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Don't Call Female Desire Drugs "Lady Viagra"
May 22, 2013 1:03 PM   Subscribe

A new wave of female sexual desire drugs may soon be on their way to market. Still entrenched in the rigors of the FDA’s approval process, two drugs, Lybrido and Lybridos, should be available by 2016 if they pass their tests. But talking reasonably about these drugs—their risks and benefits and what societal shifts, if any, could stem from them—means thinking about them in the right way. (Link is to summary article in Smithsonian News; full in-depth article in New York Times Magazine
posted by SweetTeaAndABiscuit (176 comments total) 21 users marked this as a favorite

 
Gawd why don't they let me name these things? Then we would be anticipating approval of

RANDYY®
posted by Mister_A at 1:09 PM on May 22, 2013 [4 favorites]


Yeah, I was just popping in to say OMG THOSE NAMES.
posted by mathowie at 1:10 PM on May 22, 2013 [5 favorites]


Calling a female desire drug “lady Viagra” draws parallels between the two types of drugs that really aren’t there.

Well, yes...but, it also draws parallels between them that ARE there. They both facilitate sexytime.
posted by ian1977 at 1:10 PM on May 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


Spanish Fly®
posted by perhapses at 1:11 PM on May 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


She-alis?
posted by ian1977 at 1:11 PM on May 22, 2013 [20 favorites]


I would call it Unicorn, because it doesn't fucking exist.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 1:13 PM on May 22, 2013 [15 favorites]


I misread that second name as Lybidros, which sounds like a Godzilla feature or something.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 1:14 PM on May 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


Lybrido and Lybridos

Be sure to try my new boner pills, Viagras and Ciali.
posted by Sys Rq at 1:15 PM on May 22, 2013 [6 favorites]


Will they be accompanied by little strips of litmus paper you can dip into your drink at the bar to make sure no one has spiked it with a little LiBROdo?
posted by prefpara at 1:17 PM on May 22, 2013 [3 favorites]


The one drug quickly rejected by the FDA was "Isle of Lysbos".
posted by GuyZero at 1:18 PM on May 22, 2013 [6 favorites]


Makes me wonder if my marriage would have survived had this been on the market...
posted by Samizdata at 1:19 PM on May 22, 2013 [5 favorites]


Screwitol
Humpimax
Hornisec


ok done
posted by jquinby at 1:19 PM on May 22, 2013 [12 favorites]


Why do I have this odd feeling that the desire for these drugs comes more from the testosterone-addled sector of society?
posted by Thorzdad at 1:19 PM on May 22, 2013 [8 favorites]


two drugs, Lybrido and Lybridos

From the makers of LASIK and LASEK comes the most unnecessarily confusing brand names of all time

You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll have permanent misinformation on your health record
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 1:20 PM on May 22, 2013 [22 favorites]


Ask your doctor if Jusphyqmialredi is right for you!
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 1:20 PM on May 22, 2013 [18 favorites]


Niagra
posted by MuffinMan at 1:20 PM on May 22, 2013 [30 favorites]


Fuxxitor
posted by Chrysostom at 1:20 PM on May 22, 2013 [4 favorites]


According to the article, the named drugs do have an impact on arterial flow like Viagra, but also on the brain. So not totally dissimilar.

I can't escape the sense that there's a built-in assumption here about men and women -- that for men a lack of desire can be solved physically, without concern for the mental aspect, whereas with women solving the physical side seems trivial enough compared to the mental that the article totally dismisses the Viagra similarity.

As a guy, I'd like to think a lack of arousal on my part deserves more attention than "here, take this pill, now you're erect and the problem is solved." More disturbing to me, you can flip that assumption around and think that Viagra is for men who want to but can't, while these drugs are for women who don't want to. Hmm.
posted by davejay at 1:20 PM on May 22, 2013 [23 favorites]


Lady Viagra, children at your feet.
Wonder how you manage to make ends meet.
posted by charlie don't surf at 1:21 PM on May 22, 2013 [23 favorites]


For many woman (and men) in long-term relationships, the urges of earlier days can wane.

And we're going to convince you that's a medical problem if it's the last thing we do!
posted by FelliniBlank at 1:21 PM on May 22, 2013 [27 favorites]


Ladies should just carry around a picture of Lorenzo Lamas; he's dreamy!
posted by Mister_A at 1:22 PM on May 22, 2013 [7 favorites]


AttentiveAndConsiderateForeplayWhilstRecognizingThatAllPlayDoesNotNecessarilyNeedCulminateInIntercousinex

I'm doing it wrong, aren't I?
posted by leotrotsky at 1:23 PM on May 22, 2013 [33 favorites]


Prediction: while Viagra will continue to be covered by many insurance plans, the religious right will lobby to ensure that these drugs are never covered by insurance (or even made widely available without jumping through excessive hoops) except as part of a fertility treatment plan.
posted by treepour at 1:23 PM on May 22, 2013 [8 favorites]


Also, kidding aside, there are women out there who have medical reasons behind their loss of libido, and who may want to do something about it.
posted by Mister_A at 1:23 PM on May 22, 2013 [12 favorites]


"Calling a female desire drug “lady Viagra” draws parallels between the two types of drugs that really aren’t there."

Strong enough for a man, but made for a woman, but you'd better be into certain things.
posted by Capt. Renault at 1:23 PM on May 22, 2013


Wow, I'm pretty shocked by the jokes and cynicism here. This is potentially EXCELLENT news for women (and their partners), especially women who have had serious physiological and sexual side effects from menopause, which can not only result in diminished libido but significantly painful intercourse. Having my own sexual response pulled out from under me like a rug was, in the long run, the worst emotional part of my cancer treatment a few years ago. After being sexually active for 20+ years, it was extremely disorienting to be in a body that no longer felt or responded as it had for decades.

Why do I have this odd feeling that the desire for these drugs comes more from the testosterone-addled sector of society?

I assure you, from my point of view, this comes just as much from my partner's desire as it does from mine. I hope these work. Women have the right to sexual pleasure and satisfaction as much as men do.
posted by scody at 1:24 PM on May 22, 2013 [137 favorites]


Ladies should just carry around a picture of Lorenzo Lamas; he's dreamy!

Mosca español...
posted by jim in austin at 1:26 PM on May 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


Why do I have this odd feeling that the desire for these drugs comes more from the testosterone-addled sector of society?

Your question is really its own answer.
posted by Dr Dracator at 1:27 PM on May 22, 2013 [5 favorites]


It's not called Tequila?
posted by smoothvirus at 1:27 PM on May 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


Those pill names sound like pokemon.
posted by hellojed at 1:28 PM on May 22, 2013 [6 favorites]


I think the mocking is generally directed at the...not-so-subtle...naming of the drugs, not their potential for good.
posted by jquinby at 1:28 PM on May 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


Wellpoontrim.
posted by munchingzombie at 1:28 PM on May 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


Wow, I'm pretty shocked by the jokes

The article has the term "Lady Viagra" in the title. Who can resist?
posted by ian1977 at 1:29 PM on May 22, 2013


Wow, I'm pretty shocked by the jokes and cynicism here.

I think that mainly has to do with the way TFA is framing the topic and products.
posted by FelliniBlank at 1:29 PM on May 22, 2013


Serious question: Is the photo in the 1st link what packages of Viagra actually look like?

Because that's pretty grossly heteronormative.
posted by shakespeherian at 1:30 PM on May 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


Yeah - the product names and marketing are heinous. That's all.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 1:30 PM on May 22, 2013


Erectile dysfunction and low libido are two very real medical disorders and I'm glad both have treatments available. I think both should be covered by all insurance plans.
Now back to the jokes, because sex.
posted by rocket88 at 1:33 PM on May 22, 2013 [7 favorites]


Oh, additionally, the FDA has recently approved Osphena for painful intercourse related to menopause. It's not yet on the market, but it's also good news.

I think the mocking is generally directed at the...not-so-subtle...naming of the drugs, not their potential for good

Yes, of course, the names are ridiculous (as are most drug names), and they make me cringe, too. But there's another undercurrent here...

And we're going to convince you that's a medical problem if it's the last thing we do!

Why do I have this odd feeling that the desire for these drugs comes more from the testosterone-addled sector of society?

...which I think is worth noting. I also think it's a shame that the stupid marketing derails from the what I think is a more interesting and important discussion of women's sexuality and sexual dysfunction and the way in which they've been addressed (or not) by the medical establishment. (Especially given how common medical menopause is for cancer treatment for many women.) But yes, by all means, ask your doctor if Lubrixious is right for you.
posted by scody at 1:36 PM on May 22, 2013 [15 favorites]


Goddammit, Charlie don't surf, I had a whole riff on that.

(Con't)

Who finds the money when you pay the rent
Did you think that pillbox was heaven sent?
posted by Diablevert at 1:37 PM on May 22, 2013


More like Lybridon't AMIRInevermind
posted by phong3d at 1:39 PM on May 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


Niagra
posted by MuffinMan


I know you are kidding, but come on, there's a nice, relevant symmetry there, no?

I'm a gay man, and this will not be marketed to me, so tell me if it's offensive, but dammit, I think you're on to something with this!

Similarly, instead of naming it Cialis, they should've called it Granite!
posted by MoxieProxy at 1:39 PM on May 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


I like Fukital.
posted by FauxScot at 1:40 PM on May 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


From the NY Times story:
Both drugs have a peppermint-flavored testosterone coating that melts in the mouth. When the exterior is gone, the woman swallows a delayed-release inner tablet. In Lybrido, this inner pill is a close cousin of Viagra. The idea is that the Viagra-like molecule, by making extra blood flow to the genitals and adding to swelling and sensation, will work in conjunction with the testosterone. Together they will stir the mind to be more aware of erotic impulses; together they will help spark dopamine networks. Lybridos uses a compound called buspirone instead of the Viagra-like substance. Buspirone was originally used as an anti-anxiety medication, and if taken every day it can elevate serotonin in the brain. But as long as it’s taken no more than every other day, it has a unique short-term effect: for a few hours, serotonin is suppressed.
The outside coating is a hormone whose effects on female sexual arousal/perception have been known for a while now. I don't think that it has any kind of patent protection. The inside of the pill is an off-patent anti-anxiety med, or it is a me-too cousin of Viagra, whose future patent protection is unclear. Rolled together in a single pill, they are eligible for many years of patent protection.

I have no reason to doubt that the medication is safe and effective. But I have to wonder if better avenues are left unexplored because they may not be as profitable.
posted by compartment at 1:40 PM on May 22, 2013 [8 favorites]


Erectile dysfunction and low libido are two very real medical disorders and I'm glad both have treatments available. I think both should be covered by all insurance plans.

some men have circulatory problems or nerve damage which prevents them from getting erect, some women have hormonal problems from missing ovaries/uteruses, pain from intercourse for various reasons, but... that's not why Viagra made billions of dollars for the pharmaceutical industry and why they are trying to make Lady Viagra

that nytmag article is easily the most depressing thing you'll read this month.
When Tuiten, a disheveled, youthful 58-year-old, told me the story of how he conceived of Lybrido and Lybridos, there was something sad and funny and metaphorically perfect about it — it was a tale of scientific ingenuity stemming from a young man’s broken heart. Tuiten was in his mid-20s when his girlfriend, a woman he’d been in love with since he was 13, abruptly decided to leave him. “I was — flabbergasted. You can say that?” he asked me, making sure, in his choppy English, that he was using the right word. “I was shocked. I was suffering.” He was an older university student at the time; before that, he’d been a furniture maker. The breakup inspired a lifelong quest to comprehend female emotion through biochemistry and led to his career as a psychopharmacologist. “I’m a little bit — not insane,” Tuiten said. “But. There became a need for me to understand my personal life in this way.”
...
Over the last decade, as companies chased after an effective chemical, there was fretting within the drug industry: what if, in trials, a medicine proved too effective? More than one adviser to the industry told me that companies worried about the prospect that their study results would be too strong, that the F.D.A. would reject an application out of concern that a chemical would lead to female excesses, crazed binges of infidelity, societal splintering.

“You want your effects to be good but not too good,” Andrew Goldstein, who is conducting the study in Washington, told me. “There was a lot of discussion about it by the experts in the room,” he said, recalling his involvement with the development of Flibanserin, “the need to show that you’re not turning women into nymphomaniacs.” He was still a bit stunned by the entrenched mores that lay within what he’d heard. “There’s a bias against — a fear of creating the sexually aggressive woman.”
this is about how american society is busy trying to commodify every last thing about being human while wallowing in extreme sexism masked as science.
posted by ennui.bz at 1:42 PM on May 22, 2013 [36 favorites]


Also, as long as we're making dumb name jokes: Sexuol™
posted by compartment at 1:43 PM on May 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


Labrys ®
posted by Zed at 1:43 PM on May 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


Why do I have this odd feeling that the desire for these drugs comes more from the testosterone-addled sector of society?

I experienced lowered libido because of hormonal BC, and it was absolutely horrible and disheartening. Because of this, I have chosen to use a copper IUD instead, because I'd rather have longer and more painful periods than a lowered libido. If I'd been one of the women who can't tolerate IUDs, I would have killed for access to this pill.
posted by showbiz_liz at 1:44 PM on May 22, 2013 [5 favorites]


Why do I have this odd feeling that the desire for these drugs comes more from the testosterone-addled sector of society?

My thought was similar – engineering increased sexual response so that marketers can then sell more products using sex. I've always found viagra a bit funky. Whilst we have evolved with sex as part of our lives, it's had quite a rooted purpose in reproduction. We've done well at extending sexual intimacy beyond reproduction, and seeing it as a source of pleasure, connectedness, identity, etc. But when I see things like viagra and this – "reaching into the psyche" or whatever that godawful description was – it makes me wonder if we're not a bit too obsessed with sex.

Also it's interesting that men's sexual performance problems are physical whilst women's sexual problems are mental. If women's sexual problems are mental, then wouldn't it stand to reason that women's actual sexual problem is that men aren't attractive enough?
posted by nickrussell at 1:45 PM on May 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


Why do I have this odd feeling that the desire for these drugs comes more from the testosterone-addled sector of society?

Because you've partially bought into the idea that men like sex and women don't? There are all sorts of medical conditions and medications that effect libido. There's nothing wrong with having a low libido, but there's also no reason that a woman who's effected by one of those shouldn't want to have the same libido she did before. I know at least one woman who's deeply frustrated by a drop in her sex drive because of her anti-depressant.
posted by Gygesringtone at 1:46 PM on May 22, 2013 [16 favorites]


And we're going to convince you that's a medical problem if it's the last thing we do!

Again, I was directing that at the marketing efforts here. The NYTimes article addresses that whole set of issues more interestingly, of course, about desire in relationships. Obviously, if any person has a level or type of sexual desire that that person feels is problematic and distressing, or if a change in sexual desire is directly linked to particular identifiable causes, that's a medical problem.

But I think there's a lot of danger in reducing the great, huge, broad spectrum of human sexual desire to, "if you don't want sex X much or if you find your partner boring, it's because something is wrong with you that we, the pharmaceutical industry, must cure."
posted by FelliniBlank at 1:48 PM on May 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


I would pay an extra five dollars for a threading feature so I could read this post without the "Waitwait I know, let's call it ___! LOL!!!1!" jokes.
posted by cribcage at 1:48 PM on May 22, 2013 [11 favorites]


It is exactly like Viagra, but for the man in the little canoe.
posted by ian1977 at 1:48 PM on May 22, 2013


Splooshinex
posted by Sys Rq at 1:51 PM on May 22, 2013


As someone affected, I cannot state the degree to which I appreciate the development of such drugs. And do note that I'm not talking about "low" libido consisting of "Oh, woe is me, I don't want to have sex five times a day, only once a week", but rather the nonexistent "If I never have sex again it'll be too soon" libido.

There is not a law I would not break, nor a price I would not pay to acquire such a substance. If need be, I'd synthesize it myself but I doubt that would be necessary given the existence of the Silk Road.

It's really a very difficult problem. Quite simply, we do not yet have a true aphrodisiac among all the varied drugs and substances in our pantheon of pharmacy.
posted by PharmacistofLucifer at 1:52 PM on May 22, 2013 [17 favorites]


Instead of a Ruficolada She'll have a CubaLybrido...Gigity

OMG I can see the ads now instead of the Cialis bathtubs we have the man in the canoe...gigity
posted by Gungho at 1:52 PM on May 22, 2013


Interesting that one component of one of the pills is buspirone. I take that daily, as it can help alleviate the sexual side effects of SSRIs (I take Effexor for chronic daily headache, though it has also done wonders for menstrual-cycle-related mood swings and anxiety). On buspar, I am having the best sex of my life, and more of it than ever. But the Effexor means I still can't usually come. That's what I want a solution for--not arousal, but the ability to have orgasms. Viagra helps some people on Effexor but I haven't tried it yet.
posted by not that girl at 1:53 PM on May 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


See, why is it a man in that canoe??? If any canoe is going to have a lady in it, it's THAT one.

/rant

Yes, I also like how the inventor dealt with his breakup by trying to find ways to make ladies want the sex more scientifically, instead of going to a therapist or just maybe talking to women?

OTOH, yes, there are women who would benefit from libido drugs, and I am in no way opposed to them in principle. Party on, ladies.
posted by emjaybee at 1:54 PM on May 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


that for men a lack of desire can be solved physically, without concern for the mental aspect

Where does this weird misunderstanding about Viagra come from? Viagra has very little (or nothing) to do with lack of desire. It does not make you want to have sex; it makes it possible to get an erection. Conflating those two concepts is not a good thing.
posted by Justinian at 2:02 PM on May 22, 2013 [17 favorites]


Serious question: Is the photo in the 1st link what packages of Viagra actually look like?

I'm reasonably certain that those are novelty gummy candies. Even though Viagra comes in a chewable form the pill is still opaque and not translucent as in that picture.
posted by kaytwo at 2:04 PM on May 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


We already have those drugs around here. One comes in a bottle marked "Honey, I did the dishes" and the other bottle is marked "I didn't leave dirty socks and 3 beer bottles by the bed".
posted by PuppyCat at 2:04 PM on May 22, 2013 [3 favorites]


My thought was similar – engineering increased sexual response so that marketers can then sell more products using sex.

Right, I'm sure Pfizer has a secret profit-share arrangement with Cosmopolitan and Maxim.

But I think there's a lot of danger in reducing the great, huge, broad spectrum of human sexual desire to, "if you don't want sex X much or if you find your partner boring, it's because something is wrong with you that we, the pharmaceutical industry, must cure."

That would be dangerous. Fortunately no one appears to be saying or doing that.
posted by brain_drain at 2:04 PM on May 22, 2013 [5 favorites]


I foresee a new wave of spam: "Put this in her drink, and..."
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 2:04 PM on May 22, 2013


Instead of a Ruficolada She'll have a CubaLybrido...Gigity

Why are you equating date rape drugs with these sexual desire drugs?
posted by sweetkid at 2:07 PM on May 22, 2013 [9 favorites]


Where does this weird misunderstanding about Viagra come from? Viagra has very little (or nothing) to do with lack of desire. It does not make you want to have sex; it makes it possible to get an erection. Conflating those two concepts is not a good thing.

So if your little purple-helmeted soldier always stands at attention when you need him to, you have no use for Viagra? Interesting.
posted by Unified Theory at 2:08 PM on May 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


What the fuck is going on in this thread, guys. "A drug to enhance female sexual desire? HOW HILARIOUS! It must be a male plot! Because women's sexuality is a commodity to be enjoyed by men, not women! Lol!" Is it truly THAT MINDBLOWING that a, gasp, woman might suffer from a lowered libido and want to get it back?
posted by showbiz_liz at 2:08 PM on May 22, 2013 [63 favorites]


Yeah this is really amazingly bad.
posted by sweetkid at 2:10 PM on May 22, 2013 [8 favorites]


sweetkid:

Because people constantly spread the myth of a "date-rape" drug that turns women into nymphomaniacs. Hint - it doesn't exist. I'd have found it by now if it did. Aphrodisiacs generally do not exist.
posted by PharmacistofLucifer at 2:10 PM on May 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


So if your little purple-helmeted soldier always stands at attention when you need him to, you have no use for Viagra? Interesting.

You have no need for Viagra, no. Use for it? Maybe.
posted by Justinian at 2:11 PM on May 22, 2013


When Tuiten, a disheveled, youthful 58-year-old, told me the story of how he conceived of Lybrido and Lybridos, there was something sad and funny and metaphorically perfect about it — it was a tale of scientific ingenuity stemming from a young man’s broken heart. Tuiten was in his mid-20s when his girlfriend, a woman he’d been in love with since he was 13, abruptly decided to leave him. “I was — flabbergasted. You can say that?” he asked me, making sure, in his choppy English, that he was using the right word. “I was shocked. I was suffering.”

Just be glad this guy decided to turn his angst towards a (theoretically, sort-of) positive goal. It could have gone another way...
posted by FatherDagon at 2:12 PM on May 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


Dunno, Lucifer's Pharmacist. A drug that "reaches into your psyche" sounds kind of scary.
posted by CrazyJoel at 2:12 PM on May 22, 2013


Because people constantly spread the myth of a "date-rape" drug that turns women into nymphomaniacs

Yeah, my impression is that 'roofies' do not make women wild for the sex.
posted by sweetkid at 2:12 PM on May 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


We already have those drugs around here. One comes in a bottle marked "Honey, I did the dishes" and the other bottle is marked "I didn't leave dirty socks and 3 beer bottles by the bed".

Can we all please, please take a step or two back from the gender stereotypes?
posted by pullayup at 2:13 PM on May 22, 2013 [31 favorites]


leotrotsky: "AttentiveAndConsiderateForeplayWhilstRecognizingThatAllPlayDoesNotNecessarilyNeedCulminateInIntercousinex

I'm doing it wrong, aren't I?
"

leotrotsky: "CulminateInIntercousinex"

leotrotsky: "Intercousin"

Yes. You are doing it wrong.
posted by boo_radley at 2:13 PM on May 22, 2013 [6 favorites]


Why are you equating date rape drugs with these sexual desire drugs?

For real. This is testosterone and buspirone. I've got plenty of endogenous testosterone and I take buspirone every day and I promise I am not some sort of perma-roofied rape doll. I have free will! I'm aware of my surroundings! I turn down sex sometimes! I am capable of giving consent!

Seeing as you can't currently use Buspar on men as a date-rape drug, I find it hard to believe that Buspar-plus-testosterone will be any date-rapier for women.
posted by Now there are two. There are two _______. at 2:14 PM on May 22, 2013 [7 favorites]


Mostly they make women almost unconscious and mess with memory.
posted by Justinian at 2:14 PM on May 22, 2013


Some more interesting insights (for those who can actually get past the lulz in order to RTFA):
This interplay of experience and neural pathways is widely known as neuroplasticity. The brain is ever altering. And it is neuroplasticity that may help explain why hypoactive sexual desire disorder is a mostly female condition, why it seems that women, more than men, lose interest in having sex with their long-term partners. If boys and men tend to take in messages that manhood is defined by sex and power, and those messages encourage them to think about sex often, then those neural networks associated with desire will be regularly activated and will become stronger over time. If women, generally speaking, learn other lessons, that sexual desire and expression are not necessarily positive, and if therefore they don’t think as much about sex, then those same neural networks will be less stimulated and comparatively weak. The more robust the neural pathways of eros, the more prone you are to feel lust at home, even as stimuli dissipate with familiarity and habit.

[...]

Gaining control of their reproduction in the ‘60s affected not just women’s sex lives but also everything from their social standing to economic empowerment. What might it mean for conventional structures if women could control, with a prescription, the most primal urge? So many things, personal and cultural, might need to be recalibrated and renegotiated, explicitly or without acknowledgment. The cumulative effect of all those negotiations could be hugely transformative, in ways either thrilling or threatening, depending on your point of view.
posted by scody at 2:14 PM on May 22, 2013 [6 favorites]


We already have those drugs around here. One comes in a bottle marked "Honey, I did the dishes" and the other bottle is marked "I didn't leave dirty socks and 3 beer bottles by the bed".

Can we all please, please take a step or two back from the gender stereotypes?


Yeah, it's like King of Queens in this thread. "I have a dishwasher, I call it my wife" LAUGH TRACK.
posted by sweetkid at 2:16 PM on May 22, 2013 [20 favorites]


You have no need for Viagra, no. Use for it? Maybe.

In popular culture I hear people talking about "going all night" on Viagra and I've never really understood how this benefits someone with no sexual dysfunction. It seems somewhat joyless for a sexually fit, functional male to be blessed with a chemically induced boner. Unless your refractory period is eliminated, it just sounds mechanical and unfun. "Hey baby, I'm hard for the next eight hours, party time!"
posted by Unified Theory at 2:18 PM on May 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


Can we just get a do-over in here, maybe?
posted by shakespeherian at 2:19 PM on May 22, 2013 [5 favorites]


Good god, people, where is the love for the fact that the NYT Magazine article is liberally peppered with photographs of half-naked women? On the left, their presumably dour, stodgy, and joyless former self; on the right, thanks to Lybrido, their rightful sense of sexual vivaciousness has returned! Similar articles regarding the ebb of male desire and male sexual enhancement drugs have also been accompanied by photographs of shirtless menfolk making their best o-face, amirite? (See our ad in Golf magazine.)
Also, big ups for most of the thread comprising a combination of jokes, tangents about how the introduction of these drugs might result in an increase in date rape, and/or some variation of "So, about that Viagra!"/"Dear god, what about the men?!"
For a sizable segment of the undesiring, the most common antidepressants, the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, can be the culprit. Millions of American women are on S.S.R.I.'s, and many of them would have good use for a pill to revive the libido that has been chemically dulled as a side effect of the pill they take to buoy their mood.
QFT. I understand the dangers inherent in our (= humans') general capacity/desire to pathologize 'normal' human behavior, not to mention the infernal loop of having to take one pill to solve the side effects from another, but I think the development of a drug like this is pretty much totally awesome and also that it has the potential to be downright revolutionary.
The absolute worst part of my brief spin on the SSRI/hormonal birth control merry-go-round was completely losing my libido -- while living with a long-time partner, natch. Something that had been very pleasantly present for years just... disappeared, and no matter what I tried, or how much I willed it to be, I couldn't get it back. I remember many nights of helplessly crying because in theory, I wanted to, but in practice, I just couldn't make myself have sex. Ever. And my partner felt miserable, dejected, and rejected, which compounded the frustration for both of us. I also remember looking in the mirror one day and saying out loud, "I don't ever want to have sex again for the rest of my life." And I was 26 years old!

A few years after clearing all of that junk out of my system, I finally feel like my whole being has returned to its original state. It is, in a word, glorious. These days, I feel as though this Brooke Candy song (NSFW! NSFW! NSFW!) is apropos pretty much all of the time. The motivations behind the creation of these drugs might seem creepy or weird, but the end result could be a real gift to women who feel as though they have lost a vital facet of their sense of self.
posted by divined by radio at 2:19 PM on May 22, 2013 [14 favorites]


What the fuck is going on in this thread, guys. "A drug to enhance female sexual desire? HOW HILARIOUS! It must be a male plot! Because women's sexuality is a commodity to be enjoyed by men, not women! Lol!" Is it truly THAT MINDBLOWING that a, gasp, woman might suffer from a lowered libido and want to get it back?

Seriously folks, let's treat this with the calm, serious, sympathetic rationality reserved for discussions of erectile dysfunction.

HAMBURGER
posted by Sys Rq at 2:20 PM on May 22, 2013 [8 favorites]


Well, CrazyJoel, it is kind of scary. Doesn't mean I don't want it, it just means that it should be treated with care.

Ever done MDMA (not random street-pill Ecstacy who-knows-what's-in-it, just pure MDMA) with someone you really, truly love? The closest thing to initial begining-of-relationship limerence I've experienced, and it sticks around for quite some time. Intensely for a few days, strongly for ten, moderately for a month and weakly for two months or so.

I can state without equivocation that MDMA saved my marriage - and I can recommend it without reservation. I'm hoping for another substance to add if buspirone doesn't do the trick.
posted by PharmacistofLucifer at 2:21 PM on May 22, 2013 [3 favorites]


To try to bring it back to the point:

The most interesting part of this article for me was the frustration of (the pseudonymed) Linneah. It isn't that she has no attraction to her own husband, and it isn't that someone else is trying to convince her that her sex life is lacking. She thinks it is lacking. She wants to want her husband, but can't get her body to play along.

If we can see past the levity, surely we'd admit that this situation — where you wish your brain chemicals would cooperate with your rational thoughts — is one that we've encountered, and tried to solve, in the form of depression and ADHD and anxiety disorders. If it's OK to try to solve those things, then surely it must be OK to try to solve this.
posted by savetheclocktower at 2:22 PM on May 22, 2013 [17 favorites]


On the one hand, it seems great that they might be able to reverse low libido on women that wanted to do so. On the other hand, I feel a little weird about a pill that monkeys with women's brain chemistry for sexual purposes. I guess it is not much different than taking an SSRI, but then it IS because depression kills people, but then lack of libido can be pretty depressing and bad for relationships, but THEN if the disparity in desire comes from enculturated mores about sex (a la the excerpt scody presented) then I am sorry we have to fool with women's transmitters to get our needs met, but then AGAIN for many women it is some kind of menopause or birth control medication not mores that killed their libido so no amount of sex positivity would fix it so ..UGH IT IS A TANGLED MESS
posted by feets at 2:25 PM on May 22, 2013


While Lybrido and Lybridos contain a drug similar to Viagra, one meant to increase blood flow to the genitals, they also attempt to instill lust and desire by modifying two chemicals, serotonin and dopamine

Sooooooooooooo it's Viagra + ecstasy. So crazy it just might work.
posted by nathancaswell at 2:25 PM on May 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


In popular culture I hear people talking about "going all night" on Viagra and I've never really understood how this benefits someone with no sexual dysfunction. It seems somewhat joyless for a sexually fit, functional male to be blessed with a chemically induced boner. Unless your refractory period is eliminated, it just sounds mechanical and unfun. "Hey baby, I'm hard for the next hours, party time!"

The biggest recreational use for it is if you're also taking meth, which (1) gives you the sort of compulsive pleasure-seeking attention span that makes fucking-all-night-without-coming sound like a good time, (2) makes it really difficult to come anyway, such that you can fuck all night without coming, but (3) also makes it incredibly difficult to get hard.

But outside of that -- yeah, no, actually, Viagra really doesn't have much recreational value. As far as I can tell, it's dudes with genuine ED, healthy dudes with insecurity about their erections who are using it as a reassuring placebo, people who have mistaken it for an aphrodesiac and try it once or twice before they realize it doesn't work like that, and speed freaks who have special boner needs that the rest of us cannot comprehend.

posted by Now there are two. There are two _______. at 2:26 PM on May 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


Wait a minute. By any chance is this stuff made by Prescott Pharmaceuticals ?
posted by Podkayne of Pasadena at 2:27 PM on May 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


Sooooooooooooo it's Viagra + ecstasy. So crazy it just might work.

Viagra+ecstasy is already a thing. Nickname "sextacy". Not very original but does what it says on the tin.
posted by Justinian at 2:28 PM on May 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


Someone with more gumption than I have* might find something interesting in the correlation between the pharmaceutical industry's product research priorities and the Baby Boom generation's advance through life stages.

---------------
*GenX, why do you ask?
posted by notyou at 2:28 PM on May 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


Also it's interesting that men's sexual performance problems are physical whilst women's sexual problems are mental.

A large part of your mental state is dependent on you physical body. Like hormones, which are part of how these drugs work.

What the fuck is going on in this thread, guys. "A drug to enhance female sexual desire? HOW HILARIOUS! It must be a male plot! Because women's sexuality is a commodity to be enjoyed by men, not women! Lol!"

The second article. It sort of primes the whole discussion to be about women wanting sex because of their relationship towards men. It does do a sort of o.k. job of making it about the women's desire to have more sex, but that last page or so makes for an easy segue into "this is for the men." Never mind that that woman also seems to genuinely want sex because she thinks sex is fun. Plus there's that weird naked woman thing going on.

Seriously guys: women can enjoy sex, just like us men. In fact, women who used to want sex more sometimes miss it, and would like to start wanting it again. There's nothing wrong with that, and there's no reason to suspect that it's only because their husbands want them too.
posted by Gygesringtone at 2:36 PM on May 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


In all honesty I do not understand why they don't just legalize medical 2c-b for this and ED issues.

I mean, yeah, of course I understand that OMG TEH DRUGZ but like. Seriously.
posted by elizardbits at 2:36 PM on May 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


I guess it is not much different than taking an SSRI, but then it IS because depression kills people

See, I'd argue that depression would be worth treating even if there was a surefire way to prevent it from killing people.

Maybe this is getting too far afield, but I think this is one of the problems with the medical model that we've currently got for a lot of issues — not just mental health and sexual function, but also stuff like pain management and SRS and hell, recreational drugs too. We're all in favor of drugs that stop people from dying or becoming disabled, because that's clearly A Doctor's Job. We're opposed to drugs that people can use as tools to improve their life beyond that point, because that's Not A Doctor's Job.

I think there's a widespread fear that changing that will make us ... well, either weak ("you shouldn't need pills to be satisfied") or pliable ("we shouldn't monkey with this stuff, it's too much like mind control") or shallowly hedonistic ("aren't there more important things in life than feeling good?") And... well, I don't know. Me, my experience has been that when I'm pain-free, depression-free and sexually fulfilled, it actually makes me stronger, more capable of self-determination, and more able to focus on the things that are really important in life.
posted by Now there are two. There are two _______. at 2:37 PM on May 22, 2013 [19 favorites]


It's funny, sex to me is all about becoming a being of greater and more unified physicality, but the medical interpretation of my being is that I am a "psyche" stitched to an "identity" grafted onto a penis with some nerves. It's amazing that our reverence for these drugs is so piously unquestioning that they can not only help us physically, but help us want to want.

I have nothing but sympathy for anyone whose body prevents them from the sexual expression they expect, but at the same time I find that there is a normative desire for sexual activity which people feel the need to conform to. Sometimes I can be highly sexual, but at other times I think my energies would be better devoted to something more ennobling than faking out my reproductive system so that time stops for a second. One wonders what our world would look like if the energy we devote to being the sexiest dude on our block was devoted to something in line with our ideals.
posted by Teakettle at 2:42 PM on May 22, 2013 [3 favorites]


Reverence? Piously unquestioning? Where?
posted by Justinian at 2:44 PM on May 22, 2013


date-rapier for women

Now that would be something.

Jokes aside, I'm with showbiz_liz.
posted by King Bee at 2:44 PM on May 22, 2013


Like, seriously, if you're worried about people being manipulated by advertising and media pressure — you know what makes someone really susceptible to that shit? A persistent psychological or physiological inability to meet their own social, emotional and sexual needs. If we can cure that, we're not commodifying happiness and desire — we're fighting the conditions of deprivation that make the commodification of happiness and desire possible in the first place.
posted by Now there are two. There are two _______. at 2:48 PM on May 22, 2013 [10 favorites]


This is actually a really good article!
posted by subdee at 2:50 PM on May 22, 2013


Oh crap I'm starting to sound like some kind of radical Marxist for dopamine and boners. Time to dial back the rhetoric....
posted by Now there are two. There are two _______. at 2:51 PM on May 22, 2013 [3 favorites]


Isn't Viagra like $10 a pill?

I bet these sell for at least twice that much, and would not be shocked if they were $50, if they work, and I'm sure they do.

Seriously, if a dude can't get a boner, that's one thing, and yeah needs medicated because quality of life.

But once a dude GETS a boner, he becomes like five times stupider than usual and will be happy to pay almost any amount to have a welcoming place to PUT that boner.

(Heterosexually biased content hereby acknowledged.)
posted by seanmpuckett at 2:55 PM on May 22, 2013


Like, seriously, if you're worried about people being manipulated by advertising and media pressure — you know what makes someone really susceptible to that shit? A persistent psychological or physiological inability to meet their own social, emotional and sexual needs. If we can cure that, we're not commodifying happiness and desire — we're fighting the conditions of deprivation that make the commodification of happiness and desire possible in the first place.
I may be misinterpreting you, but I believe the sense deprivation is itself a created condition. If you depend on anything other than your own living being for happiness you are in for a disappointment as slow and deliberate as our gradual deterioration death march.

It could be that we're making the same point. In either case, please do not dial down the rhetoric.
posted by Teakettle at 2:56 PM on May 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


If you depend on anything other than your own living being for happiness you are in for a disappointment as slow and deliberate as our gradual deterioration death march.

(This is not a snarky question:) Are you suggesting that one's sexuality and sexual expression are somehow separate from one's "own living being"? And/or that one's sexuality and sexual expression are (or should be) disconnected from one's own happiness?
posted by scody at 3:05 PM on May 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


If you depend on anything other than your own living being for happiness

This is a platitude that doesn't hold up when it meets reality.
posted by Justinian at 3:05 PM on May 22, 2013 [7 favorites]


I think the point behind these drugs is to redefine "normal" as whatever the woman wants it to be. Birth control pills made it normal to have sex without getting pregnant, and now these medications could make it normal to have sex with the same person for decades and still enjoy that sex like it's the first time. If the pills work (and don't have horrifying side effects), they could help to strengthen a lot of relationships and deepen the bonds between couples.
posted by Kevin Street at 3:14 PM on May 22, 2013 [3 favorites]


Yeah, this sort of thing is a new Puritanism. Oh, taking pills is bad. You haven't earned your emotional well being through arduous struggle and hard work!
posted by Justinian at 3:19 PM on May 22, 2013 [10 favorites]


I may be misinterpreting you, but I believe the sense deprivation is itself a created condition.

I mean.... it can be. But I think it's a mistake to say it always is.

Yes, up to a certain point, I think the second-through-fourth noble truths are right on: attachment causes suffering, and if you get your shit together in the right way you can avoid a lot of suffering by cultivating detachment.

But pragmatically speaking, there is some suffering that no human could reasonably be expected to escape via detachment alone. To pick an extreme example: if I put someone in solitary confinement, they are going to suffer. That's true no matter how emotionally self-sufficient they are, no matter how willing they are to say "Yeah, I don't really need that to be happy," no matter how practiced they are at avoiding dependency on others. I suppose we could have a purely philosophical debate about whether in theory a person could exist who would thrive in lifelong solitary confinement. But in practice, people like that don't exist.

So I think it's completely undeniable that there are some real social and emotional needs that you can't just fourth-noble-truth your way out of.

And then too, there's a gradient between "real undeniable needs" and "mere attachment." There are some needs/wants/desires/attachments that people could eliminate on their own if they were very clever and lucky and worked very hard, but that it's actually much easier and works about as well to just fulfill them. A lot of basic standard of living stuff falls into that category. Sure, people can thrive in extreme poverty — but it's really hard to, and if your goal is to let as many people thrive as possible, the best way to meet that goal would be to eliminate extreme poverty rather than cheering "You can do it yourself!" down into the gutters.

So the question is where depression, chronic pain, sexual dysfunction and general neuro/psycho/sociological misery fit in. I'd say severe depression is right up there with extreme poverty — some people thrive despite it, by cultivating the sort of emotional self-sufficiency that lets them resist it all by themselves, but many more people would thrive if we cured it. I'd say sexual dysfunction is probably in the middle of the scale — you can cope by finding a way not to care, you can cope by curing the problem, either way works fine so why not try both? You may disagree on where those two belong. But I think it's undeniable that the scale exists.
posted by Now there are two. There are two _______. at 3:24 PM on May 22, 2013 [7 favorites]


Prediction: while Viagra will continue to be covered by many insurance plans, the religious right will lobby to ensure that these drugs are never covered by insurance (or even made widely available without jumping through excessive hoops) except as part of a fertility treatment plan.

Along those lines, my mom was on it for a couple years because it's one of the few drugs that's effective for the kind of pulmonary hypertension she has/had. (Hilariously, she refused to call it by its trade name, and would only refer to it as its generic name. She was sooooo embarrassed to pick it up at her small town pharmacy. And even though I said 'hilariously,' I can't really blame her, and stuff like what's in this thread demonstrates why.) Anyway, my mom was taking it to treat --to successfully treat -- a life-threatening illness. And her insurance wouldn't cover it. If it had been my dad's prescription for ED, they would have had to fork over a copay. But because my mom was taking it SO SHE WOULDN'T DIE, they paid hundreds of dollars each month. (I think it was $400-$600 each month, but it's been a few years and I don't remember exactly.) They're lucky because they could afford it, but a lot of people wouldn't be able to. On the other hand, Viagra treatment for ED is reasonably affordable and accessible (as it should be).

This is more of a complaint about our overall health care system, but I think the gender dichotomy is an important part of the discussion. (In that it pretty much IS the discussion.)
posted by mudpuppie at 3:25 PM on May 22, 2013 [3 favorites]


i know it's been quoted already, but i wanted to revisit this part, because HOLY SHIT WHAT THE FUCK O MY GOD JESUS CHRIST

Over the last decade, as companies chased after an effective chemical, there was fretting within the drug industry: what if, in trials, a medicine proved too effective? More than one adviser to the industry told me that companies worried about the prospect that their study results would be too strong, that the F.D.A. would reject an application out of concern that a chemical would lead to female excesses, crazed binges of infidelity, societal splintering.

“You want your effects to be good but not too good,” Andrew Goldstein, who is conducting the study in Washington, told me. “There was a lot of discussion about it by the experts in the room,” he said, recalling his involvement with the development of Flibanserin, “the need to show that you’re not turning women into nymphomaniacs.” He was still a bit stunned by the entrenched mores that lay within what he’d heard. “There’s a bias against — a fear of creating the sexually aggressive woman.”

So, basically, "DAE 1950s?". I wanted to doubt this was a real attitude, but i know that it's not. Even as a guy, i've watched how other(straight, bla bla bla) men treat womens sexuality unless they're abnormally self aware/actualized and aware that many of the "default" attitudes about this kind of shit have a massive, often even overt undercurrent of shittiness to them. Essentially, the path of least resistance to being an adult western manbrodude is to buy in to this kind of "Mens sexuality is like this, womens sexuality is like this". Which leads to you having schlock like a lot of dan savages crap opinions, various comedians, and schlock like this that paints mens and womens sexuality in a gross light.

"If women were as horny as men, it would topple society" sounds like a joke, but there's a lot of guys in frat houses who would agree with you if you said that.

There's a whole lot more loaded in to this than what justinian said. This is the new puritanism, but it isn't just "oh you're pathetic for taking a pill". That's but one passenger on this articulated metro bus that's standing room only. And i'd definitely say the driver is "Women shouldn't be all that independently sexual in the first place"

I wish any of this surprised me, but it reminds me of the post in the very recent panda gangbang thread about the government using the patriot act to shut down porn. This is one of the few categories of things, by which i mean "moral standards" in which i actually believe the people who say "the goverment is fucking us over mannnn!" since it's so goddamn demonstrable.

If someone even anonymously said "i work for a drug company/i work for company XYZ and we developed a drug they won't release because it's too effective at this" i'd believe them off hand. I'm aware it's confirmation bias, but in this context and societal climate it's about as plausible as "it rained in seattle on thursday night while you were asleep".

I don't know what exactly has to change, who has to get voted out of office/get old and die/be run out of town on a rail for this to stop, but it reminds me of the MPAA having a priest sit in on movie rating meetings.

Uptight old(and generally rich, white) men should not have any part in determining how womens sexually is treated, or, eurgh, "managed".
posted by emptythought at 3:37 PM on May 22, 2013 [15 favorites]


brain_drain: "But I think there's a lot of danger in reducing the great, huge, broad spectrum of human sexual desire to, "if you don't want sex X much or if you find your partner boring, it's because something is wrong with you that we, the pharmaceutical industry, must cure."

That would be dangerous. Fortunately no one appears to be saying or doing that.
"

Have you seen any sex advice columns lately? One I remember reading suggested fucking once a week + three bouts of oral sex (for him) was a minimum standard the woman should engage in to be GGG until her libido 'came back' (because fucking once a week is not enough for him so therefore she must change). That not wanting to fuck four times a week is something wrong that you should go to a doctor about. No mention that maybe, just maybe, your partner could stand to back off a little and let your libido flower, it's all 'just suck it up, and spread 'em' and 'fake it til you make it' as if that sort of smothering is going to have no effect on natural libido. I can't imagine anything more gross than sitting on my husband's face while he wanks and pretending I want to be there when I don't, because the next time I do, it's that memory that's going to be prominent, not all those times it was hot - remember how negative sensations/memories dominate? That goes for sex too.

I mean, I say this as someone who is finally finally coming out of the hormonal/psychological fog of child-bearing/PTSD and the actions of my partner during the dry spell (of about four years spread over seven, all up, with brief periods of action) (pregnancy was great for my libido and anxiety, breastfeeding was not) has a direct effect on how I respond because we're in a relationship and my emotions count and his previous actions affect how I will act in the future. I really don't understand how people think it doesn't, that when my libido does rear up that I should somehow forget the perfunctory sex, or the arguments, or the unpleasantness and the demands (going by a previous relationship for that - we stopped fucking when he stopped showering but it was my fault, my libido).

That's not to say I wouldn't have liked something to overcome those periods where the mind was willing but the body was hormonally depleted but in the context of my relationship it wasn't the intimacy-killer sex op eds like to imply because my partner accepted it and worked with me not on me. Getting through that period together was a lot more useful to the relationship than subsuming my own desires (not wanting to have sex is a desire!) in order to perform sexually for someone who is supposed to love me as I am, not just because I'm performing a very enculturated idea about sex and intimacy.

I guess the core dichotomy is that sex as a performance unsettles me, particualrly in the context of an intimate relationship - I engage in this act because I want, very badly, to join my body with his. Not to enact something, not to mimic something, not to pretend. I'm certain other people get off on those things, and that makes it was of their intimate relationship, but that cultural seep of performative perfunctory sex disturbs me a little.

(I think the most obnoxious and offensive part of the 'advice' was that she should make sure she's not being begrudging as she engages in the mandated sex once a week and thrice-weekly bjs because that would 'hurt his feelings' - it's like nobody realises that sex when you're not into it, not aroused, is unpleasant for lots of women, edging into downright painful and harmful, and that faking enthusiasm is a dangerous game to play in the bedroom.)
posted by geek anachronism at 3:42 PM on May 22, 2013 [19 favorites]


Be interesting to see if the desire women develop using these drugs turns out to be for their current partners.

For lots of men whose potency was restored by Viagra, it didn't turn out that way.
posted by jamjam at 3:43 PM on May 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


It didn't given them desire for someone other than their partner, it simply allowed them to act on that pre-existing desire.
posted by Justinian at 3:49 PM on May 22, 2013 [3 favorites]


Immortal timelord genitalia notwithstanding, I stand by my statement about the nature of suffering on this plane of existence.
posted by Teakettle at 3:55 PM on May 22, 2013


Every time I see "Bonamine" sold in a drug store, I think that they really wasted a great ED drug name.
posted by Kadin2048 at 3:55 PM on May 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


"Be interesting to see if the desire women develop using these drugs turns out to be for their current partners.

For lots of men whose potency was restored by Viagra, it didn't turn out that way.
"


Just going by the NYT article (and nothing else) it sounds like the problem for many women is having sex with the same person for years. (Men lose interest too, but not to the same extent.) Getting a different partner often restores desire (for a while), and eliminates the need for a pill.

But sex and love are two different things, and you should be able to have sex (if you want to) with the person you love, and not be physically driven to seek novelty that you don't intellectually want.
posted by Kevin Street at 3:57 PM on May 22, 2013


I stand by my statement about the nature of suffering on this plane of existence

Is this Buddhist thing then? Or more like Planescape?
posted by Justinian at 4:00 PM on May 22, 2013 [3 favorites]


Dude. I first read this article at like, 7:45AM my time, and then I clicked over to Metafilter and it wasn't here yet and I was like, "I could DO IT! I could write the FPP!!!" and then I thought about framing and how my immediate response to the article was, in fact, something something date rape, (because there are assholes out there who would steal these drugs from their mother and put it in a woman's drink just to 'see what might happen' or some such,) but how maaaaybe that wasn't the most salient point to take away.

So in that respect I am glad for MeFi, because I'm clearly not the only person who had that knee-jerk type of thought, or who rolled their eyes at the naming, but then there are those among you who make me realize that what I really wanted was the discussion, not the lulz.
posted by polly_dactyl at 4:10 PM on May 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


my immediate response to the article was, in fact, something something date rape, (because there are assholes out there who would steal these drugs from their mother and put it in a woman's drink just to 'see what might happen' or some such,)

I'm puzzled that so many people are making that leap. It seems to connect heightened libido with unwanted sex, which rings wrong to me. Sexual desire does not rob a woman (or man) of her (his) ability to refrain from sex. I've been in plenty of situations where I was attracted to someone who was interested and willing, and I still, for various reasons, decided against having sex. If somebody slipped me something that made me hornier, that would not, in itself, improve his chances with me.

I can see how the old-school, socially conservative sorts (mentioned in the article) might be clutching their pearls (or bowties) at the notion that a woman's lust might decimate her capacity for chaste goodnight kisses. But I'm surprised to find the notion surfacing here (albeit mostly through jokes). I guess this just goes to show how profoundly our understandings of female (and male) sexuality are informed by tacit social messages that we would outright reject if they were presented to us explicitly. (Namely: the message that female sexual behavior is shaped, in large part, by the fact that they don't want sex as much as men.)
posted by artemisia at 4:17 PM on May 22, 2013 [12 favorites]


Seriously, if the drug isn't named Sexium, then I give up.
posted by Sarcasm at 4:17 PM on May 22, 2013


I don't understand why, if you don't want to do something you'd even consider taking a drug that would make you want to do it.

There are lots of things I don't want to do, like skydiving, knitting or playing video games. I wouldn't be interested in taking a drug that would make me really want do those things, even if it also made them seem like fun.

On the other hand, if there were a drug that would make me filled with desire to grade all these annoying papers in front of me and stop reading MF for a bit, I'd be willing to think about it.
posted by cccorlew at 4:22 PM on May 22, 2013 [3 favorites]


Just chant "serotonin, serotonin, serotonin" for thirty seconds, and the deity of self-control will appear to help you.
posted by Kevin Street at 4:28 PM on May 22, 2013


I'm puzzled that so many people are making that leap.

I think you're underselling the potential for issues. Sexual desire does not rob a man or woman of his or her ability to refrain but it certainly complicates the picture, particularly if induced through being skipped a mickey. We are not robots who always act logically.
posted by Justinian at 4:31 PM on May 22, 2013


I don't understand why, if you don't want to do something you'd even consider taking a drug that would make you want to do it.

There are many things I want to want to do, because I know from past experience that they make me happier, stronger, more confident and they enrich my life. But because of psychological and/or physical issues, I don't want to do these things anymore because all I see are the hurdles and all I feel is tired when I just think about it. If libido is a form of energy then it's easy to understand wanting to get the energy for something enjoyable back.
posted by Danila at 4:32 PM on May 22, 2013 [6 favorites]


Yeah. If you gave me a pill that made me want to clean my bathroom really well I'd take that in a second. Besides meth, I mean, because side effects.
posted by Justinian at 4:33 PM on May 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


I don't understand why, if you don't want to do something you'd even consider taking a drug that would make you want to do it.

The thing is, wanting intellectually to have sex and being turned on are two different things, and it's possible to have one without the other. This drug isn't for "reprogramming" people who dislike sex, disapprove of sex, are choosing not to have sex with a particular person, whatever. It's for people who like sex, and want to have sex, and want to have sex with a particular person, but still just can't seem to get turned on.

So maybe don't imagine a drug that would turn you into a person who likes knitting. (That's probably impossible anyway.) Imagine something like "It's three AM, I really want to go to sleep, but I just can't seem to relax and get sleepy," or "I haven't eaten all day, and that plate of food looks delicious, but for some reason I have no appetite," or "I normally love reading, and I really want to finish this book, but I just can't get into it."
posted by Now there are two. There are two _______. at 4:33 PM on May 22, 2013 [16 favorites]


I suspect that a few of the weird or nervous responses are coming from people who had the same first reading of the articles that I did.

A drug that helps women have sex is great. A drug that helps women enjoy sex is great. A drug that makes women want sex... seems creepy at first glance. Not because I think that women shouldn't want sex (whether and to what extent a person other than my SO wants sex seems like something to file under None Of My Fucking Business), but because the framing of "I'm not interested in having sex right now" as a curable illness looks an awful lot like telling women that their levels of sexual desire aren't acceptable.

Viagra sounds like the design brief* was "these poor guys want to have sex but can't; we need to help them", while these new drugs sound like the design process was "Sometimes women don't want to have sex, and we need to change that".

A few women have posted upthread that actually they do want a drug to increase libido, so it looks like my (and possibly others') worry is misguided. But it's possible to be concerned about this story for reasons other than "OMG women shouldn't want sex".

*Yes, I'm aware that Viagra was an accidental discovery. But its actual effect and the way it's marketed follow this pattern.
posted by metaBugs at 4:44 PM on May 22, 2013 [3 favorites]


But it's not like this would be put in the water supply or anything, metaBugs. You'd only take it if you wanted to take it.

But now I have an idea for the fluoridation thread!
posted by Justinian at 4:55 PM on May 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


my immediate response to the article was, in fact, something something date rape, (because there are assholes out there who would steal these drugs from their mother and put it in a woman's drink just to 'see what might happen' or some such,)

I too had this thought for a moment, and its part of the reason I was so inspired to write the post that I did.

Artemisia killed it above pretty damn hard, but I also wanted to add another angle of looking at this.

Have you never, ever not only been ravenously horny but also wanted to fuck a specific person who was right there, in front of you, and also totally willing and ready to go... But known that you shouldn't, or couldn't, because it was a bad idea to be involved with that person/you're in a relationship/etc? Because I know I sure as hell have.

Assuming this drug would get any traction in the realm of a date rape drugs is again making that assumption that women don't really normally have much of a sex drive the way men do, and that they have to be "coaxed" in to horniness by some outside force(usually, in the midst of this trope, a man of course). It also assumes that this would somehow override judgement.

The real date rape drug in this sort of scenario is alcohol. People are horny anyways, but decline sexual encounters for all kinds of reasons related to, you know, conscious thought.

Horniness doesn't suddenly shut off judgement. That's a contious refrain that assholes repeat to excuse poor behavior of men, being even more poorly applied to women.

There is no such thing as being "out of control" or "irrationally" horny. That's basically only an excuse used by people with poor intentions or who committed unfortunate acts, and their apologists.

It really does speak to our assumptions, and the frameworks we were raised and conditioned to think in that we all came to these sorts of conclusions very quickly though.

And it makes me really fucking sad that people in power buy them hook line and sinker despite them making no logical sense. It makes sense that they buy them, because to reject those assumptions is to accept that this "crazed" state of mind is nonexistent, and that many people who have no mental illness or disturbance do awful things sexually, consciously, in which sex is nothing but a means to an end.

Still makes me fucking face palm and scream "WHYYYY" though.
posted by emptythought at 5:21 PM on May 22, 2013 [6 favorites]


There is no such thing as being "out of control" or "irrationally" horny. That's basically only an excuse used by people with poor intentions or who committed unfortunate acts, and their apologists.

I agree to some extent; I don't believe that there's a point where people are no longer culpable for their actions. But have you really never had a one night stand that seemed like a bad idea at the time, and lo and behold you regretted in the morning, but what the heck, you were horny (and otherwise sober) at the time?
posted by Zalzidrax at 5:46 PM on May 22, 2013


Phrodecia®
posted by Unified Theory at 5:55 PM on May 22, 2013


Well, quite. But the existence of a solution guarantees that advertisers are going to dedicate their lives to convincing society that we have the matching problem. And we know that they, particularly pharmaceutical advertisers, are disturbingly good at convincing us that we have the problems that they know how to solve. I'll bet you all the money in my wallet* that the marketing for these things will include a quiet but pervasive and persistent push of the message that anything less than constant teenage horniness is abnormal, a disappointment to your man, a sign of fading youth and/or femininity, and something that can and should be cured. Women who find themselves to be not in the mood will be told -- by advertising, by peers, by their partners -- to just take a pill to adjust themselves to a more socially acceptable mindset.

Eh, or maybe I'm in an excessively cynical mood tonight. That's probably it.

RE: the date rape thing. I agree that it would probably be crap as a date rape drug for the reasons described. But there will be plenty of guys who reason (correctly, probably) that their chances are dramatically better if she's horny than if she's not, so there's still a powerful motivation to spike drinks. And they won't feel as bad about it because she's still making the decision and, hey, who doesn't like to be horny?


*...so don't get too excited.
posted by metaBugs at 5:56 PM on May 22, 2013 [6 favorites]


cccorlew and Justian, Ritalin is the drug that makes you want to do the boring things you know you should do.
posted by subdee at 6:09 PM on May 22, 2013


"I haven't eaten all day, and that plate of food looks delicious, but for some reason I have no appetite,"

This food metaphor was very much the way I came to understand what was happening to me (and the best way I had to explain it to my partner).

Imagine that you are someone who loves food. Now, imagine that you wake up one day and you still empirically recognize that, yes, "food" in the abstract continues to be delicious (and that your partner is every bit as awesome a cook as he or she always was), and specific food placed in front of you might even look or smell good... but your appetite has diminished. It may have declined by 50%, or it may have deserted you entirely, leaving you without the ability to even feel hunger pangs. Either way, the thought of eating quickly stops occurring to you -- and when it does, it just doesn't appeal.

But you have to eat. And your partner -- remember them? Your partner's a great cook, who still loves to eat and wants to share that experience with you, like you always did before. So: you literally force yourself to eat. And when you do -- well, imagine your very favorite food on earth. Now imagine that when you eat it, most of the time it either has no taste at all or it makes you vomit. Once in a blue moon, it might taste (at least vaguely) like you remember it; you might even get a glimmer of how delicious all food used to be, and how much fun you had eating regularly. Those times are wonderful, but they are fleeting -- the bittersweet exception to the rule of your new life.

Now imagine that there's a pill that might allow you to get your appetite back, and might make food taste good again, and might make you less inclined to vomit when you do eat.

Now imagine people on the internet (most of them with their ability to enjoy food intact) wringing their hands about how this is just a plot of BigAg, or chiding people who might want to eat again for failing to rely on themselves for their own happiness, or fretting that such a pill could be used to force people to overeat against their will. (By god, don't we have enough obesity as it is?)

I stand by my statement about the nature of suffering on this plane of existence.

You know, Buddhism absolutely got me through treatment and it is central to my post-cancer understanding of my life. Besides the premature menopause, the other major side effect of my 14 months of radiation/surgeries/chemo is that I live with moderate-to-excruciating abdominal and intestinal pain about 10-20% of the time. I am in the process of coming to grips with the fact that I will most likely continue to experience this level and frequency of pain for the rest of my life.

Now, I cope with this by meditating on the noble truths and on my own mortality literally every day. I also cope with it by occasionally relying on serious narcotic painkillers that help me do something beyond curling up in a fetal position and crying for hours and even days on end. I assure you: the fact that I have a standing order for Percocet so that I can continue to function doesn't make me any less goddamn enlightened about the nature of suffering on this plane of existence.
posted by scody at 6:17 PM on May 22, 2013 [54 favorites]


I agree to some extent; I don't believe that there's a point where people are no longer culpable for their actions. But have you really never had a one night stand that seemed like a bad idea at the time, and lo and behold you regretted in the morning, but what the heck, you were horny (and otherwise sober) at the time?

Of course i have. I think a lot of people have. That's sort of beside the point of what's really being presented both directly and implied here, which is that people would somehow be "uncontrollably" or "too" horny.

It just comes back to really weird flawed thinking about sexuality, and especially womens sexuality.

What you're describing is essentially eating junk food because you're bored and it's there. What was being discussed by these concerns of "overly sexual" women that might be caused by this drug would be like saying it made you so painfully hungry that you were out in your front yard eating grass and dirt.

Which just isn't how this works, but all the thinking is based around that being a potentially possible state of mind ala euphoria with MDMA or something. people are imagining Pon Farr but in real life, which is pretty much impossible... for the same reasons that getting stoned doesn't make you want to eat a car tire.

You get what i'm saying here?
posted by emptythought at 6:47 PM on May 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


Except that any time you are messing around with serotonin and dopamine levels you very much have to be concerned about the effects you are going to have on inhibitions and self control. I'm all for better living through chemistry. In almost every form. But the idea that it's crazypants to worry that if you mess up and alter serotonin and dopamine levels too much you might make people engage in adverse behavior is just wrong.

What do you think ecstasy and meth do? They mess with serotonin and dopamine levels. Among other things.

Now the way they described it is terrible and comes across the way you are reading it. But if we ignore the language it is a valid concern. You can absolutely potentially make someone, man or woman, act in all kinds of ways by messing with their neurotransmitter levels. Including sexually. That's a fact.
posted by Justinian at 6:53 PM on May 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


(I can find you some drug warning labels to prove it if you'd like: WARNING: May cause risky sexual behavior!)
posted by Justinian at 6:54 PM on May 22, 2013


As a guy, I'd like to think a lack of arousal on my part deserves more attention than "here, take this pill, now you're erect and the problem is solved." More disturbing to me, you can flip that assumption around and think that Viagra is for men who want to but can't, while these drugs are for women who don't want to. Hmm.

Just wait until your willis decides to say "fuck it, I'm taking a nap" while you and your partner are still emotionally aroused and want more. Sometimes it really is just about the machinery not doing what you want it to do. Imagine being in love with someone and craving intimacy, but being sort of revulsed by the idea too. That's what these drugs purport to do- give women who want to experience sexual desire a tool to help them with that.
posted by gjc at 7:28 PM on May 22, 2013


You can absolutely potentially make someone, man or woman, act in all kinds of ways by messing with their neurotransmitter levels. Including sexually. That's a fact.

You cannot cause someone to act in a certain way. You can only change thresholds. You can't make someone a sex maniac with a pill, you can only give them a pill that eases their inhibitions. The warnings about extreme sexual behavior or gambling are because that's what some people reported during trials and post-marketing. That doesn't mean the pill created that behavior out of whole cloth. The human mind is not that simple.
posted by gjc at 7:33 PM on May 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


I think that's hair splitting. You can give a population a drug at a certain dosage and predict how many will experience a certain effect. Just because you can't predict which person will experience what side effect in advance doesn't mean the drug doesn't cause the side effect.
posted by Justinian at 7:36 PM on May 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


gjc: "You cannot cause someone to act in a certain way. You can only change thresholds. You can't make someone a sex maniac with a pill, you can only give them a pill that eases their inhibitions. The warnings about extreme sexual behavior or gambling are because that's what some people reported during trials and post-marketing. That doesn't mean the pill created that behavior out of whole cloth. The human mind is not that simple."

The idea that someone could slip me a pill and cause my body to react sexually to them when it otherwise wouldn't? It triggers a whole lot of revulsion in me* and I don't think it's as neatly contained as 'you must have really wanted it otherwise you wouldn't have reacted that way'. How one acts after is controllable but it isn't like they are two completely separate systems.

I remember talking with someone once and they'd just had one of those terrifying conversations with a male friend - the kind that start out innocuous then suddenly you start wondering where the exits are - where he'd detailed this fantasy he had where he was with a very attractive woman who didn't really like him or want him but was so desperate for sex, so incredibly aroused, that she begged him for sex while hating him. This drug, for better or worse, reminds me of that. I mean, along with all the forced orgasm porn and whatnot, it elides a part of sex that is really fucking hard to do - connecting deeply with someone - and replaces it with base physicality and humiliation. I'm all for base physicality with sex! I just don't think this is a decent solution for the majority of low libido situations, if women I talk to are any example**.

Like I said, I've had that hormonal flux and it fucking sucked. It would have been nice to have a pill BUT I was reasonably sure I was going to come out of the fog and the work we did to get through it was worth more than getting my end away thanks to chemical assistance. If it were something a little more permanent (menopause, cancer treatment, whatever) the equation would be different obviously. But I'm just getting this vision of all these women from the Moxie threads talking about their lack of libido post-baby getting told to take a pill and that pill not at all addressing the underlying issues of 'your partner doesn't respect your desires'.

*Arousal as a physical thing is not dependent on emotional engagement and one can vehemently be non-consenting and aroused - and that arousal then called consent.

**One of the women I know posted this incredibly lovely thing where her partner had obviously been doing a bit of reading and realised that foreplay was going to help his case and she was so happy and satisfied and eager to do it again. It nearly made me cry because nearly every single other post about fucking after kids is about husbands who whine and pout and women who want sleep or help and who either submit (that gut-wrenching comment on Ask Moxie about crying every single time for the entire time horrified me - what the fuck is wrong with her partner that he keeps going, keeps doing that?) or wish they wanted it, not because they want to, but to stop the emotional onslaught. That suggests a whole lot of not-just-hormonal stuff going on.

posted by geek anachronism at 8:08 PM on May 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


Now, geek anachronism, take that fog that you were "reasonably sure [you] were going to come out" of, and extend it for a decade or more while providing no physical or medical cause. No surgeries, no medications, sub-40 (hell, sub-30!), no kids (or even pregnancies, or scares, nothing), healthy relationship, no high-stress jobs, lots of time available, plenty of exercise, etc.

Maybe this isn't typical of the general population these drugs will be marketed to, or even the population that will consume them, but. But. But for those who live in this kind of reality, there is not a price too high. Substantial side-effects would be acceptable, and if it was kept off the market for some reason a black market would appear very quickly.

I'm not in a position to judge the relative dispositions of the general population however - you're probably right, and your view is almost certainly more common. I just desperately hope that concerns like yours do not affect availability and proper testing (as the article indicated, there absolutely is a concern about substances that "work too well"). If they do, we'll see (read: I'll ensure) black market availability of an improperly tested, potentially dangerous substance.
posted by PharmacistofLucifer at 9:10 PM on May 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


PuppyCat: "We already have those drugs around here. One comes in a bottle marked "Honey, I did the dishes" and the other bottle is marked "I didn't leave dirty socks and 3 beer bottles by the bed"."

Put decency in till sex falls out? That both trivializes the problem this drug seeks to solve and sets up pretty icky expectations.
posted by Mitheral at 9:28 PM on May 22, 2013 [5 favorites]


PharmacistofLucifer: "Now, geek anachronism, take that fog that you were "reasonably sure [you] were going to come out" of, and extend it for a decade or more while providing no physical or medical cause. No surgeries, no medications, sub-40 (hell, sub-30!), no kids (or even pregnancies, or scares, nothing), healthy relationship, no high-stress jobs, lots of time available, plenty of exercise, etc."

Like I said in my post, it was a few years. Most people I know and talk to it's the same, there are situational things and think:

PharmacistofLucifer: "I just desperately hope that concerns like yours do not affect availability and proper testing (as the article indicated, there absolutely is a concern about substances that "work too well"). If they do, we'll see (read: I'll ensure) black market availability of an improperly tested, potentially dangerous substance."

that is unfair. A situational concern is best cured by treating the cause. This may well treat the hormonal/physical cause for some women but I don't think my concerns are unwarranted or unfounded or at all on the same continuum as a fear of sexually enthusiastic women. It's a concern that the very gendered aspects of sex and sexual coercion in heterosexual society/relationships is going to create a situation where context and consent are to be treated with a pill.

Can you imagine a situation where a woman says no, and the response is 'have you taken your pill' as opposed to anything else? Because I can, and the experiences of the many many high-libido women does not negate the socialised expectations around sex, nor does the experience of women who wish to take that pill.
posted by geek anachronism at 10:12 PM on May 22, 2013


I can imagine that, but why is that worse than all the other terrible responses that are already possible? Assholes are going to be assholes, pill or not.
posted by Justinian at 10:28 PM on May 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


Justinian: "I can imagine that, but why is that worse than all the other terrible responses that are already possible? Assholes are going to be assholes, pill or not."

It's not, it's just one that had my name on it, and a lot of the others are getting addressed already. No need for me to leap in as well.
posted by geek anachronism at 10:56 PM on May 22, 2013


*facepalm* SPECTACULAR MISREAD.

So spectacular! That response hasn't been aimed at me, and yeah assholes will be assholes, but I think in the development of a drug aimed at treating low libido in women, the asshole response to women's sexuality should probably be addressed.
posted by geek anachronism at 10:58 PM on May 22, 2013


This is great news for a lot of women, for many of the reasons eloquently described above.

But on a less serious note, I'm curious to see what SNL does with this, after Sproingo.
posted by homunculus at 2:15 AM on May 23, 2013


I ABSOLUTELY think the drug should be manufactured and prescribed to women who want it.

However, there does remain the fact that people, especially women, are constantly being bombarded with a deafening onslaught of social messages telling them that they're utter failures as human beings if they're not spending 24/7 either fucking, thinking about fucking, looking for someone to fuck, or preparing their bodies for fucking. After all, who really needs women for anything else, AMIRITE? And it's very naive to think that that's not going to become even more unpleasant when this medication is on the market.

PLEASE NOTE THAT I AM IN NO WAY SAYING THAT MEANS IT SHOULDN'T BE ON THE MARKET. It just means that I'm acknowledging that it will make life more difficult for some people. I guess some collateral damage is always inevitable.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 5:55 AM on May 23, 2013 [3 favorites]


And it's very naive to think that that's not going to become even more unpleasant when this medication is on the market.

More unpleasant for whom? Certainly not the women this medication is intended to benefit -- if anything, the ability to overcome barriers to a satisfying sex life will lessen the impact of the media messages you hyperbolically describe.
posted by brain_drain at 7:02 AM on May 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


But I'm just getting this vision of all these women from the Moxie threads talking about their lack of libido post-baby getting told to take a pill and that pill not at all addressing the underlying issues of 'your partner doesn't respect your desires'.

My libido tanked post-baby and took a good two years to right itself - part of that being the fear of getting accidentally pregnant again before I was ready (due to medical stuff, the only birth control method I can use is condoms and before you suggest "what about...?" I've tried it and can't take it. I have been through literally all of the options.) but another, bigger, part being just the hormonal shift of having my body being used as a milk factory. Even after my son weaned, it took time to readjust.

On the one hand, yeah, I'd be pissed if in addition to all of the pressure of getting my "pre baby body back," I was told that I should take this pill to get my sexy back too.

On the other, my husband and I would lovingly joke about Lady Viagra (he was as supportive as possible, but it was certainly hard on both of us) and I quite literally begged my doctor for ANYTHING that would help (scody's analogy to food was dead on) make me feel like sex was a good idea and not another chore akin to "But I did laundry once this week!" I would have killed a barrel of puppies to have access to the sexy part of my brain again.

It definitely pains me to know that yeah, my libido is back, but we're planning in one more kiddo and I can basically plan on doing this dance over again. My inability to find the IDEA of sex appealing was harder for my marriage than all of the sleepless nights, no question. How long will it take to come back next time? What if it never does?

I take anti-convulsants so I don't have seizures. I take anti-depressants so I can cope with being alive. (Note: the side effects of my meds have nothing to do with my libido issues - I've been on them for years. My libido problems were distinctly part of the post partum shift.) I would happily take something to give me a sex drive when mine left the building. It's a part of being a human and I do miss it when it's gone.
posted by sonika at 7:06 AM on May 23, 2013 [5 favorites]


And it's very naive to think that that's not going to become even more unpleasant when this medication is on the market.

More unpleasant for whom? Certainly not the women this medication is intended to benefit

No, of course not for them. I don't see how I could have made that any clearer. It will improves things for them, and make them harder on others. I'm not trying to make people care about those others if they don't already, just mentioning their existence for the consideration of anybody who does.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 7:19 AM on May 23, 2013


Who are the "others"? Women with healthy libidos? Straight men? I'm not trying to be argumentative, I just don't understand who you're talking about or how they would be negatively affected.
posted by brain_drain at 7:27 AM on May 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


It sounds like the "others" are women with low libidos who are totally happy and personally fulfilled that way, and who don't particularly want a higher libido.

It's easy to say "Well, then they shouldn't take this medication." (And I agree!) But some of them are going to feel pressure to take it nonetheless. Until now it's been possible to say "Look, I just have a low sex drive. That's how it is. It's impossible to change it, so you'll need to accept it." Now some people will be put in the rather more difficult position of saying "It would be possible to change this, but I still don't want to, and I'm asking you to accept that."

It's especially tricky because in general we've got a culture where women are raised to feel okay saying "I can't," but feel bad (and are often ignored anyway) when they say "I choose not to." So you find I-can'ts to protect the socially unpopular choices you want to make, and losing one of your I-can'ts means losing some of that social armor.
posted by Now there are two. There are two _______. at 8:00 AM on May 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


Who are the "others"?

Women whose libidos are high enough for their own satisfaction, but not high enough to satisfy society's expectations.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 8:00 AM on May 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


Looking at this thread, "society's expectations" seem to be that women SHOULDN'T want this drug.
posted by showbiz_liz at 8:30 AM on May 23, 2013 [5 favorites]


Looking at this thread, "society's expectations" seem to be that women SHOULDN'T want this drug.

Absolutely looks that way.
posted by sweetkid at 9:13 AM on May 23, 2013


Who are the "others"?

Women whose libidos are high enough for their own satisfaction, but not high enough to satisfy society's expectations.


I think The Underpants Monster is exactly right.
Both drugs have a peppermint-flavored testosterone coating that melts in the mouth. When the exterior is gone, the woman swallows a delayed-release inner tablet. In Lybrido, this inner pill is a close cousin of Viagra. ...
These drugs are meant to be part of the answer to one of our civilization's most perennial and pernicious questions: "Why Can't a Woman Be More Like a Man?"
posted by jamjam at 9:33 AM on May 23, 2013


These drugs are meant to be part of the answer to one of our civilization's most perennial and pernicious questions: "Why Can't a Woman Be More Like a Man?"

No no no it is not true that men own all the sex and desire for such no no no you are wrong about this and also really offensively linking to lyrics from a musical when we are talking about medical issues and have people's real stories in here.
posted by sweetkid at 9:41 AM on May 23, 2013 [9 favorites]


I've slept on it, and read what I've posted. I owe you an apology, geek anachronism. I got a bit carried away emotionally. I've got too much of a vested interest, and am far too close to the subject at hand to be impartial and disinterested.
posted by PharmacistofLucifer at 10:43 AM on May 23, 2013


geek anachronism:
You lucked out. Your partner had the resources to support you through that time. It had to be very trying for them also though, not everyone would have the emotional resources to go through that without falling apart. It doesn't seem to fair to anyone else, or particularly gracious with what you've been given, to come here and tell other people that they don't need drugs or help and it's okay for them to be the way they are--when it was only okay for you to be the way you are because you had help, you had someone who could and did prop you up.

'Find someone who is perfect and then you can be as flawed as you want.' is not really practical life advice.
posted by yonega at 11:45 AM on May 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


compartment [quoting the NYTimes]: Buspirone was originally used as an anti-anxiety medication, and if taken every day it can elevate serotonin in the brain. But as long as it’s taken no more than every other day, it has a unique short-term effect: for a few hours, serotonin is suppressed.
That quote seems to suggest that Buspirone is no longer used as an anti-anxiety med, while in fact that is its current major use. OK, bad journalist phrasing... But the last idea, that at certain intervals it can actually suppress serotonin, is news to me... and to a quick google search.
posted by IAmBroom at 3:27 PM on May 23, 2013


nickrussell: If women's sexual problems are mental, then wouldn't it stand to reason that women's actual sexual problem is that men aren't attractive enough?
No.
posted by IAmBroom at 3:28 PM on May 23, 2013


yonega: "'Find someone who is perfect and then you can be as flawed as you want.' is not really practical life advice."

Seriously? That's what you take from this, that he's perfect and I'm flawed because after having PTSD, after having a baby and nursing her for three years I wanted far less sex than him and he didn't pressure me to do it anyway? What a low bar you've set there.

Yeah, society hates women with high libidos and never pressures women into having more sex than they want in order to satisfy men who are as enculturated to think of their fleeting sexual desires as immutable and permanent as women are. And that 'no' starts the negotiations.

It was hard, don't get me wrong, and we worked on it and we had periods where the both of us had gotten into a rut of not bothering because I'd say no anyway, or I'd get triggered, or the baby would wake up, or my breasts were offlimits so it wasn't as fun and on and on and on. We dealt with it because we love each other, because he completely and totally understands that he is not owed sex for simply being him (my excellent, awesome attractive husband) and that ultimately pressuring me for sex is a self-defeating cycle.

Falling apart because you had to use your hand for sexual gratification for a few months/years and you would much rather your partner engage in sex they do not want is not 'imperfect' - it's something close to pathological when in the context of a relationship where you are otherwise receiving emotional/physical intimacy.

And fuck that 'propping me up' bullshit. Seriously. That's fucking obnoxious - I wasn't crumbling because I didn't want to have sex! Christ, it isn't actually a physiological need! Low libido is not depression! I didn't want to have sex, he wanted to, we worked around it and negotiated and accepted that it would probably come back once I was done nursing and in the context of 'until death do us part' it's a really short amount of time to make do with one's hand and snuggling and the occasional bout of sex.

And like I said, that whole thing where negative memories/experiences dominate over the positive happens with sex too. If for three years every time we had sex it was because he'd emotionally blackmailed me, or I felt bad, or did it out of duty, that is three years worth of bad-to-blah sex memories that could have been less frequent but far more positive.

This pill has its place, that is absolutely true. I just think there are a lot of pressures and socio-cultural reasons that are better off being addressed both in relationships and in society and that a pill short-circuits that work. Women whose libidos have dropped and who want them back should have access to something. My concerns still stand, that this is yet another socio-technological way to try and modify women's behaviours and concerns around sexual inequality.
posted by geek anachronism at 3:30 PM on May 23, 2013


not that girl: Interesting that one component of one of the pills is buspirone. I take that daily, as it can help alleviate the sexual side effects of SSRIs (I take Effexor for chronic daily headache, though it has also done wonders for menstrual-cycle-related mood swings and anxiety). On buspar, I am having the best sex of my life, and more of it than ever. But the Effexor means I still can't usually come. That's what I want a solution for--not arousal, but the ability to have orgasms. Viagra helps some people on Effexor but I haven't tried it yet.
Have you tried Celexa/Escitalopram or Wellbutrin/Bupropion instead of Effexor? Escitalopram solved the anorgasmia problems I had with Prozac.
posted by IAmBroom at 3:32 PM on May 23, 2013


PharmacistofLucifer: "I've slept on it, and read what I've posted. I owe you an apology, geek anachronism. I got a bit carried away emotionally. I've got too much of a vested interest, and am far too close to the subject at hand to be impartial and disinterested."

It's an emotive topic and I absolutely understand and seriously, if my libido were still at the valley it was 18 months ago, with the therapy and breastfeeding behind me, I'd be looking at something like this if it were available.

My concern isn't that this is a thing, it's that women will be pressured to take a pill instead of accepting that libido isn't a constant, that ebbs and flows are natural and not actually pathological and in need of fixing just because it isn't up to societal standards. And that sometimes, behavioural changes are a better idea than a pill.
posted by geek anachronism at 3:33 PM on May 23, 2013


cccorlew: I don't understand why, if you don't want to do something you'd even consider taking a drug that would make you want to do it.
Well, for one, that's not what these drugs do.
posted by IAmBroom at 3:39 PM on May 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


Justinian: You can absolutely potentially make someone, man or woman, act in all kinds of ways by messing with their neurotransmitter levels. Including sexually. That's a fact.
Citation needed.
posted by IAmBroom at 3:42 PM on May 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


It seems to me, geek, that you're saying: this thing that gives women more control over their sexuality is bad, because anything that allows women to be more sexual will be used by men to manipulate them into having sex more, even when they don't want to. Well, that's exactly what they said about the birth control pill. Honestly I think your concern comes from a good place, but to me it seems very infantilizing and dismissive of women's sexuality as a thing to be enjoyed BY WOMEN.
posted by showbiz_liz at 4:36 PM on May 23, 2013 [6 favorites]


showbiz_liz: "It seems to me, geek, that you're saying: this thing that gives women more control over their sexuality is bad, because anything that allows women to be more sexual will be used by men to manipulate them into having sex more, even when they don't want to. Well, that's exactly what they said about the birth control pill. Honestly I think your concern comes from a good place, but to me it seems very infantilizing and dismissive of women's sexuality as a thing to be enjoyed BY WOMEN."

Yes, because that's exactly what Women whose libidos have dropped and who want them back should have access to something. translates to. The birth control pill is not analogous structurally or socially to a drug that increases one's sexual arousal/response.

My concern is not (only/just/whatever) that the drug will be used by men who think it, with alcohol, will get them a more agreeable partner - it's that there are definite interpersonal reasons for some libido issues and prescribing a pill instead of anything else does not actually help women. I mean, how about acknowledging that breastfeeding does have a hormonal effect on arousal/libido and that's a feature not a bug and lets all be prepared and be adults about it instead of the panicked and oppressive 'DO IT OR HE'LL LEAVE YOU/CHEAT ON YOU/GGG' nonsense that doesn't address anything other than the high libido partner's desires.

If a woman wants to treat her libido decrease with a pill that is her choice - I don't think it's infantilising to suggest that there will be a whole lot of social pressure to make that choice over something like therapy, or communication changes, or waiting for the hormones to settle post-nursing, or any number of things that most women I talk to who aren't having sex say are the actual problem, not just a low libido. I'm speaking from a place where I'm primarily surrounded by hetero women who are mothers, but you know what? When my great-aunt is complaining because her husband is still at her to fuck twice a day, I can't help but think a pill is not going to actually help her all that much.

I mean, how about we treat people with a higher libido? Why not go with that instead? Surely that would help in a number of ways in a relationship and, given how some people talk, possibly in other areas since they presumably won't be thinking about/asking for sex quite so often so they could develop other hobbies.
posted by geek anachronism at 6:35 PM on May 23, 2013


Citation needed.

Miraplex: Impulse control/Compulsive behaviors: Patients may experience compulsive behaviors and other intense urges [...] Case reports and the results of a cross-sectional study suggest that patients can experience intense urges to gamble, increased sexual urges, intense urges to spend money uncontrollably, binge eating, and/or other intense urges and the inability to control these urges

More? Or is that sufficient?
posted by Justinian at 8:05 PM on May 23, 2013


Here is the info from the FDA if you'd like to verify it yourself.
posted by Justinian at 8:08 PM on May 23, 2013


Or as I like to call it, SATURDAY NIGHT. (rimshot)

Ok, I'll go cry in the corner, alone.
posted by Justinian at 8:11 PM on May 23, 2013


Justinian: Citation needed.

Miraplex: Impulse control/Compulsive behaviors: Patients may experience compulsive behaviors and other intense urges [...] Case reports and the results of a cross-sectional study suggest that patients can experience intense urges to gamble, increased sexual urges, intense urges to spend money uncontrollably, binge eating, and/or other intense urges and the inability to control these urges

More? Or is that sufficient?

Well, let's see if your citation matches your original claim:
Justinian: You can absolutely potentially make someone, man or woman, act in all kinds of ways by messing with their neurotransmitter levels. Including sexually. That's a fact.
You insisted that you can make someone act in various ways by chemical influences. Then you provided evidence that some drugs have potential behavioral side effects... which has been known since humans first ate fermented fruit.

Your claim is about forcing behavior; your "evidence" is about potential, accidental outcomes that are clearly not predictable on the individual level.

Fail.
posted by IAmBroom at 5:12 AM on May 24, 2013


Fail? I specifically said you couldn't predict which person would experience the side effect in advance. Perhaps you are confused by the phrase "potentially make? I don't think that means what you're reading it to mean.
posted by Justinian at 8:28 AM on May 24, 2013


Frankly, I don't see how you can possibly read "experience intense urges" and "the inability to control these urges" in any way except that messing with neurotransmitter levels can make people act in all sorts of ways they wouldn't normally act. It's clearly doing exactly that, and matches up exactly with the concerns noted earlier in the thread among the drug makers that if they messed up the formulation of this so-called "desire drug" it could induce compulsive behavior. I think you're just looking for things to object to.
posted by Justinian at 8:32 AM on May 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


Amanda Marcotte in Slate: Women Struggle with Monogamy More Than Men
What's really fascinating is that with this shift in understanding comes a profound shift in how we as a society are deciding to respond. There will be no shrugging of the shoulders and tossing around the word "hard-wired" to rationalize women disappointing male expectations of passionate monogamous sex. Instead, as Bergner writes, a ton of money is being spent on developing a drug women can take to restore their desire for their husbands. The drug, called Lybrido, is in clinical trials now with the hope of writing an FDA application by the end of the year.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 11:34 AM on May 25, 2013


Women X more than Men, stereotypes by Amanda Marcotte
Men X more than Women, stereotypes by Amanda Marcotte
Pandas X more than Humans, stereotypes by Amanda Marcotte
Humans X more than Pandas, stereotypes by Amanda Hugginkiss
posted by charlie don't surf at 2:28 PM on May 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


Yeah, Marcotte's piece is pretty weak sauce. Reductionist evo devo crap is reductionist evo devo crap regardless of the sex involved.
posted by Justinian at 3:35 PM on May 25, 2013


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