Nothing is wrong with your sex drive

Emily Nagoski, a sex/health educator at Smith College writes in the NYT about the FDA non-approval of a drug for treating low sex drive in women.

A pharmaceutical company has come up with a drug they say treats low sex drive in women.
It’s been up for approval to the FDA twice, and they rejected it both times. It’s now up for approval again.

On the one hand, it’s messed up that cis men not being able to have the sex they want to have is treated as a medical problem worth lots of $$ in research/pharamceutical investment (e.g. viagra and other e.d. drugs), but the analogous problem for cis women is not.

So the fact that a company is trying to create a sex drive pill for women seems like progress, and the fact that the FDA keeps rejecting it can be seen as stymieing that progress.

Nagoski’s issue with that interpretation:

She argues that the drug is trying to solve a “problem” based on an outdated model of how sexual desire works.

She explains that any individual’s sexual desire falls somewhere on a spectrum between “spontaneous” and “responsive,” that we only equate a “healthy” sex drive with spontaneous desire, when in truth, responsive desire is equally healthy and normal. She implies that we do this because cis men are more likely to fall on the spontaneous end of the spectrum, while cis women are more likely to fall on the responsive end, and medicine has a long history of assuming male = normal.

She says that most women who’d be considered candidates for this drug really just fall on the responsive end of the spectrum. For many responsive-desire people, being in a low-stress mental state is a prerequisite for being interested in sex, and having their perfectly normal brain/body functioning treated as a medical disorder actually just contributes to the problem this drug purports to solve.

anyway, Emily Nagoski is interesting and I like reading what she has to say. 🙂  Here is her blog: The Dirty Normal.



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