lifestyle

Do women need a drug to make us want more sex?

Female Viagra. Would you go there?

Let’s call this: the little miracle that could solve the universal problem of “Not tonight honey, I’m tried”.

This weekend the papers were buzzing with the news of female Viagra; a nasal spray that’s said to “change EVERY woman’s life.” (That’s right, just like low fat cereal, those magic floor sweeping swiveling part-broom, part-mop things and a fancy-pants pram/stroller combination. Female Viagra will Change. Every. Single One. Of. Your. Lives.)

Every woman’s life? That’s a big call. But we recognise that unlike most of the products on the market that are targeted at women – this one could actually make a fair difference to a significant part of many women’s lives.

So, okay. You’ve got our attention. Tell us more.

Supposedly the nasal spray (there is nothing sexier than nasal spray) contains testosterone and will be effective for two to eight hours after it’s taken. It will only be available by prescription but that’s probably more time effective than the current alternative to low libido – which is therapy.

News limited reports:

Experts said the treatment could help nearly one in three women around the world who did not get full satisfaction and fundamentally transform relationships.Prof Susan Davis, director of the Women’s Health Research Program at Monash University, said the treatment would act like “Viagra for women” and was a “world-first breakthrough”.

“Rather than a long-term, therapy-based approach, this drug can be taken just when a woman anticipates sexual activity,” Prof Davis said.

“This could be a breakthrough study for women who currently are frustrated by the lack of any treatment options.”

Need? Or manufactured want?

Now, there are a myriad of reasons why a woman might not want to have sex. They’re not attracted to their partner. They’re in bad relationships. They’re on the pill. They’re on anti-depressants. They’re stressed. Or maybe they’re just tired.

But the question is: do these women have a medical disorder that requires treatment or is this just one giant money-making-sell-you-what-you-don’t-need-pharmecutical-company-ploy? (We’ve seen Love and Other Drugs. We know how it goes.)

But it all seriousness… When it comes to men and issues of sexual dysfunction, the evidence is much more, er, obvious.

They’re up for it. Or they’re not. But with women the issue is less black and white.

Or up and down (Badoom-ching!)

So do women need a magic pill? And what about a pill for “men don’t know how to please their partners?” as suggested by the New York Times:

In a Viagra-flooded culture, where men have access to little blue pills to quell performance anxiety, isn’t it only fair that women should have a sex-enhancement drug of their own? Or, is a woman’s desire so much more complicated and contextual than a man’s that it cannot be localized to a single anatomical deficiency suitable to pharmaceutical remedy?

And, by the way, some women’s health advocates ask, why are we seeking to “fix” women when a lack of desire is often a side effect of another malady: the “men don’t know how to please their partners” disease? (There’s no pill for that.)

Australian journalist Ray Moynihan says no. He argues drug companies are manufacturing the idea of female sexual dysfunction to sell a drug. And while he doesn’t deny that some women do have a medical dysfunction, the number of women being targeted by the creators and researchers of female Viagra, is – he claims – on the ridiculous side of completely absurd.

American males spend billions of dollars on blue viagra every year, so if there’s a market for a drug that could transform the sex lives of “tired” women around the world, they’re going to want in. In this article from The Examiner, Moynihan argues drug companies are convincing women they need a drug for their low sex drive:

Ray Moynihan

So far, attempts to find a drug to enhance female sexual desire have failed. A recent study from University of Texas at Austin revealed that treatment with a placebo had a positive impact on one in three women– possibly from improved communication between partners. Just the notion of being treated for decreased desire for sex seemed to help women in the study.

Moynihan,author of ‘Sex, Lies and Pharmaceuticals’ feels, “Drug marketing is merging with medical science in a fascinating and frightening way, raising questions about whether a new approach to defining diseases is warranted.”

So real problem for women? Or manufactured problem? And if female Viagra existed, would you take it?

(Or would you just try one of these?)