Female Viagra? Not quite…

addyi 3I love Bill Maher and all unabashed commentators like him who know how to sum up bullshit.  Take, for example his comments regarding Addyi, the new “female Viagra”:

“…the new female sex pill, Addyi. Yes, that’s right.  There’s now a pill that makes women want more sex, but can also lower blood pressure and put you to sleep… It was invented by Bill Cosby.”

Maher goes on to explain that while Viagra was invented for men who still desire but simply cannot engage in sex physically, Addyi, while masquerading as a female equivalent to Viagra, is actually a mood enhancer intended to make totally physically capable women want more sex.  And herein lies the problem…

Who gets to decide what is “satisfying sex”?  The people paying actors to feign orgasm, the ones who have perpetuated the notion that sex isn’t sex if it isn’t loud, explosive, a reenactment of some porn scene, or tied to notions of happily-ever-after?  Many a wayward soul has diagnosed her level of satisfaction as abnormal based upon these fantasy-land notions about sex.

Who has decided what constitutes “normal sexual desire”, and that millions of women don’t have it?  Clearly, the people who created this pill and their cohorts.  They may insist that it is absolutely the prerogative of the individual woman to decide what is normal for her, and they would be right.  But the very existence of this drug (and the campaign to market it) reveals some skewed thinking regarding women’s sexuality and autonomy–or ANYbody’s sexuality and autonomy, for that matter.

When women began to emerge, en masse, from their kitchens, delivery rooms, from behind ironing boards and mops to enter voting booths and colleges in droves and to kick ass in business, many people stood up for the right of women to explore and enjoy their sexuality as well.  They rejected the notion that a woman should be coy, “hard to get”, or act as if she had no interest in sex in order to appear pious or demure.  No problem–if coy and demure is not that individual woman’s natural disposition.  But somewhere, we failed to develop a balanced perspective.

addyiNow the pendulum has swung in the opposite direction, and it seems that any women who is not ready to swing from a chandelier (or a shower curtain) at the drop of a hat wearing a thong and a cat tail is labeled with a sexual disorder.

I call bullshit.

Here we are “medicalizing a woman’s natural mental state” all over again.  I understand that the organization Even the Score had a hand in pushing for the invention of this drug.  They considered it unfair that so much attention, expertise, and resources were being pumped into the creation of a drug to help men enjoy better sex while it seemed the girls were being neglected.  They failed to recognize that a medical prescription is probably not the best long-term solution for most people’s intimacy/sexual issues (whether male or female).

Micromanaging sexual urges based on arbitrary standards of normality doesn’t make for better relationships.  In some cases it exacerbates the problem as people race from one opinion/therapist/prescription to the next hoping to find a fix to their so-called dysfunction, which really was never a “dysfunction” to begin with.  In many cases the problem is simply boredom.  Boredom, the need for novelty, and the need to develop more realistic expectations around sexuality and more flexible relationship structures.  No prescriptions or pills.  Just a shot of reality and an adventurous spirit.

Sexual autonomy is the freedom of the individual to operate comfortably within their sexual truth without undue meddling and criticism from others–whether that personal truth is a very active sex drive or a “once a month will do me fine” disposition.  Once our society is mature enough to handle the kind of honesty that will make this freedom possible, there probably will be little need for these placebos, I mean prescriptions.  Until then, the drug pushers are going to hold down the block with blue pills for the boys and pink pills for the girls.

What do you think of Bill Maher’s summary?

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