Is it any surprise that the “little pink pill,” touted as the answer to women’s and men’s dreams for a non-ending honeymoon extender, is not living up to the hype? It’s finally hitting the stands, after months and years of controversy and more than one “Dateline” breathless investigation. I’ve been scouring the Internet for information, and it is hard to decipher, not to mention amazingly repetitive.
OK, no, I haven’t tried it. I don’t believe I have HSDD, the sexual dysfunction reported by about ten to fifteen percent of the female population. Without going into my sex life (my daughter would be mortified), I need only ask a couple of key questions before getting all whipped up with excitement about a “major breakthrough for womankind.”
1) Why in the world would the any drug created for women be tested primarily on men?
The FDA rejection document (the one from last year, before this August’s approval) states that the only research done on the drug's interaction with alcohol involved a test with 25 people, 23 of which were men. Really?
2) It takes weeks to work, so does that mean you have to plan ahead for a great weekend or be on it in perpetuity?
I can tell you right now, I don’t need to consider another chemical to ingest daily. Birth control pills that sent me to headache city (and probably worse) were bad enough. As Cindy Pearson, of the National Women’s Health Network, told NPR, "To have any chance of benefit from this drug, they're going to have to take it every day for months on end, years. We just don't know what the long-term effects will be of changing brain chemistry in this way."
3) What, no wine? Ever?
With flibanserin (Addyi to the marketing folks), you can’t have alcohol at all. Ask most women: If it means no glass of wine in the evening, no martini with the girlfriends or on date night, that’s a deal breaker. And even if you don't drink, we get dizzy enough from the bizarre swirl of regular life. Concussions from falling? No thanks.
4) It will make me want to have sex; it will make me feel sexy. And that helps me how?
Really, we can take care of that part. (You may be thrilled that Fifty Shades now has a fourth installment out; others may just watch The Notebook and want to jump in the sack.) Most of my post-menopausal friends and writers everywhere bemoan the mechanics once we get to the bedroom, not the desire driving us to the moment. I don’t have to tell you about my sex life to address these basic questions: Will it help what author Ellen Dolgen calls the “desert” down there? Will it heighten the ability to achieve, um, Nirvana? (Oh, wait, that’s the band.) The little pink pill is working on our brain, I get that. But like Viagra, which targets body parts, we might need something a bit more targeted to complement the brainy element.
5) The promise for any quick fix is ridiculous; can’t we see that?
I’m in agreement with essayist Lisa Solud, writing on the-broad-side.com website, that the issue is a bit more complex than any one pill can address. I love her quotes from conservative Cal Thomas, who rejoices in “no more flowers or fancy dinners” to coax that lovely to bed. Numerous pieces have been written about the inequities of science providing solutions to help men—again—without addressing female issues. (See side effect testing, above.) And don’t even get me started on the fact that Viagra is covered by insurance, and all that.
But the reason that we refuse to put all our eggs, literally, into this one simple little basket is that, as Solud and others have opined, we are complicated creatures, and know that our love life is important. We also know that one little pill, no matter how pretty in pink, is going to solve all of our problems, sexually or otherwise. The jury really is still out on this. I think I’ll wait for another color.