THE BLOG

Viagra for Women? No Way

06/30/2010 08:47 pm ET | Updated Nov 17, 2011

Clearly, it's another pharmaceutical gimmick -- developing a pill for women that will kickstart their libidos. Here's why it won't work.

Psychologists tell us there are three reasons for female frigidity: hate, fear and guilt. Loathing one's partner is clear enough: Change your partner! Fear of pregnancy? Use a contraceptive. Guilt based on childhood or religious conditioning? See a therapist. These mental states are not going to be helped by popping a pill.

Yes, Viagra is helping men whose sexual prowess has diminished through age or illness. But that's a mechanical problem, specific to the male of the species. "Normal" women -- those who are not inhibited by hate, fear or guilt -- are aroused in more subtle ways, as well we know. A little pill is not going to be a substitute for a dozen roses, a candlelight dinner, a passionate kiss, a foot massage, or a little blue box from Tiffany's.

The problem today is that those terms of endearment are often missing, or are overshadowed by ponderous distractions: television, the internet, cell phones, and the content of these distractions draw us even further away from real human contact. Pornography gives us second-hand satisfaction, and do-it-yourself sex toys give us solitary relief. So who needs a real live partner?

Besides, females today are bombarded with unreal, photoshopped images of women -- fabricated icons that are supposed to represent attainable perfection. It is not attainable (except perhaps with major surgery), and it is frightening in the extreme. Would you want a Lady Gaga facsimile babysitting your children? Would you want your mother to look like Kate Moss? And yet, the pressure to meet these criteria haunts today's women.

Another aspect of the problem: Sex is no longer necessary for procreation. Sperm banks and egg donors are replacing physical intercourse, so even the most fundamental reason for sex -- propagation of the species -- shifts from the bedroom to the laboratory.

The other day, in the New York Times, Camille Paglia blamed "middle class values" for the lowering of women's libido. She's off the mark. It is the loss of values that has caused the middle class female -- and the upper and lower class females, too -- to lose interest in sex. It is the familiar story of the breakdown, and disappearance, of the family: the working mother, the absentee father, the forsaken children.

It is also the huge cultural shift that has taken place in the past two decades -- in our language, in our entertainment, in our media, and in our advertising. Violent images, ear-blasting music, profane language have replaced all vestiges of sentiment and romance. Rhett Butler today would not say, "Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn." No, he would spit out a four-letter expletive.

Online dating, speed dating, and "friends with benefits" are replacing the slow, old-fashioned rules of courtship. Speed was always a male attribute, but now women have to quicken the pace, too, and you can't feel very amorous if your eyes are on the calendar and the clock.

All this leads women to seek out other forms of diversion and fulfillment. The malls become their refuge, beauty salons their sanctuaries, and food their reward. Or, in anger and despair, they desert the game entirely, making no effort to charm, to seduce, or to enthrall.

And men have allowed this to happen, preferring security to sensuality, complacency to euphoria, beer to champagne. It's the easy way out.

The battle of the sexes is over. It is not a victory for one side; it is not even a truce. It is a stalemate. (Yes, a stale mate !) Please urge our drug companies to stop searching for the magic pill. It will never work.