That Cool New Female Viagra Is a Bust

Shutterstock.com

Shutterstock.com

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 »

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 »