Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Bad Medicine

I've been writing about sex a lot recently, which isn't nearly as exciting as you might think, in fact, my job often involves removing anything that's too interesting, if you get my drift. It's mostly been articles about every sexually transmitted infection under the sun, and how they can be caught from doing so little as thinking dirty thoughts about people. Which makes you think that you might have some of them... until you look at the pictures, scream and realise that no, you don't. The closest to interesting I've read was probably the really rather detailed article about the physiological phases of the female orgasm, which did nearly make me gnaw my own arm off (it has been a while).

Anyway, I'm aware that I'm probably talking shop, but what I actually wanted to write here was a rant about the pharmaceutical industry. I need to write it here, otherwise I'm going to end up putting it into the Female Sexual Dysfunction article. Which brings me round to my point.

After the roaring financial success of treatments for erectile dysfunction, like viagra, cialis, and levitra, drug companies across the world realised what quacks and everyone else realised long ago - sex sells. After tapping the male market (selling sexual enhancements to men is like shooting fish in a barrel) they decided to try and get a foothold in the other half of the population.

One problem, women don't have penises to go floppy or to be self conscious about.

But aha! They find a market - some surveys indicate that a large proportion of women, especially older women, really don't enjoy sex. They then tack on the same Freud derived bullshit that's been kicking around for years - about the clitoral orgasm being a juvenile stage and the vaginal orgasm being the sign of a grown woman, and shazam! You have an illness that you can peddle the cure to. Never mind the fact that a woman not enjoying penetrative sex is a symptom of nothing more than the fact that she doesn't enjoy penetrative sex, or that a lack of sexual desire is more easily explained by, er, I don't know an ugly and inconsiderate partner?

The worst part is that they don't even develop new drugs for it, the two that they are pushing hardest are Bupropion (an antidepressant that they're also marketing as a treatment for obesity and ADHD) and Viagra - which is supposed to make the clitoris bigger, which it does, but this is in turn supposed to make sex better, which it might, er, they think...

Mind you, there is a funny side. One of the drugs being researched as a possible cure was Bremelanotide, which did actually appear to be very effective (it isn't going to be marketed though, because it also raises your blood pressure dangerously high). The funny part is that bremelanotide was first developed as a tanning agent.

Which it did very well, but it also gave men spontaneous erections, and made both genders really fucking horny. Which possibly isn't the best thing for a day on the beach. Not ones to admit defeat, they just tried to develop it as a drug that made you horny (and also gave you a sexy tan, I guess).