I recently spoke with Aurora Snow for her piece “Women Deserve Equal Access to Drugs That Treat Sexual Dysfunction” (via Glammonitor, 6/17/15).

Per Aurora:

Designed to improve the lives of women suffering from Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder (HSDD is defined as the persistent distressing lack or absence of sexual fantasies and desire for sexual activity), Flibanserin would be the first of its kind to legitimize the women who struggle with real, and at times debilitating, sexual dysfunction. According to a study conducted by The Journal of the American Medical Association, sexual dysfunction is more common in women than men, with 43 percent of women reporting that they had experienced sexual dysfunction compared to 33 percent of men. But up until now, there hasn’t been much pharmacological help for women who suffer from a low libido.

Flibanserin has been rejected twice in the past five years by the FDA, as it continued to request more data about the pill’s side effects and interactions with other medications. The FDA’s reluctance to approve a drug for female sexual dysfunction spurred some in the women’s health sector to create Even the Score, a coalition of 24 organizations fighting for equality in women’s sexual health. Among those supporting it are Sprout Pharmaceuticals. Considering that Sprout Pharmaceuticals has raised an estimated $50 million from private investors to develop the highly anticipated Flibanserin, a failure to obtain FDA approval could crush future developments in this field. This isn’t just about women’s health, it’s business.

Even the Score cites gender bias as the core problem, stating that “there are 26 FDA approved drugs to treat various sexual dysfunctions for men (41 if you count generics!), but still not a single one for women’s most common sexual complaint.” In response, the National Women’s Health Network recently published a statement declaring that the problem is not sexism at play but the lack of drugs that actually work. “Even the Score’s gender equity argument is catchy, but ignores the real safety differences between drugs tested for FSD [female sexual dysfunction] and those already approved for men,” it says. Perhaps the problem we face is as simple as not being able to accurately gauge female desire. Not knowing when it’s lack of interest or a real disorder.

Chauntelle Tibbals, Ph.D., a sociologist and the author of Exposure: A Sociologist Explores Sex, Society and Adult Entertainment, says she has concerns about a pill that can’t be popped on demand like Viagra, but has to be taken daily, as this requires a lifestyle shift. “Bored in the bedroom or bored in a relationship, certainly there are some women who have an issue or need that will be met in this manner. But to say to a women who doesn’t desire sex, ‘hey here’s a mood altering drug to fix yourself,’ well, that seems a little dangerous to me,” she says.

You can read the entire story here. It’s truly fascinating stuff – what do you think?

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(pictured: “male Viagra” per Glammonitor)

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