So I have a high sex drive, but—not going to lie—one of my big fears is that one day I won’t (illness and age do strange things sometimes). And I have friends who’ve either lost their libidos and want them back or never had much of one ever and would very much like to, so I am pro-research and testing to find a safe and reliable female Viagra equivalent.
That said, I do understand that these types of drugs carry heavy burdens. The one you hear most often is the consent issue. Many people are worried that these will be just another date rape drug like roofies. Which, I can see how you got there, but don’t see that being the real consent problem. The consent issue with a drug like this is less likely that it’ll be used as a roofies type drug—rapists who would use a drug to bypass consent really don’t care whether the victim is into what they’re doing.
The issue is more that, while there are many, many, many women out there who suffer from lowered libidos and very much want a female Viagra-type product, there are many, many, many women out there who have lowered libidos and are perfectly happy with that. When people talk about consent and female sexual stimulants, they’re worried that women who are happy with their current libidos will feel pressured into taking these drugs to appease partners who may have higher sexual drives than they have.
Just look at the comments section of this video; the black-and-white, rape-or-not ideas on consent blasted on there are…disheartening. There are even more than a few comments about how men with female partners with low libidos are going benefit from these drugs so much, which is an ass-backward way of looking at this.
Why? Because you would never hear someone say that chemotherapy is going to benefit partners of people with cancer so much. Or that inhalers benefit partners of people with asthma so much. Do they benefit those partners? Sure. But that isn’t the point of the drug. The point is to help the person with the medical issue. And that’s how the issue should be framed. Where the focus of the discussion should lie.
The fact that it too often doesn’t is proof of my point.
And the women who don’t want it aren’t the only ones who will suffer. Especially after reading “Why Do Men Fake It”—a really good book by Abraham Morgentaler, I think both sides of this issue are going to have their own set of issues.
I definitely think that most medications should only be prescribed after having a good talk with a reputable doctor. And should only be prescribed if and when appropriate. And I do think that we are an overly medicated country that reaches for pills far too often. But, too often too, completely physical problems are treated as emotional ones and, particularly for women, we’re encouraged to talk about it and/or learn to live with it when taking a pill could solve it.
After all, a lot of anti-depressants also lower libidos. As an avid listener of Dan Savage, I’ve heard so many calls from women who took SSRIs to help with their depression but are now depressed because they can’t have sex.
And what I see happening with this drug is that there will be some women who are given it like it’s candy without another thought, whether or not they need it or would even benefit from it, and some women who would benefit from it will be forced to undergo a lot of unnecessary psychological analysis before getting a hold of this drug. All depending on their doctor’s perception of female sexuality. Which makes it less a medical decision as philosophical one. Which isn’t how decisions about anyone’s health should be decided.
Look at how contraceptives and Plan B are distributed in this country. With some people, they’re in and out without a whole lot of understanding about what exactly they’re doing to their body and the side effects and some people have to jump through insane hoops to get a hold of something they really, really, really want and need.
There just has to be a better way.
So much about the way we, as a culture, deal with sexuality—particularly female sexuality—needs a good tune-up, if not and out-and-out overhaul.
What we need is more research and testing for drugs like this, as well as more comprehensive and practical sex education, where people learn how to talk openly and frankly about and stand up for their own personal sexual desires.Well, that same drug I was talking about then, the FDA just approved it. Despite the fact that it has clear and worrisome side effects, like fainting and wooziness. Despite the fact that it's dramatically more burdensome than its male equivalent; you'd have to take it every day, it doesn't work well with birth control, and it requires you to abstain from other mind-altering drugs, like SSRIs and even alcohol. It's not covered by insurance and would cost up to $75 a month (and remember, for it to be effective, you must take it every day for months or even years to even see an effect). And it's not really all that effective, as the group given the placebo in testing did about as well as the group actually on the drug.
Like I said before, low libido for women is a serious problem that requires serious study to find some serious answers.
This is not our answer. It can't be.
And, even with the argument that this will open the door to more and better answers, how many women will be harmed, seriously harmed, along the way?
We can't, simply cannot, be content to settle for this drug. If we really want a female equivalent to Viagra, we need to demand better than Addyi.