Yesterday marked the official 10th birthday of Viagra, the little blue boner maker, and U.S. News and World Report has a trio of articles about potential Viagras for women. There are currently two lady libido drugs in the midst of clinical trials — one is a testosterone gel, and the other is a pill that acts on serotonin receptors. The testosterone gel is closer to FDA approval, but part of the hold-up is that approval standards for a female version of Viagra are higher than they were for the original: according to U.S. News, "A drug for women must not only elicit desire but also yield an increased number of sexually satisfying events."
That seems like a lot to ask, especially since some doctors, like NYU School of Medicine's Leonore Tiefer, don't think a testosterone gel will really help the female libido in the first place. Tiefer tells U.S. News: "There was a big study in the Journal of the American Medical Association in 2005 that has never been refuted showing that low testosterone may have nothing to do with [low libido]." In 2000, Tiefer formed what she calls a group of "like-minded feminists" under the heading the New View Campaign to educate women about the medicalization of female sexuality.
Earlier this month, Moe tackled the same question Tiefer wrestles with: Is not being horny a disease (Moe: "probably not!")? And Tiefer elaborates on exactly why. She thinks the variety of sexual problems a woman faces — loss of interest in sex, irregular sex, interest in the wrong partner — have been hijacked by the medical community when those issues have nothing to do with medicine. "I would regard fluctuations in sexual interest not just as normal but as a good thing built into one's feelings about pretty much everything; with the seasons, with age, with changes in a relationship, with changes in health, with changes in work responsibilities," she says. "Everything comes and goes." Anita Clayton, co-author of Satisfaction: Women, Sex, and the Quest for Intimacy, adds, "For women, a lot of our sexuality is above the neck, not below the waist,"
Then there are women like "Bette," a 72-year-old breast cancer survivor who says using the testosterone gel, which was prescribed to her "off label," basically saved her life. "I'd rather have something worth living for right now, rather than living in the old folks' home. I'm not going to miss any fun."
Sex Drug Viagra Turns 10; Women Still Waiting [U.S. News & World Report]
Women Lacking Libido Aren't Sick [U.S. News & World Report]
A Woman's Sex Drive Restored By Testosterone [U.S. News & World Report]