OK, I’m quite late on this one as work has been hellish recently. But here’s the news we’ve all be waiting for – female Viagra has been invented. According to The Sun, it makes ‘girls’ sex drive soar’ (or airbrushed to oblivion it seems). This claim and Flibanserin have been well torn apart by Dr Petra and Neuroskeptic.
In sum, this was a preapproved drug being aggressively marketed for a likely manufactured ‘disorder’, and may be no better than a couple of glasses of wine.
There is of course a problem with the over-medicalisation of social problems, mental health or indeed just life, but female sexual dysfunction taps in to our historical beliefs about female sexuality. Whether nymphomaniacs or laced up prudes, women’s sexuality has been portrayed as a mysterious morass of hormones, guilt and secrecy.
What I also find disturbing is the appropriation of feminist language to sell these products; women deserve to have orgasms and this pill with help reap the rewards of the sexual revolution. This is of course a tried and tested method employed to sell anything from electro-shock Taser weapons to breast augmentation. To criticise these products, these grisly chunks in the vomit of capitalism, is to be anti-women or anti-choice.
Of course what these products do is actually limit choice by their very nature. By framing some women’s lack of sexual desire as ‘something that’s wrong with her head’ means that all the other potential factors – something wrong in the relationship, unsatisfactory sexual partner, stress and anxiety, unfulfilled sexual desires, it being temporary and just one of those things – are not being considered or addressed.
The flip side of ‘women not wanting sex’ is men wanting it all the time. This includes the myth that men think about sex every 7 seconds (tackled here with a number of other bogus stats), but can translate into the far more sinister ‘some women asked to be raped because men just can’t help themselves’.
A simplistic and historically-rooted view of male and female sexuality can at best be misleading and unhelpful and at worst can legitimise sexual violence or abusive behaviours.
So if you’re lacking sexual desire, chill out, have a glass of wine and think about it for a bit, considering what factors might be feeding the problem. Or maybe talk to someone; ideally someone who won’t financially benefit from selling you a pill.