would need female Viagra for Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder (goodness...!) if the man only paid the appropriate attention to her? The pharmaceutical companies would make a fortune if they could figure out how to bottle romance.

I did a similar post yesterday about how the use of the word "partner" has taken the place of the words husband, wife, lover... We vacuum all the romance and sexuality out of lives with our political correctness, and then we replace it with chemicals.


Cecilieaux said...

I don't see what's so terribly wrong with providing women who would like to enjoy sex more a means to do so.

meno said...

Jut another way to:

1) ignore the fact that we do get older, and things change,
2) make the drug companies a TON of money,
3) make us all feel inadequate for not having the same sex drive we had in our 20s.

Fuck that!

Deeplip said...

Testosterone dramatically increases sexual interest and orgasmic response in women. So why are the drug companies pushing a new drug that doesn't work and has many side effects? Should we be following the money?

heartinsanfrancisco said...


The idea of a good night's sleep makes me horny, too.


Hard to imagine, but maybe (gasp) she just doesn't find him appealing.


Feeling like a service object is never sexy.


They can't bottle romance any more than they can hope.


Perhaps I wasn't clear, but the drug offers nothing besides money to its makers.


They can't make us feel inadequate without our cooperation. And as you so elegantly stated, fuck that.


To some people, money is a great aphrodisiac.

Meggie said...

Good Grief!
I am with Molly!

James said...

Covet monstrous profits? Check
Perpetuate patriarchy? Check
Invent non-existent condition? Check
Downplay side effects? Check

"the main benefit of this drug would be for men.

Word. TechnoBabe is my main benefit, and she has no side effects.

Wanderlust Scarlett said...

Amen Hearts, Jo, Meno Technobabe and James!!! AMEN!

It plays right into that whole disgusting ploy by media and insatiably money hungry corporations: teach little girls to be sexually attractive for men from the time they can start walking and asking for dolls - teach women that they must meet their mates rate of sexual desire through unsafe drugs.

I want a new drug.

I want the drug that makes men honest, trustworthy, romantic, thoughtful, respectful, caring, sensitive, devoted and compassionate. Then maybe the women in their lives would actually *want* intimacy with them.

Otherwise they can eat their own pills, or find another orifice to insert them into.

Most women, I sincerely hope, are much too smart to resort to this *insert extremely lengthy string of negative adjectives* crap.

If money is the root of all evil, then the shallowness of man to seek money through sex regardless of the effect on women is the seed.

Scarlett & Viaggiatore

nick said...

Scarlett - "I want the drug that makes men honest, trustworthy, romantic, thoughtful, respectful, caring, sensitive, devoted and compassionate." Indeed, a much better alternative.

Wanderlust Scarlett said...

*hugs Nick*

Anonymous said...

Your last point is no doubt the most telling one, alas. I mean,it would be nice. But, the flaw in all of these, like Cialis or Viagra, is that the drug doesn't create desire, only performance, as many men have found out to their dismay. If you ain't feelin' aroused, it ain't gonna happen.

Oh, and I've been to the beach Burt and Deb snuggled etc. at. It's called Blowhole Beach. I thought that was quaint.

Jocelyn said...

I cannot see demand for this drug matching that for Viagra; women simply don't measure personal success by their libidos, the way many men do. Plus, from what I've heard and read, women who desire more desire can turn to testosterone creams and the like for aid.

Thanks--as ever--for opening my eyes to something I didn't know was happening.

heartinsanfrancisco said...


A good night's sleep is not to be sneezed at.


I beg to differ, as your wife's prose tends to be addictive.

Thank you for your visit.


Clearly, not all men are buying into this latest panacea to turn women into obliging Barbie dolls. I don't think that men are the villain, but the drug companies.


And how would this drug be administered, intravenously while sleeping? All these qualities are most desirable, but it really has to be someone's own idea to reinvent himself. Eugenics, anyone?


Getting there is half the fun.

I've been to the Halona blow hole, too. It's amazing!


Testosterone creams don't necessarily grow facial hair, which is not that sexy on women. And they are known to do the job, as Deeplip stated.

Bruce said...

You make a very good point about the way that medicine seems to be turning a low -- or even normal -- libido into a disability. Having read a lot of Hanna Rosin and Pamela Paul recently, I'm struck by the extent to which both genders are doing this.

Little boys who can't sit still are hyperactive, learning disabled, or otherwise less viable than little girls. Men, in turn, seem to be increasingly viewed as physically strong but emotionally (even intellectually) weak. If you read Maureen Dowd, Judith Stacy, or a growing host of ideologues, it looks like men are the new appendixes -- useless, vestigial, and likely to blow up on you.

I wish that both genders could get a little better at embracing difference -- instead of tagging it as disability!

heartinsanfrancisco said...


I do think that we are buying into medical myths which label people so they qualify for drugs. ADD didn't exist when I was a kid - it was understood that children had a hard time adjusting to physical inactivity for hours in a classroom. And ones sexuality is such a complex amalgam of nature, past experiences, family attitudes and fluctuating hormones that it really defies quantifying. Why can't we all just tolerate each other w/o assigning blame for everything?

Maria said...

Holy cow. All I need is to have to take one more pill a day.

I think I will keep my sluggish libido. My partner is used to it and I don't want to frighten her too much.

Wanderlust Scarlett said...

Good news!! The FDA nixed the drug!!

Here's CNN's scoop:


Scarlett & Viaggiatore

Val said...

Molly already said it - if I could just catch up on my SLEEP, no tellin' what I might do!
& a big AMEN & Hallellujah to you, Scarlett: "I want the drug that makes men honest, trustworthy, romantic, thoughtful, respectful, caring, sensitive, devoted and compassionate. Then maybe the women in their lives would actually *want* intimacy with them.

Otherwise they can eat their own pills, or find another orifice to insert them into."


[great post - my word verification is "hatie"; let all the haters go 'way!]

heartinsanfrancisco said...


Yeah, the last thing we want to do is scare Bing. (Is that even possible? She sounds fearless.) I think this is a case of if-it-ain't-broke...


Thanks for sharing! I hadn't heard, but it's always gratifying when the FDA nixes something that is potentially harmful to women. Miracles do happen.


So many orifices, so little time. If only there were pills to make all of us behave at our highest level always.

Thanks for your visit.

secret agent woman said...

I'd say if I'm nauseated, tired, and dizzy I'm not going to be interested in sex. But if I did have a trouble with feeling disinterested, a little romance would be a lot more appealing than a pill.