Medicalizing Female Sexual Dysfunction Under the Feminist Banner

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Betty Dodson

Leonore Tiefer is a friend and colleague who's spent the last decade of her life fighting Big Pharma to keep women safe from the all-consuming pursuit of "pink viagra" - the tiny little pill that can give all women the sex lives of their dreams.

She single-handedly blocked the release of the testosterone patch for women.  They hadn't conducted one safety study and she wasn't going to let them medicalize menopause at the expense of women's lives.

Recently, pharmaceutical companies launched a campaign and series of meetings #womendeserve alleging that the FDA is sexist for failing to approve a drug to treat women's sexual problems. Leonore and other sex professionals showed up to see where they were going with all this.

Here's their position:

"If the pharmaceutical industry were truly concerned with women's sexual well-being, companies would market drugs that are effective for women whose sexual problems are caused by physical problems or disease, such as diabetes, multiple sclerosis and spinal cord injuries. Yet efforts to test drugs for narrow markets have been curtailed on several occasions as the industry pursued its blockbuster dreams.

The partnership between sexologists and drug companies is full of conflicts of interest and has sullied our field. Fortunately, judging by their comments at the October meeting, we are hopeful that the FDA experts are not being taken in by ill-advised initiatives. We hope that the public won't be, either."

And here's mine:

A pill will never solve the absence of sex information and education. Until society gets beyond a male model of sexual response (his penis thrusting inside her vagina) and factors in how most women actually have orgasms, we will understand that getting fucked so hubby can ejaculate inside her vagina will have a short shelf life. No pill can solve that. Women lose interest in sex when they don't have orgasms. We need to teach people the truth about the importance of the clitoris and how it's engaged during sexual intercourse. It's time to retire Sigmund Freud's vaginal orgasms-- they're as rare as hen's teeth and put as much pressure on men (maintaining an erection) as women struggling to get a little indirect clitoral stimulation.

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