WOMEN
12/18/2014 10:07 am ET Updated Dec 18, 2014

Do Women Need Their Own Viagra?

Cultura RM/Steve Kraitt via Getty Images

Some argue that a female sexual-dysfunction drug is a matter of equality among the sexes. Others say it creates a medical problem where none exists.

“Aren’t women’s sexual needs as important as erectile dysfunction in men?” To hear one side tell it, that’s the central issue in the debate over what’s known as “pink Viagra,” a sexual-dysfunction drug for women. Health organizations and the pharmaceutical industry say the absence of a female drug is a pressing problem that affects millions of relationships in the U.S. every year—and is the result of decades of inequality in scientific research. On the other hand, some researchers believe these groups, along with the drug industry, are creating a medical need where one doesn’t really exist, and that there isn’t a double standard at play in rejecting the latest female drug, flibanserin. As they see it, pink pill advocates are co-opting the language of equality, while drug marketers ignore the complexities of female sexual dysfunction, and how best to treat it.

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