No Longer Fearing Female Viagra

mag-26Desire-t_CA2-articleLargeScientists developing Lybrido, aka “Female Viagra,” had once fretted that the pill might work too well.

That’s right, some feared that Lybrido could create orgasm-hungry, sex-craved nymphomaniacs who cheated on husbands and splintered society.

Or at least they worried that the FDA might reject the pill due to such concerns.

Andrew Goldstein, who conducted research on the drug said,

There’s a bias against — a fear of creating the sexually aggressive woman.

The female libido has been oppressed and repressed for millennia by means of slut-shaming, chastity belts, genital mutilation (in which the clitoris is removed, sometimes along with the inner and outer labia), honor killings (killing daughters who may have been unchaperoned, had sex outside marriage, been raped or chosen their own husbands), and more. Even vibrators have been outlawed!

Why?

Just jealous of our multiple O’s?

Or do these fears stem from a desire to feel powerful and in control via controlling women’s bodies?

Or maybe men just don’t want to support kids who aren’t their own, as evolutionary psych claims? (So why do so many of these same dudes want to keep women out of the workforce and unable to support their children, themselves?)

If anyone has ever worried that women – and their partners – will have too much fun, well, that’s just stupid.

But if they’re worried about cheating and social instability then “Female Viagra” might actually help.

First, a big reason men seek divorce is a partner’s low sex drive (which likely stems from repression). So if women desired sex more, there’d be less divorce from that cause.

Meanwhile, even as repression dampens women’s natural desire and ability to enjoy pure sexual sensation, we also fetishize women’s bodies and not men’s. All this leads to a convoluted way of getting aroused that could encourage cheating:

Many women get turned on by sensing a man’s lust for her, and from feeling chosen because she’s so attractive. She kind of makes love to herself, vicariously through his eyes… his desire for her. But if she’s been with one man for a long time she may sense less lust as he grows used to her. And if it’s a committed relationship, she may feel like he simply has no choice but her. That’s no turn-on. And then there’s the everydayness” of seeing the same guy all the time, morning and night. She cherishes him, she’s bonded to him, but the sexual magic is gone. UNLV psychology professor, Marta Meana, says men don’t seem to experience low libido as often because they have a stronger sex drive – one that is less repressed.

If a woman had another option – a pill that boosts desire – she would feel less need for a series of new, lustful guys to make her feel desired and chosen, and the “everydayness” wouldn’t be the same problem.

The truth is, most women stay true to their partners even when their sexual desire for them drops. But for those who are bored and stay, or for those who might otherwise stray to recapture that spark, this little pill could boost monogamous relationships.

And should a woman’s sex drive grow so strong that it wears her husband out, well, there are vibrators.

We can debate whether monogamy is preferable or not, but as New York Times writer, Daniel Bergner put it,

Perhaps the fantasy that so many of us harbor, consciously or not, in the early days of our relationships, that we have found a soul mate who will offer us both security and passion, till death do us part, will soon be available with the aid of a pill.

I’d rather women enjoy sex because our culture stopped repressing their desire, but if a pill works in the interim, that’s a-okay by me. So long as she is empowered by this option, and not pressured by her partners or society.

Since the FDA has approved this pill, it looks like our society has grown less fearful of women’s sexual pleasure.

I updated and re-ran this post to reflect the FDA’s approval of “Female Viagra”

Related posts
Surprises in Indiana University Sex Survey
Sexual Desire & Sexism
Vibrators and Women’s Sexuality: Out of the Closet?

About BroadBlogs

I have a Ph.D. from UCLA in sociology (emphasis: gender, social psych). I currently teach sociology and women's studies at Foothill College in Los Altos Hills, CA. I have also lectured at San Jose State. And I have blogged for Feminispire, Ms. Magazine, The Good Men Project and Daily Kos. Also been picked up by The Alternet.

Posted on August 24, 2015, in feminism, psychology, relationships, sex and sexuality, sexism, women and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 27 Comments.

  1. It’s weird it’s called “female viagra” when the pill is supposed to increase a woman’s libido it seems or increase sexual desire, interest and lust for a woman. You think if it was “female viagra” it would work in a way that simply increases lubrication for a woman or aroused in that way, but not mentally. So women whether it’s age or repression can have times where they aren’t lubricated enough or lubricants needed, so like a sexual disfunction just like a man having ED. The reason I say this is because viagra for men, doesn’t increase male lust or yearning for sex. It doesn’t make a man hornier, but simply helps the physical part in allowing him to have an erection. But the female viagra is supposed to help get a woman “horny” or want sex more. Can’t say it’s the same thing as like I said, viagra is a drug to help a man be ready for sex and to have sex “erection” so the equivalent of such a drug for women would actually be one that allows her to be ready for sex” lubrication, etc’ and not really her wanting sex visually or mentally now.

    • Yeah, they originally tried giving women Viagra, and also a female form of Viagra, and it didn’t help solve the root problem. The root problem was that women didn’t have desire to have sex, so they decided they had to deal with that. But people just call it female Viagra. I guess because both of the drugs facilitate sex. But unlike men, desire was the root problem. And I suspect that women lose interest faster than men in long-term relationships because of repression.

  2. I understand that (in California at least) there is now a cannabis oil product with similar claims. That seems like less of a systemic solution–probably with fewer side effects.

  3. “First, a big reason men seek divorce is a partner’s low sex drive (which likely stems from repression). So if women desired sex more, there’d be less divorce from that cause.”

    Flawed logic.

    These married women often have a low desire for their husbands, only. They have a perfectly normal libido otherwise. Just for a different man or men.

    “The truth is, most women stay true to their partners even when their sexual desire for them drops. But for those who are bored and stay, or for those who might otherwise stray to recapture that spark, this little pill could boost monogamous relationships.”

    Possibly…But, I would not hold my breath on it.

    • I guess I wasn’t clear enough. Here’s how it works:

      Men have a high and strong sex drive which keeps them interested in their partner overtime. They don’t need a huge amount of stimulus to get them going.

      Women’s sexuality has been repressed which means they need a much higher level of stimulus to get them going. In the early stages of her relationship she’s very excited because it’s new, she’s excited about having been chosen by him, she senses his excitement by the newness. She feels his intense yearning for her.

      That’s enough to get her pretty interested. But if they have been together a while and it’s a committed relationship the newness has worn off, she’s not feeling the same intense yearning for her, and she’s not even feeling chosen as much as that he’s trapped into having sex with her — this last part about feeling trapped isn’t exactly conscious, it’s just that on some level she knows he doesn’t have other options, So she doesn’t have all this excitement about having been chosen. So she loses interest. (A new romance could create what she once had with her husband.)

      Now, if she had a little pill, THAT would boost her sexual interest she wouldn’t need all that extra sexual stimulus.

      So what I described explains why they have a low desire only for their husbands. Because it takes so much to get them going. The pill would solve that problem.

      Some women will still cheat, just as men do, because about a quarter of the population seems to be less monogamous. Plus some people have sex for a self-esteem boost. A pill that enhances desire won’t make them more monogamous.

  4. Well. To say I have mixed feelings about this pill would be an understatement :). Here’s the thing. Female sexuality/libido/desire is such a mystery still. Women don’t understand it, men have no idea. There is no one reason for low sex drive in one woman, let alone women in general. I can think of half a dozen reasons why my own sex drive may or may not be low off the top of my head, and easily half a dozen more when I think about it. Yes, we are complex, yes we are different to men. It kind of reminds me of that other pill that was supposed to benefit women, but in the end, has freed us up to be more sexually available to men and given us health problems, not to mention making us reliant on pharmaceutical companies to hormonally medicate us our entire life. Nup, I don’t like it. I don’t necessarily think that it should be banned, but I wouldn’t take it.

    • Well, women should have the option if they want it and don’t feel under pressure to use it.

      I would prefer that women’s sexuality was simply less repressed. But when nearly half of American women have clear signs of sexual dysfunction you know we live in a repressive society for women, still today. (Plus all the sex shaming and slut-shaming and negative words like “screw” to describe sex — or harming someone — that continues today in the US.)

  5. “She kind of makes love to herself, vicariously through his eyes… his desire for her.”- I think most of the women will agree with this…

    As for female viagra, if they have one for men, there should be one for women, too…

  6. I’m all for women having their desire and no reason why they shouldn’t get in on the fun if men are. Given a choice, I would rather there be dialogue and avenues that would allow for men/women to be able to figure out why their desire has been shut down/how to reactivate it/how to reconnect rather than taking a pill to bandaid what may really be going on.

    • There are things that are better than Band-Aids. But sometimes it’s nice to have a Band-Aid.

      And the loss of interest is so widespread that the cause probably goes far beyond anything happening between the couple. Although that can play big role in many cases.

  7. Viagra,Cialis and Levitra do absolutely nothing to make a guy feel more desirous to do anything,,,the ONLY thing those drugs do for a guy is supposedly provide more blood flow so the guy can at least have a chance (repeat that a chance) at having a so called normal sexual encounter plumbing-wise.But of course those asinine tv spots make it seem like you pop a pill and viola: a limitless,enjoyable sex life,wrong answer lol and add to that the horrible side effects from those drugs and truly they aren’t even worth the bother.The only way a guy is going to increase his desire to a noticeable level is to get testosterone injections otherwise….but if some women can get some benefit from a female desire drug more power to them but again there is going to be a large percentile id imagine of women who these just plain aren’t going to work for or the side effects will be unbearable.

  8. From what I have read, this ‘female viagra’ is such a disappointment and another disappointing act by pharmaceutical companies to reap in millions. A great friend of mine is an OBGYN and sent me the following link: http://flip.it/hEhd3. I am quite anti-pharma due to work in the industry as an analyst in China/Asia (where every big name sold drugs to 3rd-World markets that were banned in the USA just to support their bottom line).

    A drug that actually worked would be a victory, but it seems that this drug is such garbage.

    • Interestingly, these sorts of pills have the highest rate of placebo effect — something like 50% of women to take sugar pills but think they are taking an “increase in desire” pill experience an increase of desire.

      Trials so far look like the drug’s actually having an effect, but it can depend on the woman, too.

  9. To be fair, male Viagra don’t create sexual desire, just make easy for a men have an erection. While the female Viagra create sexual desire, at least that what they said.

    Not being a specialist, in the same way that you can’t make someone fall in love, you can’t create sexual desire. Maybe you can make it easier having sexual desire, but the alcohol can do the same, and even some placebo can.

    To me looks like a big fake, they are just giving women hundred of hormones so they can be be the sexual being that society wants.

    People need to stop wanting be accepted at any cost by society.

    • “You can’t create sexual desire. Maybe you can make it easier having sexual desire.” I think that’s what the drug manufacturer said about this drug. But it is the first drug where it seems to work better than the placebo, So maybe there is something to it.

  10. Well written & balanced article & you are right…whether couples admit so or not , the vast majority of marriages & LTR’s become sexless. I have started divorce proceedings myself , but the main reasons were her laziness , unappreciative attitude as well as the above..mind you it was ME that mainly did not want sex…a slob is a big a turn off as you can get !! I will be staying single after I have sorted all affairs out , my children come first !! Ironically I’m so glad my libido has declined over the years , just want it gone !!

  11. I knew there’s viagra for men but I honestly didn’t know that there was such thing for viagra for women! I don’t know anything about these pills for men and women but I find it a little silly that, “some feared that Lybrido could create orgasm-hungry, sex-craved nymphomaniacs who cheated on husbands and splintered society” because I wonder if that’s how some people think about men who take viagra.

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