A Bitter Pill To Swallow


Personally, I hate this concept of “female viagra”. It has been eating at me more and more. I am particularly incensed by the implication that this drug is a step toward sexual equality. 

It is NOT.

Especially when taking into account the side effect profile (low blood pressure, fainting, dizziness, sleepiness, insomnia, nausea) which increases with use of hormonal birth control and alcohol, and the fact that this new drug is only marginally effective, bringing about 1 extra orgasm per month. Hell, a glass of wine every now and then is probably safer and more effective. 

Women deserve better.

Erectile dysfunction is a physiological issue when you treat it with Viagra. Viagra and related drugs change how blood flows through the penis to allow erections. Libido in women, the desire for sex, generally is a psychosocial issue with a myriad of causes and as such does not have a good, pharmacological fix. There is not just one simple fits all answer. There are a multitude of variables at play, each with their own subset of issues. Hormones. Fatigue. Stress. Ambiance. Medication side effects. Relationship dynamics. I could go on.

The DSM-5 lists the diagnostic criteria for Female Sexual Interest/Arousal Disorder as including a minimum of three of the following present for more than six months and that causes clinically significant distress:

1. Absent or reduced interest in sexual activity. 

2. Absent or reduced sexual/erotic thoughts or fantasies.

3. No/reduced initiation of sexual activity, and typically unreceptive to a partner’s attempts to initiate.

4. Absent/reduced sexual excitement/pleasure during sexual activity in all or almost all sexual encounters (75-100%).

5. Absent/reduced sexual interest/arousal in response to any internal/external sexual/erotic cues.

6. Absent/reduced genital/nongenital sensations during sexual activity in all or almost all (75-100%) sexual encounters.

I don’t know about you, but that describes me about 75% of the time…

When looking at the prevalence of female sexual dysfunction, some studies state that it occurs in 25-63% of women. In fact, Even the Score (a lobbying group closely affiliated with the pharmaceutical company that stands to make millions off of this drug) states that 1 in 10 women meet the criteria for hypoactive sexual desire disorder. Can something that prevalent really be a disease?!?!? There may be women who would benefit from this drug but I find it hard to believe it would be that many and I am angry that a pharmaceutical company is allowed to manipulate public opinion in this way. Let women believe there is something wrong with them so that you can sell the pill that “fixes” them? At what cost? That is hardly a humanitarian act.

More importantly, however, do we want sexual desire reduced to taking a pill? Because despite what the drug companies say, this is what this is about.

Do I want a pharmaceutical making me feel something that isn’t there? Something that perhaps I should not be feeling for certain people?

Further, it begs the question what should a woman be to you? A fuck toy? A robotic companion without free will? Or a challenge? A loving partner?

And should we define successful intercourse as achieving orgasm 100% of the time? Should women be in a perpetual state of horniness? That is a pipe dream, an unrealistic expectation that sets us all up for failure.

I want a man, I deserve a man, who takes the time to find out how to make love to me and not just sexually. What turns me on? What turns me off? What are my day to day needs? Makes me feel loved. Safe. Beautiful. Puts my needs above his. 

Take care of me and I will take care of you…

Medicine has failed women in this respect, neglecting to advocate for women’s sexual and emotional health like it should and as a result we end up with this, this pill. This is what failure looks like. 

I won’t pretend to know all of the answers. I cannot pass on the secret codex for a consistantly fulfilling sex life because I do not know it myself yet. I am as frustrating to deal with as any other woman. I go through periods of not wanting to be touched. I fake orgasms from time to time just to get it over with. Ultimately, though, I believe making sex easy would cheapen it, cheapen women.

As you can see, I have very strong opinions on the matter, but that does not necessarily make me right. I would love to hear from you! How do you feel about sex? This pill? Would you take it? Men,would you want your partner to take it? Am I overreacting? What attracts you to your partner? 

(And if you are wondering why I picked this seemingly unrelated photo… Think mossy, unused walls.)


181 thoughts on “A Bitter Pill To Swallow

  1. Excuse me, doctor, but ED is far from just a physiological issue. In fact, I’ll bet that’s probably a small part of it. All of those variables you mention weigh just as heavily on men.

    The problem here is that they’re taking a male problem and ascribing it to women. As if they felt the same about it as men do. And what do we do here in the U.S.A.? Why, we TAKE A PILL, of course!

    Liked by 2 people

    • If a male is being prescribed viagra for their ED it IS a physiological issue which hopefully I pointed out in the article. That drug does not work on nonphysiological issues except perhaps in a placebo capacity. No one is trying to make men more horny with it at least. ED for men is not always physiological, you are correct. There is a lot of mislabeling of ED, too, when ED is not at all the problem.


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  3. Are you overreacting? Nope. Nopety nopety nope nope nope. (And did I mention, NO!?)

    I feel exactly the same way. I am so tired of how we medicalize ( in order to *medicate*) an incredibly wide range of women’s emotional lives and realities. This trend pathologizes normal variety, and — even more dangerous — often risks undermining women’s instincts and mentally healthy defenses. (Your question about “Something that perhaps I should not be feeling for certain people?” almost made me stand up and cheer!).


    Liked by 1 person

  4. I agree with you completely. I’m very in touch with my sexuality as long as my mind is in the right place. I just started a new job and the stress took my libido from 100 to 0. No pill can fix that. I would never take it.

    Liked by 1 person

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  6. I agree with you Doctor. I am about to complete my 72nd year on this earth and do not feel the need to take anything for sexual pleasure. I am still married to the man of my dreams. Oh don’t get me wrong we have our difference’s, but that’s what marriage is all about. Compromise.
    Before we were married we had to attend Pre-kana meetings for 3 weeks. I thought it was ridiculous but I did indeed attend. The instructor was candid and honest about all aspects of marriage. Some of it when in one ear and out the other. I can only attribute that to my young age, but one thing he said stuck in my head like a dead fly on a wall. He proceeded to tell us that at our age love is all sex, sex, sex. It is like a huge balloon, and as a couple we just keep inflating it, It is 95% of the marriage. However as the years go by and we age, love changes. He then proceeded to tell us what love really is.
    ” It is the old man and old woman sitting on the porch in their rocking chairs, she is picking her nose and he is looking at her adoringly.”
    Love and sex are at opposite ends of the spectrum. It is like a seed you plant together. You take care of the soil, feed it, weed it, water it care for it. It takes a long time, but if you do that together and for each other the bloom that you planted together will finally blossom and you will then know what true love is.

    Just my humble opinion. :o)

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Unless I’m misunderstanding:
    Viagra’s not for libido, it’s for limp dick — the guy still WANTS it, but can’t get it up for some reason. So the blue pill fixes it. He’s horny, he makes sure he takes a pill, he can get it on.

    Pink Viagra’s not for getting wet when you already want it — it’s for making women want it when they didn’t already. That’s… not fixing a dysfunction. That’s FDA-approved Spanish Fly.

    I think I might throw up.

    Liked by 1 person

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