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  • What the lack of a “female Viagra” reveals about our views on men, sex and women
  • FDA is Sexistfemale viagraHealthNatures AphrodisiacOrgasmsexual dysfunctionsexual health
What the lack of a “female Viagra” reveals about our views on men, sex and women

When it comes to sex and modern medicine, the scales are undeniably tipped. While there are currently 24 FDA-approved medications to treat sexual dysfunction in men, there are zero for women.

The issue is certainly not that men experience sexual dysfunction while women don’t.  43% of women experience some form of sexual dysfunction according to a 1999 study in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

So who is to blame for the imbalance?

A recent Wall Street Journal blog about the advocacy group Even the Score suggests that the FDA may be the culprit.  While drug companies have presented drugs designed to improve female sexual function, none have been approved.  The official FDA claim is that these medications have failed to prove their safety and efficacy. But the Wall Street Journal article points out that the FDA may not be taking the need for these drugs seriously.  While the “FDA, issued draft guidelines for drug makers looking to develop medicines for female sexual dysfunction in 2000, it later withdrew the document and a new version has yet to be released.”

This kind of behavior reveals a deeper cultural bias about male and female sexuality.  In a Huffington Post article from earlier this year, Dr. Anita Clayton argues that the gender disparity stems from an insidious assumption that desire (unlike erection) is not necessary for partnered sexual activity (um, yikes!).  It follows logically that “if sex can occur without desire, the thought that follows is that lack of desire must not be a serious problem.” (consent anyone?)

The same HuffPo article also points out that the FDA tends to accept slightly lower safety standards for medications designed for men while demanding more rigorous safety standards for women.  It’s a paternalistic move guided by the idea that men are more equipped to make an “informed medical decision.”

While the FDA finds its way out of the 19th century, we can acknowledge the fact that when female sexual function (especially when it come to pleasure, desire and arousal) is addressed, everyone wins. Healthy sexual expression is key to mental and physical well-being.  Women deserve access to that. And their partners stand to benefit too. 

The FDA is just the tip of the iceberg of pervasive assumptions about women, sex and desire that it’s time to shed.

Want to be around more turned-on women? Start advocating for a culture that takes female desire seriously.

 

~Aphrodite Group 

  • Mathew Gerson
  • FDA is Sexistfemale viagraHealthNatures AphrodisiacOrgasmsexual dysfunctionsexual health

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