Experts Fear Too-Effective Female Viagra May Create Lust-Drunk Witches

Female viagra: if you make it, they will come. And then they will come again (and again, etc.). Then they will turn into orgasm-hungry monsters whose wild sex sprees will not stop until they are fornicating on the charred bones of the traditional American family unit.

In the small amount of time since last week's New York Times cover story on Lybrido, which has been billed as a "female Viagra" of sorts, several news outlets have picked up on a bit of weird reasoning buried in the piece. In the words of Andrew Goldstein, an expert conducting trials for the drug in Washington:

You want your effects to be good but not too good … There was a lot of discussion about it by the experts in the room, the need to show that you’re not turning women into nymphomaniacs...

There’s a bias against — a fear of creating the sexually aggressive woman.

In an interview about the story, author Daniel Bergner expresses his surprise at what he terms "the blatantly discussed trepidation (that's probably too soft a word) about female sexuality." In the piece, he notes that companies were worried 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.” This sort of fear-mongering logic is fun, because it allows us to proliferate long-extant tropes of female desire as uncontrollable and destructive under the guise of well-intentioned scientific concern. Hurrah! Three cheers for patriarchy!

Bergner's What Do Women Want? is out today; in it, he interrogates the common wisdom about female sexuality and finds (surprise!) that the vast majority of the stereotypes about how women desire are not true. According to Amanda Hess at Slate, Bergner argues:

“Women’s desire—its inherent range and innate power—is an underestimated and constrained force,” he concludes. In the Middle Ages, it was constrained by the idea that “lust-drunk witches … left men ‘smooth,’ devoid of their genitals.” In the last century, it was constrained by Freud’s theory that women have “a weaker sexual instinct” than men. Now, it’s constrained by modern evolutionary psychology that says that “women are rigged by their genes to seek the comfort of relationships.”

Fears about Lybrido manage to combine all the stereotypes of old with some newer, fresher ones: normally, women are less sexual than men, even within the comfort of relationships (N.B.: there are numerous very compelling arguments about the pill's utility as a means of revitalizing monogamy); however, given the wrong dosage of sex pill, the inner lust-drunk witch will emerge, ready to cause some toil and trouble (i.e., snatching up genitals and splintering society as we know it).

Sex is an immensely complex issue, and it can't be controlled or changed through a single pill (duh). While it's laudable and refreshing to see science taking female desire as seriously as it does male desire (if only, perhaps, to capitalize it), incidents like this show that we have a long way to come before we're approaching sexuality from a neutral viewpoint.

"'Female Viagra' Lybrido Fears: May Create Nymphomaniac Epidemic" [Inquisitr]

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