Do we really need a female Viagra drug asks Dr Miriam Stoppard

Do we really need a female Viagra drug asks Dr Miriam Stoppard
Dr Miriam Stoppard finds that a female Viagra is likely to be more of a placebo than anything else Sex for men is straightforward. Sex for women is complicated. Since time began, sexual norms have been defined by men and taken up by armies of psychiatrists, psychologists and therapists – what goes for men must surely go for women too. Men love Viagra so surely women must love it too? Well, no! And no to a new “female Viagra ” recommended for marketing in the US by the Food and Drug Administration. The FDA saw fit to do this for ­Flibanserin to even things up: men have Viagra, women should have one too. Calling the new drug “the female Viagra” isn’t totally accurate. Viagra treats erectile ­dysfunction in men. What it does not do is increase their sexual desire. But that’s what Flibanserin claims to do. Most of us, I reckon, are happy as we are. I’m not sure I believe the Flibanserin story anyway – that it boosts your libido by raising levels of oxytocin, serotonin and dopamine in your brain. That could just make you feel happier, not sexier. In clinical trials, Flibanserin only did slightly better than a placebo. In that case, if you strongly believe a pill will turn you on, it will. It is now being championed by a high-profile coalition of women’s groups called Even The Score. They argue that the FDA’s decisions to approve Viagra and other drugs to treat the male libido is discriminating against women. The FDA is recommending the drug only for “women whose lack of sexual desire was not attributable to other causes such as disease or relationship troubles”. Well, there’s a hornet’s nest. Then there are the distinctly unsexy side effects such as nausea, dizziness, fatigue. Not good in the bedroom. But I think the Even The Score ­feminists are barking up the wrong tree if they see Flibanserin as a strike for feminism. It could have a sting in its tail. The drug could turn out to be the exact opposite if men see it as a quick fix for their partner’s lack of desire. Then it becomes another battering ram for women to feel they have to be ready at all times for some hanky-panky. And some women might feel forced to resort to it rather than persuading their partner to have a chat about what’s lacking in the relationship.
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