That Cool New Female Viagra Is a Bust

In the November issue of Philly Mag, I expressed some doubt as to whether American women would flock to a new pill, known as “the female Viagra,” intended to increase their longing to have sex. The drug, flibanserin, known commercially as Addyi, was developed by a German drug firm and acquired by a small North Carolina drug company that in turn was bought by Canadian pharma giant Valeant for a billion dollars in cash a day after the FDA approved its use by women suffering from low libido. That FDA approval came in the wake of a studied PR campaign by the North Carolina company, Sprout, that involved charging the FDA with sexism and busing dozens of women to FDA hearings where they offered tearful testimony about the havoc not wanting to have sex was wreaking on their lives. According to Sprout, more than 40 percent of all women are experiencing sexual dysfunction. When the approval was granted, Sally Greenberg, executive director of the National Consumers League, claimed an epic victory: “I think this is a huge moment for women’s sexual health, in the way that the Pill was for women’s sexual health and ability to control their own destiny.”

Well, Addyi went on sale on October 17th, and the rush of women to embrace it hasn’t exactly been dizzying. Read more »

INTERVIEW: The One and Only Dr. Ruth

dr-ruth-philadelphia-interviewTiny German dynamo Dr. Ruth Westheimer is as busy as ever in her 87th year. She comes to town next week to speak at the National Museum of American Jewish Heritage for its annual Dreamers and Doers series. The therapist who made her reputation with frank talk about sex, still has plenty to say.

On Monday, Westheimer speaks about her two most recent books (she’s penned 37!): Her memoir, The Doctor is In: Dr. Ruth on Love, Life and Joie de Vivre, and her children’s picture book about courage, Leopold.

On Tuesday, Westheimer attends the preview of the play about her life, Becoming Dr. Ruth at Walnut Street Theatre. It follows her life beginning when she fled the Nazis and Frankfurt at age 10. Taking part in Kindertransport, the evacuation of Jewish children to Switzerland, she never saw her family again. The play follows her as she gets older and joins the Haganah (Israel’s freedom fighters), through her years in Paris, marriages, children, single-motherhood and life in New York City. Westheimer will participate in a talk-back live session that follows the show. Get your sex questions ready!

Read more »

Do Women Really Want Their Own Viagra?

Photo | Ted Morrison

Photo | Ted Morrison

I’m 59 years old, I’ve been married for 32 years, and my husband and I have sex five times a week.

You’re thinking something about me, aren’t you?

But I’m just kidding. I am 59, and I have been married that long, but my husband and I have sex five times a year.

Now you’re thinking something else about me.

From the time a delivery-room nurse puts us on a scale at birth, we compare ourselves and are compared to everyone around us. Are we taller? Prettier? Faster? Smarter? We do this all through life.

When it comes to sex, studies say the typical American couple has it just over once a week. Feel better? Worse? Research shows that on average, young people have more sex than old folks. Married couples have more than singles. But averages don’t help you find a comfortable rung on the sexual ladder. Remember that scene in Annie Hall where the therapist asks Woody Allen how often he and Diane Keaton have sex? “Hardly ever,” he says mournfully. Then the therapist asks Keaton, and she sighs: “Constantly.”

This is a story about women having sex — or, rather, women not having sex. Not having enough sex. Maybe. Enough for what, though? Enough to make them happy? Or enough to make a drug company a billion bucks? Read more »

OKCupid: Penn Students Have Low Sex Drive


OKCupid has a lot of users, and a treasure trove of data about them. Every once in a while, they release data in a cutesy way, and we get to laugh at the non-scientific correlations made from the data. It’s fun! In many ways it’s much more fun than dating.

The latest release from OKC is an analysis of the habits of the top 20 colleges in the country (at least according to U.S. News and World Report).

And we learned one very important fact from about the University of Pennsylvania: Its students have low sex drives. At the very least, Penn kids say they have less sex than members of other elite colleges, universities and Princeton.

So are Penn kids just too focused on finance to hook up? Is there something in the water in West Philly? Can I use this as an excuse for an extraordinary dry spell my junior year of college at Penn? (I know the answer to that last one!) Read more »

Stu Bykofsky Doesn’t Think I Should Have Had an Abortion

Patricia Ireland, president of National Organization for Women (NOW), third from right, demonstrates with other NOW participants in favor of the Roe vs. Wade decision during the candlelight vigil on the steps of the Supreme Court in Washington D.C. in 2000.

Patricia Ireland, president of National Organization for Women (NOW), third from right, demonstrates with other NOW participants in favor of the Roe vs. Wade decision during the candlelight vigil on the steps of the Supreme Court in Washington D.C. in 2000.

In an odious “story” in today’s Daily News, Stu Bykofsky, a man whom I have never met, makes the huge (and hugely male) presumption that he knows why I had an abortion 40 years ago, how I felt about it then, and how I feel about it now. “There are women more casual about their abortions than their hair color,” he writes, and recalls feminist rallies he attended back in the day at which women wore t-shirts that read, “I had an abortion!” “I had 2 abortions!” “I had 3 abortions!”

It’s possible, since Stu is so old, that his memory is faulty. I don’t remember any such jolly carnivals of fetus-killing. The women I know celebrate the fact that abortion is an option that is legally available to them and their daughters. They would never, ever celebrate having one. What a despicable assumption for Stu to make. Read more »

Foot Orgasm? Drexel Prof Says Yes, Explains Footgasms

Dr. Marcel Waldinger being interviewed with a female patient. (Photo via

Dr. Marcel Waldinger being interviewed with a female patient. (Photo via

It wasn’t so long ago that we all had a few chuckles over Drexel University’s virtual butt, a hysterical-looking tool that allows medical students to perform prostrate exams without a real patient. (Seriously, you have to see this thing.) And now, we are learning about a new Drexel professor and his unusual area of expertise: the foot orgasm, also known as a footgasm. Read more »

Drexel: Most Adults Are Sexting

Sexting isn’t just a teen fad, a new study from Drexel University has found. Eight in 10 adults have sexted in the last year, according to the study — and couples who sext report having higher satisfaction levels in their relationship.

In other words, sexting couples are happy couples. And there are a whole bunch more of them than you might have ever suspected.

“These findings,” the study’s authors wrote, “indicate a robust relationship between sexting and sexual satisfaction.” Read more »

Is Stripper Registry Bill a Trojan Horse Meant to Shut Down Nudie Bars?

I don’t like strip clubs.

The first time I went to a nudie bar, I felt like I was watching pornography with a room full of people I would never even want to hug, let alone fire up next to. I decided pretty quickly that my first time would be my last time.

So I can understand why state Rep. Matt Baker might have the impulse to shut down strip clubs. The Tioga County Republican has introduced a bill that would require strippers to provide tons of information — their name, stage name, address, phone number, date of birth, place of birth, height, weight, hair color, eye color, criminal background information, trafficking status and photo ID — to a government registry. He says the legislation is singularly aimed at fighting the horrors of sex trafficking, but truth be told, it also appears to be designed to wreak havoc on the strip club industry.

And the thing is, you can’t just put a place out of business simply because you find it distasteful. I don’t personally like strip clubs (or casinos or pet boutiques) either, but I think they should be allowed to exist. Read more »

Uh-Oh! Cheating Online Isn’t Safe Anymore

“I mean isn’t that why we are here, to be as discreet as possible?”

Those enticing words probably sound a little different today to the Brockton, Massachusetts, man who posted them on the marital-cheating website Ashley Madison than they did when he typed them. He’s the first AM user publicly outed by hackers who this week compromised the adulterous secret identities of 37,000,000 current and former users of the site.

Intrigued? Want to know more? Of course you do; this is the Internet. Boston’s WBZ-TV reports: “Among the data released about the Brockton client of Ashley Madison: His user ID is ‘Heavy73’; he listed himself as ‘married/attached’; he joined the site the day after Valentine’s Day, 2014; he likes ‘cuddling & hugging’ and is into ‘discretion & secrecy.’” Read more »

Lawmaker Who Wants a Stripper Registry Tells His Story

Rep. Matt Baker | Photo courtesy of Baker's office

Rep. Matt Baker | Photo courtesy of Baker’s office

State Rep. Matt Baker, a Republican who represents the county home to the “Grand Canyon of Pennsylvania,” wants to do something that is awfully Big Government.

He is proposing legislation that would require strippers and other workers in the adult entertainment industry to provide a boatload of information — their name, stage name, address, phone number, date of birth, place of birth, height, weight, hair color, eye color, criminal background information, trafficking status and photo ID — to a government registry. The bill would also bar alcohol from strip clubs and force customers and nude dancers to remain six feet apart at all times.

Baker, as well as a Christian group known as the Pennsylvania Family Institute that helped draft the legislation, claim that their goal is to prevent sex trafficking, a/k/a adults and children being coerced or forced into prostitution and other sex work against their will. How the heck would a state registry do that? Is this just a Trojan horse intended to put strip clubs out of business? And why on Earth, as the Philadelphia City Paper reported, did Baker not consult the strippers he purports to care about so deeply before introducing the bill?

We, like several dancers, the American Civil Liberties Union and advocates for sex workers, had a lot of questions. So we put them to Baker. He responded to all of them (well, except one) via email.
Read more »

« Older Posts