Is gender bias preventing approval of ‘Female Viagra’?

Men have 24 approved drugs to treat their sexual dysfunction. Women have none, and now some women’s groups are wondering if this is because of gender bias and a societal squeamishness in talking about women’s sexual pleasure.

According to the Washington Post, a 2008 study showed that 12 percent of women may suffer from female sexual problems.

From The Washington Post:

“Low sex drive in women has been studied since the 1970s, but developing a treatment has proved more difficult than addressing male dysfunction, which often involves poor blood flow to the penis.

“The principal problem for men is plumbing. They don’t have low libido,” said Jan Shifren, director of the Midlife Women’s Health program at Massachusetts General Hospital. “Women don’t have a problem with anatomy. They have a much more complex problem.”…”

Some drugs have been invented but have not made it through the approval process. For example, there’s flibanserin.

“A drug called flibanserin, touted by some as the “little pink pill,” the counterpoint to Viagra’s little blue pill, was developed 12 years ago. Last month, women’s groups were disappointed when the FDA asked for further safety tests on the medication…”

“It looks to me like there are more hurdles being put in front of this drug than there have been on drugs addressing male dysfunction,” said Terry O’Neill, president of NOW. “Obviously, everyone only wants drugs to get on the market if they are proven safe and effective. But we don’t want attitudes to get in the way of a good drug.”

Women’s advocacy groups have long been involved in tackling women’s reproductive issues but women’s sexual satisfaction is new.

From The Washington Post:

“Rarely do we have an opportunity to have a public conversation about sexual pleasure and the right to a fulfilling sexual life,” said Serra Sippel, president of the Center for Health and Gender Equity, one of the groups that met with the FDA. “I think over the course of the next year, you’ll see more women’s reproductive health organizations joining this conversation.”

Lots of thoughts on this article and I am sure I going to take a beating for them but here goes:

1. I don’t think there is any doubt that corporations have been far more focused on getting men off than women — just look at the number of drugs being offered.

2. I am surprised that 2008 study found that low of a number of women suffering from sexual problems. I guess they are referring to a clinical issue versus just a tired woman not wanting to be bothered with sex or that interested in sex.

3. I am sure there are plenty of women who would love to be able to pop a pill to be excited about having sex after working and taking care of kids all day. I’m not saying that’s healthy but I think for a lot of women that would make life easier.

So what you do think? Is there a gender bias in developing drugs to help women have sex more and with more pleasure? Are you surprised the study found only 12 percent with a sexual problem? As a woman would you like a pill to pop to be ready to go like a dude? Do you think that would improve your sex life?

41 comments Add your comment

Longtime Educator

February 20th, 2014
12:25 am

To borrow a phrase and give it a twist…”what’s good for the gander is good for the goose.”

Sir_Panty_Dampener

February 20th, 2014
1:11 am

Is there any “drug” more effective at stimulating a woman’s libido than DIAMONDS or CA$H ???

USC-69

February 20th, 2014
7:49 am

Supply and demand. What’s the demand? Truth is – there is nothing more arousing for the male than an aroused female.

Trotsky

February 20th, 2014
7:53 am

I want Mother Jane Goose to take it; its been years I’m sure since she’s had the carbon blasted off the cylinders

frank

February 20th, 2014
8:24 am

viagra etc improve the ability to achieve an erection sufficient for intercourse. these medications are, as noted in the OP, not aimed at increasing/altering libido. the parallel for women is KY, astroglide, etc and have existed for eons. no gender bias, nothing to see here.

Producer

February 20th, 2014
8:36 am

Agree with Sir! Nothing works better for this supposed “problem” than an open credit card or money! LOL!

WitchyWoman

February 20th, 2014
8:48 am

This is a complex problem.

I think that a good part of the problem lies in part in what Theresa listed as number 2 on her list. Most people assume that women are just tired and don’t want to be bothered. I don’t think that doctors or pharmaceutical companies really try to dig deeper than that. Seen as the “randier” of the two sexes, they are focused on more.

Unfortunately there are others that believe like what someone above posted…women just need some sort of lube. Well, sadly lube doesn’t get a woman in the mood and more often than not is just used so that the man can get his pleasure without hurting an unaroused partner. Shoot…They wouldn’t be able to keep that stuff on the shelf if it was the answer to the problem.

Dave68

February 20th, 2014
8:48 am

“The most powerful sexual stimulant in the world for women………wealth and/or status.in a man.”

Dr. Phil

February 20th, 2014
8:51 am

I have found that a married woman’s libido is like a bonfire as long as she’s with someone other than her husband.

Real Life

February 20th, 2014
8:52 am

Why are people are now talking about gender bias because of a drug for a problem that women do not have? Viagra, et.al., are not there to increase desire, but to solve a physical problem. I know drug companies are marketing “feel good” medications for low testosterone, but they have also been marketing HRT for women for many years. Both types of drugs try to reverse the natural changes as we age and both have really bad side effects.
There is gender bias out there but somehow I do not see it in a product that is used to combat a distinctly male problem.
So women are too tired for sex or just not interested. Why not look at the underlying causes and try to solve them rather than throwing a magic pill at it.
And if we really stand back and look at the idea of women taking a medication to convince her to have sex when she really does not want to?? Now that sounds like gender bias to me.

Billy Crystal

February 20th, 2014
9:17 am

Women need a reason to have sex. Men just need a place.

Badabin

February 20th, 2014
9:23 am

If the goal of the pill is to get women to want to have sex, just use GHB. It is a proven commodity.

SEE

February 20th, 2014
9:46 am

Alright, it’s officially time to stop visiting this blog. Scrapping the bottom of the barrel, are we?

Hidden Agenda

February 20th, 2014
9:48 am

From a 2010 article on Yahoo “Researchers found 2,200 deaths linked to erectile dysfunction (ED) drugs, based on reports to the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Office of Surveillance and Epidemiology from 2000 to 2010.”

None of these drugs are safe. As with many infertility problems, stress, diet, exercise, and overall health play a bigger role than a lack of a pharmaceutical drug. The key need for these drugs in men stems from the horrible complications/consequences of prostate surgery while obviously other different factors are implicated for women.

A cursory search for natural alternatives on the internet reveals dozens of products with long histories of success and virtually no serious side effects.

Instead of sitting around waiting for the BigPharma poison factories to come up with another giant profit pill, women with issues should look in the direction of cheaper, safer, alternative therapies.

cobbmom

February 20th, 2014
10:13 am

Viagra passed through FDA approval faster than any drug in history but the female version has been going through the testing for 12 years and the FDA wants more testing. Bias? Yes. If it ever passes I doubt that it will be covered by insurance. It took decades to get insurance coverage for birth control but Viagra was covered as soon as it hit the market. Old white men with ED and money get results.

Trotsky

February 20th, 2014
10:20 am

Just give your bride some Green M&M’s

Denise

February 20th, 2014
10:44 am

Yes, there is gender bias in that most people do not care whether a woman enjoys the experience. And yes, women do have medical issues that may be helped with this. The inability to lubricate is one. KY and Astroglide are good but nothing beats natural lubrication. Also, most people don’t carry it around and sometimes you want to engage in different places than near the nightstand. ;-)

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

February 20th, 2014
10:46 am

SEE — I actually think this is a good topic — relevant — many women, especially moms struggle with wanting to have sex after taking care of everything else for the family. I think an interesting discussion.

My smart cousin who is a scientist does not believe collusion to be prevent female orgasms but says it is very complicated — she promised to send me more detail later — I will share when arrives.

just me

February 20th, 2014
10:48 am

Cobbmom for president!!!

Richard

February 20th, 2014
10:51 am

Denise,
“Also, most people don’t carry it around…”

Speak for yourself.

LizBeth

February 20th, 2014
11:09 am

Actually, if you want to arouse a woman, cash or jewelry has nothing to do with it. A clean man with attractive clothing, who takes care of his teeth and nails, is polite about ALL body emissions, and is a capable, educated flirt, will fare much better.

Denise

February 20th, 2014
11:10 am

Richard, I don’t know anybody who carries KY in their purse or pocket on a regular basis. I’ve been known to when I traveled but not on an everyday basis. If you know anyone who does or if you do yourself, I stand corrected.

just me

February 20th, 2014
11:15 am

Enter your comments here

LeeH1

February 20th, 2014
11:44 am

The answer is simple if women want a new drug. Just sign a form with each prescription that releases the drug company from any liability for the drug, its effects, or its effects on the children who might end up as a result of taking the drug. No, women want to be able to sue, and have the drug at the same time. The Viagra drug for women is the suicide pill for the manufacturers.

And by the way, how long will it be before men start to slip this mickey into the drinks of unsuspecting women?

dc

February 20th, 2014
11:45 am

While no drug has been found to increase women’s physical desire, one food has been found that is almost guaranteed to destroy their physical desire.

Meanwhile, 50% of the relationships created while consuming that food fail….I wonder if there is any correlation???

Class of '98

February 20th, 2014
11:51 am

There is already female Viagara, it’s called jewelry.

nsnstv

February 20th, 2014
12:20 pm

“3. I am sure there are plenty of women who would love to be able to pop a pill to be excited about having sex after working and taking care of kids all day. I’m not saying that’s healthy but I think for a lot of women that would make life easier.”

So, men don’t work all day and take care of kids? That’s a lame excuse women like to use.

Malcolm Reynolds

February 20th, 2014
12:34 pm

This is why chocolate and wine were invented. Why is this even a thing? Seriously?

thekimmer

February 20th, 2014
12:52 pm

Gender bias on who’s part? The government (FDA)? Believe me if there is a market for something no self respecting company is going forgo it for gender bias because green is the only color they are focused on (and rightfully so). Also remember that sexually active females may also be pregnant which makes approval of new drugs 10X more complicated. Thanks to mother nature such concerns do not exist with men.

Similar to what others have also pointed out you are really comparing apples and oranges because the drugs marketed for men are not aphrodisiacs. They are simply designed to help men achieve and maintain an erection which is an absolutely essential physical requirement for coitus which BTW involves a man AND a woman. Women have no similar essential physical requirement although I will admit it certainly helps to be sufficiently aroused.

Anton Chigurh

February 20th, 2014
1:12 pm

I think Walter White has a pill for this.

Anton Chigurh

February 20th, 2014
1:13 pm

It’s not covered by insurance, but is cheaper than Viagra.

jarvis

February 20th, 2014
1:25 pm

Can’t agree more. Clearly the FDA loves boners and hates frisky women.

Chris

February 20th, 2014
2:21 pm

I feel so sorry for our grandmothers and great-grandmothers, they never achieved sexual pleasure in their later life! OMG! I am so surprised that our world and species survived as long as it has, what with women not getting pleasured!

Where is the cure for cancer, AIDS, and other diseases? Why waste money on these when a woman/man can’t get pleasured???

Real Life

February 20th, 2014
2:41 pm

Regardless of anyone’s smart cousin’s opinion, I still find it rather alarming that a company wants to market a drug that will make a woman aroused if she is too tired or just not interested in sex. Talk about gender bias. Men get a pill to correct a physical sexual problem while companies think a woman needs a pill that causes her to want sex–even if she is absolutely exhausted. These two issues are not the same thing–not by a long shot.
And such a medication is ripe for abuse.

jarvis

February 20th, 2014
3:10 pm

@Real Life, if released, I’ll be slipping this into the Mrs.’ beverage every chance I get.

jarvis

February 20th, 2014
3:26 pm

“Rarely do we have an opportunity to have a public conversation about sexual pleasure and the right to a fulfilling sexual life,”

You heard it here first. We have a right to a fulfilling sexual life.
Quick call the ACLU, my rights are clealy being trampled on.

dc

February 20th, 2014
3:27 pm

Ahh, exhausted is such a relative term. Let her find out that there is a bake sale at her kids school tomorrow AM, and she’ll drive to the store, stay up for hours to bake and decorate, all after 10:00PM. Because after all, the idea of not looking good in front of the other moms will rejuvenate her way more than the idea of having sex………:)

Kat

February 20th, 2014
5:16 pm

No use in all those ED, etc drugs for men if the women aren’t wanting to do it with them, is there?

taboo

February 20th, 2014
5:18 pm

FINALLY! I thought I was the only one wondering why men have OODLES of meds and women have NONE! Yes! Please come with some “Libido” enhancing drugs! Yes! They would make my life easier! Yes! I love my mate, but I’m tired and my libido is too!!

Hidden Agenda

February 20th, 2014
7:11 pm

These pills are killing men. Congratulations on your gender bias. I can see why women would want to sign up.

Misty

February 22nd, 2014
9:09 pm

What no one seems to be noticing is this- most women (key word, most) don’t need some pill or medication to get them in the mood. What most women (key word, most) need is something to regulate their hormones. While the female might be “feeling tired,” it could very well be that her hormones are out of whack. And a side note, it is possible for younger women to enter pre-menopause and not know what it is happening with their bodies.